Eating the Rainbow
By Emily Murphy
My curiosity about not eating meat began at a very young age. I always felt a connection to animals — I was always bringing home stray dogs and cats — and I liked eating the rainbow.
When I finally connected the dots of where my food comes from, I decided to become a vegetarian. My declaration didn’t go over so well with my parents. And unable to procure my own food, I let it go, at least for a while.
I went back and forth on my dietary choices until my late 20s when I decided to go pescatarian, which is a diet that excludes all meat but incorporates fish, dairy and eggs. From there, things escalated quickly, and, within a year and a half, I was vegetarian and then fully vegan.
There are different levels of being vegan, and I went all the way to the top in the blink of an eye. You can be vegan and not consume any animal products, and then there’s the next level of vegan, where you don’t consume or use anything that comes from an animal, including beauty products, clothing, furniture, honey, etc.
For me, the more educated I became about how animals are exploited and slaughtered for our consumption, the more certain I felt that this was the right choice for me. I found myself unable to even watch certain documentaries and would feel physically sick when I saw the ugly truth that is factory farming. For me, there is no difference between the pets that I grew up with in my home and farm animals, and that logic was really the deciding factor for me.
Some people choose to go vegan for health reasons, but not all vegans are healthy. People always ask me, “Do you feel better?” and the answer is I do when I eat plant-based. But I also eat cookies, cake, pizza and the list goes on. There is as much vegan junk food available as non-vegan.
Abundant vegan choices
Being a vegan has not constrained my life in any way. The availability of options is plentiful. I go out to eat often, and I have never been to a single restaurant that couldn’t make me something to eat (and I have traveled to some pretty small towns).
Sure, you may have to do a little more explaining as some people may not fully understand what being vegan means, but, instead of getting frustrated or embarrassed, if I have to explain in front of a full table of people, I consider it a learning opportunity for everyone around me.
If restaurants know that more vegan options are being ordered, maybe they will offer more!
The vegan options at the grocery store are abundant. If you are dedicated and willing to put in the effort, you will not have an issue. Can’t give up cheese, check out the vegan cheese section (Kite Hill brand is amazing). Plus, there are many great recipes and vegan bloggers to follow to get ideas.
One surprising aspect of my becoming a vegan was the resistance I received from some friends and family, which underscores a quote I often see on social media: “The most difficult thing about going vegan is other people.” I was shocked that people were offended by my choice not to consume animals. I have been vegan five and a half years now, and, no matter how much explaining I do, my own family still doesn’t fully understand what being vegan means.
Give it a try!
I am not here to judge anyone who still consumes animals because people have different reasons for doing so, such as religious practice, cultural norms, etc. What I would like to do is encourage others to give it a try. Start by swapping out a couple of meat-focused meals for plant-based options each week. Eating the rainbow can be fun!
To contribute to our series, contact Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To read another articles in our new series, go to What We Eat.
Emily Murphy was trained in July 2020 and is serving as an at-large chair for the chapter. She has been very involved with the Zero Waste Warrior committee, helping to raise awareness on the importance of plastic reduction and low waste/sustainable solutions. She’s passionate about stopping pipelines and new fossil fuel infrastructure.