I, Marilyn, have eaten meat my whole life, starting with chicken ‘n gravy baby food. Our whole nuclear family of four went to McDonald’s every Sunday so my mom wouldn’t have to cook. I can still smell the Easter ham ringed with pineapples and all those succulent pot roasts that cheered up our cold winter evenings. Eating filet mignon at a steak house with my boyfriend after inner tubing down the river one summer day after work, a happy memory that will be with me forever. Don’t even get me going with ice cream and milk shakes. I felt I had the right to eat ice cream every single night of my young life, for most of my teenage years sharing this delight with my father as we watched TV.
Now, after following a wide path of health and spirituality for several decades, I find myself a passionate, middle-aged vegan. Many influences led me here including David Abram’s Becoming Animal, Don Miguel Ruiz’ The Four Agreements, the documentary Forks Over Knives, and most especially, Dr. Will Tuttle’s The World Peace Diet. As my heart opens to experience myself on earth and as part of the earth to the fullest of my capacity, I feel myself re-connect to my natural state of peace, compassion and harmony. What a relief to no longer have to steel my heart against the slaughter of innocent animals – it’s like waking up from a dream.
Now wouldn’t you know it, my best friend, Dan, was born and raised a traditional farmer in western Oregon. He trapped, mutilated, branded, castrated, impregnated, rounded up, milked, prodded, auctioned and sold, slaughtered, sheared, and who-knows-what-else to animals from the time he was a little kid right on through the Peace Corps, where he herded sheep and taught animal husbandry, making his family proud.
When we met 7 years ago, I demurely ate meat and dairy, being encouraged to do so by a local naturopathic doctor to cure depression. My whole life I’ve worked so hard to hunker down and accept myself as a dominator, a killer by necessity, so-let’s-get-with-the-program, a macho kind of attitude. And here was an alternative authority telling me, yes, you can not be happy without eating meat. I’m here to tell you the meat did not cure my depression. I have been meat and dairy free for over two years now. I effortlessly dropped 30 pounds, have a spring in my step, a shine in my eyes and a joy in my heart.
Dan continues to raise livestock and fowl for food as well as bid on live animals at 4H auctions. He is teaching me things about the agricultural industry that I could not read in books. That is why it is precious and amazing that he purchased a vegan cookbook and now experiments with simple to exotic vegan recipes to make for us. Clover, the inspirational chicken who opened my heart wide open, was donated to Dan’s store, Linnton Feed & Seed. Let this blog reflect the bridge between worlds that our relationship is becoming. The farmer and the vegan are unfolding from within in evolutionary harmony. Thank you for joining us in this flow.
August 2016 – Appendum:
Farmer Dan has retired and no longer works in animal husbandry, much to my relief. My pocketbook and his health issues have found us joining forces and sharing a beautiful home together. Dan has vowed (and is keeping his promise) to not eat meat in our house, although he continues to eat dairy. Even as a non-vegan, he admits to improved health as a result of not consuming flesh.