By Ashley Vasquez
Going vegan was something I genuinely always hoped I could do, but a part of me always thought it would never be an achievable goal. For one, I didn’t believe I had the discipline to do it. A part from that, I was born into a culture where a dish without some sort of animal protein was not exactly considered “a dish”. I know what you’re thinking…that’s kind of sad…can you relate?
–> likely, but sad.
It’s an unfortunate fact that is true to perhaps too many cultures.
Fortunately, one day something clicked and it was that day that I thought to myself “why not!?” Why not just go vegan now. There was absolutely nothing for me to lose. I finally felt ready.
I did as much research on living a cruelty-free lifestyle as I could, and soon after I realized that it was one of the best changes ANY one could ever make. You might think that’s an overstatement, but going vegan affected all facets of my life, in a—mostly—positive way.
The simple (or perhaps not so simple for some) act of not eating animal
products made me happier. Knowing that I was not using my body as a
graveyard for animals—morbid, but it’s true—gave me more positive energy
along with a greater insight on how sentient animals are.
They feel pain, happiness, and several other basic emotions that we all share, human beings and other animal species alike. I was also excited that my way of eating was helping the environment in one way or another.
Can you believe that the entire process to make ONE hamburger requires 600 gallons of water? That up to 91% of the Amazon deforestation is due to animal agriculture? These are only two of the many consequences of animal agriculture that overtime will continue to add up and further influence our everyday lives.
Throughout the short time that I’ve been vegan (little more than a year now) I’ve learned an immense amount about the human body, about animals and their habitats, about the environment, and unfortunately about how close-minded many people are. That last bit is one of the few negative outcomes of such a multi-faceted lifestyle change. People will sometimes judge you, they’ll sometimes fight back and attack your personal choices, and they’ll sometimes even feel that your lack of animal-consumption is offensive. If you want to make the change—make *a* change—don’t let these people deter you. Despite the number of vegetarians and vegans being small, there are also many allies to the movement. You will find those people who agree with the cause and have already made the jump themselves and you will find those who agree, but maybe just aren’t ready yet. If *you *make the jump, find those people. Surround yourself with positive vibes, hope, and love.
This is what I’ve done and I can assure you that I can never see myself
living a life where animals are hurt for my pleasure ever again.
Ashley Vazquez is a second year college student at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. There she participates in activism with organizations such as Direct Action Everywhere and the Ethical Food Association at Florida State University. She is a passionate vegan, music enthusiast, and likes to dance alone in her room.