Did you know producing 1KG of beef requires between 50,000 and 100,000 litres of water? Or that 70% of animal experiment’s are for non-medical purposes; like cosmetics and weapons?
My name’s Jaimi Leigh and I’m quite ecstatic to be a guest on Sarah’s blog today! It is also exciting as this give’s me the chance to share with you my story!
It all began many years ago as an introverted and intrigued nine year old on the phone, on the other line consisting of my auntie, Kim Hollingsworth. (Kim Hollingsworth is a well-known public figure, animal rights activist, whistle blower and had her story depicted on the UNDERBELLY series, the Golden Mile)
I still remember this particular phone call on animal exploitation as a child appearing so new and interesting to me, but the facts immediately making sense. Whilst I listened in on every word she said, the phone glued to my ear nodding, I could not believe the corrupted world I was situated in.
I didn’t know McDonalds, such a popular food outlet for me as a child, could produce products in such a manner.
Kim had also brought the fact up my favourite idol of the time; DANIEL JOHNS (Lead singer of band Silverchair) was a committed animal activist and 100 percent vegan.
Let me tell you, my dedication to him was unbelievable. I had noted in my diary the day we were to get married.
Ending the phone call, that was it. I was now a vegetarian. Veganism seemed very challenging and foreign at such a young age, so I promised to attempt a vegan diet later on.
A week or so passed and I received an unexpected parcel in the mail. It was from Kim. Packed inside were animal friendly items and pamphlets to support vegans and to expose uninformed people to this new information.
Vegan goodies like chocolate, natural food bars, cruelty free beauty products and brochures were spread all over my bedroom floor.
I remember sitting there in amazement reading these booklets and devouring the vegan treats, falling in love!
In the early 1990’s and 2000s, veganism was such a strange practice to many that needed a detailed explanation.
Soy was also known as a popular “healthy” product to consume lots of too!
I decided to keep my recent diet change to myself, and confine my views to only the like-minded or other vegos.
However, when my eating habits were discovered, the endless amounts of questions began!
I guess I could say I liked it as an adolescent, and it made me feel different to the rest and gain much surprising attention!
“Why did you choose to be vegetarian?”
“How long have you been vegetarian?”
It really felt like I had to prepare myself for these unexpected interviews daily.
A year or two passed and I was going well.
But my support group wasn’t! The criticism and persuasive talks from family had started.
My mum was not happy at all with this choice from the day the phone call was conducted. I was too young to neither make my own decisions nor understand.
It simply meant when I first walked the road as a vego, I had to be so abrupt about the whole transformation.
I still remember pulling out the meat patty from a burger at McDonalds and saying “Yuck!” quite directly, watching mum’s frustration escalate.
My younger brother Jack Hollingsworth was my best friend growing up, and I still remember him trying to show his devotion and agreement to my new lifestyle after we had another trip to McDonalds. He took his meat patty out and with his nose screwed up said; “Yuck, a poor baby lamb” and dumped it in the bin.
Mum’s annoyance had risen to a very high level!
But I was feeling good, and influential. Which made me feel I was slowly making progress in informing others.
It had been about a year or two for me as a vegetarian, when I decided to alter my dinning experience .At dads on the menu was home made burgers, and I had had enough of feeling like a different species, so thought out of my own will, I will try a meat patty on my burger this time.
I still recall running to the bathroom bringing it all back up!
I had become apprehensive, in that my decision was wrong. I was now suddenly trapped as a vegetarian who was meant to be consuming meat like a “normal” human.
Years passed and things got better as they always do.
The food market expanded introducing products for vegans and vegetarians, introducing more yummy meat alternates and restaurants including at least one vegetarian/vegan option to satisfy that one “picky” dinner.
Family BBQ’s also were somewhere I was properly catered for too, out of question.
So, eventually, I grew into the happy, healthy, ethical 19 year old I am today. I have slowly transformed into a vegan/raw eater since finding Sarah’s blog and reading more on the health benefits of natural foods and the harm preservatives and MSG has on our bodies.
After the completion of year 12, I moved to Brisbane to start my journey of finding my true ambitions and self.
My vego lifestyle was no longer just for the unethical treatment of animals in the food industry, but also to avoid the damage and corruption of the whole system.
I now know I am being an ethical individual, by not contributing to the waste of precious resources such as land, water and the pollution of our air. So much wasted as large factories and farms continue to supply for human pleasure and keep the world going around from large greedy revenues.
I currently do my part volunteering at the RSPCA Campus. There is nothing more rewarding than nurturing neglected, abused animals back to happiness and contentment.
I can easily admit today, I am more open with my vego lifestyle and decisions to shop ethically: using no animal products for food consumption, beauty, entertainment, health or fashion!
Thank you for reading and letting me share my story!
Below I have linked the animal liberation website which shares interviews with some huge names of Australia (Peter Brock, Daniel Johns, Lindsey McDougall (Triple J) and my own Kim Hollingsworth) who all live vegan lifestyles