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 Post subject: So, why are you vegan?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:12 pm 
Not NOT A Furry
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I don't mean what are the ethical, environmental or health reasons for a vegan diet! But what happened to you personally to prompt the choice?

I'm just nosy!

For me personally I knew all then nasty truths about the poor little chicks/piggies/moo-cows for years but I had a perception of vegans as rather puritanical and joyless (I know I know). I preferred to sweep my uncomfortable knowledge under the carpet than join their ranks.

I was omnivorous and tried to buy local/organic/...

So two things happened.

1. My brother in law got an awesome vegan girlfriend and becsme vegan too. And they're great fun and love food and beer.
2. I visited a really small organic farm, for a tour. They grew mostly vegetables but also a few pigs and cows, limited numbers becsuse they had very high welfare standards. Anyway we came to a pen with a sow and piglets, and the farmer explained that the piglets were just about to go to slaughter. He explained how they were kept with their mother the whole time and how they lived much longer than on any other farm etc. And I thought "this isn't ok", and if this isn't ok then nothing is.

And then I read and thought a lot, but those were the catalysts.


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 Post subject: Re: Do, why are you vegan?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:30 pm 
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When I was 18 I read a really positive magazine article about a vegan girl who was around my age, lived where I lived and said that her favourite foods were vegan ice-cream, cheese and chocolate. I had been a vegetarian for 4 years before that but knew very little about the reasons behind veganism, or the products that were available. The combination of finding out the truth about what happens to the animals and knowing that there were yummy vegan alternatives to things made me decide to go vegan. Still going strong 4+ years later! I think presenting veganism as a positive choice is important.

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 Post subject: Re: Do, why are you vegan?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:37 pm 
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Meeting a vegan online, who I could ask everything.

I had been trying to become a vegetarian for 3 years. Off and on off and on. When I finally managed to become a vegetarian, for ethical reasons, I knew I'd become a vegan soon. It took me 21 more months.


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 Post subject: Re: Do, why are you vegan?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:44 pm 
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I become a vegetarian at age 10 and it just became a habit. At 22 I wasn't feeling all that great (had gained some weight and generally sluggish), so I was looking up some stuff about health, came across the dairy issue, and kept reading about the health effects of animal products. I thought there was no way I could be a vegan, so I decided to be a vegan three days a week. I found it was actually pretty easy. I decided that after the upcoming Easter weekend, I would go completely vegan so I ate my last milk chocolate Easter egg from my grandparents in Switzerland and that was that! After I got into it a bit, I started to learn about the ethical issues, and that's probably why I am still a vegan 2.5 years later.


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 Post subject: Re: Do, why are you vegan?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:17 pm 
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Short answer: Isa :)

Long answer: I had been vegetarian for a year (and was lurking these boards!), and, like a lot of vegetarians, used to think that milk and eggs were totally fine because "they don't hurt animals!" But from reading these boards, I learned that I was wrong. I started to think seriously about becoming vegan, and made a promise to myself that I would become vegan after the holidays because I wanted to eat my mom's cookies one last time. Then at a holiday party at school, I accidentally ate a rice crispie square with marshmallows. I don't even know how I had a brain fart like that because I had known that marshmallows have gelatin (and what gelatin was) for years before I became veg! I was so disappointed in myself that I gave away all of my dairy and non-vegan stuff that evening and I haven't looked back. On that note, it's almost my vegan-verssary!!


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 Post subject: Re: Do, why are you vegan?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:34 pm 
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To be honest, I'm not completely sure. I think it's better not to eat other animals when it's not necessary to, and I live in 21st Century England with plentiful food and am not likely to suffer malnutrition. I've never liked cow milk particularly and have preferred soya milk for a long time (but even that's not something I buy consistently; I don't have any milks of any variety in the house at the moment). I quite like the taste of eggs, and if I'm being honest I would probably eat eggs if I kept chickens, but I don't like the way animals are generally farmed, and farmers are exploited by supermarkets here quite heavily. I don't believe in things like "eggs belong to the chickens" because I just don't. I have got increasingly squicky about eating eggs and non-vegetarian things in the last few years. In the past, I was happy to ignore a little bit of gelatine or whatever, but I feel like I should do it properly really, and also I find it increasingly grim. I don't particularly judge other people eating meat because that's a pointless endeavour in my opinion.

