How did you make the decision to live a veg*n lifestyle? - VeggieBoards

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#1 Old 01-11-2017, 09:55 AM
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How did you make the decision to live a veg*n lifestyle?



How did you make the decision to live a veg*n lifestyle?

Share your story!
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#2 Old 01-11-2017, 08:16 PM
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Without rambling too much, concern for animal rights made me a lacto-ovo vegetarian (PETA) but I'm sorry to say that in my early 20s it wasn't enough to keep me on a strict plant based diet, because I had no idea what I was doing, I had no support and I knew 0 vegans. So my first attempt at veganism lasted a few months.

I started transitioning to vegan again after watching Forks Over Knives and Cowspiracy, because I suddenly had more information and now several other reasons besides animal rights to support my decision. I think the first time I was really afraid I was being irrational and it didn't help that my ex said things like vegans were physically weak.

When veganism was discovered by me to be rational and actually so overwhelmingly right and correct for multiple reasons, I studied on how to eat with real nutrition and how to do so even when I am running low on money.

So animal rights made me vegetarian, and environmental and health sciences made me vegan. I also woke up to the fact through education that vegetarianism still harms animals and the environment more than I thought. Though it's still better than eating meat of course.

I think the environment was probably my pinnacle point of commitment to transitioning to vegan though.

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#3 Old 01-11-2017, 09:02 PM
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For some reason my brain decided to start imagining whatever animal I was eating suffering in order to become meat, and I would have to take meat I was chewing out of my mouth because I couldn't bring myself to swallow it.
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#4 Old 01-12-2017, 02:35 AM
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I have always felt a need for compassion, but especially in my teenage years I had a hard time going veg*n because I have Crohns disease and was easily malnourished, plus I come from an abusive home. So for years I was veg*n on and off.

Then I eventually turned vegetarian because I couldnt bring myself to eat meat anymore, but I thought that if I bought humane dairy I was doing enough. I didnt think using animals was wrong, I just thought the way we were using them was usually wrong.

I turned vegan as soon as that thought changed, I realised that using animals in any way is wrong no matter if they are kept humanely or whatever, they are still slaves to us. That made me take the final step.
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#5 Old 01-12-2017, 06:13 PM
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I was in my early 20s, and in college, when the 1990s environmentalism resurgence took place. I was part of that, and still am. I first became interested in vegetarianism for environmental reasons. I became ovo-lacto vegetarian, and I joined the campus animal rights group. I became vegan 6 months later. It's been 25 years, and the doctors always pronounce me healthy at my yearly physical exam!
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#6 Old 01-17-2017, 05:54 PM
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This is great! It's really fun and inspiring to read about your journeys.

For me, I have always been an animal lover and highly sensitive and empathic person. I had struggled for a long time trying to reconcile my feelings about animals with what I had been taught about meat and nutrition my whole life, but always found some excuse to continue eating meat.

I can pinpoint the moment that I became a vegetarian as one random night last year when I was watching Doctor Who and saw the episode "The Beast Below". I was really affected by the episode and was online reading about it on message boards when I came across one where someone pointed out that the episode could be an allegory for factory farming and the meat and dairy industries. So from there I went "down the rabbit hole" and ended up watching the trailer ONLY to Earthlings (sobbing the entire time) and that was it. I couldn't stand to eat meat after that.

I have been a vegetarian since last June and am working towards becoming vegan now. Best decision I've made.
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#7 Old 01-19-2017, 05:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thalassa View Post
Without rambling too much, concern for animal rights made me a lacto-ovo vegetarian (PETA) but I'm sorry to say that in my early 20s it wasn't enough to keep me on a strict plant based diet, because I had no idea what I was doing, I had no support and I knew 0 vegans. So my first attempt at veganism lasted a few months.

I started transitioning to vegan again after watching Forks Over Knives and Cowspiracy, because I suddenly had more information and now several other reasons besides animal rights to support my decision. I think the first time I was really afraid I was being irrational and it didn't help that my ex said things like vegans were physically weak.

When veganism was discovered by me to be rational and actually so overwhelmingly right and correct for multiple reasons, I studied on how to eat with real nutrition and how to do so even when I am running low on money.

