My name is Coreena and I’m a musician. I’ve been vegan for 8 years.
My mom likes to tell a story from my childhood about the cartoon, Bugs Bunny. My father used to hunt for sport every so often and once, he came back with a rabbit. The rabbit was served, placed on a plate and presented as dinner. I looked at my mom with tears in my eyes as I could not find the words for the emotions I was feeling. My mom asked “What’s wrong?” I replied, “I don’t want to eat Bugs Bunny!” That was the beginning of me making the connection that non-human animals had intrinsic value.
Many years later I had friends that were vegetarian and vegan and I didn’t have any interest in what that meant. I just thought, that’s them, this is me and we all like different things. My father passed from heart disease and I always promised myself that when I reached my 30’s I would change and become a healthy eater and adapt a healthy lifestyle. That time came and I researched and started to make changes. Not thinking about veganism, I just started to eat what I thought at the time was more “healthy.”
I didn’t feel healthy but then again what was healthy supposed to feel like? So, I started eating more vegetarian meals and was pretty proud of myself. I was feeling pretty nobel for not consuming animals for a few weeks. This was my false and flimsy reason for being vegetarian.
I reconnected with an old friend that was vegan and commenced to tell him about my new food choices with my proud self. "I’m vegetarian!" His response was nice but less enthusiastic than I’d expected. He said, "That’s nice, you should try veganism!" That’s when I started to look at what I eat as a lifestyle and not a diet or something to make me feel better about myself.
I read Diet for a New America and watched documentaries, read articles, science journals, viewed videos and images. My eyes opened to the fact that eating animals was a choice and not a necessity. Animals have value and my compassion for animals grew, my choice to eat them was embarrassing and horrible, and I transitioned from vegetarian to vegan within a few weeks. Once my eyes were open to the truth, I couldn’t unlearn what I had exposed myself to.
My decision to change has helped me to start living my favorite quote: ”Your beliefs don’t define who you are, your actions do.” Love being vegan and I’m never looking back!