I went vegetarian at 18 or 19 to help my then-boyfriend go vegetarian because he'd read a book about buddhism or something. I've grown up with veggie food as unremarkable, with mock meats and things as well as meat, or all-veg meals. So, it was a complete non-event for me to become vegetarian. I ate vegan cheeses and nutritional yeast as well as cows' and goats' cheeses, without complaint, and have preferred soya milk over cow milk for a decade, to the point where I don't buy some brands because they taste too much like cow milk. I had vegan cookery books as well, because I'm interested in food and was interested to see what recipes were out there. I'm really more of an "a load of old lentils" vegan than a "tofurkey, facon and veganaise" vegan.

I think I just decided to be vegan one day, basically. I went back to being a vegetarian for about 3 months, then went vegan again for, oh... three years? I don't know.

My boyfriend occasionally goes into a despair spiral about "how hard it is to find places to eat", but as I was 95% vegetarian when I ate meat and 80% vegan when I was vegetarian, I wouldn't have wanted to go to lots of the sorts of places he is imagining anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: Do, why are you vegan?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:49 pm 
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Read "Animal Liberation" when I was 18 and it was like the scales fell away from my eyes. It's been an off-an-on journey since then.


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 Post subject: Re: Do, why are you vegan?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:51 pm 
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Back home, most of our friends were pretty liberal and part of the music scene where there were a lot of vegans. I always agreed with most of their opinions about other stuff, which kind of made me go 'if they're well-informed about other ethical stuff, they're probably onto something with this vegan thing'. So I asked questions and started cooking mostly vegan (since we always had vegan friends around at our house, and there was a supermarket run by a vegan couple right across the street- it was easier to buy Cheezly than it was to get real cheese!).

I kept it up for a few months, then we moved here and it suddenly seemed really difficult. I didn't know where to shop, and we didn't know any vegans. I went back to being vegetarian, but a couple of months later I picked up a copy of Eating Animals on a trip to Sydney- I knew that I needed the push to become 'full time' vegan, and I thought that would be it. I read the whole thing on the bus ride home, and by the time we pulled up in Canberra I was vegan (and haven't looked back!). The Twix bar that I bought at the bus station to eat on the way home was the last non-vegan thing I ever (intentionally) ate.

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 Post subject: Re: Do, why are you vegan?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:53 pm 
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The illness and death of a very special little guinea pig showed me that animals love, that they experience emotions and have memories. After I began to want to stop consuming animal products and found the PPK where I did a lot of reading. And I just remembered today is my three year veganniversary!


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 Post subject: Re: Do, why are you vegan?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:07 pm 
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I grew up in a Buddhist household. Vegetarianism as an ethical position was well understood and accepted, though it was not a rigid rule. You do the best you can and find your own path. My Mom, my oldest sister, and a brother were vegetarian for as long as I can remember. The rest of us occasionally ate meat, but it was never a big part of the diet. In my early teens -- due to peer pressure and wanting to fit in, I suppose -- I would more frequently have a burger or pepperoni pizza. Eventually my ethics caught up with me.

The step from vegetarian to vegan came about by itself. It wasn't really a conscious decision; I only noticed after the fact. Aside from cheese, I wasn't a big fan of dairy anyway. And eggs, meh. I can take 'em or leave 'em. I don't have an ethical problem with eggs or dairy per se. More with the horrible conditions associated with the mass production of those things.


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 Post subject: Re: Do, why are you vegan?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:19 pm 
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I was a vegetarian since age 16 for animal love and health reasons. At age 31? (4ish years ago) I read Skinny bisque, and had also recently adopted a dog. There is a section in the book which describes a pig nuzzling a slaughterhouse worker just like a dog would. That was it. I always thought I would never be able to give up dairy. I set up a 30 day vegan trial with a friend and we both succeeded and never looked back! It was so much easier than I thought it would be! Now I'm gluten free and vegan - now THAT can be a bit more of challenge!


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 Post subject: Re: Do, why are you vegan?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:23 pm 
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I had a resolution to go vegan in January, and knew so little that I failed as soon as I started. Food Inc. started it for me- it really got me thinking about how what I eat matters for not just me but to other people, animals, and the earth. Vegetarianism was an easy transition, because it made sense to me, spiritually. It took me a while to understand veganism- why not have cheese? What's wrong with it? Why avoid things like whey at all? When I finally resolved my questions and had experimented enough with vegan cooking (read: ate a lot of nooch), I went for it and now, it seems like I've always been vegan.


