I'm sure every vegan has heard this question at least 100 times before. After about the 5th time, I found it's easier to tell them what I don't eat; anything that came from an animal. Still, you run into those that think you must survive on salads and tofu or "twigs and berries," or even ask "you still eat cheese, right?" It amazes me how limited the diet of those who say that must be and how disconnected they are from where their food comes from. It also fortifies my belief that many people don't want to eat animals, that they have to see the food they eat as something that wasn't a sentient being. I was once like that, too. I couldn't look at the steak on my plate as a cow that was living in horrible conditions on some factory farm. If I did think of it as once being a cow, I imagined it living on a farm, eating grass all day, and dying of natural causes. That's the only way I could think of it. However, when I was fifteen, I saw an article about an artist that painted pictures of what happened in a slaughterhouse. It was then I decided I couldn't eat animals anymore.
I was a vegetarian for many years(with the exception of a brief "relapse") before deciding to take the vegan journey. An interesting thing happened when I did. I became a foodie and even more to my surprise, I wanted to cook! I never enjoyed cooking meat, EVER. It was slimy and I was always concerned about making sure it was cooked properly at the correct temperature. Before, cooking was something I did because I had too. Now, cooking is something I enjoy. Becoming vegan opened me up to a whole new world of things to create with. I'm eating vegetables, grains, and legumes that I never would have tried and playing with herbs and spices I once knew little about. I find that my vegan diet is more varied and enjoyable than my omni diet ever was! I get excited about things like cashew "cheese" and finding new ways to create those old omni favorites. Finding a new vegan restaurant is like Christmas to me!
So, those that question me about what I eat, usually aren't prepared for my answer. Some will still shake their head, set in their belief that I'm "wrong." Others have been very interested and ask questions. Hopefully, it will create an inner dialogue about their own food choices and maybe even get them curious about trying a veg meal.
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.