See Things for What They Actually Are

Hannah Ellis June 25, 2014 4
See Things for What They Actually Are

Cruelty has many faces. Evil, big businesses have many aliases. Unethical behavior takes many sneaky disguises, often as lovely-looking, innocent things we are surrounded by in every day life.

If you want to succeed as a vegan, one of the best (and scariest) things to tackle is seeing things as they actually are and not the pretty picture being sold.

Basically, you have to turn your brain on.

Where I used to see a fridge full of milk in a supermarket, now I see the steps before this fridge became full of milk. It looks innocent, but represents is an industry no one wants to know the truth about.

Co-workers marvel at how I’m not tempted by the Salted Caramel Gateaux Cake at work. There are leftovers… the plate is full of salted caramel goodness…. The cream is oozing out the sides… the staff happily help themselves to a leftover slice and look at me, eyes full of pity, that I “can’t have any cake”.

“Oh, that’s right, you can’t have any.”

Okay, let me stop you right there. I can eat whatever I want.

If I wanted a bacon sandwich in my mouth right now, I could do that. If I wanted to eat Gateaux I would consume that Gateaux immediately. I’m not avoiding the Gateaux because I’m afraid of my thighs. I’m avoiding the Gateaux because I choose not to eat things that come from animals. I am a vegan.

Being vegan doesn’t mean you suddenly follow a long list of evil rules that stop you ever eating delicious goods and enjoying your life. Being vegan means you make a choice to stop consuming things that are a part of a larger, evil picture. It means you see things for what they really are. You see the trickle down effect of big industries and do your best to not invest or support them.

You see cake. I do not see cake.

I see Dairy.

Where I see dairy, I see commercial dairy farms. I see Cows in pain. I see animal suffering. Animal cruelty. Slavery. Slaughter.

That is what I see.

(Not to mention the blood, puss, hormones and chemicals. Let’s not go there. I can feel I’m losing you already. DON’T TALK ABOUT THE PUSS.)

I’m aware not all dairy is evilly produced, but the further you research, the more scary dairy industries are. Even the kindest, loveliest dairy farms involve some cruelty (separating mothers from their babies for “veal”, artificially inseminating cows, inevitably sending them to slaughter) and the farms that involve minimal cruelty are in such a tiny minority it’s really not worth talking about.

Vegans see the BIG PICTURE.

This is what I’m saying, people. I’m not hating on lovely Tom over there with Daisy the Cow, milking her in the morning and then making cookies for his kids in the afternoon. I’m talking about Factory Farms.

Most Dairy comes from a factory farm. An enormous large “business” of cows all lined up in their own feces, operated by frustrated workers (often caught on camera doing things you don’t want to know about) pumping as much milk out of these living beings as possible until they are only fit to become food and then watering down the milk for maximum profits to get on your shelf and tell you is full of calcium.

I hate to break it to you.

Vegans don’t make this stuff up, guys. We aren’t the worlds biggest buzz-kill. I don’t want to tell you why that cake doesn’t appeal to me, because I want friends and a life and I want to enjoy myself and not send people running whenever they look at me.

Which, I guess is kind of why I blog. I blog to get all these thoughts and feelings out there, ready for people when they are ready for it. If you come on these pages and read vegan articles, you have SORT this information. I don’t want to be that major buzz-kill in real life unless someone asks me directly or they say something really bloody stupid that I have to correct.

“Cows EXPLODE if we don’t milk them.”

Yes. Okay.

Changing your associations is one of the most beneficial things you can do as a vegan. Look at things for what they really are, take off the blinders and stop eating the lies businesses are selling you.

The lovely frosting on that cupcake is made up of ingredients that hurt and exploit animals.

The salmon on that sushi train is actually a mound of bi-catch and environmental devastation.

That lovely silky latte doesn’t look like a line of cows waiting to be milked by machines three times a day. But that is what it is.

This isn’t being dramatic, or cruel, or “an annoying vegan”. It’s telling things as they are. Open your eyes, remove the blinders and don’t think your life is over and cake-less.

Because guess what?

THERE IS VEGAN CAKE! There is avocado sushi! There are soy lattes! There are lots of lovely things that mean BEING VEGAN IS NOT DIFFICULT.

I would go as far as to say – I think people are afraid of how EASY being vegan is. More and more people are proving we DON’T need any animal products and that scares others. They want to hold on to their chicken sandwiches, but know they can’t use the excuse they “need meat” anymore.

The government are constantly changing how much fruit and veg we need to be more and more and more (in the UK the “5 a day!” jingle has become “10 a day!”). Studies are constantly coming out telling us to eat less and less meat. It’s like the giant secret we all know deep down… But are too afraid to commit to.

I get it. Going vegan seems like a big deal. But it isn’t. Grow a pair. Do it. It’s not that hard.

The hardest part is facing how gruesome our world can be and how much of the “pretty” things that surround you are not pretty: the cakes, the decadent meals, the crepes in Paris, the Tiramasu, the canapes….

These things look harmless and delicious, but they are not. All you have to do is choose the vegan option. I promise it will still be delicious. And it’ll actually help your body out instead of mess it up. It’s a win, win.

Also – when you have taken that vegan jump, educated yourself, enlightened your life and still feel tempted by these foods, don’t be afraid of having a sneaky bite and seeing what you think. Taste it. Eat it. Eat that cream. I guarantee most of the time you’ll think: “oh, that’s it?”

So much pain and suffering and its not even as good as my hummus ;)

4 Comments »

  1. Terri Cole June 25, 2014 at 5:03 pm -

    YES! I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard “oh, you can’t have that”. I always respond with “I can have whatever I want, but I will not eat (insert disgusting ‘food’ here)”.

  2. Clare June 26, 2014 at 12:42 am -

    Very well written!! I do have to say that I worry when I see factory farm implicated in animal cruelty.. You see I live on Northern CA, and the sustainable humane organic lies that are told here keep those with a concern about animals gobbling dead animals up and feeling good about it. No industry is better than another when it leads to enslavement, suffering and slaughter.. But, let me reiterate, it is nice to hear your voice..

  3. Linda Bailey June 29, 2014 at 12:14 pm -

    Thank you for sharing so eloquently what I rarely can get across to people. I don’t crave your cookies, grilled cheese sandwich, or plate of cheesy nachos. It horrifies me when I think of a lifetime of forced lactation on an animal so gentle and caring of its young. Being separated from its babies so I can have a latte and donut? Seems positively ridiculous when I step back and see that food for what it really is.

  4. obxmaureen July 1, 2014 at 1:13 pm -

    great article. I relate 100%

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