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 Post subject: Re: So, why are you vegan?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:56 pm 
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I changed the thread title. If that's not ok, let me know!

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 Post subject: Re: So, why are you vegan?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:34 pm 
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I've enjoyed reading the responses thus far. I too have been wondering what tips the scales for most people.

For me it was a slow transition. My first big movement was to only eat meat once a day, tops. Which now that I say that, sounds completely rediculous. But I totally grew up with having meat at lunch and dinner, if not breakfast as well.

Then I started focusing on cutting red meat out of my diet, or mostly out of my diet. The only time I ate beef was in ground beef form.

Then I began pushing myself to have more and more completely meat free days, and come up with more and more dinners without meat.

This past summer, the WSPA was doing a lot of tweets focusing on the dog meat trade in Asia. I sat down one night and really made myself read the articles, and look at the pictures. It doesn't take someone to know me long to know that I am a DOG PERSON, and looking at those pictures of 3-4 medium to large dogs packed in to small cages, their legs contorted behind their backs because the cages were so small, I was a total mess. I couldn't believe that anyone could do this to these animals, many of which reminded me of the dogs I have at home or used to have at work. And then it really finally clicked - the images that my veg friends were posting on Facebook about loving one animal but eating another really made sense. And I couldn't do it anymore. I couldn't ignore the similarities between them all (which I had been aware of for a long time, but some how just denied) and I couldn't let myself eat one but love another. Picturing my babies in those boxes just tore me up inside too much.

In July I made the change to vegetarian. And since it had been pretty apparent just before that that I was not able to handle dairy, veganism wasn't far off. And just getting into the community more has made it apparent to me that veganism is the only way people to go for their health as well as for the animals.

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 Post subject: Re: So, why are you vegan?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:16 pm 
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I had a seventh-grade science textbook that had on one page a diagram of how much food went into producing animal products. On the one side, it had bread, a fish, a chicken, a pig, and a cow. On the other side, bread icons, with the bread having one, the fish having one and a half, the chicken having two and a half, the pig having three or four, and the cow having at least two rows. I was already a pescetarian, but that really made me think. At some point in there I found a little online ecological footprint calculator. Mine was about average, a little above. A lot of the things on it - housing, car, plane travel - I at fourteen didn't have much power to change, but I could change what I ate, and switching that in the calculator had a pretty dramatic effect.

Also - I know this is an image vegans spend a lot of time and energy battling - but for me going vegan and discovering the scary world of the pro-ED internet happened very close together, so much so that I'm not sure I could pick out one or the other as a causative factor. But I think that might have been part of how I got from 'animal products use more resources' to 'you can change your diet radically, and here are some recipes that don't use cheese.'

On a less-gross note, I think at some point I started avoiding dairy (for my voice, maybe?) and spent a good few adolescent weeks wondering if that meant I had to go vegan, because while I never ever ever evereverever wanted to consume dairy again, I really enjoyed seafood and didn't want to have to give up eating it. My father, in his infinite wisdom, said '...you could always just eat fish but not drink milk' but being fourteen and therefore Really Good at all-or-nothing thinking, I then went and found PETA videos that I knew would make me feel bad enough to give up fish. I think I eventually did a similar thing with honey - I didn't have a strong opinion either way, but more than anything I just didn't want to have to explain that I was mostly vegan except honey, because just 'vegan' was way faster to say - and I didn't want to get into The Great Honey Debate. So I went looking for convincing arguments against consuming honey, decided I liked them and could live with that, and stopped eating honey.


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 Post subject: Re: So, why are you vegan?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:40 pm 
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I had the silliest vegan catalyst ever.

I really like to cook and had owned Veganomicon for many years because it's just plain tasty, and preferred soy over dairy milk for a number of reasons. So, several years ago, I randomly decided to go vegan for a three day weekend, just because I thought it would be fun to challenge myself in the kitchen that way. I tried a bunch of new recipes that I never would've tried, and I really loved them all. I am one of those people who thinks that restrictions are one of the things that help encourage creativity a lot of the time, so I found I really enjoyed the challenge of eradicating animal products (I was also in very veg-friendly Boston, which made this comparatively easy).

So, I just never stopped after my vegan weekend.

Obviously, as time went by and I realized I couldn't imagine going back, I learned about the health and environmental impacts, and of course animal concerns became huge for me. But those were not at all the things that started me on my vegan journey.

So when people say you won't change omnivores with a cupcake, they are TOTALLY WRONG. Vegan food is EXACTLY what won me over to veganism.

