When I began dating my husband 20 years ago, we had a big challenge between us. Although he wasn’t vegetarian yet, he had abstained from eating red meat for years and I was very carnivorous. Initially, I didn’t think it would be a problem, but after a few dates, it became an obvious problem. One night, we went out for dinner to a burger/coffee shop. He ordered a salad and fries. I ordered a greasy burger with everything on it. Needless to say, he felt very uncomfortable and very repulsed.
Although he didn’t say anything at first, I could tell from his body language and facial expressions that he was anything but happy. Being the mainstream person I was, I was fairly dense, so I didn’t grab a clue. He was very gentle, but firm and emotional in the way he expressed his disdain for my eating habits. After several bites and somewhat enjoying my meal, somehow, I no longer had an appetite for what I was eating. In fact, for the first time in my life, I was repulsed by it. Growing up with a meat and potatoes/fast food/convenience food type mentality, I was suddenly very confused and I felt emotionally vulnerable. I didn’t know what to do.
For the first time in my life, I was exposed to someone who appeared to be more enlightened than I was. He was exposed to information and lifestyles that I never knew about. At the end of the meal, he explained the importance of a meatless diet and explained that there were people all over the world who were vegetarian for many reasons. I felt lost, confused, and weird. I also felt grateful for the knowledge he was giving me. Then he said something that scared me, but made me think. He expressed that he’d been off of red meat for years now and wanted to be with someone who cared about their health and the animals. He felt very uncomfortable with my carnivorous ways and made it very clear in a gentle, firm way that he didn’t want to see me again if I continued this way of eating. At first, I thought he was pretentious and audacious for saying this. But then, I took a step back, looked at the situation objectively, and realized he was doing me a big favor and had a good heart. Here was a wonderful person who was sweet, kind, smart, intelligent, bright, very cute, who cared about me, and was attracted to me. He wasn’t telling me to cut my hair, change my appearance, or change my personality. He was simply asking me to give up meat.
I tried it for a week and wow, I felt great! I didn’t feel ill, tired, or sick. In fact, I felt wonderful and glad to be alive! So, that was it! That date with him and that week of going meatless changed the course of my life. My family was less than thrilled, but that didn’t matter to me. All that mattered was that I was going out with a sensible, bright person who loved and cared about me and wanted me to be healthy; what a crime. After that, it wasn’t terribly difficult to go completely vegetarian. It’s opened up my world to a whole new way of eating and thinking and today I can’t even conceive of another way of living!
Unfortunately, this new found decision somehow began to complicate my life, instead of making it simpler. I had hoped for some support or a reaction of pleasant surprise when I announced my decision to my mother and grandmother. Instead, they looked at me as though I had lost mind and expressed their chagrin. First, my grandmother asked me if I was serious and stated that young little girls like me needed their protein and would become weak and frail if they didn’t eat their meat. They both asked me if it was because my new boyfriend had suggested it. Although I told them he had influenced my decision, I assured them that I made the decision on my own volition.
There were incidents at work and even more incidents with my family. I’m sorry to say that my journey to this point of my life has not been easy, but I haven’t allowed any comments or criticisms to deter me. Fifteen years ago, a very close relative suffered a heart attack. It’s a miracle he survived. Unfortunately, he has not learned and continues along his unhealthful ways. I’ve tried many times to help my family understand, but I have given up on the concept because I know there is no interest in change.
I love my family, but I’ve done the best I can. Today, I’m focusing on keeping my new family healthy – my husband, our adorable, wonderful, beautiful baby boy, and myself. Today, I am healthier and more vibrant than I have ever been. As of this moment, I have not had to visit a physician and I have not suffered any illness. As a result of being a healthy, organic vegan for 20 years, I’ve enjoyed being a wonderful cook. My wonderful family loves my cooking. I’m very excited to say that my delicious vegan cookbook, a compilation of 20 years worth of delicious, healthy, organic, vegan recipes, is now published in an ebook format and is available to be ordered from my Tasty Vegan Kitchen cookbook/vegan foodie blog, and will be published on Amazon Kindle this Winter 2015. My hope is that more people will wake up and realize the truth that the media doesn’t want revealed. Until then, turn off your television, listen to something uplifting and meaningful, and read!
About the author: For more information about Dayna’s cookbook and to see sample recipes she posts every week, please visit her vegan foodie blog: www.tastyvegankitchen.com. Dayna Colvin is a social and environmental issues writer and a very active animal rescue advocate. She and her husband live in the Pacific NW of the USA and are happy, grateful new parents to an adorable, wonderful, sweet baby son and share their home with two adorable, wonderful, sweet cats–their fur babies. Dayna Colvin is a holistic, organic, vegan freelance writer and hopes to inspire her readers to desire to live healthier, greener lives. Contact Dayna at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Her Organic Wise Mama blog is: http://bodyearthself.blogspot.
Stock image source: getvegucated.com