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TruStar23
06-18-2008, 02:14 AM
Hi, I'm Kristin Star!! :-) I'm a 23-year-old Straight-edge Vegan, from NJ.

I tend to be kind of long-winded...But, I will try not to write a painfully lengthy version of my 'story'.

Unfortunately, I was not born into a Vegetarian family (:-() (goodness, I wish that I was...If I'd, always, been a Vegetarian, I wouldn't have such issues with my past...but, I do (:-|)...that's just the way that I am...Anyway, pressing on...).

I was, always, proud of myself for realizing that some things were wrong, at a pretty young age. However, finding out, in recent years, that a lot of people become Vegetarians at like 6, 9, or 12 years old...I felt bad that it took me so long. :-|

When I was about 4 years old, I had a dream that I had a pet cow, and my parents told me that they were going to kill it (which is something that they would never do!). (They blamed that on the fact that my Mother's evil brother had a farm, at the time. :-(). Anyway, I woke up, the next day, and vowed to never eat beef, again. (I, guess, I loved cows, even at a really young age...In later years, I realized that they are one of my favorite animals...and, I even know a few! :-)).
Granted, I was only 4 years old...And, no 4-year-old is a genius...So, I think that I ate things, at the time, that contained beef (:-() (like hot dog things, or whatever [Ew! :-(]), without realizing it. But, as I grew older, and smarter, I cut out more, and more. (I learned a lot of things, as time went by...So, I can't say that I never ate beef after I was 4...but, I didn't, intentionally...and, within the couple of years following that, I think that I became more aware of what was what).
Why it was only beef that I took issue with, at the time, I do not know. (:-|) (I guess, because of the dream, and because of the fact that I felt particularly attached to cows). Aside from that, though, I seemed to do the stupid thing that most people do...separate myself from my actions, as some kind of emotional-protection-mechanism, or whatever (but, actually, just a subconscious cop-out [:-|]). However, as I got older, I cut out more, and more things.
I probably, knew what gelatin was, already, and had stopped eating obvious gelatin objects, before Junior High...But, I think that I was in 7th grade, when I found out that there was gelatin in Starbursts, and Skittles (which is, still, one of the biggest disappointments ). I stopped eating those things, immediately, upon that discovery. The summer, between 7th & 8th grade, I found out what rennet was, due to an unfortunate "three cheese" pasta sauce incident. (:-|) (I can, still, remember looking that up [I think that I had to use an actual {book} dictionary, at that time...because, we didn't have the internet, yet], and being devastated with the fact that there was even a trace of that, in my body). Obviously, I made sure that I didn't ingest any more of that, from that point on. (I was, already, a label-reader, when I was 13, I guess...But, I had only known what some things were...and, if I didn't, I looked them up). However, at that point, I was, unfortunately, still, not a complete Vegetarian. (:-()
At that point, and until, almost the end of my 8th grade year (I think that it was the spring of my 8th grade year [shortly after I turned 14], that I became a Vegetarian [you'd think that I would have made a 'mental note'...but, it didn't happen like that...it wasn't a big move...it was just something, that was a long time coming, and, finally happened...{but, I'm getting ahead of my story, here...:-S}]), I had, still, not stopped eating chicken. :-( (For some reason, people make it seem less terrible...although, it's totally not, and chickens are absolutely one of the nicest animals!). I had that stupid mind-set, at that time (that, I think, a lot of people do :-|), that, it would be hard to 'give up', or I'd 'miss it', or something...or, that I 'liked' it (ICK! :-()...(Although, thinking back on things like that, anything that I liked/thought that I liked, was probably, just whatever condiments were on things). But, finally, one day, when I was 14, I just stopped...I just never ate chicken, again...I didn't look back...I didn't have 'withdrawal'...I was [I]totally fine...And, probably, a bit ashamed, that I hadn't done so, sooner (like I am, now [:-|]).

I don't remember the exact date that I became a full Vegetarian, or the exact order, in which things happened...But, I think that I became a Vegetarian, before school let out, in my 8th grade year (1999 [man, it doesn't even seem that long ago :-|])...I know that I met a new girl, in the beginning of 9th grade, and we kind of bonded over Vegetarianism, because I saw a button (I think that it might've been one with a pig, that said, "Meat is Murder", or something like that) on her backpack.

