The transition from eating meat to learning how to be a vegetarian was a slow process, but it worked and for a few years my family adjusted to the new menus I introduced to the dinner table.
I had grown up on a southern Minnesota farm where I was intimately involved with every aspect of family farm life, from helping milk cows, to picking vegetables, to helping in the kitchen. My mother was a great cook, renowned for her baking skills and adept at turning out home grown meals. I just accepted what we ate as what was normal.
One day when fixing soup for my own family, I looked in the pot and saw this chicken floating there. The image transformed our lives–and our diet.
Then my son went West to work at Farm Sanctuary in California. When he returned, he brought a new word to his vocabulary: Vegan! Having learned of the brutal lives animals and birds suffer to provide milk, cheese, meat and eggs to the American diet, he had decided to eliminate all animal products from his diet. We resisted. After all, the animals we had on my farm when I was growing up were treated humanely. The cows were allowed to freely graze in the pasture and the chickens spent their days hunting around our farm yard for bug delicacies.
But that isn’t how factory farms treat cows and chickens and pigs. No longer are they creatures like us who look a bit different and behave as their natures determine. On factory farms they are crammed into cages where they can barely move but still produce eggs, locked into insufferably small pens to feed piglets, repeatedly impregnated to become continuous milk machines. It’s a different world today and not a kinder one, he taught us.
I wrote about this in a personal journal called Carrot Seeds.
If you are making a similar journey, it may give you encouragement.