My name is Tracy Butcher and I am vegan. Yes, I see the irony in this. Yes, I think it’s funny. I enjoy it quite a bit, actually. Part of why I go by the moniker “The Vegan Butcher” is to get this irony out of the way straight off so people won’t point it out to me. Repeatedly. No, I’m not an actual butcher. Obviously one of my ancestors in Britain was, or else I’d be a Baker or a Candlestickmaker. I often wonder what he would think of my lifestyle.
My transition from full-fledged omnivore to vegan took only a month. I don’t really know what sparked it. Wait, that’s a lie. I totally know what sparked it, but it’s an embarrassing story and I have never really told it. Oh well, if I’m blogging I might as well bare all, right? Okay, so the thing is, I’m a pretty competitive person. If I feel challenged I will want to win, even if it’s not something I particularly care about. I was at the movie Twilight with a friend (stop laughing) and Edward was at the point of telling Bella about being a “vegetarian” vampire. He then said the line, “But it’s like a human only living on tofu. It keeps you strong, but you’re never fully satisfied.” I sat there and thought, “OH YEAH?!?!” (Why I was so offended, I couldn’t tell you.) I went home and straight online to bone up a bit on vegetarian recipes and cooking with tofu. I was going to prove that I could be happy and satisfied with vegetarian fare. Prove it to whom? I didn’t say this story made any sense.
It wasn’t long before my searching brought me to PETA’s website. It was the week of American Thanksgiving, 2008, and they were running an exposé on factory farmed turkeys. I was reading accounts of abuse to turkeys and read of a farm worker jamming a broomstick down a turkey’s throat. That mental image was enough for me. I was off meat forever.
The end of November and the month of December were my short-lived lacto-vegetarian days. Seeing videos of debeaking had turned me off eggs immediately, so that wasn’t an issue. I had always drunk milk, but I gave it up from the get-go. Cheese was the abusive boyfriend of my diet. I just couldn’t quit it. It wasn’t that I couldn’t contemplate the thought of giving it up, I just wasn’t there yet.
That month was one of eye-opening research for me. I bought books on the lifestyle. I was all over PETA’s videos like an omnivore on bacon. I was feeling ready to make the leap to veganism, but was not quite ready to let go of the life I knew. What frightened me most was the thought of trying to re-establish myself in the world of beauty products. I had my favourites, and I liked them. And I knew that would all have to change.
By the end of December I knew I had to stop being such a wiener. There was no point in half-assing it. Animal cruelty is running rampant, and I didn’t want to be a part of it any longer. I figured that if I was going to do it, I was going to do it right. So I did. I found vegan make-up and hairspray—even mousse. (That made me very happy. Still does, actually.) I donated my leather products and decided to wear out my existing wool ones. I swapped out my down duvet for a poly-filled one. I went all the way.
I can honestly say that I’ve never been happier. I am so open to new things now; it’s starting to get out of hand. I will eat anything (plant-based), whereas before I “came out of the kitchen” I was the pickiest person I knew. I have also learned to never say never. I used to say, “I will never be vegetarian or a lesbian for the same reason: I like meat too much.” While I still can’t see myself switching teams, I’ve learned to not rule anything out. Veganism has changed me for the better, and I am forever indebted to it.
Oh, and Edward? I am fully satisfied.