‘Tis the grand question, asked by many people I’ve come across in my life – mainly strangers – and the conversation usually goes something like this:
Them: “So you’re vegan, huh? When did you decide to be vegan?”
Me: “Yeah, about 2 years ago.”
Them: “Wow, that’s a long time. How do you become vegan?”
Me: “Well, I started off eating all sorts of meats, then I cut out red meats, and then-…”
Them: [zones out]
Me: “So those were the steps I took to get here and-“
Them: “I can NEVER be vegan. I LOVE cheese.”
So yeah, that’s typically what happens. Awkward, I know. If you’re also someone who’s vegan, does that ever happen to you? Let’s get into the topic of becoming vegan (how many times can I say the word “vegan” in this post?*) and how to do it. This is mainly for those who are not vegan and are thinking about transitioning into it or are in the middle of transitioning and don’t know where to go or what to do. To the already-vegans, this post may just be leisure reading for ya, but let me know if you’ve taken the same or similar route!
I know many people who have become vegan by simply cutting everything out, quitting like cold turkey (no pun intended) after watching a documentary such as What The Health or Cowspiracy. That takes a lot of discipline and determination. Props to them, right? I also know many people who have taken it slowly, cutting out foods one by one until they’ve reached full-vegan. I don’t know about you, but I felt like Goku reaching Super Saiyan when I got to my goal. Many vegan activists try to rush people into becoming vegan as fast as possible, but I’m here to tell you don’t. It’s hard, I get it – took me nearly 4 years to get to where I am today.
Now, to answer the question of “How do I become vegan?” You can either A. cut everything out this very moment, or you can B. take your time. I’m a pretty stubborn person, so just documentaries aren’t going to cut it for me. I believe it’s important to take your time because this gives you a chance to learn about why you’re doing what you’re doing. It’s important to study the subject, understand all sides of this spectrum, and know what your purpose is. Are you becoming vegan for the animals’ sake? Is it because of your health? Or is it for the sake of our environment?
Disclaimer: I’m telling this story from my own experience and journey of becoming vegan. I am, by no means, telling you what to do. Becoming vegan or not is 100% your own decision.
About four years ago, I would eat anything. Really, anything – alligators, lambs, sharks, livers, kidneys, tongues – until I’ve started to notice that my body would feel heavily weighed down and I’d feel tired all day, even though I’ve gotten a full 8 hours of sleep. By that time, Ryan had already become vegan; he quit like cold turkey ON THANKSGIVING DAY. I can’t recall the exact timeline, but around that time, I started experimenting with how food affects my body by cutting out all red meats, which includes beef, pork, and lamb. At the time, my family had owned a restaurant where my dad would always cook up meals with beef and pork for me. He thought I was crazy for not wanting to eat red meats!
From there, I transitioned into mainly eating poultry, aka chicken and duck. That was a difficult one to give up, to be honest, especially since I lived and went to school near Chick-Fil-A’s. The struggle, amiright?! Then I learned about the commercial poultry industry, and lemme tell ya, it’s UGLY. I’ll let you do that research on your own.
I then took the next step, and became pescatarian, meaning I only ate fish and other seafood. Stayed that way for two whole years, only because I was a server at a sushi restaurant and could have all the free sushi I wanted. Not the greatest reason, but that was my reason.
Once I left Florida and moved to California for the first time, I decided to cut out seafood and become vegetarian, which still included dairy such as milk, butter, and cheese. From there, after Ryan and I had left Cali, traveled for half a year, and moved to Oregon, I completely cut out dairy. That was also a difficult one, being that (just like most people) I loved cheese. But I did it for my health, and the sake of not supporting the dairy industry, which is just as ugly as the poultry industry. Plus, if you’ve ever driven North from Los Angeles to San Francisco, you’d notice the terrible conditions cows have to live in. You can literally SEE hundreds of them squished up, sitting on top of one another in small cattle pens alongside the interstate. Not a pretty sight nor a pretty smell.
Fast forward to life in Oregon all the way to current time in Cali, I’ve cut out all animal products from my diet. It wasn’t so hard after I’ve gotten to the point of being vegetarian. Living in Los Angeles also has a big impact on my diet and life, being that it’s extremely easy to be vegan here. It’s not just the abundance of vegan restaurants, but also the vast supply of vegan alternatives, including different types of cheeses, meats, and even seafood! It may be more of a challenge to transition into becoming vegan if you live in an area that doesn’t offer many options, such as Wisconsin. Sorry, Wisconsin.
All in all, this was my journey to becoming vegan, and you may find yourself following the same, if not, similar steps. As much as I love being vegan and the vegan community, I too get annoyed by vegan activists who try to force people to change their lifestyle. I get it, veganism isn’t for everyone and it takes a lot of commitment. Do what you feel is right for you – there’s nothing wrong with taking your time.
*Remember earlier when I asked how many times I could say “vegan” in this post? 28, not including the title.
Rooting for you, either way.