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But let's not get ahead of ourselves; this is a process. My own journey, which started quite a while ago and continues to this day, has had its own back-and-forths and big opportunities for learning, growth, and letting go. None of it happened overnight; it took some time, as most transformations do.

We'll start with my story. It began innocently enough???just a young girl wanting to save some dogs. Little did I know that I was actually stepping into the Magical-Life-Altering-Save-the-World Soul-Expansion Machine!

You see, I've always been an animal-lover. Since I was a little, little girl. And my mom was the same way; if we saw a dog running in the street that looked in need, she'd slam on the brakes, and I'd hop out of the car to run after it???even on the freeway. We were a little dynamic duo. I'm still rescuing dogs to this day.

Every little kid is born with an innate love of animals. Animals are complete and individual creatures, each with a distinct personality, and children connect with that.

But the second you get old enough, people say that relating to animals is juvenile and they try to talk you out of it. I know a lot of people who grew up on farms and were given a piglet or a calf to raise. They loved it and cared for it, like any kid would. And then one day the parent has the animal slaughtered and says, "Toughen up. This is what it is to be a grown-up."

My love of animals came crashing down on my love of meat at the ripe old age of 8. My brother and I were on an airplane, and when my dinner came, it was a lamb chop. Just as I stuck my fork in, my brother started making sheep sounds and bleating baa baa like a baby lamb. (He was 13 at this point and knew exactly how to torment me.) Suddenly it all came together in my head and I freaked. I might as well have killed the lamb with my own hands. I decided right there on that flight that I was now a vegetarian.

But what did I know about nutrition or dietary concerns at 8? For the next month I ate nothing but ice cream and eggs. And then my resolve slipped. I stopped and started a lot or "forgot" I had sworn off meat. Truth be told, I think I conveniently forgot because I sure loved pork chops, bacon, steak, and everything else. . . .

FROM: Before You Grocery Shop Again: Food 101 with Michael Pollan
Published on January 21, 2010

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