Plus I joined the PPK shortly after my experiment, and I truly believe that having this community has been a huge part of what has kept me vegan through the initial challenges, as well as making it feel so easy to be vegan for life. Without the community here, I might have given up. Without ever needing to ask for support, I've always felt supported, and I've known that I have a place to vent, people to talk to... I love that when I moved to SF, I was able to meet people because of the PPK. It's brilliant. It makes veganism much less lonely and scary, and I think that's another hurdle that a lot of people have a hard time clearing. I know I would have.

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 Post subject: Re: So, why are you vegan?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:33 pm 
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I went vegetarian as a teenager because one day I made the horrifying connection between my sweet little parakeet and the fried chicken I was eating. It helped that my mom was verging vegetarian then too. Apparently, I was vegetarian for a whole when I was 4-5 because I made the connection between people fishing off a pier by a seafood restaurant in Italy and the food. My parents said I was really, really quiet for an entire afternoon (unusual!) and then refused to eat anything.

Vegan: Isa's great books that taught me how to cook and the PPK. I'd already tried vegan for a year ages before and drifted back to veg. It was just time. That's really all I can say--after nearly 20yrs of veg, it was time.

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 Post subject: Re: So, why are you vegan?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:08 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: So, why are you vegan?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:13 pm 
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Actually, it was the yogic concept of "do no harm" that really got me actively seeking ways to be vegan. I was already doing a lot of vegetarian cooking for health and had been for a while but I was reading a yogic philosophy book and there was a statement in it about how when one eats meat, they are deriving fuel from the suffering of a tortured animal and in yogic terms, that is not ideal. And that began me thinking about what animals actually go through and it was then I actively sought ways to become vegan and made it my mission to do so, because I, personally, could not live with that idea of "cruel fuel" and I didn't want my life's energy to come from another creature's suffering when it didn't have to.

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 Post subject: Re: So, why are you vegan?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:27 pm 
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lavawitch wrote:
It was just time. That's really all I can say--after nearly 20yrs of veg, it was time.

That was pretty much what it boiled down to me. I had initially thought veganism was my ultimate goal, but it seemed too hard (we're talking like the late 80s) and eventually I just sort of forgot about it. Vegetarianism was a habit. Then one day I thought it was weird that I'd been veg for 20 years without ever reading Diet for a America, knowing full well what would happen if I did. But it was time. I'd always been that vegetarian... the one who couldn't possibly live without cheeeeeeeeese. When it was time to give it up, it was easy. The reasons are kind of all of them: ethical, environmental, political, health-related. I just couldn't come up with a good reason not to be.

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 Post subject: Re: So, why are you vegan?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:32 pm 
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I was raised that way and since meat's never been a part of my food culture and I've never eaten it, it honestly doesn't register as food to me. It doesn't smell good to me, it doesn't look appetizing, and I don't want it anywhere near my mouth. I'm not hugely strict about low doses of dairy or eggs as minor ingredients if someone else is cooking, but drinking milk/eating cheese/eating eggs doesn't appeal to me either.
My mom went vegetarian in the early '80s because she barely had enough money to buy food and realized that vegetables were cheaper. Then she married my dad and he went vegetarian too, then at some point they decided to go vegan, because why not? Then I showed up.
Over the years it's become less economic and more environmental and ethical, and they're all so linked it's hard to pinpoint just ONE reason.


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 Post subject: Re: So, why are you vegan?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:15 am 
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I went vegetarian pretty young, around 12, a few years after getting hit with the "meat is animals" realization around 10 (followed by two years of "nothing with a central nervous system" skipping around the issue nonsense) and anyway after a few years of being a vegetarian, when I was 15 I started to really realize how animals were being harmed by other industries besides just the straight up animal->meat ones, did a few weeks of research on how I was going to feed myself/where to find vegan alternatives for everything, made the switch and never looked back.

I am going to be perfectly honest and say I never actually considered any health or economic benefits from it, my decision to be a vegan was/is 100% about the animals. anyway, 7 years after switching to the whole vegan thing I have not run in to a single thing that would make me consider going back. :))


edit: oh yeah! and re: cheese. I was a little sad about it for like 2 days and was completely over it by one week in.