Anyway, from the time that I was 14, on, I have been a Vegetarian (NOT a weak-willed person who "tries" to be a Vegetarian, and can't seem to do it [one of my friends in school was like that...and, although I appreciated the fact that she wanted to try, it was obnoxious, and upsetting, how weak-willed, and uncommitted she was {but, at least, she would go a week, or so, without meat...which is definitely better than those who eat it every day}]). (Yeah...so much for not being long-winded. :-S [lol]). And, over the years, following that, I became a stricter, and stricter Vegetarian.

Unfortunately, when I was younger, I trusted people too much, and relied on their opinions...So, when I was in (probably) 8th grade (or so), I used to ask my Mom if she thought that there was rennet in pizza cheese, and stuff like that...And, she'd tell me, "No"...And, I'd take that as the truth (which is another annoying mental mechanism)...But, not so long after that, I started to realize that I had to find the truth out about things, and not just try to get an answer that I wanted, from someone, and believe what I was told. (I don't think that I ate pizza [other than Amy's pizzas], after about 8th grade).

As High School went on, and I became smarter, not only in general, but became more knowledgeable about what ingredients were, and what was, or wasn't "safe", I became a really strict Vegetarian. (Meaning, that I did not eat, or use anything that an animal was killed for [gelatin, glycerin, rennet, etc.] [I think that I had started checking to make sure that shoes weren't made of leather, between 8th & 9th grade, as well]).
When I was in 10th, or 11th grade, I read an article (on a bulletin board, at a hospital, where we were visiting my Grandma), that said that sugar was processed through animal bones. Although, I found it completely ridiculous, I stopped eating, or drinking anything with sugar in it, for about a week, after that (but, I guess, at the time, I was horribly dependant on sugar...because, I remember having such bad headaches, that I was squinting [:-|]). After that, my logic (which, was legitimate, because it is a ridiculous concept...but, apparently, incorrect...because, people never cease to shock me, in how horrible, and non-sensical they are, in the things that they do/things that they put in things [:-(]), and that little 'brain-mechanism' thing that I was talking about, before, kicked in, and I convinced myself that that couldn't be the case, and went back to my ridiculous sugar-intaking-ways. (:-S)

By the time that I was a Senior in High School, I was an extremely Strict Vegetarian (I think, by that point, I had even, gone from bringing peanut butter & jelly [jam] sandwiches to school [because, I didn't trust ingredients in the bread], to bringing a Clif Bar, an apple sauce, and a soda, for lunch, each day [again, I hadn't cut sugar out of my diet, at that point {nor had I, fully, realized my quams with caffeine}]). The few people who I socialized with, respected my beliefs, for the most part...And, some made slight attempts to be better people, with what they ate, or whatever...but, nothing major/substantial. (:-|)

At that point, and in the time, shortly-thereafter, I remained a Strict Vegetarian, who ate nothing that animals were killed for (not taking into account the horrible things that certain 'industries' do to the animals, after they have 'finished with them' [milk, etc.] :-(), but was not, consciously, taking steps towards becoming a Vegan. I made sure that I only ate animal-rennet-free cheeses, and, always, paid obsessively close attention to ingredients labels (I have a lot of "OCD"...So, when something is important, I read it like 2-4 times, at least {:-S lol}]), but I, still, didn't really know what the big deal was, about cutting out other things. (When I was in High School, and people talked about Veganism [although, I can't even remember hearing the word, in High School], I thought that it was weird [:-|]...I didn't understand why that was important, and thought that people were just being extreme, for no reason (damn societal crap! :-()) But, as I read more, learned more, and thought more, I realized that other things were really bad...and really disgusting, and un-natural. And, my diet further changed, from there.

I had never really liked eggs (and, when I thought about what they were, it really creeped me out)...So, I think that, by the time that I was a Senior in High School (if I am remembering correctly), I had, already, stopped eating eggs, and things with eggs in them.

