Why I became vegan?
August 26, 2018
So many people have asked me why I am a vegan so here goes ….
It makes me happy!
I was always called a “picky” eater and I think I even had rickets when I was very young due to a lack of Vitamin D. For many children food is an issue, especially in the 60’s when we were told to eat everything on our plate because there were starving children in Biafra. I remember sitting at the dinner table for hours pushing the meat around determined to out last my dad who told me, “You're not leaving the table until you finish everything on your plate.” And I remember my younger brother Karl, using his hands to mould the mashed potatoes as if it was play dough! Our whole food/emotional thing is really messed up, but I think there are wiser people than me that can delve into that one.
Montana: The reason I started SALI
It was a happy day when I read Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe and found out there was nothing wrong with not eating meat and it was actually called being a vegetarian. I was able to put a positive label on my picky eating and was actually saving the planet. How exciting was that revelation! Now I knew I wasn’t alone. But I also knew no one else who was a vegetarian. You definitely have to have the inner strength to go against the grain. And this was not to be the first or last time this happened for me as a teenager which basically made my mom’s life more difficult - sorry mom. Being schooled in English cooking, my mom Florence (I think she was named after the famous nurse - how cool is that) never really knew what to do with me except dish me up some mashed potatoes, peas from the can, and a bit of salad.
I remember the kindness my mother-in-law Joan Denroche showed me at her formal Point Grey dinners. My husband Buzz was brought up in a house with proper British manners and dinner time was a regal affair. Buzz was taught to act as if the Queen herself was at the table. The meals were made from scratch and were right out of Bon Appétit Magazine - literally. Joan would purposefully make me the same dish without the meat. I have to tell you I felt the kindness of this and have never forgotten it.
I did move away from being vegetarian sometime in my 20’s and cooked up all manner of meat dishes for my family of five. I forgot about my animal friends and got busy working and raising my three girls. Looking back, I did struggle a lot with losing myself while being a mom of young children and do regret not raising my girls as vegetarians (I didn’t even know the word vegan back then). There was a lot going on in my life and sometimes it felt like I was treading water. This is when it’s so important to have mentors in our lives who have been there/done that and can help guide us. Life is tough, no matter the circumstances and no one sails through life without some bumps and lumps. I think above all else, we need to be kind to ourselves and not wallow in our regrets, but move forward.
Fast forward to today and I am as vegan as humanly possible - even in my world travels. It makes me so happy. When people ask me how do I get my protein, I put a toonie in my “pet peeve jar” (more about that in another blog post). I tell people mine is a kind diet. I delight in the amazing recipes on the internet. There are usually vegan dishes at most restaurants and hotels, but if there isn’t anything vegan on the menu, it’s fun to challenge the chef to create me something. Often my friends are jealous when they see what’s been made for me. I have to tell you, I feel the kindness once again when the waiters are so gracious and are so eager to know if I liked it.
Along with this, there is a lot of overwhelming sadness knowing about the treatment of food animals in Canada. They are generally hidden from sight, but I usually see some of my 4-legged and feathered friends daily:
- When I see the cows at the Border Feed Lot (called finishing) on 8th and 174th. I’ve even seen a truck full of one-day-old baby boy dairy cows off loaded into the pen
- When I drive by the large factory farms where I know there are thousands of animals confined
- When a trailer full of battery hens passes by me on a country road heading to slaughter
- Passing by the slaughter plant on 184th and 52nd - I can see the cows in the back paddocks
Thankfully, there are millions of people who have deep values that have ignited a passion to change the world. People who want to end child labour, discrimination, poverty, homeless pets, trophy hunting, world hunger, illiteracy, factory farming and so much more. But when our values cause us to see this suffering in everyday life, then we have to take a deep breath and find the resolve to keep going, to keep fighting the battle.
SALI’s Farm has been built by our community. This includes people from all walks of life, people with all manner of different diets. They do have one thing in common, kindness. Kind people are our foundation. SALI’s Farm will continue its core value of kindness which for some includes diet. Kindness starts with one person, one child, one animal at a time. You are very welcome to join us. But be warned, when you hear the stories of our animals who escaped the food industry, or you come and meet our animals, you too may question your diet. Your heart will not only feel the love, but will be healthier for it and can you imagine, you will be saving the planet!
"If we could live happy and healthy lives by not harming others, why wouldn't we"
A few of my favourite vegan Instagram accounts