FEATURE: Valdemar Washington


We all spend our lives looking for truth. Truth in relationships, truth in the world around us, and truth in our purpose on this planet. Yet, despite our longing to find truth, we are all so conditioned by society to such an extent that we don’t even realize it. We are trained to promote cruelty in ways that are so backwards and opposed to the search for truth and equality.

As a man and former college athlete, I always used to consider my meat consumption an integral part of my masculinity. I subscribed to the myth of needing copious amounts of protein to maintain lean muscle mass, and I was taught the deeply ingrained idea that REAL MEN eat meat - leave the vegetarianism and veganism for the women. I had NO IDEA how wrapped up in complete TOXIC masculinity I was simply by virtue of my food choices. You can’t call yourself a truth-seeker or someone who advocates for equality if you think like this.

I became a vegan a year ago when I watched “What the Health” on Netflix, followed by about four more documentaries. I also went on Wikipedia, Google, and YouTube all over the course of ONE DAY. I didn’t wake up that day expecting to be a vegan by the end of it. In fact, if you had asked me if I would ever go vegan before that day, I would have thought you were out of your mind (and I would have told you as much). But once you open your eyes and truly see the cruelty that you are promoting by your “lifestyle choices” it is impossible to ever go back. Sure, there are health benefits to a plant-based diet and I have reaped them in the last year being vegan, but my impact on the world is what has sustained me and is why I can never imagine going back to eating meat again.

To me, the best part of this lifestyle is knowing that I am doing my part to contribute to a better world. A world where we don’t put blinders on and continue to engage in things that we know are wrong. A world where made up social constructs don’t dictate what is normal or right. A world where we are closer to finding the truth that we all long for.

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Instagram: @valdemarwashington