Thursday, March 17, 2016

My Faith and Veganism ... How They Intersect

I'm an answer seeker. Always have been. I do not take what you tell me for fact. I will listen to information...I will say things like "wow, really? Huh, I will look into that." Then, unlike about 90% of the population - I actually do. It doesn't matter what it is. I search. 
Now, I was raised very conservatively. I was raised in an environment that did not necessarily teach "look for yourself and figure out what you think is right." It was more like "this is what I'm teaching you, you need to accept it or be out of line with Christ." 
So, I tried my very best. I didn't always do as well as I thought I was doing because something about me tends to ruffle feathers. I now know that the word is "honesty." It's not stubbornness or rebelliousness, it's not being gullible or, my very favorite , nosey. It's more like "I have a mind that can be formed, I will choose which way it will go." 

I have always had a very sensitive conscience. I feel things deeply. I always stood up for the bullied classmate, sometimes I was the one being bullied. I had pet grasshoppers, lizards and ladybugs.
 I would talk to trees as a child because I knew that they wanted to listen. Maybe I was lonely ... I think it's because I knew they were alive.
 One time when I was about ten a friend came out to visit my family in the Sierra where I grew up. I remember going on a walk with her and my pellet gun and we saw a robin up in a tree. She shot it. I thought it was cool "Oh good shot!" We raced to the base of the tree and I'm horrified to say it - dissected it's body. I would like to take this moment to make it clear that neither she or I have every been diagnosed with a mental disorder...we didn't grow up and try to poison people or what not ... we were actually just curious about what it's heart and veins looks like. As soon as we cut through the bright red breast of that little creature I felt deep remorse. I looked at it's little lifeless face and knew that I had robbed the world of song. We fed it to the cat.

So, this brings me to the last five years and my food journey. I have always been fascinated with nutrition. At one point in time this fascination wasn't healthy ... I used it to do what most people do - to be thin. Now, there is no problem wanting to be trim. There is a problem wanting to be a size 2 when you are probably meant to be a 6. I'm happy to say though, that as I matured , and learned more about holistic healing and whole foods, how to have nice skin naturally, and most importantly - self love - my nutrition story has taken a huge turn. 
Goes like this :
There is cancer in my family. Quite a bit of cancer. There is also heart disease. One day when Trinity was just a little baby I was watching a Netflix documentary on the Gerson Therapy (an alternative treatment for cancer through nutrition) and a light bulb when off in my head. I learned about casein (the main protein in dairy) and the way it turns on tumors in mice. I learned about our bodies and our organs and what kind of foods are more suited for humans - I saw cancer being reversed in patients through a low fat vegan diet with the aid of colonics and other things. It fascinated me. 
About two years later I became vegetarian and my ONLY reason for doing so is because of health concerns. My obsession with being thin changed to being healthy. I wanted nice skin, I didn't want to worry about weight, I wanted to feel energized and glowing. I started achieving a lot of these goals just by giving up meat and eating more produce. I also changed what I cleaned my house with, what kind of make up I used - all in all, I became less toxic and started creating a cleaner environment for my littles.
I didn't stop seeking though. 

Fast forward.
I was vegetarian for a full four years. 
During this time I watched several documentaries - Food Inc., Vegucated, Forks Over Knives, Farmageddon ... yah, I'm always up for a good documentary. 
I was insanely appalled at what I saw happening to livestock, to the rainforest, to the oceans.  
Then I watched the documentary Earthling and my entire world changed.
I saw beautiful creatures that I knew had been created by God, shoved into cages, beaten with bats, I saw mama cows having their baby cows yanked away right after birth (veal don't ya know), I saw thousands and thousands of chickens being kept on top of each other in big dark chicken houses, no sunlight or fresh air at their disposal. I saw baby chicks being ground up alive for "feed." I saw cows being starved to death so that their skin would pull away and that people can have leather handbags. I watched this and a light came into my heart and said "This is not of God."
That's when that old "stick up for the bullied"  in me came back in a big way.
That's when the "this change in me is going to ruffle feathers" came back in a big way. 
This is when the part of Alyssa that she's proud of came back.
I don't do something just because everyone else says it's okay.

I follow Jesus. I know that His character is kind. I know that He is love. I know that God created life and that He loves what He creates. I know that abuse doesn't come from Him. 
Like it or not, when we buy lunch meat we are supporting abuse that is happening behind closed doors. When we buy eggs these days...even if they say cage free...all that means is that the chickens are kept in big houses, no air or sunlight, not enough room to walk,  and injected with hormones so they can have big plump breasts for you to throw on the grill this summer. 
It's not good. 
Dairy is the same. The way we get our milk...if we buy it at the by cows being forcibly impregnated over and over and over again. They are literally milked to death by cold machines. They live a horrible existence. Most female milk cows die after 3 years. 
There is a quote that I come back to again and again.
"Do the best with what you know. When you know better, do better."

I know better. I'm not going to say "what's good for me is good for me and what's good for you is good for you." In this case I don't believe so. I don't think that neglect and abuse is ever okay. I know that life is precious - whether it be a wild daisy or an evergreen, a ladybug or a baby. Life is precious.

