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Burying the Non-Vegan Past

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Burying the Non-Vegan Past

The earth was heavy with moisture and thick with trailing grass roots. Still, with each shovel full of dirt, my resolve to finish what I had started grew. On the ground, next to the hole I was digging, lay a new woolen shawl, a pair of leather shoes, a leather belt and some sleeping tablets made with milk.

It took me some time to fight through the grass roots and waterlogged earth, but with perseverance, the hole grew to a satisfactory size. I picked up the items lying next to me, delicately setting each piece of my history inside the small hole, and then quickly began to bury them.

All forward momentum in our lives is stunted by the emotional, physical and material baggage that tethers us to the past, and my transition to veganism was no different. The small makeshift grave I was now standing above marked the beginning of putting the cruelty in my past to rest.

To internalize the vegan ideal I had to come to terms with my speciesist treatment of animals. I knew that to move forward I could no longer treat certain feeling, breathing, sentient beings as if they existed solely to feed and clothe me while cherishing others as companions and friends.

After I made this decision, the question remained over what to with the animal-based items that lingered in my life. This story began with my final decision to bury them. Since some people may disagree with this choice, I wish to explain my thought process to remove any confusion.

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Alisa Rutherford-Fortunati

Gentle World is a vegan intentional community and non-profit organization, whose core purpose is to help build a more peaceful society, by educating the public about the reasons for being vegan, the benefits of vegan living, and how to go about making such a transition. For more information about vegan food and other aspects of a vegan lifestyle, visit the Gentle World website and subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

97 comments

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12:17AM PDT on Oct 25, 2013

thanks for sharing

3:46PM PDT on Jul 5, 2013

A fascinating discussion.
Had posted a correction but there may be latency so if a repetition occurs, that was the problem.
Apologies, as I have several windows open with various discussions of interest and just typed the reply for another comment board into this one after the cat that owns me jumped beside my computer...had not checked the board to make sure that A was hitting A and it appeared in the discussion board here, how very sloppy of me.

The comment that I made earlier belongs in this discussion, feel free to join in.

http://www.care2.com/causes/why-i-love-vegans.html#comment-5243862

3:24PM PDT on Jul 5, 2013

Pamela W, you spoke of having a basic discussion about the meaning of vegan and how the more discussion based informative stories from a personal perspective to becoming vegan is being summarily ignored except with the posting of links. Links provided instead of a personal step-by-step insight doesn’t always do it.

Not to mention even describing the struggles that one encounters when becoming vegan while giving up eating, drinking and wearing things in the past. Sometimes one goes back to eating meat before switching as it is quite a transition and not everyone does it perfectly right away. What about say, ‘support groups’ of other vegans acting as mentors for one in the beginning year?

3:24PM PDT on Jul 5, 2013

However, if The Karma Queen/Shovelling Expert is the poster child for becoming vegan, then certainly the reason why vegans are a mere three percent of the populace is certainly crystal clear given her ‘recruiting successes’ of insults directed at omnivores which has not had us running to the vegan fold. These are not exactly dripping in the sweetness of Stevia, since vegans don’t eat honey.

For another perspective, (I don’t agree with the Holocaust references, however although some vegans use this imagery often) here is an article about how some deal with their omnivore or vegetarian past after becoming vegan:

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/burying-the-past.html?page=4

12:08AM PDT on Jun 4, 2013

To continue my comment- Not going to lie about what it has changed in my health.
I think I should point out that I was born in Texas and raised on a Hereford cattle ranch and that my family has been farmers for many generations. But, I do think it is different when you have your own animals and you know how they are treated and you're not grinding off beaks or taking calves away from their mothers. I can understand consuming eggs and milk that came from animals that you yourself have loved, cared for, and treated well. I would still not consume any meat though as I couldn't stand to kill an animal that I had cared for.
I think it's great that people stand up for their own beliefs and ideas. Stand firm and be true to yourself no matter what your beliefs are. Don't change just to suit someone else. It should be about what you believe yourself and what makes you happy in your life. I choose not to post anonymously even when I've made mistakes in my posts and even though I know not everyone is going to agree with me, because I'm stating my own personal thoughts and ideas. If you're Vegan, Non Vegan, Christian, Buddhist, Athiest or whatever I think that you make your own choice which path you want to take. You have your reasons just as we all have our reasons. State your reasons or beliefs, stand firm in them, but don't bash other people just because they disagree. I enjoy reading comments from people who are thoughtful and informative even if I disagree. Thank you and again s

12:00AM PDT on Jun 4, 2013

I'm a dork. I mistyped a word. I intended to say Holocaust victims, not survivors. I apologize for being such an airhead. LOL. Please forgive me for the mistyping.

11:58PM PDT on Jun 3, 2013

First of all, this article made me cry a bit, and I have to say I don't recall hearing that information about the Holocaust survivors before. My fiance is half Jewish, and I hadn't heard him say it and I'm not sure that he even knew they did those things with the bodies.
I started eating vegetarian because of my love for animals. I have never pushed it on anyone, but answer honestly when my doctors, friends, or family ask about my diet. I did it on my own and never required my fiance Joshua to join me in eating this way. He decided to do it on his own after watching me and the changes in my health. I am a Type 2 Diabetic and had high blood pressure up until this last week when it started coming down. I noticed that when I became vegetarian my blood glucose levels started coming down. Then I moved more and more towards my goal of becoming vegan. The closer I got to my goal, the lower my numbers got as well.

I now am not only a vegan because of my love for animals, but also because it has vastly improved my health. I know there are concerns about GMOs, but I have found a variety of things that are GMO free as well as other ways of eating and cooking that would reduce the amount of GMOs in my diet. I have also been eating some gluten free products as well and that also seems to have improved my health. My swelling has gone down and my tender muscles are less tender. I'm not saying this way of life is for everyone, but I am not going to lie about what it has changed in my

8:53AM PDT on Jun 3, 2013

What one eats is a personal choice.

11:48AM PDT on Jun 2, 2013

Vegans often do not consider the environmental impact of their lifestyle choice. Those burried items: wastefulness in the name of emotion. The synthetic replacements for animal products are often environmentally expensive - their production damages the planet. Is that better than using animal products such as wool that do not harm the animal? Or, are vegans a little short-sighted and infatuated with their own moral superiority.

10:30AM PST on Feb 4, 2013

It is a personal choice as to how or wht you want to eat, But do look up what makes a food a compleate protein. like peanutbutter for it to be a compleate protein has to have glass of milk with it or it is a incompleate protein, If you have a milk cow she gives more milk than her calf can drink, so not taking away from it. The first three days is the colustrum and is feed to the calf. After that you can milk her and give calf part of the milk, or you can sale the milk or use for your family and have special formula mix it and feed the calf.. They do well with that. again that is your choice. My children were very allergic to milk and different baby formula's, so were raised on goat milk.Children grew healthy and so did her kid. after taking some of her milk morning and night turned her kid in with her for 2 or 3 hours and all went well. So there again is a choice. My only problem was no matter how high the fence was she would get out and go a mile down the road and ate the roses off of one of the school teachers rose bushes , she loved them. Can laugh at it now but sure fealt bad about that then. Each to their own way of life.

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