Oddly enough, I think that I stopped eating things with honey in them, before things with milk. (I think that's kinda weird [especially, since some 'Vegans', like Davey Havok {who I luv...but, find issue with this one thing :-S}, still, eat honey :-|]). I remember finding out that there was honey in some of Amy's pizza products (so weird), and not wanting to eat them, anymore (after reading about what happens to bees, in the honey 'industry').

The more that I thought about milk, the more it disgusted me. But, I had, always drunk a lot of milk, and thought that it would be too hard to live without it (again, that damn cop-out attitude [which is the main hurdle that most people don't allow themselves to cross :-| {Most people just make excuses (about why they 'can't stop eating meat', or whatever :-(), and don't make themselves face up to what they're doing...and make a change. :-(}]). But, it did start to pester me, more, and more. And, I did start to feel guilt, generated, in part, by others who had, already become Vegans (I think...online, or whatever), and partially, by myself. I had made definite steps towards omitting milk entirely, but wasn't quite there, yet...When, upon reading the label to a soy ice cream treat that I was eating, on Christmas, one year (I think, when I was 19...?! [which would've been 2004]), I was disturbed at the disclaimer that there might be 'traces of milk', in it...Of course, that's a little weird, since I was, still, drinking milk, at that point in time [no, not at that exact moment...that would've been really weird! :-S lol :-P])...But, it made me think more, about it. And, I think that, within a few months of that, (or less), I had become a Vegan!! :-) (Again, I didn't make a 'note' of the date. :-S)

Because I thought that it would be hard to stop drinking milk, and I had thought that rice milk was gross, when I'd tried it, at a friend's house (who couldn't drink milk), when I was little...I got soy milk, and started mixing it with regular milk...Gradually, I changed the consistency...Until, there was no milk in it, at all...It was an extremely easy transition (that I, probably, could've, even, done without [it would've taken a little more will-power, but, I think that I could've cut milk out, without that extra step]).

So, that's the long story leading up to when I became a Vegan. :-) I am 23 years old, now (although, I still, find that hard to believe), and have been a Vegan since I was about 19/20 (I think that I was still 19, at the time...so, that would've been early 2005). :-)

I have major issues (mainly of self-disappointment), about my past...:-(...I wish that I had never eaten meat!!! It disgusts me to think that dead animals were, ever in my body!!! :-( I feel impure, and horrible, even thinking about it!!! :-( (So much so, that I can't even look at pictures, or videos of myself, from before like 9th grade, without being upset. :-() I am a very deep person, and I think about things, a lot more than anyone else that I know...(And, I'm kinda weird)...So, I dwell on things, a lot more than anyone else ever would...But, that's just the way that I am. I am proud that I started taking steps towards becoming a Vegetarian, when I was 4 years old!!! :-) (I was, always, a pretty smart kid...But, things, probably, took longer, than I wish they had, because, I was, always, very 'young', for my age...very immature...very dependent on my parents...and, very keen on avoiding the horrible truth of things. :-|). Hopefully, someday, I will be able to face the facts, that I wasn't always "perfect" (lol...no...I'm not THAT conceited...I'm not perfect...but, I am immensely proud of my morals, and the decisions that I have made in my life, since I have been an intelligent, aware individual!!! :-))...But, regardless of how I feel about wrongs of the past, I am very proud of the decisions that I've made, that make me who I am now, and I love who I am!!! :-) Veganism, and animal rights are the most important thing(s), in my life!!! :-) Veganism defines so much of who I am, and I wouldn't have it any other way!!! :-)

(continued in "reply"...)

TruStar23
06-18-2008, 02:20 AM
(Continued from previous post...)