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 Post subject: Re: So, why are you vegan?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:28 am 
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It's weird -- as a really small kid I knew I wanted to be vegetarian because it felt "right". I didn't know anything about animal agriculture aside from the basics (meat = former living animal) but I knew vegetarianism was an eventuality for me. Similarly, when I went vegetarian in high school I knew veganism was the next logical step even though I didn't know all the sad realities of the egg & dairy industry. I read and thought a lot about veganism for a long time before I took any steps in that direction.

Then,
1) My first semester in college I had a professor who was vegan for health reasons (he didn't call himself vegan though) and would talk about diet every once in a while in class. After I saw a real person living the life, I felt like veganism was doable.
2) I went to a coffee shop for dinner and ordered a veggie omelet. I went in thinking it might be my last non-vegan meal but didn't want to pressure myself to commit to veganism if it didn't feel easy to stop eating these foods. I could only take a few bites of egg and cheese before I was sad and grossed out and that's when I realized I was ready to be vegan. The next day I was vegan!

ETA: For the next few years I would still taste things that were non-vegan (like I would take a bite of mac & cheese off my mom's plate, or a spoonful of my boyfriend's ice cream) because for whatever reason it was really important to me to feel like I wasn't missing out on something. Every time I would try these things I'd go, "oh yeah, I totally don't miss that" and I'd feel reassured in my convictions. It really helped me stay vegan and remembering that has helped me keep perspective as my husband has been transitioning to vegetarianism. Old habits die hard!

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 Post subject: Re: So, why are you vegan?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:04 am 
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I have been a cook for over 20 years. I try to keep up with whats up with food because it makes sense. I cannot remember the first time I heard what vegan but being that it was about food I read up on it. Not that I would ever do it myself mind you, I was raised on a farm complete with cows, pigs, chickens, ducks and gooses. All for us to eat. Many a winter we lived on deer that was given to us by our uncle.

April or May of this year a busser told me she had decided to go vegan. I told her I admired her decision and shared all the info I could with her. Told her to find a forum on the internet because it would be hard and she would need support. My boss the chef hounded her horribly. "How long do you give her? 3 months tops! Hahaha." I told him I thought she would do it as long as it made sense for her and it might be 3 months might be forever. She had all sorts of questions for my boss and I about how to cook different things. I told her one day that really we had no idea how to cook without animal and animal products and that was why so many cooks are crassholes to vegans. I read about a store that opened downtown that was for vegans. She visited the store and found out they were doing a vegan transition class. Two classes, one on why and how to go vegan, the next class was a hands on cooking class. I told her she should do it and I would do it to, because I needed to learn how to cook vegan. I love learning new things and I love cooking good food for people. I even convinced my boss to pay for it.

Most of what we went over the first night was nothing new to me. After the first class I came home and was thinking about how the environmental impact factory farming has on the planet. About all the suffering factory farmed animals go through. I was eating Chocolate dipped Hobnobs. I thought, why not try it for a month just to see how it goes, learn how to cook some vegan food, why not? The next night at the hands on cooking class I got to make a cake. I kept looking for the eggs. The food we ate that night was so good. I got my cake and got to eat it to! Without animal!

I think that was 5 months ago? Not sure. I really have no desire to eat animal products. Meat really does not even smell good to me anymore. Cheese tempts me at times but not nearly as much as it did the first month. I mostly think "hey, you got some nooch in your bag over there." I have to say I have been really blessed to have some really supportive family and friends. They are not tempted to follow me but are happy to eat my vegan food and go to vegan friendly restaurants with me.

Tl, dr.

I am vegan because I do not think most humans need animal flesh or animal products. Also, it is just bad for the environment.


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 Post subject: Re: So, why are you vegan?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:12 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:17 am
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I have to give Upton Sinclair the credit for starting me on the journey: his 1906 novel, The Jungle, outlined the pork industry in such a horrendous way, it made me question a lot of things. Shortly after, I watched Fast Food Nation and realized it was the exact same book with different product and group immigrant workers...nothing had changed in 100 years. From there I just started researching and came to the conclusion that I wanted nothing to do with supporting these powerful industries.

I became vegan for equal parts the above reason and also wanting a healthier diet; I will never eat animals again because of the ethical reasons that I have since learned about -- that and I just feel to damn good both inside and out! Saving the earth's resources has always been important too, but I had no idea how the meat industry contributed to our environmental problems.

FWIW, lurking around this site was instrumental in my transition: the delicious foods and the entire happy and non-judgmental vibe of the community made me want to be part of it, and then gave me the tools that I needed to do it in a healthful, easy, delicious way. So thanks Isa and PPK'ers.


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