Updated: Apr 13
When I was 13 years old, I met two young teachers in a summer camp, whose great learning and approachable personality impressed me from the first day. We had lunch together every day and soon I observed they did not eat any meat or fish. That was the first time I have ever met a vegan in my life and my knowledge about eating was completely refreshed—I realized that actually, it is not necessary to eat animals. I was so curious about their simple way of eating so I asked them why they became a vegan. Surprisingly, I did not get any answer but a smile, which made me even more curious. After my persistence for a few days, they finally showed me a comic called Being a Vegan for Seven Years drawn by a young woman. She said she decided to become a vegan when she realized one thing: human beings can live very well without eating animals; but if we do, animals would lose their lives. Those words hit me deeply and encouraged me to contemplate about the way I ate. Soon enough, I made up my mind and told the teachers that I wanted to be like them.
Returning home from the summer camp, I told my parents I quit eating animals. I was so lucky to find that they understood me and were supportive and even decided to join me before long. However, some of our relatives and friends could not understand at the beginning, worrying that plant-based food could not offer enough nutrition especially for a teenager like me. This gave me opportunities to discuss the topic of vegan lifestyle with my parents very often. Starting from respecting the life of animals, we gradually paid more and more attention to the topic of "life".
Back then, my parents often went to markets to buy captive animals and set them free. Besides that, they attended many courses that focused on spirituality and personal development. After training themselves, they also organized many free workshops, helping other families to live a happier life. I remembered seeing them trying their utmost to help others and do common good; while at the same time, their own fear and anxiety still trouble them deeply in their minds.
Later, I left home and went to a university in Beijing. I had much more free time and space so I involved in various activities in student societies. However, I felt more and more lost in my busy life. I couldn't help but wonder: I spent all these years to study and moved from my hometown to the capital city, but where does my journey lead? What is the value and meaning of my life? With these questions, I went to Indonesia as a volunteer in my freshman summer, where I witnessed the difficult life of disabled children and orphans there and felt my presence was of little help. I kept searching and exchanged to Sweden two years after, where I fulfilled my dream to live in one of the happiest countries but was so upset to realize many people in my age indulge in alcohol and drugs.
In those three years, I spent limited time with my parents. I used to call them now and then to share about my experiences as well as puzzles and they always show me respect and understanding me, having faith in me that I would take care of myself and organize my life well. It was with their unconditional love and support that I could keep going forward. When I went back home during holidays, I noticed many changes in my home—everything became so clean and tidy with beautiful flowers decorating the living room. What's more, my mom started to cook delicate and delicious vegan meals and my dad became professional in doing housework, which I knew was not easy for them since they were both busy with work.
What I saw in my parents was the power to truly change oneself. That power, so inspiring and hopeful, motivated me to learn more about the reasons behind. My mom told me, it was time to upgrade the way I ate. Not consuming animal products had many benefits for both the environment and animal welfare indeed. More importantly, my food choice had been making a great impact on my own life, my health and wellbeing. Therefore, if I wanted to stay healthy and happy, I should first understand this impact and live accordingly.
I gradually realized every food purchase is an opportunity to take charge of oneself and being a pure vegan marks the beginning of this journey.
What is pure vegan diet? How to start it? Please check the link: Pure diet