The Film That Turned Us Vegan Overnight

Overnight vegan

Some people become vegan for ethical reasons, some do it because of the environment, and others do it for their health. The great thing about veganism is that all of the reasons are positive, and most vegans end up appreciating all of the benefits over time.

Personally, I changed because of the ethical reasons first and foremost, and I’ve since discovered some fantastic health and environmental benefits of becoming vegan.

It’s important to note that Maša and I became vegan overnight. There was no gradual process. We committed to it on the spot. In fact, on the same day that I turned vegan, I ordered a large chicken kebab, to go along with fries which were drenched in chicken salt. I enjoyed every last bite of it. Little did I know that later that evening, I would never eat that kebab again.

Update: Since publishing this article, we’ve recorded a related podcast episode called What’s Your Vegan Origin Story.

I made this impulsive decision all because of a film I watched. In just under two hours, this documentary completely changed my relationship with food.

Like most of us, I was utterly disconnected from where our food came from. I never thought twice about how my popcorn chicken was made. I just ate it blindly.

But now things are entirely different, as I can see much clearer now, and today I want to share my thought process behind deciding to no longer consume animal products.

Here’s my journal entry from the day I became vegan.

I naturally wanted to resist and reject veganism

I’ve flirted with the idea of going plant-based in the past but never really paused to think about the humane side of things. I mean, who wants to know how animals get slaughtered when you’re trying to eat a juicy slab of meat?

This type of ignorant thinking had blinded me for 26 years of my life. Every time Maša wanted to show me an article or a film about animal cruelty, I would deny her, as deep inside, I didn’t want to know. I couldn’t handle it.

But one day, I took it upon myself to learn more about how we treat animals. Firstly, I researched other people online who were already vegans. I read a few Zen Habits articles to get me started, which then lead to a few youtube videos.

I stumbled upon an Ellen Degeneres interview, where she talked about her transition to veganism. She said that everything changed when she watched a documentary called EARTHLINGS, which is narrated by Academy Award nominee Joaquin Pheonix and also featured music by platinum-selling recording artist Moby. Both artists are vegan.

The host asked Ellen whether she had seen Food Inc. in which her response was, “Oh yeah, but it’s like a Disney movie compared to EARTHLINGS.”

This one statement raised my eyebrows, and I knew I had to investigate further. I mean, come on, it’s Ellen! Maša and I had seen Food Inc. before so I was curious at this stage.

I found the trailer for EARTHLINGS and read the reviews. By all accounts, this was a no holds barred approach to animal cruelty.

The documentary was described by many as a horror film, but the only difference is, it’s real! At this point, I was pretty freaking nervous.

Taking the first step

I called Maša to see if she was keen to watch it. She Facebook messaged me later on in the day to say that she had watched the trailer and didn’t know if she could get through it.

But much to my surprise, she mustered up the courage to sit through the documentary with me. And to be honest, I’m so glad she did, cause I don’t think I would’ve been able to get through it without her.

The film is broken up into five categories; domestic, food, clothes, science and entertainment. These are all of the areas in which humans take advantage of animals.

What got me straight away was the concept of speciesism. This concept draws comparisons to social discrimination, including sexism and racism.

The idea is that we used to (and still do) treat each other with ultimate disrespect. However, at some stage, the humans being discriminated against were able to stand up for themselves.

Unfortunately, we can’t say the same thing about animals. These are helpless beings who are being treated like slaves as we use them for our own human needs. And unlike humans, they don’t have a voice or the intelligence to fight for themselves.

The realisation

The documentary showed us the ugly truth and gave us some much-needed perspective. For Maša, it was more about reinforcing her beliefs as well as addressing some areas of veganism she had not yet considered.

For me, it was a complete mind f*ck. I quite like animals and to see them be treated like shit hurt me. The constant slitting of the throats, lack of space to live, scared look on the animal’s faces was a bit much for me.

Having said that, I still believe that if you live in the jungle and you absolutely need to kill a wild animal to survive, I say go for it. But only if it was a matter of life and death.

