Hey there! Welcome to the first post for the exciting new blog series: “The book that…” Every Monday I will upload a guest post who will share with you their strong personal experience they had with a book. This series is about focusing on what books are about – passion, emotion and hitting that raw nerve. In this busy-bee world we often forgetten that books are not purely intellectual binded pieces of paper. They are experienced and create life.
The book that changed my life
by Ebonie Hyland
I’m not exaggerating when I say that Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer changed my life. Because when you think about it, what we eat is our life, and Eating Animals changed my diet irrevocably.
I’m now a vegan. And this is why.
It all started at a dinner party.
The discussions began after most of us had just eaten roast chicken, honey carrots and gravy-smothered pumpkin and potatoes. We’d catered for a vegan friend that night, serving her a large bowl of vegetable risotto. She’d decided to go vegan for an immersion assignment. Soon she was telling us all about this book that she was reading called Eating Animals, venting all the thoughts that inevitably came from reading this shocking account on factory farming.
It didn’t take much to convince me to read it. I was appalled by what she was saying, about how in order to meet the high demand of meat, eggs and dairy, more and more animals each year are made to suffer. It made sense in many ways that this was the case—but I needed to read about it myself.
Jonathan Safran Foer wrote Eating Animals as a result of his research into where food comes from. He was about to become a father, and wanted to be able to give his son the best, most well informed diet.
His findings are collated in Eating Animals, shared through a combination of literature, science and memoir with its accumulation of stories and straight facts. It is witty and descriptive, with moments that almost made me cry and/or scream.
Foer weaves in the horrid truth of factory farming with personal anecdotes and true accounts from factory workers and farmers. As he explains, it is not a case for vegetarianism—he isn’t trying to force feed the reader with his beliefs. Rather, it is left to the reader to decide. But it’s difficult not to change your diet after reading—even if all you do is eat a little less meat.
I already didn’t eat that much meat, and I’d considered vegetarianism before. So it was truthfully a step I would’ve taken even without Foer and the conversations had with friends. But reading Eating Animals turned these thoughts of ‘one day’ into a necessity. As Foer explains: “ food is culture, habit, and identity.”
Eating Animals, above all else, made me consider my diet and lifestyle choices, and I’m now attempting to live a healthier, more economical life. It’s easy to choose the common omnivorous diet, but I’ve found it just as easy in this day and age to avoid animal products and join the ever-growing vegan community.
I don’t want to contribute to an industry that should be wholly concentrating on feeding people in a sustainable way, but is instead only truly focused on money—and animals suffer as a result.
Eating Animals made me realise so many things, but the most important point to be made is this: one person, in their own little way, can make some difference. It’s not much, but it’s better than doing nothing.
Ebonie Hyland is a writer who procrastinates by baking, often resulting in more cake than words. Her blog, www.quirkyandcurious.wordpress.com is a random mix of stories, poems, recipes and reviews, combining her love for all things fiction, reading, music and food.