First, you need a little back story…
Like most vegans, I come from a family of meat eaters, and I ate meat and other animal products during my youth. I was never much of a meat eater, and my mom will tell you how she often had to disguise the meat under flavorful sauces or in otherwise-enticing dishes to get me to eat what they thought was an important part of a healthy diet. I also grew up riding and showing horses, going on long trail rides with friends – and even breaking horses – so eating meat wasn’t the only non-vegan thing going on back then.
My father and brother are avid hunters and fishermen. My uncle is a world-famous horse trainer. I trained horses and gave riding lessons as a teenager. My grandmother bred and sold cats and birds. My mother also bred and sold birds. A freezer in the garage was always stocked with freshly packaged pork and beef from my parent’s own animals. While I never saw my dad cut up a deer, I always knew what that big saw in the garage was used for, and venison was a regular menu item.
On the not-so-green side of things, most everyone I grew up with or knew drove a muscle car, a 4x4 or a Harley – and most of them still do. Summer Friday nights were spent at car races or truck pulls, and taking the quads and motorcycles for a weekend of camping, off-roading and riding was a regular occurrence. There were lots of other fun activities going on, and this was obviously not all that we did, but this is the stuff that is most pertinent to this conversation. I was right there as a willing participant, and enjoying every minute of most of it, so don’t get me wrong: I’m certainly not trying to speak ill of the other folks. I’m just confessing my eco sins and pointing out just how different things were back then.
I’d never even heard of someone being vegetarian until my teen years, and I can’t even remember when I met my first vegan. I would guess it was probably in college or grad school (although you will see later in the story that I may have met a vegan when I was much younger and just don’t remember it).
I’ve heard many times that you are either a result of or a reaction to your upbringing; apparently, I’m a reaction…or at least I became one after I figured a few things out.
Okay, back to the turning point in my vegan journey…
(Click the "Read More" link in the bottom-right corner of this post to continue.)