Back-tracking a bit...Since becoming a Vegan, I have learned more, and cut more things out of my diet, and am now, an extremely Strict Vegan. :-) I do not eat anything with bone-char-refined sugar in it, or anything that was produced on 'shared equipment', or 'may contain traces of...' anything offensive. I like triple-check everything, and only eat/use things that I have been explicitly assured are Vegan, to the strictest degree!!! :-)

After years of getting my parents to cut different things out of their diets, I got them to become Vegetarians, about 2-3 years ago (I think it was about that long ago). They like cheese, and milk, and honey, and are pretty resistant to giving those things up. But, they only get 'rennet-free' cheese, I buy them substitutes for things like honey, and stuff, for holidays (which last them for a while), and I investigate where the "natural flavors" in things that they eat come from, and we take action based on what I find out, to get something else, if it is unsafe. (I didn't even get into how much I hate people, and the government, etc. for the whole "natural flavors" thing. :-| Ugh! :-() Even though my parents are unwilling to take the step to Veganism...They're pretty cool! :-)
My parents have, always, been very supportive of my beliefs. Although, they haven't always been knowledgeable about where certain ingredients come from, they have, always, known that Vegetarianism/Veganism was/is extremely important to me, and have never given me trouble over it! :-) In that respect, I am very lucky! I am, also, very lucky, and proud that my parents became Vegetarians!!! :-)
I had to endure some "what about vitamins...?"/etc. questions, from them (mainly, my Mom), over the years...But, after providing her with the information that I acquired on such things, and making sure that I had stuff that was 'fortified with vitamin B-12', that, pretty much subsided. (Any quams that my Mom has with my diet, today, are mainly, because of my phobias...not my Veganism. ).

A couple/few years ago, I switched my pets' diets to Vegan food, as well. :-) I have an Awesome dog named Cody (who is 14), and a Nifty cat named Milo (who is about 13)!! :-) Cody took to the new food, right away, and really loves any treats we toss his way (whether it's his Vegan doggie nuggets, Vegan dog treats, Vegan wet food, or some kinds of 'people food')! :-) Milo was picky, at first, and we had to watch him, to make sure that he was eating (we had to coax him to eat it, like one nugget, at a time)...But, after a bit, he gave in, and he totally loves it, now! (He's SUCH a piggie cat!...He eats like 19 times a day! :-P [hehe :-P]).
Unfortunately, not many people realize that there is Vegan pet food available, or that you can feed your pets (especially, your cats) Vegan food. But, it's totally possible, and a really great thing to do!!! :-)
It upset me so much that there was meat, in my house, being fed to my pets...I'm glad that I found out about Vegan pet food, and that we started getting it for my pets!!! It's great!!! :-)

I try to help people, (and their pets) to become Vegetarians/Vegans, whenever I can. Hopefully, someday, killing animals will be illegal!!!!! But, for the time being, I am trying to make the biggest impact that I can, and save as many animals as I can!!! (Unfortunately, because I have a really strong sense of smell, and absolutely hate the smell of meat [and the fact that, when you smell things, the particles get into your body :-(], I can't/don't really leave my house very often, because there are such terrible/offensive things, out there. :-(...But, I try to make a difference, as much as I can, from where I am!).

I am planning on petitioning Disney World (and other theme parks/places), to do some kind of "Veggie Days", where they only cook/serve Vegan food...So, people, like me, can, actually, enjoy being there, and Vegetarians/Vegans can meet liked-minded people...And, maybe, something positive will, even 'rub-off', onto other people. :-) (If anyone wants to help me with that endeavor, it would be really cool!!! :-))

One thing that I'm a bit curious to hear about, from other Vegans is...What do you do about soap, when you're out places?! I have been carrying my own (animal-ingredient-free) soap, with me, since I was about 15, or 16 years old...I don't leave home without it (although, that, also, has to do with my germaphobia...lol). Do other people carry Vegan soap with them?! It's something that I've never really heard addressed, by Vegans, but something that I think about a lot, as I'm toting around my soap container. (lol)

Unfortunately, I, still, find out terrible things, all the time...Like, that there are, sometimes, animal-derived ingredients in plastics, or that even shoes that seem Vegan might contain animal-derived adhesives (I'm, pretty much afraid of all adhesives, across the board [it even freaks me out to use tape :-|]). :-( I live in fear, because we are in a terrible world, where it's virtually impossible to know what is safe, for a good, animal-product-free person to use/touch/eat/etc.. :-( But, I would rather be burdened with upsetting knowledge, than 'blissfully' ignorant. Not knowing/avoiding the truth doesn't keep terrible things out of your life, or make them non-existent, in the world. I want to know the truth about everything in my life, so that I can make sure that everything that I buy, and use is safe, and that I am not giving money to terrible industries/people. Someday, I hope that the world will be a place, in which, I can feel safe, and know that all of its inhabitants are safe, as well!!!!! But, for now, I seek refuge, in places, like this, where, hopefully, I can meet some nice, like-minded people, with whom I can share intelligent conversations, and commiserate over the trauma that idiot 'omnivores' bring to the world, and to my life!!! (:-()

