I’ve been quite silent about this for the past few months but have been absorbing so much info about this lately, I thought I’d share my thoughts and what I’ve learned. I’m in no way trying to convince you to do the same, as I know we all go through our own journeys (and awakenings) at different times. During the first year of my “healthy journey”, I received tons of comments of people asking me why I wasn’t vegan, why I kept eating meat, and encouraging me to stop. But I, as most people do, felt attacked and immediately got defensive. I refused to learn more about the topic, partly because I knew that the more I learned, I’d have to eventually stop eating meat.
But eventually, I started getting informed, and sure enough, I stopped eating meat. I shared my story on going vegetarian here. It took me a few months to stop eating fish as well. But the more documentaries I watched, the more books I read, the more information I absorbed… I just knew what the logical next step was. So I took it slowly. For almost 2 years now, I gradually went from meat eater to pescetarian to plant based. When I became vegetarian, I became egg obsessed and ate poached eggs aaaall da time. You might have seen some #yolkporn on my instagram every now and then. Eventually I got a bit fed up of eggs and wouldn’t really eat much of it anymore. I spent this past year being 90% vegan, mostly eating cheese when I was in social situations, but never committed to not eating it cuz I thought “I only have it sometimes, so what’s the harm in that? At least I don’t eat meat anymore!”. Also, having a boyfriend who already had a hard time with me going vegetarian (which he eventually got over thankfully), I couldn’t really commit to becoming vegan. I also really didn’t wanna stick that label on myself. I didn’t want to become one of those people who said I’M VEGAN and let that define me. I must admit, I was a bit scared of how other people would react to me saying “I’m vegan”.
Anyway, a week before leaving Sydney, I attended a Films For Change event, in which they screened a documentary titled “The Ghosts In Our Machine” with my friend Angie. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Truth is, when I became vegetarian, I did so because of environmental reasons. I knew about the animal abuse, but like most humans, refused to watch any of it because I couldn’t deal with the guilt and pain and horror of it all. This film follows Liz Marshall, a photojournalist/animal rights activist as she photographs animals in fur farms and other places. The film shows some graphic images, sure, but there were two things that really affected me. One, was a picture of ferrets in cages, looking terrified. I have two ferrets as pets (I know, I’m a weirdo) and thinking of them suffering just so someone can use their fur seriously made my heart sink. The film also showed some of Liz’s photographs of pigs in a truck headed to a slaughterhouse. The look of horror on their faces will forever be engrained in my brain.
After watching the film, I felt really heavy. I felt like I wasn’t doing enough. I texted my sister and told her I was thinking of going vegan, and she replied “really? cuz you’ve said this about 100 times and you still haven’t committed to it”, which is true but still.. kinda made me feel like shit haha. I still continued eating the way I was eating cuz, well, it was my last week in Sydney and that consisted of lots of cheese and wine to be honest.
Then I arrived to Chile. My best friend has been eating vegan for a few weeks so arriving to her place was such a RELIEF. Not having to be the person that says “ohh sorryyy, I don’t eat that” and having someone who GETS it, and is pumped to try new yummy recipes has made it all so much easier for me. But I was still eating cheese with my dad a lot (he feeds me empanadas on the daily haha and I can’t say no).
BUT THEN IT ALL CHANGED.
Sidenote: these past weeks I’ve been looking into myself and wondering what is my purpose and goal and mission in life. And some days ago, I realized my life purpose right now is to SPREAD LOVE. Be that with my friends, family, or the people I interact with on a daily basis (online and offline). It’s become very clear to me that I am a person who spreads love and positivity in all of my relationships. I’m someone who brings people together and promotes good vibes and lots of loving wherever I go. And it might sound like i’m tooting my own horn, but whatever. That’s just something I’ve realized about myself and am very proud to admit and acknowledge.
So, on Monday this week, I was listening to Yoga Girl’s Latest Episode (if you don’t know who Yoga Girl aka Rachel Brathen is then please look her up here, she is basically my life inspiration and I love her and look up to her and could talk about her for hours but that’s a blog post for another day haha). She interviews James Aspey, an animal rights activist, public speaker, and a vegan. I absolutely love all of her podcast episodes, but this one was truly life changing for me.
Rachel asks all the perfect questions and I relate to her story so much. There are so many nuggets of wisdom in this podcast episode, I highly recommend it. You can listen to it here (or search for “From The Heart: Conversations with Yoga Girl” wherever you get your podcasts). I don’t wanna copy and paste all of the arguments here, but some of the things they mentioned that truly clicked with me, I gotta share:
“When you make that vow & commitment, what you’re actually doing is so much more than just making a diet choice. You are actually aligning your core values with your actions. And it changes you. It changes how you feel inside. There’s none of this conflict, none of this feeling like a hypocrite…”
THIS. I’ve recently come to the realization that my core values are LOVE and PEACE, among others. So each time I eat cheese, i’m not contributing to the Love and Peace in this world.. I’m consciously adding Hate, Violence, Destruction, Cruelty, Suffering to this world. And now that I’ve become aware of it, I’ve realized I DON’T want to be that person. Something else he said:
“What you’re doing is increasing the peace, enjoying the respect and compassion inside of yourself. Only then can you share those qualities with the world, but also raise the collective consciousness of this world to a higher frequency, to a more positive, love based frequency. And the benefits are just so endless.”
So after years of educating myself on the subject, I’ve finally decided to commit. I know I’ll miss the taste of cheese (I mean.. for reaaalzzz can’t deny that) but I’ve chosen to prioritize my values and be aligned with them. And people will be shocked and will try to talk me out of it. People will annoy me (my meat eating brother will definitely not make it easy for me haha). I have already gotten comments like “nooo Nati don’t go vegan it’s so bad for you, you need meat in your life, you need this and this to survive” which seriously annoys the shit outta me cuz I DON’T TELL YOU HOW TO LIVE YOUR LIFE SO DON’T TELL ME HOW TO LIVE MINE.
I’ve been really put off by veganism for years because I felt very attacked by vegans/vegetarians. So whether you’re starting out on your “plant-based journey” or have been vegan for years, I ask you: Encourage, don’t Slam. Blaming and Shaming is not the way. Teach with Love. Educate, Encourage & Inspire. Have conversations that start from LOVE, not from HATE. Try to explain your point of view without making the other person feel attacked. Some people will feel attacked anyway. Some people will not be open to listening. And that’s ok. If you’re able to have ONE loving, open conversation, and teach ONE person what you’ve learned on the subject, you will be changing the world.
If you’re interested in learning more on the topic, I highly recommend the documentaries:
Forks Over Knives and/or What The Health (for the health perspective)
Cowspiracy (for the environmental perspective)
Earthlings (for the animal rights perspective)
I definitely didn’t wanna make this public, cuz it’s a lot of pressure and I feel like once I do, it becomes official. But I’ve chosen to commit to this.
So, from this day on, I will not knowingly consume the products of violence anymore. I will increase the peace and decrease the suffering.