On Friday, October 2nd, I completed the #fastagainstslaughter sponsored by the Farm Animal Rights Movement. I have to confess that I felt a bit anxious beforehand. The last time I missed three meals in a row was when I had my foot surgery last spring, and in that case it was because of the painkillers. The pills told me, "You don't need food, you only need uuuuuuuusss!" The pills also told me to sleep a lot.
My last meal was on Thursday. I went to the gym and then had tofu scramble for dinner. It's heavy on protein and usually keeps me full for a while. On Friday, I skipped breakfast and then headed to work as usual. At work I sometimes chew gum to keep me from eating other stuff. I couldn't decide if chewing gum would be cheating or not, so I opted to go gum-free for the day. I usually also eat a granola bar mid-morning when I'm at work. On Friday, I could hear them calling me from my desk drawer. "We have nuts and choooocolate," they said. "Also, we are gluten-free." I kept the drawer closed.
I pounded water all day. I think I peed about four times before noon. It was a long day, indeed. Every time my stomach started to rumble, I just reminded myself that it wasn't about me. It was about raising awareness for the plight of animals on factory farms. At lunchtime, I did a little shopping in an attempt to occupy my brain (which loves bargains almost as much as my stomach loves food). Many states away, my wee baby sister was also fasting (she's the one who told me about the campaign) and also did some shopping. Great minds think alike! My friends Jennifer and Leslie fasted on Friday as well.
Because I am hopelessly schedule-oriented and do almost everything on a schedule (or at least according to a to-do list that I've scrawled in my serial-killer handwriting), I was scheduled to go grocery shopping on Friday night. So, after not having dinner, I headed to the grocery store. "I'm buying everything they sell," I told my husband on my way out the door. You know how they say not to go to the grocery store hungry? Try it when you haven't eaten in 24 hours.
The first thing I saw was a display of these:
There are products on the market that are referred to as being "accidentally vegan." Oreos are one of those products. Nabisco didn't set out to make a vegan snack, but there you have it. They are not in any way healthy, of course. Believe me, we know. Anyway, I couldn't get them in my cart fast enough. Normally I do not even buy cookies at the grocery store because I cannot be trusted with them.
Another accidentally vegan item? These:
Anyway, I bought the jumbo fudge sticks, too. "I should probably just go home," I thought. But, I persevered and finished my grocery shopping. I didn't buy anything too outlandish.
The next morning, I went to my usual Weight Watchers meeting. I didn't eat before the meeting (because that would be crazy). I figured I had gone that long without eating, so what's another hour? When I got home, I decided that I'd probably better eat a fairly light meal so as not to overwhelm my empty insides. I ate a piece of sourdough toast with Earth Balance, a veggie sausage, and a handful of grapes. I have to say that the toast seemed like the best thing that had ever happened to me. The bread was really fresh, ya'll.
By the end of the day, life was back to normal. My co-worker gave me a butternut squash, so I roasted that (and then used it in vegan burritos the next day). I did a lot of cooking over the weekend - sometimes I make stuff ahead of time to make life a little easier during the work week.
Will I do the fast again next year? I'm sure I will. Me skipping meals for a day doesn't really do much in the scheme of things, but I think every little bit of awareness helps. I posted my photo and the corresponding hash tag on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Thousands of people around the world participated in the event. If it causes even one person to make the connection between the meat they buy at the grocery store and how that meat got there . . . then I think it's worthwhile. All it takes is that one little spark of awareness. And awareness can lead to compassion. I'm sure of it.