For anyone who comes on here, to learn about Veganism, who is not yet a Vegan, please know this...Veganism is REALLY great, and it's really not hard to become a Vegan (it's a bit more difficult, than becoming a Vegetarian [which, in my opinion, isn't hard, at all]...but, it's really not as difficult as it might seem!!!)!!! My diet, and life are more restricted, than other Vegans, because I have a lot of phobias, and things like that. (And, I am, also, really strict in my beliefs!) But, don't let my odd diet give you the wrong impression about Veganism!!!...It's Super-Cool, pretty easy, and most importantly, it's the Right Thing to do!!!...You Save Lives, and make the world a better place!!! :-)

To the other Vegans on here...I hope that I will get to know some of you, and make some friends!! :-) I hope that there are others on this site who feel the way that I do about things, and can relate to me, when it comes to issues like being depressed by the world around you, and struggling to figure out how to change the world!!!

I would like to do a lot more, to save animals, too!!! In addition to my Veganism, and getting my parents, and pets to become Vegetarians, I have, also, rescued animals...Including a Cow, a Cat, and three Mice!! :-) I am VERY proud of my beliefs/morals, and NEVER shy about making them known!!! (If anyone has a problem with what's most important to me, they don't deserve to be a part of my life!!! [which is why I don't talk to a lot of my relatives :-|]).

I am a Singer, and that is very important to me, as well...(but, not as much so, or in the same way)...The main reason that I want to become a famous singer (even moreso, than my love of music, the enjoyment that I get out of performing, and wanting to meet Davey Havok [lol :-P]), is that I want to be well-known, so that I can make a (MUCH) bigger impact/difference, and save tons of animals!!! We live in world that is so celebrity-obsessed...I want to use that power to change the world for the better!!! :-)

I want to start a Straight-Edge Vegan band!!! :-) That would be really cool!!! :-) But, for now, I am a solo singer, trying to break into the music business, to make my 'mark' on the world.

In the mean-time, I try to do all that I can to help animals!!! But, I really look forward to being able to do a lot more!!!!!!! :-)

I'm Kristin Star, and I'm new to this site. I hope that you can relate to, at least some of, what I've written, and I hope to make some new friends on here!!! :-)

Keep being Awesome, Vegans!!! :-)

Peace & Luv!~
[I]*Kristin Star*

sitting_vegan
06-18-2008, 07:45 AM
Welcome!

VegeTexan
06-18-2008, 08:28 AM
Welcome to VRF, Kristin.

KKB
06-18-2008, 09:18 AM
Welcome, Kristin Star :-)
My middle name is Star too!

I enjoyed reading your story. My dad's family is from NJ. Welcome!!

Emiloid
06-18-2008, 09:50 AM
Welcome, Kristin Star! It's great that you got your parents to be vegetarian.

KaliMama
06-18-2008, 11:18 AM
Welcome, Kristin! Here's a thread where we debated the soap thing, and some other stuff that you may find interesting:

Vegan Exception Clauses (http://www.plantbasedpeople.com/showthread.php?t=12793&highlight=wet+wipes)

Miso Vegan
06-18-2008, 11:20 AM
Welcome to VRF! :sunny:

stegan
06-18-2008, 11:42 AM
Welcome! :)

shananigans
06-18-2008, 11:57 AM
:daisy: Welcome! :daisy:

lamb
06-18-2008, 12:32 PM
[SIZE="3"]I probably, knew what gelatin was, already, and had stopped eating obvious gelatin objects, before Junior High...

you totally reminded me of something I forgot! I've always loved horses, so in 5th grade when I was teased that horse hooves are used for glue and gelatin I totally stopped eating obvious jello foods. But of course little old 11 year old me didn't connect this to vegetarianism. (until 11th grade) :p

Thanks for sharing your story!