Updated: Aug 21, 2018
Most of us weren't raised vegan, vegetarian or even aware of the power of food. Food became something mundane we learnt about from commercials and happy animals cartoons. For someone like me, that grew up in a farm, we were detached from the reality that is animal production. But at some point, we were presented with new information that couldn't be ignored. The reality is that vegans don't want you to believe one side or the other, we want you to take all facts, all info, and arrive to your own conclusions. And no one, NO ONE, arrives to that conclusion faster than children. Kids love sausages and nuggets...no, they've been made to like them. Kids don't realize what they are eating, or if they do, they somehow think is a different thing entirely, that the happy cow they see on the side of the road is not what's in their burger or the tiny cute chicken is their nuggets. Ask them if they would like Peppa Pig for dinner and watch the panic. Kids do not want to eat animals. While studying we all came across the moral dilemma whether people are born good or evil or it's in fact a social construction. I used to think people were born one way or another and that children are selfish and do not have social skills, which it may be true, but that was before I had my own children. Now I share the thought that we are that blank slate and that society imprints their beliefs on us. I realize kids are compassionate by nature, that most can't look at suffering without judgment or empathy. I felt terrible explaining to my children why we were going vegan, telling them what happens to people and animals behind closed doors, telling them how sorry I was for not doing it sooner, for not letting them be proud of their existence from the very moment they were born. And I also felt incredibly frustrated seeing the amounts of social deconstructing we needed to do. I began to see everything through a very different set of glasses. The eighteenth-century Swiss philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau used tabula rasa to support his argument that warfare is an advent of society and agriculture, rather than something that occurs from the human state of nature. Since tabula rasa states that humans are born with a "blank-slate", Rousseau uses this to suggest that humans must learn warfare.
There is not warfare being impose quite as badly as towards animals, and towards the people that have to create food to meet the demand on meat. Many still don't realize that animals eat and drink more than humans do, that in order to grow them, the grain that could feed millions of children, is being feed to animals. As an Argentinian I can testify. The land is never own by the locals in developing countries and the production always goes elsewhere. Sometimes, like in poor countries in Africa, they take it from people with a finger on the trigger.
But, more importantly, my children need to be healthy to be happy, to perform and excel. They need a peaceful environment where to develop their skills and feel connected with the world that surrounds them. A sense of purpose and continuity. A kid that cannot hurt an animal, very likely will grow up to be kind and compassionate to other humans. When we say "peace starts on you plate" that is what we mean, understanding all types of suffering and forms of control in our society. A child that stands for animal life, for nature, for the forests and the oceans, is a child that will stand for the rights of their fellow humans, that won't keep a blind eye on injustice or abuse, a child that will grow up to find comfort in comforting others and working towards a better future. These ideas are simply to powerful to deny my children the joy of experiencing them.
But let me tell you health wise what has happened. Sometimes I feel I discovered a treasure and it makes me happy just thinking about it. Scientists know now that the main problem is saturated fats and cholesterol, even in types of diabetes where previously we were blaming sugar. It's the fat that clogs the body, preventing it from working properly, irrigating all throughout the system. All animal products have cholesterol. You may not think your child is unhealthy as he or she may not look like it. But a childhood filled with the wrong food can pass the bill early in life. I couldn't live with the thought that perhaps my kids will get one of this horrific diseases in their forties or even earlier. When my son had chronic asthma, I did what the doctor told me, I gave him pineapple because everyone seemed to think it helped and that was it. But it did not stop. It stopped when the animal products disappeared. We stopped exercising like we used to because simply we don't need it, we eat right, we walk, we run sometimes, we swim, but we feel healthy, we look healthy, we think healthy. Studying got easier, he is still leaving in the clouds most of the time but not only he can study and retain, he can also apply critical thinking over what he reads. They sleep soundly, eat in volumes and practice sports and other physical activities with ease. Many people seem to think is a restrictive diet, but in reality is a liberating life style. Our kids are awesomely healthy and anyone that knows them can testify.
I've seen the schedule the school give us parents for almuerzo and while I agree, without it most kids will end up eating cookies everyday, I also know that schedule it's no entirely helpful. Because the bocadillo is always ham or cheese or pate. Processed meats are number one carcinogen by the Health Organization, as said in one documentary, is like giving them a sandwich made of cigarettes. Processed meats are bleached, colored, flavored artificially and the original meat is already full of hormones and antibiotics that make viruses more resistant. If your kid has a hard time recovery from simple colds or gets sick often, you may want to look into it. Our immune system is so intrinsically connected with the food we intake, it's ridiculous that took this long to start talking about it.
Adopting a plant based life style it's not hard. We are animals of habits, humans, and habits can form really fast. The first few days after we ditched animal products, all I could feed them was fruit, plain rice and peanut butter sandwiches. Within a few weeks, we learnt about new products, new exciting ingredients and ways to cook them. Now, we eat everything, we found ways to make our favorite foods, even meat. Because if we can have a choice that tastes, looks and smells like meat, the question is not why we are eating it, the question is why aren't you?
A better life is possible. Raise Vegan!