So animal rights made me vegetarian, and environmental and health sciences made me vegan. I also woke up to the fact through education that vegetarianism still harms animals and the environment more than I thought. Though it's still better than eating meat of course.

I think the environment was probably my pinnacle point of commitment to transitioning to vegan though.
Your reasoning is very similar to mine. The environmental impacts of factory farming/animal agriculture was terrifying! Discovering what ACTUALLY happens in the industry to these poor animals was so disturbing to me! So happy I made the transition. <3
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#8 Old 01-20-2017, 08:39 AM
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A medical emergency (gall bladder - although surgery wasn't required) prompted the immediate and drastic change from a typical SAD diet to strictly plant-based.

I had already switched to locally raised meats, dairy, eggs, at least 2 years before the gall bladder attack happened in an attempt to eat healthier, but still remained over 300 lbs.(yet my doc kept telling me all my blood work looked fine w/ each check-up and never suggested I change my lifestyle), miserable with inflammation, suffered from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, "nervous stomach", was diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis, severe fibromyalgia, severe depression, severe anxiety, severe adhd, and I'm sure I've forgotten a few. Was told to just learn to live with it as all of these things come with age. Grrrrrrr..........

Meds were thrown at me left and right and my body/organs/mind continued to be separated and farmed out to various specialists, none of whom could ever answer anything about specific root issues to address and heal causes, but could easily give me a pill or offer to cut me open to temporarily suppress symptoms, but things kept getting rapidly worse instead of better. I was given pills to relax me, to put me to sleep, to calm my nerves, to wake and wind me back up, to ease the pains, and to relax the muscles, and here, try this one, too, because it just might be "the one".

The gall bladder attack is what it took to finally force me to flip the script on my eating/consumption/personal environment habits. I was convinced I'd die without all the foods I was used to and still thought it a bit "out there" to have to change so drastically. With close guidance and support from a friend, my patient and loving husband, along with my beautiful village of healers that I've been fortunate to cross paths with, I dove right in.

I learned that slow and mindful are two words that are very necessary with such huge changes and that it often has to get much worse before it gets better. I've become my own full-time job in unlearning what I've been inaccurately taught through the years while filling in the dark lonely gaps of my newfound wellness grooves with relearning all about self and how to healthily love and nurture each and every cell.

Once I began looking behind the scenes to learn the processes involved with getting food to our tables, I realized I'd never again be willingly ingesting another animal product. My heart knows better now and can't handle the thought of not honoring what I now know.

However, I never realized how incredibly isolating it would be to regain vitality and nurture self. I'm a hell of a lot more sensitive to everything now that my body is much cleaner. I shed 110 lbs., and hundreds more, in the friends that no longer wish to share space.

I thought loved ones and acquaintances would celebrate my health with and for me, but I think it often places a mirror in front of them that they aren't ready to look that deeply into just yet, for many reasons, which is perfectly okay, but can certainly create some incredibly uncomfortable awkwardness.

I have to try to stay strong enough to avoid giving into strong cravings that get triggered easily depending on where I am, and have to keep pretty strict boundaries about spaces I'll visit. It's gotten a bit more lax as I get more comfortable within self in my almost two years of practicing whole foods/plant-based/vegan eating. Total script flip, totally different lifestyle, not just a temporary gig, as many seem to assume.

So much is designed around food and drink in the social and familial and even the workplace scene. You have to design and create your own personalized comfortable road show and spread the joy from your heart. Otherwise, you'll likely drive yourself and everyone else (even more) mad in more moments than you wish to digest. As with all things, I learned the hard way. lol
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#9 Old 01-25-2017, 10:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by forkandveg View Post
Your reasoning is very similar to mine. The environmental impacts of factory farming/animal agriculture was terrifying! Discovering what ACTUALLY happens in the industry to these poor animals was so disturbing to me! So happy I made the transition. <3
Well it's always nice to meet someone who understands or sees the problem. I am glad we both do, I wish there were more who did.

