Why I became Vegan 

"In the long run, the most unpleasant truth is a safer companion than a pleasant falsehood." — Theodore Roosevelt

I still remember the first time I realised that an animal was suffering for the sake of my meal. Many years ago, at a family Christmas, an uncle jokingly mentioned how chickens were killed for dinner, the dinner we were about to eat. My uncle didn't realise that comment would have a domino effect on how I thought about my food for years to come.

Until then, I'd never thought about animal suffering and my food. Yet, at that Christmas dinner, I said I was going vegetarian. Now, I would love to say that was it, and I haven't eaten meat again. But, I was still so young and surrounded by the culture of Carnism (a prevailing ideology in which people support the use and consumption of animal products). 

I was vegetarian for months, but my teenage self gave in to peer pressure and reverted to my old eating habits.

The idea and natural impulse of why I did it were with me, but the extent of the unethical and unsustainable practices of the industry was a complete unknown.

Years later, after being vegetarian on and off, I decided I wanted to find out more and educate myself on what was going on and how this process of animal to supermarket worked.

I didn't have to search long to see the horrific truths, and within minutes I couldn't unsee it. I still distinctly remember watching Earthlings and felt my heart and soul couldn't be any part of the harrowing pain and suffering.

At that moment, I decided again to stop eating meat, and I did. Over six months, I stopped meat and dairy, then eggs and lastly, seafood. I have never once wanted to turn back

Some might say, "well, it sounds like it was easy for you", which isn't the case. It wasn't easy due to not liking the taste of those 'foods' but, it was easy because I knew the change I was making would affect so many sentient beings from suffering at the hand of my tastebuds. I knew the truth that those few seconds of pleasure for me were weeks, months and years of pain and suffering for other beings, and I didn't want to be the reason why. I wanted nothing to do with that, so the choice was clear. 

The journey of choosing to eat a vegan diet led to many other changes in my life. It created a space that made me question the effect my choices could be having, not only on animals but also on others and the planet. 

To be here in this life is a blessing, and I want to use my time as a force for good rather than unconsciously adding to the suffering. 

We hear endlessly that animal collagen is superior to plant based, but this is a total myth. The amino acids they contain are not balanced like those in other plant-based sources. A complete protein is required to form muscle, transport nutrients, and build and repair tissue. To be considered a complete protein, the food needs to contain all nine essential amino acids which animal collagen does not. Even though animal collagen contains a different spectrum of amino acids, it's missing the amino acid Tryptophan and so not considered a complete protein. And, despite the misinformation out there, plants contain all nine essential amino acids.

So I started down the path of looking at the things that I did daily, like shopping. What did the products I was buying have in them? Were they vegan? What was the packaging made from? Is it going to harm the planet? Are my clothes causing harm to other beings and the earth? Ultimately all of these choices have a lasting effect on people, animals and the planet. Now, these questions might seem overwhelming, but these are the exact questions that we need to ask if we are going to create a better world. I found these questions inspiring because each one was an opportunity to do something in a new way. They are questions that lead to creation. 

These questions are what created Terra Tonics. I saw the need to grow something with purpose, honesty, love, care and passion not just for our products but for all beings and our sacred planet. See, it wasn't an idea sparked because I wanted to start a business but an idea that came from wanting to create change, educate, learn, grow and show new ways of making without harm but instead deep love and appreciation. 

Over the years, since choosing a vegan lifestyle, it has become somewhat more effortless in food and drink options, places to eat, clothing, products and, of course, awareness. But unfortunately, with these positive changes follows resistance and the pursuit of big companies and cheap marketing. Greenwashing and other tactics to stop these necessary changes from expanding.

We are no longer living on a planet where we have endless amounts of time to make changes, but instead, we are in a state of urgency. We are responsible for educating ourselves, making the changes, supporting others, and radiating compassion and care so that it doesn't end here with us. 

Because Mother Nature will carry on, but the question is, do we want to carry on? The only way we can be is by living in alignment with her. 

"In this world, nothing is inanimate, everything is alive; animals, plants, and natural forces, all are energised by a spirit. As such, humans are on an equal footing with nature; are part of nature and are morally obligated to treat animals, plants and landforms with respect." - Uncle Graham Paulson

Bhavna Suri

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