But if you’re sitting on your ass and buying meat and dairy because it’s convenient (when we have a ton of alternative options), that’s not cool.

At the end of the day, as much grief as we give these large food corporations, they are hustling to meet the demands of the consumer, which means slaughtering billions of animals to meet the needs of us — simple economics.

So we have a choice. We really do. And organic grass-fed meat isn’t enough. Animals should be left alone and have the same opportunity as humans do. Let them go on to make their own mistakes on their own terms. Don’t take advantage of them just because we’re “on the top of the food chain.”

Looking back on the transition to becoming vegan overnight

There’s so much we’ve learned about this lifestyle, and we continue to learn every day.

It’s been challenging at times, for sure, but every time we feel like we’re about to fall off, we think back to the night we watched EARTHLINGS, and there’s just no way we can go back.

After some time, things get much easier. You start finding places to eat out, you learn how to inspire others through actions, not through preachy words, you find even more beauty in whole plant-based foods, and you start naturally connecting with others who share the same passion.

Overall, it’s been a great experience. It feels good to know you can eat amazing healthy food without compromising the livelihood of the animals in our world. So far, we wouldn’t change a thing.

What about you? Have you had a similar experience, or something entirely different? Share your thought process in the comments below.

Other posts you’ll love:

  1. How To Go Vegan: A Guide On How To Transition To a Vegan Lifestyle
  2. Extending The Definition of Veganism
  3. Is It Okay For Vegans To Eat Eggs From Backyard Chickens?
  4. Why You’re Struggling To Stay Vegan

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23 thoughts on “The Film That Turned Us Vegan Overnight”

  1. Hi Thankyou for a great website, I became vegan overnight as well, though had been a vegetarian for many years…after watching “Cowspiracy” haven’t seen “Earthlings” though now would like to watch it…have been vegan 9 months and have noticed I have no “sugar” cravings anymore. Your website is inspirational and keep up the good work.

  2. I have been subscribing to your website for awhile and always read and enjoy your posts. I am going to look into Earthlings if I can bear it. I too went Vegan overnight over 2 years ago, cold turkey, the day after Thanksgiving! I did so for health reasons after watching Forks Over Knives documentary, reading How to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Dr. Coldwell Esselstyn, The China Study, and “How Not To Die” by Dr. Michael Greger (great book and even better on to listen to him!). I have since become so aware of the animal cruelty and environmental aspects of being Vegan and continue to reinforce my beliefs through more continuing education. I have never felt better in my life or had more energy and I’m over 70! I have just sent over 40 people a download link to the “How Not To Die” book for free….since it’s my first book, I can share and as my husband says, “you can’t chsnge the world” but I can try one step at a time to get the word across. My motto is “nothing tastes as good as healthy feels”! Good luck with this wonderful work you’re doing.

    1. Wow, Kathy! Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. You have an inspiring story which has obviously led to some incredible results for you. Keep up the great work! Every little bit counts and I’m sure some of the 40 people who downloaded the book would feel enriched after reading it.

  3. I had never heard of the movie Earthlings…I have been a vegetarian for 2 years and have been thinking passively about going vegan. Ive started trying some vegan versions of yogurt, sour cream, etc. Ive been happy with my vegetarianism and felt good thinking the dairy industry wasnt too bad off but after talking it over with my wife and really thinking about the process and even watching the trailer and some other short clips of animal anguish I’ve convinced myself that there is too much suffering out there that is well worth the change. Ive been ignorant or blind to the dairy aspects but am forcing myself to see it- I dont think I could make it through the movie as I have been crying just contemplating it, but thank you for including this and helping me move forward.

    1. Megan, thank you so much for sharing your story. Totally understand if you decide not to watch Earthlings. However you should try to at least watch it with a friend, perhaps your wife? Animal suffering goes far beyond what you eat and Earthlings sheds light on all of the key areas of animal liberation. All the best.

  4. thank you so much for sharing your story and how your journey to becoming vegan began. I just finished watching Earthling and i must say,it is the most eye opening and heart wrenching documentary I’ve ever seen. I have been vegetarian for 4 months now and was toying with the idea of becoming vegan.. I AM NOW A VEGAN.

