I've found that when I talk to most folks who have adopted a cruelty free lifestyle and/or eating habits, they usually arrived at that place in life as a result of an image or a story that really spoke to them. For example, my friend Malena went to a fair with her sister and mother and was touched by the degrading treatment that many immigrant workers receive in slaughterhouses and farms. My husband was first shocked after reading a snippet from The Kind Diet about dairy farms, and additionally shocked at how pigs were killed during Food, Inc. Personally, I become a vegan after seeing The Cove and watching pods of dolphins being tricked and slaughtered for seemingly no reason. I know, dolphins aren't exactly a tasty treat in my house hold, by it affected me nonetheless, and here I am today. Similarly, my friend Gemma became a vegetarian as a child as she watched a documentary about tusks being removed from rhinos in Africa. Choosing a plant based diet based on empathy may be a more common trend in the Pacific Northwest, where there are less people needing to do so based on health reasons, which may be more common in area such as the South and Mid West.
I always thought it would be difficult to eat healthy: no processed foods, no animal products, no sugar. But...it's not. And it's not more expensive. And it's not boring! My husband and I have been inspired to try new vegetables and spices and more varieties and whole grains. We love shopping at the fancy Whole Foods and looking through all the awesome bulk foods. The best part is, we've cut our grocery bill in half even while shopping at a "expensive" health store and have a costly produce delivery from a local organic farm. The reason is, we stopped buying frozen meals for our lunches and stopped buying animal products. My husband still drinks milk, but otherwise, nada. And his local, organic milk is the same price as "normal" milk once you subtract the refundable bottle deposit.
And the sugar? I once had my husband running out at 9pm every night to fix my sugar addiction. I would go crazy trying to get my chocolate fix; I wouldn't be able to think about anything else until I satisfied my craving to stuff myself full of sugar until I felt like crap. But now....I haven't craved sugar in months. Sure, I still eat it, but I don't crave it. I enjoy some occasional cookies, but I don't have to have them, and frankly, I prefer fruit. I especially feel sick thinking about overly processed candy and get huge headaches after grabbing a couple bite sized bars at work.
My husband told me that he feels more alert at work, doesn't need an energy fix in the afternoons anymore, and feels cleaner. This coming from a boy that would eat steak, chips, and milk for every meal if he could? Now he loves our eating habits and only occasionally has meat, when we go out to eat. I think that we both are happier every day, with an added bonus that we feel like we're helping change the world with our tiny little contribution.
Here are the sources that I've read and/or viewed so far. I encourage everyone to at least read these and give them some though. They were all very informative and interesting, never dull! There are many more I wish to read in the future, so let me know if you have a suggestions!