Becoming Vegan - Rachael Smith Yoga - Yoga Teacher Sheffield
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Becoming Vegan - Yoga Dog Ethel - Rachael Smith Yoga

Becoming Vegan

It was a road trip through America that did it, burgers, fried chicken, steaks, meat feast pizzas, meatballs, hot dogs. It went on and on, you couldn’t walk or drive for more than five minutes before you came to another Wendy’s, Popeye’s or KFC.

As we drove for hours through the vast land that is America my mind couldn’t help but wonder…

  • Just how many cows and chickens were bred to stock the huge amount of restaurants?
  • Did that amount of meat really get eaten or would most of it become waste?


In Virginia I started to study menus more closely looking for the vegetarian and vegan options. I even went as far as ordering a veggie burger; only to be amazed and disappointed at how much smaller the portion size was in comparison to Chris’ gigantic meat burger.

I should point out that before I went to America I wasn’t vegetarian; we had a meat free house policy but a fridge full of fish. Ever since I cut wheat out of my diet, approximately eight years ago, not wanting to be an awkward dinner guest, I’d eat meat when it was served to me and enjoy both the taste and the texture.

But there has always been one thought niggling away at me. What if every cow, sheep and pig had a personality just like my tiny Ethel?

What if the world was different and we kept cows as pets and farmed Italian Greyhounds, slaughtering millions each year to fill fast food restaurants. Thankfully Italian Greyhounds are far too small, one dog would probably only make one burger, so economically it would never work.

But that one thought kept me thinking. If I met a cow, lived with and cared for that cow, would that cow end up becoming my friend just like Ethel?

And just as I’m pondering that question I meet a wild Deer for the first time.

Walking back to our lodge in the lush Blue Mountains of Virginia, we stood face to face; so close I could have easily reached out to touch her. I was mesmerised by her huge, round, dark eyes. They looked straight back at mine full of peace and innocence remaining fixed on me as she took a mouthful of grass and slowly chewed. Wow, she was amazing.

Could I eat her? I had in the past!

As I stood and watched one of the most beautiful and gentle animals on the planet wonder off into the bushes with magical firefly buts lighting her up in the darkness, I knew there was no way I could eat her. Not any more.

Days later in Toronto whilst drinking beer and munching on a vegetarian hot dog, I thought how hard can it be? All I needed to do was say it out loud, so I did just that.

“When I get back to the UK, I’m going to try and be vegan!”

A pissed off mouth full of meat replied, “Why would you want to do that?”

Next post… My boyfriends’ reaction – it wasn’t great!

Ethel, yoga dog photo credits – Richard Baybutt Photography 

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