  5. I came across your sight tonight and was immediately drawn in by the name. I am a minimalist and just very recently began transitioning to a vegan diet. Although I am completely against animal cruelty, I have to admit that this was not the deciding factor for me to go vegan. I recently watched the documentary What the Health and it made me start my transition over night. It focuses on the very negative affects eating meat and dairy has on your health. My daughter is 9 months old and has only just begun to eat solid foods. Watching this film has inspired me to feed her right. If you have never seen it, I definitely recommend it. I started to watch Food Inc. and could barely look at the screen. I want to get through it and watch Earthlings as well. I look forward to reading more from you guys.

    1. Hi Sarah, thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences. Yes, we were able to attend the launch for What The Health in our city. Very powerful film! There are many reasons people become vegan, whether it’s compassion, environment or health. It sounds like you’re on a journey with lots of discovery. We are too. We’re glad our ethos aligns with yours. Would highly recommend watching Earthlings. It’s extremely devastating but no other documentary has had such a huge impact on our lives, and we’ve watched a lot of them.

  6. Pingback: A Minimalists Approach To Creating a Zero Waste Home - The Minimalist Vegan

  7. I was so pleased to read this post! I stumbled across this website earlier this evening and I’m already loving every bit of it. I too, became vegan overnight (beginning last night, in fact) – after 8 months of being vegetarian I still felt uneasy about consuming dairy products and, like the two of you, after watching a short video on the matter, my mindset has been solidified on giving up ALL animal by-products! I’m looking forward to continuing to read what the two of you post (and have already posted) on this website 🙂

  8. Let me just say… GREAT BLOG!.. Thank you for sharing your story.. Mine started basically for health reasons and I also decided to switch cold turkey after learning with other videos what farm animals go thru to satisfy an unnecessary need to eat meat. I was ignorant before.. they don’t want anyone to know.. I feel the switch is happening.. more and more people are aware about why we don’t need meat, dairy, eggs to survive.. I suggest you watch “Cowspiracy” .. it also gives you a perspective on the environmental impact of raising farm animals…

    1. Hi Rosanna, thank you for your kind words. It’s interesting to hear about your story and how the industry affected cemented your decision. Yes, Cowspiracy is next on our watching list, thanks for letting us know.

  9. Thank you for this thoughtful post and for educating us about this movie. I had not heard of it before and the trailer alone is heartbreaking! I’ve been moving towards a vegan lifestyle and need to find the strength to watch this very important film. Thanks for your advocacy and I look forward to reading more of your posts.

  10. Thank you for sharing your story. This line -> “Let them go on to make their own mistakes on their own terms” really speaks to me. There is an animal advocacy book, On Their Own Terms, written by Lee Hall that speaks about the concept of letting the animals live their lives on their own terms. It’s an incredible read if you ever get the chance. Anyway, congratulations on your new site! I look forward to seeing what’s next!

  11. Such a beautiful post, Michael and Masha! They call this film: ‘The Vegan Maker’, and it was the final straw in my decision to follow a vegan lifestyle as well. I cried for days afterwards but I’m so grateful for its presence. I’ve been vegan now for almost 4 years and it only gets better and better! As a beautiful side effect, I no longer suffer from the chronic eczema that plagued me my whole life, nor do I ever have to worry about my weight again – plus it inspired a whole new career and passion for me in Health Coaching! Here’s to rocking a passionate, plant-based life! Congratulations on the launch of your new site and I look forward to following your journey. Love, Bex

  12. Hi Michael and Masha,
    Let me begin by saying that you have a beautiful and thoughtful website. I know the work that goes into putting one together and I applaud your efforts. I have not been able to watch Earthlings. I come across many images and videos daily that are hard enough as it is to see, but a I certainly applaud those who have been able to watch this seminal film about all of the death for profit nonhuman animal industries.
    Good luck with your site and thank you for your advocacy. I look forward to reading your posts.

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