Articles Reflecting a Vegan Lifestyle From

15 Years Later, the Cow That Shattered My Carnism and Veganized My Soul

From Nivi Jaswal, MVLCE,
June 2022

This personal experiential investigation into trauma, grief, love, and its lessons highlighted the importance of aligning both our body and energy identities. I found some interesting answers, insights, and ideas.

Image credit: TThe Virsa Foundation, Inc.

August 2020, I sat numb in a Main Street Vegan Academy class, secretly hoping that Iíd get by without much participation when Jasmin Singer declared she was going to speak about Veganism and the power of personal stories. I was numb because my father had just passed away, and my mother was all alone abroad, still fighting the COVID virus. I was numb because while I identified with being whole food, plant-based, I was still terrified of the V-word (Vegan). Since 2018, when I eliminated all animal products from my diet, my focus was entirely on physical health and my fatherís untimely passing underscored that voice in my head, ďItís ALL about human health.Ē I didnít know if I could drum up compassion for animals at that point.

Then Jasmin started speaking and leading us through prompts as we recalled encounters with animals. Memories are imperfect, because when we reconstruct them, we add selective bells and whistles. All versions of my memory of Jasminís session have her and Victoria Moran dressed up as various avatars ranging from Cinderellaís fairy godmother to Macbethís witches to the wise and mighty High Priestess of the Major Arcana. I have deep respect and gratitude for the work of both these amazing individuals.

As Jasmin spoke, a trance took hold, my numbness transmuted into a surprising somatic flashback to a time when I was living in Indonesia several years ago. I was being driven to work and the car came to a complete standstill near a crowd of people cheering and watching a cow being slaughtered. Her neck was slit, blood gushing out, the animal crying out in pain in a way I have never heard from any living being before. We honked our way out of this incident and continued onto my worksite. I recall dining at an expensive steakhouse with my team later that night. My brain filed away this memory and, as I discovered during Jasminís session, my body kept score.


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