 I don't think it's right for people to get arrested for hitting a dog but then it's okay to pull off a piglet's testicles without anesthetic. We've made this huge separation  in our minds between "pets" and "livestock." The truth is, a pet kitty or a Dalmation are valued the same as a pig or a cow or a chicken to the one that created them. If you love what He loves then you show your love. 
This is where I searched for truth, I found truth...I have been enlightened. I will do better.

I thought it would be a hard step to take - going from vegetarian to vegan. Honestly, I would go back and forth in my brain "do I offend people or do what I feel like I'm suppose to do." I decided to go with the latter.If something goes against your we tell our kids...don't change it to make others feel comfortable.
 I try my very best to never be rude about my choices - whether that be homeschooling or not vaccinating or letting my little boys have whatever hairstyle they being vegan. I try to be kind and not treat people like they are beneath me just because they haven't chosen this for themselves.
But what about tradition? (insert here the song from Fiddler on the Roof.) Well, there have been a lot of bad traditions in the past ...slavery, genitalia mutilation, feet binding, Russian drinking games. Yes, tradition can be hard to break. If you grew up having pot roast on Sundays, or ham on Easter (which I always find rather ironic...Jesus was a Jew) then, yes, there will have to be change. Just because something is a tradition doesn't make it right , or, in any case...good.
 Yes, it does make family gatherings and going out with friends and stuff a little harder. I have to prepare mentally and usually take food to share. I also have to go down my little mental list of "why do you care what they think? Okay, good. Now...does it ACTUALLY matter what they think? Has this person been open to new ideas? Perfect. I'm not going to care. I'm going to be okay."

 Yes, people think that I'm insane and that I'm working for a dumb cause because the only thing valuable about an animal is his meat. Yes, people think that I'm giving up on joy ... because bright fruit and fresh veggies and plump fatty coconut and chewy dates bring no joy. Yes, I have no heartburn ever. Yes I have no acne anymore. Yes, I enjoy tons of carbs. I guess joy is up to the individual. 

 Yes, people think that I'm unhealthy. I will note here that most people that think I'm unhealthy, without judgment but just honesty...are not what I would classify as the "epitome of health" themselves. 
Yes, people are concerned for my kids and them getting their "needed" nutrients. I pay close attention to my children's health so it's one of those "it's okay that you think that" scenarios. I generally have to spend time going over those self questions in my mind for this one. I'm a little sensitive about my mothering - one of those confidence things i'm still working on. 

I love this lifestyle. I love knowing that I'm compassionate not just for the person or the animal in front of me...but for the ones behind closed doors...the ones across the ocean, the ones in the ocean. I love knowing that Jesus cares for the sparrow...He delights in its flight, in its sweet song that HE gave him ...  in its sharp wit - just as He delights in me. 
I love knowing that I care for the sparrow and that the reason I do, is because of Him.
 It's important ,for me , that my children see me making good choices not just for my body but also for this beautiful world that we've been gifted. Children see what we do ... whether it be giving five bucks to the homeless man on the curb or sending a box of jackets to the refugees we've never seen with our own eyes...or saying "no, I won't support cruelty" ... they see.

If you made it through...thanks for listening. I don't find a lot on the Internet about Christians and I wanted to be a small voice in a big space. 

~Alyssa Spring

 Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing. - 1 Peter 3:8-9 The Message

P.S. This post was not written to be controversial...rather to share my own light. I won't publish any comments that are unkind. Please know that I have read extensively about the Whole Food Diet, Raw milk and all of it's wonders (use to get my own from a local dairy)  Paleo diet...cultured yogurt (use to make it myself along with my own cream cheese.) Like I said before...I'm a nut. I seek. Also, I would rather not hear about your baby goats on a farm that you named Jack and Jill and then slaughtered in the spring to have "good" fresh meat. I'm glad though that your animals were happy for a time. If you feel like your body needs flesh to survive, I understand that thinking...I was also there.


  1. Loved your story, your reasoning behind your decision to become ties in perfectly with Christianity, particularly with its emphasis on compassion...thank you for sharing this.

  2. I always love reading people journeys to veganism. I have been vegan, right now falling into the vegetarian area as we have chickens roaming our land and we do enjoy their eggs :)

    Thanks for sharing.

    On a side won the giveaway on my blog. Send me an email and let me know where I can mail the goods. kimcorrigan_oliver at hotmail dot com.

    1. I love watching videos on youtube right now of transformation - before and after dietary changes. Also, the "What I Eat in a Day" vegan vlogs are a lot of fun

  3. It's because you care so much about doing right by your littles that you put any stock in what other people say. I think it's always worthwhile to quietly assess the feedback you get, positive or negative, and then go with your gut. If you immediately dismiss everything, then you might miss the chance to make change for the better!

    Loving your writing - thanks for adding me to your blog roll!

    1. I definitely will assess - my P.S. just means that I won't be publishing comments that are negative. :)

  4. Hello Alyssa!
    I just love your blog and how you share your heart and what led you to veganism as a Christian.
    I found your blog this evening when I came across your comment on MY blog, "black.female.christian.vegan. Looking forward to reading more and learning more about you and your journey! God bless.