Because I am studying Environmental Science I wonder if there's any way to make direct impact on the agricultural aspect, which would effectively marry my two gravest concerns. Scientists have recently discovered a way of presenting information that "innoculates" people of various political persuasions against conspiracy theories about climate change. However, I'm still reading these articles in the Guardian, like "oh utopian thought gets us no where"...it must start to be pressed or legally enforced that it's not "utopian thought" to get first world humans off meat at bare minimum. I think the problem lies in the perception that food choices are still relatively personal and non-impactful, like sexual preferences or favorite hobbies, when in truth it's more like outlawing fraud and murder.
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#10 Old 01-25-2017, 10:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knowtions In Motion View Post
A medical emergency (gall bladder - although surgery wasn't required) prompted the immediate and drastic change from a typical SAD diet to strictly plant-based.

I had already switched to locally raised meats, dairy, eggs, at least 2 years before the gall bladder attack happened in an attempt to eat healthier, but still remained over 300 lbs.(yet my doc kept telling me all my blood work looked fine w/ each check-up and never suggested I change my lifestyle), miserable with inflammation, suffered from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, "nervous stomach", was diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis, severe fibromyalgia, severe depression, severe anxiety, severe adhd, and I'm sure I've forgotten a few. Was told to just learn to live with it as all of these things come with age. Grrrrrrr..........

Meds were thrown at me left and right and my body/organs/mind continued to be separated and farmed out to various specialists, none of whom could ever answer anything about specific root issues to address and heal causes, but could easily give me a pill or offer to cut me open to temporarily suppress symptoms, but things kept getting rapidly worse instead of better. I was given pills to relax me, to put me to sleep, to calm my nerves, to wake and wind me back up, to ease the pains, and to relax the muscles, and here, try this one, too, because it just might be "the one".

The gall bladder attack is what it took to finally force me to flip the script on my eating/consumption/personal environment habits. I was convinced I'd die without all the foods I was used to and still thought it a bit "out there" to have to change so drastically. With close guidance and support from a friend, my patient and loving husband, along with my beautiful village of healers that I've been fortunate to cross paths with, I dove right in.

I learned that slow and mindful are two words that are very necessary with such huge changes and that it often has to get much worse before it gets better. I've become my own full-time job in unlearning what I've been inaccurately taught through the years while filling in the dark lonely gaps of my newfound wellness grooves with relearning all about self and how to healthily love and nurture each and every cell.

Once I began looking behind the scenes to learn the processes involved with getting food to our tables, I realized I'd never again be willingly ingesting another animal product. My heart knows better now and can't handle the thought of not honoring what I now know.

However, I never realized how incredibly isolating it would be to regain vitality and nurture self. I'm a hell of a lot more sensitive to everything now that my body is much cleaner. I shed 110 lbs., and hundreds more, in the friends that no longer wish to share space.

I thought loved ones and acquaintances would celebrate my health with and for me, but I think it often places a mirror in front of them that they aren't ready to look that deeply into just yet, for many reasons, which is perfectly okay, but can certainly create some incredibly uncomfortable awkwardness.

I have to try to stay strong enough to avoid giving into strong cravings that get triggered easily depending on where I am, and have to keep pretty strict boundaries about spaces I'll visit. It's gotten a bit more lax as I get more comfortable within self in my almost two years of practicing whole foods/plant-based/vegan eating. Total script flip, totally different lifestyle, not just a temporary gig, as many seem to assume.

So much is designed around food and drink in the social and familial and even the workplace scene. You have to design and create your own personalized comfortable road show and spread the joy from your heart. Otherwise, you'll likely drive yourself and everyone else (even more) mad in more moments than you wish to digest. As with all things, I learned the hard way. lol
That's such an inspiration. Congratulations on your new found health and significant weight loss. You are so strong! Please hang in there, you do have allies.

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#11 Old 01-29-2017, 06:33 AM
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I first became vegetarian almost 2 years ago when I was diagnosed with T2 Diabetes, so I thought I would start eating healthier and eat vege more... But at the time I also was freaked out by looking at meat all of a sudden. I would look at it and find it gross, and start thinking "yuck, I bet you this is what my muscle and flesh looks like inside of my own body, I can't eat this... Its muscle fibers" (strange I know lol).

But then my B12 levels dropped so low I needed weekly injections at my doctors office to get them back up to a healthy state. So, soon around this time I started to introduce meat back into my diet and soon enough I was eating crap again.

