By Rebecca Carter, Co-Founder of Ecorazzi.com and†Healthy Living Guest Blogger
It took me a long time to understand that dairy cows are, well, female. For some reason I just never made the connection. It took me even longer to understand that cows donít make milk.
This all occurred one evening as I was nursing my youngest son. Suddenly, I understood that a cowís milk is breast milk for her baby, just as the milk I make is for my own.
I became a vegetarian 14 years ago because of my compassion for the animals. Because of this, learning about the dairy industry practices was enough to make me say goodbye to milk, probably forever.
But putting aside my empathy, I have to wonder: Does it make any sense that we are drinking breast milk from an animal?
I can imagine how repulsed my friends would be if I offered them even a drop of my breast milk for their coffee. Ironic, because it seems to me that it is more ridiculous to be pushing aside a calf to drink some of his motherís milk — milk designed to grow a massive bovine.
So after more than a decade of vegetarianism, I have shifted to a mostly vegan diet. Going vegan doesnít surprise me. I think I always knew this was on my horizon; the surprise is that it took me this long.
I was avoiding information — I wasnít prepared to deal with the answers. Iím not alone. Most people donít want to know where their food came from or how it was made. I can speak from experience to why that is.
First, itís not pretty. Accepting the truth means accepting that we arenít respecting animals, the environment, or ourselves. We feel as though we can’t handle reality, and so weíd rather remain ignorant.
Secondly, we are scared of the consequences. I didnít want to give up cheese. I loved cheese: I ate it at nearly every meal. Was my husband going to be upset at me for making mealtimes even more difficult? Would I be destined to feel deprived for the rest of my life?
Many share these fears. They donít want to know the truth because theyíre scared of how it will affect their routine.
If youíre one of these people, Iíll tell you the truth: it will affect your life. Making a significant dietary change will take considerable time at first. I call it ďbrain time.Ē A major shift in diet makes you think, but it is inspirational. I have encountered countless new vegans that are suddenly inspired in the kitchen. Others, like me, are inspired to write, take photographs, or otherwise share their transformation with the world.
There is a food awakening happening across the country. More and more people are moving towards a plant-based diet thanks to the influence of pop culture, movies like Forks Over Knives, and initiatives like Meatless Mondays.
Itís my hope that veganism will now become even more convenient for the mainstream population. Even more importantly, I want to see more people get connected with their food. The more people that are aware, the faster the situation will improve.
Each one of us is on our own journey and has our own moment of awakening. I get that. I wasnít ready before, but Iím ready now.
I have a feeling my journey has only just begun.
Rebecca Carter is the Co-Founder of Ecorazzi.com. She is the mother to two omnivorous boys under 4 years old. She is starting to get on a first name basis with her food. Find out more about her at RebeccaCarter.net.