Voyage To Veganism

Hello beautiful beings, I am so grateful for your love and support. My name is Sanaina (sa-nine-ah), derived from the Sanskrit word ‘sunaina,’ meaning beautiful eyes. I used to think this was a mere physical feature, since I have two different colored eyes - you’ll have to look very closely to notice. But I later realized it’s my ability to see the good in others, to look past the physical and see within the soul of everything from animals to trees, that truly gave me the name beautiful eyes.    
I was born in the land of many waters- the majestic and abundant Guyana, where my love of nature began. Fun fact, 87% of Guyana is covered with vast forests 1, which is essential in regulating the global climate. My mom, older sister and I moved to Brooklyn, New York, when I was 3 years old. When my dad immigrated here in August of ’99, he brought so much more than our favorite snacks and sweets from Guyana, he brought the culture of Krishna Consciousness. He had discovered a new world, a new lifestyle, filled with acceptance and unity.

We immediately adopted his vegetarian lifestyle and started attending the International Society of Krishna Consciousness every Sunday night. We met so many beautiful souls from all around the world. I loved the music, my spirit felt alive with the enchanting sounds. And when it was time for prashadam, I was most excited- the food tasted heavenly, it was full of flavor and spices.      

Although we didn’t consume eggs like the typical vegetarian, I later uncovered that vegetarianism supports the suffering of animals through the horrors of the dairy industry. Not only is cow milk detrimental to our health, causing mucus, cancer, acne, heart disease and a long list of other ailments, but the process of producing dairy is disheartening. The only way cows can produce milk is if they are pregnant, so farmers forcibly impregnate their cows with a machine every 10 months, and their babies are taken away at birth. Female calves are forcibly impregnated after a year and go through the same cycle as their mother to produce milk for the rest of their lives 2. Male calves on the other hand are chained down, forced to become anemic, and slaughtered at 3-18 weeks to become someone's fancy veal meal 3

Female cows spend their lives pumping and dumping, while living in their own feces, suffering from udder infections and an extensive list of other painful health issues. Humans are the only species on earth that drink milk beyond infancy. We have been programmed to think that drinking another animals milk is normal, but if it’s not your mother, it’s not your milk! Making the change to plant-based dairy is easier and tastier than you think- vegans consume all of the goodness without any of the cruelty. 

Despite dairy being scary, I am grateful to be introduced to vegetarianism because it led me one step closer to a vegan lifestyle. But my journey to veganism was anything but a straight line. Eventually, my family and I moved from Brooklyn to our own beautiful home in Jamaica, Queens when I graduated 4th grade. Overtime, due to my parents working a lot and us not going to church as often, we eventually started eating meat.

My mom made delicious meals growing up, always experimenting, and trying new recipes - the best of the best, anyone who’s had the pleasure of trying her cooking can attest to that. One of my favorite dishes was my mom’s chicken curry, nobody’s curry can compare to hers. It didn’t take long for the universe to show me where her decadent chicken curry originated. It was the weekend and my mom was making her usual grocery run. I was in middle school at the time, and I loved accompanying her everywhere. Our last stop was to get chicken for her curry. We didn’t buy frozen chicken from the grocery store, we got “fresh” chicken from the poultry.

I decided I would go with her inside the poultry for the first time, just for fun. What I discovered was shocking and anything but fun. The conditions were terrifying. The chickens were cooped up into tiny cages, they couldn’t move, and their feet were barely hanging on to the bottom of the cage. They were all flustered and hollering for mercy. It smelled like death. I couldn’t believe such a place existed. I ran outside with tears in my eyes and fear in my heart. I told my mom I did not want to eat meat any longer.

Unfortunately, the conditions are a lot more horrifying in larger slaughterhouses, where chickens are murdered by the masses, never seeing the light of day, inhaling ammonia, and living in their own feces. And just like the dairy industry, the egg industry is brutal. To keep up with the demand of eggs, more than 300 million chickens are used every year, all stacked in small cages on top of one and other, where their defecation falls on top of each other 4. After two years, the survivors are sent to slaughterhouses where they are hung upside down, electrocuted, their throats are slit, and they are often scorched in boiling water until they die 5.

To keep this house of horrors going, baby chicks are born in large incubators and separated by gender at birth. Male chicks are discarded in garbage bags to suffocate, or grinded alive in a machine. As for female chicks, their environment is so stressful that their beaks, which are highly sensitive, are cut off by a hot blade without painkillers, just so they won’t mutilate themselves or kill other chickens. Because it is too painful to eat, most chickens die from starvation. Their toes, spurs, and combs are often cut off as well. What a life to live.

Creating awareness and becoming vegan is the only way to stop the demand and end the chain of pain. That is why Organic Vegan Deli was born. It’s our goal to educate everyone on the mortifying animal product industry, as well as making a vegan lifestyle more accessible, which is a privilege I never had. Growing up in New York, there is a deli on the corner of every block, but it seems like the unhealthiest foods are the most available. The typical grocery store has limited vegan options, and organic items are uncommon. Here at Organic Vegan Deli, there is no need to read the labels, we’ve triple checked the ingredients, everything is vegan, organic and/or non-GMO!

Thank you for your support, I love you!