One of the changes I made months after losing our daughter was in the way I eat. Once I got over the serious depression eating (that mentality of “My child is dead. I can eat whatever the hell I want.”) I realized that I had slipped into being incredibly unhealthy and it needed to change. For myself and my own path back to something resembling happy, to be here as long as I can with hubby and for the future rainbow baby we were/are determined to have.
This desire to eat cleaner was coupled with an awakening awareness of how masses of animals are treated in our food industry. I’ve always described myself as an animal lover, and over the course of several weeks I found a number of Change.org petitions in my inbox asking for stricter regulations and better safety standards for animals on industrial farms. This video in particular upset me and I realized how hypocritical I had been. Why was I choosing to love and protect my cats while eating the carcasses of other animals? It’s true that I can’t and don’t want to keep a cow in my backyard but that doesn’t mean that I want that animal to live a horrid life before being slaughtered.
I still go back and watch that video, to remind myself why I’ve made these decisions and why it’s important to follow through.
So I made the decision to transition into vegetarianism, and maybe eventually veganism. I use the word transition because I’m not up and completely altering our eating habits overnight; I wouldn’t even know how, and I have special dietary concerns. Because I’m anticipating this switch to be long term, I want to ensure that I’m not sabotaging my health, my chances of conceiving again and the health of future babies.
While I haven’t been on this journey very long, hubby has been supportive every step of the way; he wants the same things I want, and his soda addiction notwithstanding, is willing to make the changes necessary. But I’ve been surprised by how others have reacted. This path, which seemed so obvious and reasonable to me when I discovered it, has been greeted with sneers, jabs and borderline hostility. Which stands to some reason; people don’t like change, and they don’t like things they don’t understand. I’ve also realized though that I haven’t been very good at explaining my decision, so even those who were merely curious walked away thinking I was having mental troubles.
So the way I have finally chosen to explain this decision is that I want my eating habits to be cruelty free. Right now that means eating more fruits, veggies and non-animal products, looking for animal by-products like cheese or yogurt that are made from animals that have been treated with respect and kindness, and not eating meat. There are still some grey areas to work out – the biggest question I’ve asked myself is “If I could get cruelty-free meat, say from a local farmer who I could actually speak with and get to know, would I be okay with eating that?” The truth is, I don’t know. And that’s okay. We don’t have to know everything, and sometimes we find our resolve in having to make tough decisions.
And now that I’ve made this decision and I’m walking down this road, I’m curious – how do others label their eating habits? How do you identify?