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That realization helped me make up my mind once and for all. I realized that, until I stopped using my dollars to purchase meat or other products that are created through violence or cruelty, the suffering would never end. It wouldn't stop because I wanted it to. It wouldn't stop because I wished it would. If I really wanted to end cruelty to animals, I had to boycott it completely.

When I got home, I declared to my boyfriend (now husband), Christopher, "I'm going vegan. Forever. You don't have to," and I blathered on about wanting to save the pigs and the cows, and the logistics of living with the newly vegan me. I was getting all worked up planning everything out, and he looked at me and said in the sweetest way, "Baby, I don't want to hurt the pigs either!" Which confirms that I am the luckiest girl on Earth, because he was totally on board with me from day one.

That night we grilled the final steak in our freezer and sat down to our last nonvegan supper. It was quite solemn. I remember crossing myself like a Catholic even though I'm Jewish, because this was a total act of faith; I had never tried to cook without meat. I wasn't sure I would ever eat a yummy meal again.

But after only 2 weeks of being vegan, people were beginning to ask, "What is going on with you? You look amazing!" I was still eating lots of white pasta, french fries, and all sorts of sludgy things (in fact, I still do sometimes). All I'd given up was meat and dairy, and yet I began to look better in just 2 weeks!

Something really wild was happening inside of me, too. I noticed that my whole body felt lighter. I was more vibrant and spunky. I felt like my heart had sort of opened a bit and my shoulders could relax, as if an overall softening had taken place. I no longer carried heavy animal protein in my body, which takes tons of energy to digest. Plus, I didn't have the heaviness of the suffering in me; frightened animals produce lots of cortisol and adrenaline right before slaughter, and we can become stressed from eating their meat.

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

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