1 month ago today, I became vegetarian again for completely different reasons. This time round, I felt like a hypocrite, how could I love animals and yet have them on my fork? How can I own 3 cats + 1 baby turtle, love them so much, and yet eat their other animal friends? I couldn't do it anymore. I would look at a hamburger and then look at my pets, and see no difference. That burger patty could have been an animal I saved, it could have been an animal I could own for my self to love and take care of.

I really enjoy not eating meat anymore for that reason, but I am really enjoying having a healthier lifestyle and more positive outlook on life.
Currently, my husband and I are transitioning to being Vegan, and loving every step of the way.

(recently found out that T2D affects B12 levels, stopping eating meat didn't cause me to drop so low in B12, it was a mixture of both most likely, I take 1 - 1000mcg B12 tablet per week supplement now to keep it under control)
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Last edited by missmetal; 01-29-2017 at 06:39 AM.
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#12 Old 02-04-2017, 08:39 AM
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I tried to go vegetarian when I was 18 as I never liked the way hens were treated back in 1972,I made myself ill because I never knew I had to replace meat with a protein source,So over the years I had veg alternatives here and there,and gradually went onto full veg food when we watched something about animals and slaughter houses and we havent looked back,I hate the way animals are used and abused and I love being meat and dairy free.
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#13 Old 02-04-2017, 01:34 PM
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I had had the idea that the morality of eating animals and vegetarianism might be worth looking into at some point, and eventually I did get around to buying a few books about the animal industry and the philosophy of animal liberation, and I found the arguments compelling.

Before that, there was also a specific incident on holiday, fishing in Brazil. I was only sitting in the boat to be with my friends, because I didn't want to fish (it was part of a multi-day tour), but the guide passed me a fish that they had caught (it was a piranha), and asked me to kill it. I actually had a knife pressed into this little living fish's head, just touching it, and all I had to do was slightly press down to painlessly kill with no no gore, an extremely easy process. But, I didn't want to do it. I didn't do it. I just gave the fish back to the guide. That evening, we ate the fish that my friends caught, and I did to, but for sure that got me thinking. I think that sowed a seed. Because I knew these actions were not consistent.
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#14 Old 02-04-2017, 07:54 PM
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About 7 months ago we bought some chickens to keep in the backyard because our daughter was eating eggs for breakfast everyday and we wanted to make sure we knew the hens were well cared for. I'd never had anything to do with farm animals before - as a child we had always had cats and dogs but never any animal that lived outdoors - and I was shocked at how, for want of a better word, pet-like they were. I could see that each had her own personality and mannerisms; when I opened the back door they ran to the fence and greeted me. They let me pick them up and one of them became very special to me. Not long after we got them, I blindly went to the freezer to defrost a packet of chicken legs for dinner and felt suddenly sick as I looked at them. The meat under the plastic looked exactly like my chicken's legs. I could see the shape of them, could feel the warm feather-covered muscles under my hands as I cradled one of our hens in my arms. I knew then and there that I would never eat meat again. What was the difference between Audrey my beloved rhode island red hen, and Fern, my burmese cat? Didn't all animals deserve to live and be free from pain and fear? It was like my heart was opened and I knew I would never go back. Already dairy free due to a lifelong lactose intolerance, it was an easy transition to vegan.

Maintaining it has been a learning curve. B12, DHAs, getting enough calories, and trying to find the right balance between my new lifestyle and my children's needs and wants. Learning a whole new way of cooking was a challenge, especially because we have two people with coeliac diease in the family. Feeling even more restricted when we try to eat out. Despite the challenges, I wouldn't change a thing. I feel at peace in my decision. I look at my food now and know that nothing suffered for me to eat it.
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#15 Old 02-10-2017, 08:35 AM
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My story is pretty simple. I'm getting older and I've finally admitted that I'm no longer bullet proof. I decided about the middle of December that I needed to make changes. I've decided to do it in phases. Number one was to get rid of smoking. I ignored all other aspects of health temporarily. I got rid of smoking and gained at least 15 lbs. in 6 weeks or so.

Now I'm into the next phase and decided to concentrate on nutrition. I started researching various types of nutrition and ran across a youtube lecture given by a Dr. Michael Greger. I then went to his website on nutrition facts. I have also been looking into all other aspects of nutrition. Right now I'm vegetarian and I think on my way to being vegan. The way I look at it is that I don't know if it helps, but I know it can't hurt. So I'm on this journey to see where it will take me.

