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43 Year Vegans

43 Year Vegans post image

Light and Sun are the co-founders of Gentle World. Last month, their profile appeared as part of a collection of long-term vegans, put together by Butterflies Katz.

How long have you been vegan?

We have been vegan for 43 years. Our decision began with an epiphany, while attending a movie in which the slaughter of a bull is shown.

How and when; the details of your “aha moment” of becoming vegan:

Our “aha” moment came in 1966, with the realization of what was being done to make the meat we were eating. We knew then and there that we had to change our eating habits. Our other lifestyle habits then changed over the next few years, as we came to see that there was no need for us to use anything that came from exploiting animals.

We didn’t know that there was a word “vegan” at the time. There were no health food stores, no tofu, and no animal rights movement that we knew of. All we knew was that we could no longer be responsible in any way for the murder of animals for any reason, because for the first time in our lives, we knew the certainty of an irrefutable truth; a truth not determined by one’s opinion, but by the basic human tenet that cruelty is inherently wrong and must not be tolerated.

Please describe some changes you have seen through the years in the movement to spread the vegan ideal

We have been spreading the word since we knew there was a word to spread. If we kept silent and that silence allowed more animals to suffer, we would wonder if our words could have saved their lives. It was literally a matter of life and death. The vegan changes we have seen during the past 43 years are the most encouraging aspects of this less than encouraging world situation. The word has gone from total obscurity to common place, although, sadly losing  its meaning, as people find it easier to change the word to fit their lifestyle, rather than changing their lifestyle to live up to the true meaning of the word. We have witnessed the transition from tasteless food to whatever a vegan tummy could want; from delicious ice cream and treats to gourmet cuisine; from a media joke to a 10 course vegan meal at the academy awards to serve the growing number of actors who are choosing to eat a plant-based diet, or as in the case of Joaquin Phoenix, have always been vegan. We were told  by the medical experts when we began to eat a vegan diet that we would die from lack of protein, calcium and whatever. Now, people are told by the medical experts to eat that way for better health and longer lives.

Are you healthier than before you were vegan? The same? How did it affect your health?

We were four decades younger when we began, so in scientific fairness, we will compare our health to those nearer our age, and with that comparison in mind, we would say that our health is unquestionably better than the health of most, if not all the people we know…one more reward for the right choice all those years ago.

Have you been unwavering or off and then on the bandwagon?

Our life’s dedication to abolishing these atrocities will never waiver. Once you have seen the truth of “animal agriculture” and of all “animal businesses”, there is no going back to the darkness of apathy. There is only going forward toward the light of compassion.

Any tips you can offer for others to stick with it or that will inspire others to continue on the path?

Fortunately, it will not require everyone in the world; just the number of people necessary to shift and lift the consciousness of the rest of humanity… those who listen with their hearts, as well as their ears will be the first. If you need to defend your position to others, you can do so with three words… it is cruel! To treat other living beings as though their well-being and their lives mean less to them than they do to us – is cruel. I know my heart and I trust your heart, too, when it tells us that there is no excuse for cruelty.

A statement to the world pertaining to the vegan ethic:

Living the vegan ideal is no less than the evolution of Humankind; an evolution that is imperative for the survival of the animals, ourselves and for the planet we all inhabit.