My name’s Ruby. I’m 18 years old, I live in Adelaide, Australia, and I have been vegan for about a year now.
For my whole life, I had grown up eating a complete animal-based diet. I ate meat, milk, and eggs every single day in every single meal. I loved my KFC popcorn chicken, cheese pizza, and ice-cream. I would have never thought of giving up the foods that I loved and craved. If you would have told me 3 years ago that I would be vegan, I would have laughed at you. I was always told that I needed meat for iron and protein and cow’s milk for calcium to keep my bones strong and healthy. I didn’t question it because of the “facts” supported by dietitians and doctors.
However, I have always been an animal lover and conscious of my impacts on the environment. Once I started investigating the impacts of factory farming on the environment, I was completely shocked. I actually watched a Netflix documentary called ‘Cowspiracy’ which was one of the triggers that converted me to veganism. It made me realise that with our growing population, an animal-based diet is not environmentally possible for our planet. The amount of water depletion, deforestation, food scarcity, and pollution that animal agriculture causes made me so saddened and scared for the future of our planet.
Another reason for going vegan was because of my strong opinions on animal rights. This was something that I had always been ignorant towards, until I became more open-minded. I think I had always ignored the fact that I was supporting cruelty towards animals because I didn’t want to think about it.
When there is an animal in front of me, my natural response is to care for them, not to torture them. I myself would never want to kill an animal so why should I support an industry that slaughters and tortures animals. This was kind of the realisation for me, which turned me vegan. A documentary called ‘Dominion’ was created to expose the practices of the animal industry in Australia. This documentary had a huge impact on me and completely put me off animal products.
Once I did go vegan, I found that I felt a lot better about myself. I felt like I was eating a clean diet. Surprisingly, my energy levels went up and my mental health improved. I now have a much better relationship with food, and I enjoy every single meal that I eat and feel great afterwards. I find that a vegan diet makes me feel light but full at the same time. I am able to better sustain energy throughout the day, and I have sugar, salt, and fat cravings less often.
Through the time that I have been vegan, I have done some activism. I have rallied to ban the live export of sheep at the port Adelaide docks. I have also volunteered at the vegan festival which was a positive promotion of veganism. And now, I have become a Raven. I feel like the most effective type of activism is using films, documentaries, and spreading the message over social media. Shaming and blaming people is not the way to promote veganism. I think the public should know that there are so many options in a vegan diet. You don’t have to give up foods that you love like ice cream, pizza, and chocolate; there are vegan options for these out there. And I would encourage people to open up their hearts and become more compassionate for the love of animals and the environment. I do hope that one day veganism will become the mainstream diet. Because living a vegan lifestyle is one of the best things you can do for the environment, for animals, and for yourselves.
Sending out love from Australia,