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View Full Version : A longer (and shorter) journey than I anticipated



newtovegan
01-23-2004, 11:09 AM
Even as a kid, I was aware that the animals on my plate were not at all different from the dogs and cats in the neighborbood that I loved to play with. However, I came from a family where meat was a cornerstone of a healthy diet and I accepted it as a necessary evil. Still, in junior high and high school, I would look around the dinner table at night and say a small prayer when there was no meat, knowing that no animals had to die to feed me that night.

I went to college in rural Pennsylvania, (no veggie mentors there!), but as a senior, when I saw some special on Mad Cow disease, I decided on the spot to stop eating beef for a while. I thought it would only last a little while, but surprise! After I hadn't eaten it for a few weeks, it no longer looked, smelled or tasted good to me. I was shocked that i could give beef up that easily. But, I still believed that you had to have some animal protein to be healthy (namely chicken and turkey breast, skim milk, etc.)

I also heard about veganism for the first time that same year - from a teenager I was counseling as part of an internship with juvenile offenders. He told me about his parents who were vegan, had traveled extensively with the Grateful dead, did not eat honey, etc, etc. It was the first time I had ever heard about living without any animal products. I didn't act on it then, but it planted a seed...

Out of college and cooking for myself for the first time finally gave me the freedom and drive to research "food", and I couldn't believe the myths I had been taught: skim milk being essential to bone density, that chicken and turkey breast contained little fat or cholesterol and were the best source of protein. What kind of advertising machine had convinced me of these fallacies??

And so it began, pork was the next to go, followed by chicken and turkey, fish, and then I hit a wall, and couldn't figure out how to drop dairy and eggs. This continued for several years until I began to research veggie issues on the web (all my previous info had been from books). Everything I needed to stop milk and eggs was there all the time, and just a few months ago, I became a vegan (for food only so far). I am still working on the hidden ingredients, (i.e. the dreaded natural flavorings), and I expect that it will be a solid year before I also start to look at cosmetics, household items, and clothes (wool I think is the major concern in my closet, and leather on my running shoes).

My family's reaction has been mixed, my brothers and sisters asking questions out of curiousity, my dad asking questions trying to prove me wrong, and my mom sending me a italian charm bracelet with a charm of a fish, chicken, cow, and pig to show her support and celebrate my transition.

My partner has been tolerant of the changes; he makes jokes about Silk and veggie bacon, but avoids cooking meat when i am in the house and has made an effort to create some veggie versions of his dishes.

I am grateful to message boards like these that provide a sense of community and connection for sharing ideas/thoughts.

Now it's time to post a "Why vegan" flyer at the local Stop and Shop community board. I'm wondering if they'll let it stay...

Vegit-8
01-23-2004, 11:34 AM
Hello newtovegan, and welcome. I really enjoyed reading your story. I love that your mother thought to give you a gift that symbolizes your new choices. What a cool thing for her to do.
I am sure that you will enjoy it on VRF.
Once again, welcome.

May peace and joy be with you.
Vegit-8

mountainvegan
01-23-2004, 01:03 PM
Welcome, newtovegan. :) Good luck with the rest of your transition. I have found that learning the best vegan substitutes can be fun, but it does take some time. As time goes on, it tends to get easier.

I'm curious, what points does your father try to prove you wrong on? I've found that most omnis don't know a whole lot about AR and veganism and it's pretty easy to shoot them down. :p Some have done some research and they usually bring the same tired, lame arguments, which may be better, but still don't hold up under closer analysis.

Anyway, welcome again and I'll see you around. :)

jenzie
01-23-2004, 01:46 PM
Welcome to VRF newtovegan, I really enjoyed reading your story! :) I'm glad that for the most part, your family has been supportive of your decision; I think I'll go bug my Mom about why I didn't get a neat italian charm bracelet! :p

If you have access to a Whole Foods, co-op, or just any health food store, finding household products and such that are vegan can be pretty easy. Oh, and next time you're due for some running shoes, New Balance has good ones without any leather! Hopefully that will help to save you a headache down the road! ;)

Dandelion
01-23-2004, 02:53 PM
Hey what a great and sincere story!
:heart:
Thanks and Welcome!