My next phase will be exercise to compliment the nutrition.

I'd love to say I have some deep-seated philosophical reasoning for this change, but I don't. I began looking at it from a strictly health perspective. However, I'm beginning to see this from a variety of perspectives as time goes on.

Thanks for having this community. I'm sure I'll find it instructive and helpful. I'm looking forward to this old dog learning new tricks.
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#16 Old 02-22-2017, 11:05 AM
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The decision for me to stop eating meat began as an internal progression over several years, as my life and time became more focused on animal rights and rescue, along with a spiritual awakening as I began to realize that harming others in order to sustain our own lives is not only unnecessary, but wrong. It was one of those things where I just KNEW one day that this was the right path for me, and I was shocked that it had taken me so long to realize it. Once seen, it cannot be unseen. I felt as though a veil had been lifted from my eyes, and was ashamed at having been blind for so long.

I very quickly (within days) progressed from the commitment to vegetarianism to full-on veganism, as in my research, I learned the cruelty rampant in the dairy and egg industry was almost worse than the meat industry itself, and how closely intertwined they are. I have since been working on removing any and all animal tested and animal derived products and clothing from my life as well.

I will celebrate my one-year veganiversary in May this year ^_^
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#17 Old 04-04-2017, 09:23 AM
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I became a vegetarian in order to save my life. This was not a choice I would have made on my own (before knowing the benefits). My colon ruptured due to diverticulitis and luckly it sealed itself back up without surgery (i am very lucky indeed).

My surgeon warned me that if it ruptured again they would have to remove my colon. The decision was made to initially leave my colon in in hopes that i could control the disease with my diet. I was told to become a vegan and if not a vegan at least a vegetarian.

The disease causes me great pain, great pain. When it flairs I am unable to stand up straight. I went two years without listening to my doctors advice and i paid for it greatly. My colon nearly ruptured two months ago again and I decided I had no other choice but to comply with the vegetarianism.

The result? No more pain, no more extreme antibiotic prescriptions, I feel better and it has resolved my bathroom issues. I am convinced now that this is the ideal diet for anybody and everybody.

So in short, I want to live and I want to do so pain free. Best thing I ever did! Best of luck to anybody else making the transition!
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#18 Old 04-11-2017, 02:02 PM
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I was vegetarian 3 years and thinks that my life is not the same that star eats animals again, but I become a vegetarian other again.
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#19 Old 04-13-2017, 01:37 AM
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My father thought it was amusing to say things like "poor little lamb (or chicken etc) when food was put on the table. I didn't find it amusing (I was 14 or 15) and would say that people had murdered them and refused to eat. So my mother just started to make vegetable dishes for me. I was already eating most of my veg raw because that was the only way I liked them.

As I learned more I cut more things from my diet and replaced them with suitable substitutes.

Still miss cheese though and have yet to find a substitute I like so I just don't eat cheese.

I loathe the smell of cooking meat and the smell of walking past a butcher so I will never go back.
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#20 Old 04-13-2017, 03:39 AM
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In late 2010 I was in a period of recovering from an eating disorder. I discovered there was a whole world out there, and I wanted to do something bigger than myself. I started thinking about world hunger and how to help people. Simultaneously I began to think about and research just where my food came from, the people who grew it and what went into this food that I was nourishing myself with. I read "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollen, and that was when I first learned about veganism. I had known about vegetarians and in fact many years ago as a teen had tried it for a year, simply cutting out meat but still consuming dairy and eggs. I believe at that time it was more about health and dieting than ethics, and peer pressure over time put an end to it.

