Updated: Feb 7, 2021
Pt. 2 of this challenge is for people who would like to take plant-based eating a step further!
A decade ago, I was the young mom of a 10-year-old, a 7-year-old, and a 2-year-old. One day, out of nowhere my 7-year-old asked me if what he was eating was “pluck-pluck chicken or... what?”
I found myself confused by the question and quickly responded - “yes mi Lindo, it’s chicken nuggets.”
“Like the ones that have feet and feathers and a heart?” he asked.
*gulp* I hesitated for a moment “yep... just like that.”
He then proceeded to ask me, “Why do we eat chickens? Where’s the rest of him?”
I felt terrible and didn’t know how to answer his inquiries, so I did what most moms would do. I told him the same thing I had been told by my mom as though it was unequivocal truth.
I said “we need to eat animals, it’s healthy for us, that’s why they exist, for us to eat” but as the words came out of my mouth they triggered a deep feeling of unease.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but this very innocent conversation morphed into a challenge to prove to my son, and myself, that all of these statements were indeed true and that we were doing nothing wrong.
Kendrick around the time we had that life-changing conversation--he's now 17.
I began to research--I read books and watched videos on the subject. I always knew there were vegetarians and I knew that animals must die in order for us to eat them, but I never really connected this knowledge to the grim reality. I found out there’s a term for this - cognitive dissonance: “the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude changes.”
I continued to seek out information, I watched documentaries (I’ll include links below), and read several books like Animal Liberation by Peter Singer and this created the foundation on which I would base my eating choices moving forward but most importantly this specific encounter with my sweet young boy marked a beginning that completely changed the way I would perceive the world around me.
It was only a matter of months before I decided I would no longer eat animals and I would not feed them to my family. A few weeks later after learning about the dairy and egg industries, I also decided to remove all dairy, eggs, and honey from our diet.
These decisions were grounded on firm ethical principles. After learning the truth of where our “food” comes from, we were unable to unsee or unlearn the harsh reality and our lives were forever changed. I believe that’s been the main reason that has contributed to our consistency in living a vegan lifestyle.
Yet, there are many reasons why people choose to leave behind meat, dairy, and eggs and move to a plant-based diet. As we know for many this reason may be the environment and species conservation, for other people it may be their health, or to combat disease, for some it may be as simple as taste preference, or any combination of these. For my family and me, it was ethical and spiritual.
Speaking of spiritual reasons, I’m amazed to see how more and more young children seem to have an innate dislike for meat and dairy. It reminds me of the 100th monkey effect.
Also, when we think of ethical reasons, I’m reminded that lactose intolerance affects around 70% of the world’s human population, the vast majori