I found when I was reading Mr. Pollan's book that I agreed with so much of what veganism is about, and found myself disagreeing with Mr. Pollan on many accounts. I started reading more books on veganism, not just the diet itself but books on ethics, lifestyle, and from different viewpoints. I read "The Sexual Politics of Meat" by Carol Adams, and "Sistah Vegan" by breeze Harper, and "Animal Liberation" by Peter Singer. I also watched videos like "Earthlings" and other documentaries about our food industry. All of it shocked me and had a profound effect on me. I had all the same questions as others about how to meet my DHA needs, calcium, zinc, protein, etc as a vegan. I studied a lot about nutrition and how I could meet my needs. I also looked at what I was eating already as an omni trying to be healthy, and discovered I was already eating entire vegan meals here and there. I had an intolerance to most dairy for many years so had cut out cheese and milk and butter etc years ago. I was consuming plain Greek yogurt quite often though back then, and eggs. After all I read and learned about I just could not keep supporting this industry. As well I realized that it is entirely possible to thrive as a vegan based on the many books and blogs I was reading. By February 2011 I was ready to make the change. I picked a date and gave myself a week to wean off animal products. I had planned ahead, started making lists of foods I enjoyed and already ate that were naturally vegan, and built up from there. I discovered Vegweb for tons of recipes and at that time they had an awesome community forum (which is now defunct). I was very successful at my transition. I had not been much of a meat eater before so it was not too drastic of a change. But it was hard for my long term partner, who took quite a while to come around because I refused to buy or cook animal products and I am the bread winner and cook. Over time he warmed up to my awesome vegan meals and now eats them almost exclusively six years in, but he still consumes some dairy (he is off eggs) and eats meat when he is with his family which is about three times a year.

I am not going to lie in that going vegan did affect my eating disorder, but I did not go vegan as part of my eating disorder, unless you count my natural progression of recovery as a reason I went vegan, due to learning about our food system and wanting to help someone (I regularly donate to food charities now as hunger is a profound and important social and world issue to me). It can be hard in the beginning when you have to think about food all the time and plan everything. Now it comes much more naturally, but back then it was triggering. I unintentionally lost a good bit of weight at first out of not knowing what to eat and it took a while to regain that weight. I had been through hell refeeding and gaining weight a year prior when in recovery from my eating disorder, so having to do it AGAIN, albeit on a lesser scale, was hard. I had a full relapse from early 2013 to early 2014 into my eating disorder, but fought my way back and am healthier now than I have been in years, all still as a vegan. I used to be very very strict and whole plant foods only, but my recovery has meant trying out and including some processed vegan foods here and there, and I find that I enjoy some of them while others tend to give me digestive problems. it's meant sometimes drinking full fat plant milks, and roasting with coconut oil here and there without demonizing oil. Its meant pushing myself to go out to eat at restaurants that cater to vegans and ordering a vegan grilled cheese sandwich once in a while. I still eat very healthy but am more relaxed with food, and I have other interests besides thinking about food 24/7 now.

It took longer to replace the wool, silk, leather items I had and find vegan versions of hiking shoes, ballet slippers etc. I got rid of all my harsh hairsprays, chemical cleaners, shampoos etc in the first few months of being vegan. There is a facility run by my local city waste management where you can bring chemicals like household toiletries and cleaners, and others can walk in there and take stuff if they want, so none of it goes directly into landfills etc. They recycle some of that stuff or dispose of it safely. Being vegan has really opened my eyes to the way I live on every level. Not just in the products that I use or consume, but the way i think about animals, and how I relate to people. It is about compassion, respect for every BODY, for autonomy over one's body and life. It is a stand against exploitation and abuse of individuals but also systems of repression. It is always a growing process, and learning, and striving to live my values. It isn't so much about avoiding as it is about embracing....I did some animal rights activism for a while when I was working part time and in school. I leafleted high schools and colleges, and tabled at a local private college. I worked with the director of Nutrition Services at my local medical organization to get vegan items on the menu for patients and visitors after a relative's experience in the hospital as a vegan. I overcame personal obstacles and embraced life and earned a degree and two certifications after 17 years of putting off finishing school and hiding away from the world. I also dance again, something I do now because I LOVE to, and I am learning to like my body and realize my body is important and worthy of my respect too. I joined a local vegan Meetup group and it is refreshing to see this growing movement of veganism around the world. I've also experienced disappointment and heartache when family members have returned to eating meat, and others have not supported my veganism, and there is still rampant abuse and exploitation of animals everywhere. our food industry is still in dire need of improvement. But I also realize I am one person who can not change the world. As a consumer and on an individual level I can make a difference in my choices and the way I live, and my experience and passion about this cause sometimes rubs off on others, hopefully. So that's where I am!
Thalassa and BlueMts like this.

In the end, only kindness matters. - Jewel



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#21 Old 05-06-2017, 06:49 AM
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Yes using animals is wrong in every way! they are people!
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