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After The Rain
Jul 2nd, 2004, 09:49 AM
At another vegetarian message board, I saw a thread once where people wrote about their personal transition into becoming a vegetarian. Not just a line or two about why they decided to become veggies, but a small article about the whole process. Maybe I shouldn't suggest this until I've got time to write my own story, but I decided to post the idea while it was fresh (I know I stole it! :p )

germaine
Jul 3rd, 2004, 08:18 PM
About 15 years ago, my wife and two daughters decided to become vegetarian. I fought it doggedly, threatening to cook my own meat, going out for fast food, etc. Eventually, because I am lazy, I gave in. When the three went total vegetarian, (vegan when it comes to ingesting) I fought again, insisting on my cheese. That lasted about a week or two--token protest. Now the two daughters are vegan. My wife and I are still total vegetarians, mainly because we have trouble finding belts and footwear to fit our bodies.

The task has been challenging but also rewarding. Upon reflection, I don't think I'd have it any other way.

-- germaine

veganess
Jul 4th, 2004, 01:28 AM
My teacher showed us a movie on the inside workings of a slaughterhouse. I was 11 years old and vowed never to eat animal flesh again. I was a vegetarian for many years and then 4 1/2 years ago I finally worked up the guts to find out that cheese and eggs are just as cruel as flesh. I've never touched the stuff since then.

drussell4801
Jul 23rd, 2004, 09:46 PM
Years ago I watched a movie called 'faces of death' .. went vegan the next day, lasted two years. I was not eating healthfully and I got sick, so I went off the diet, knowing full well I would return one day. That day was 3 weeks ago.

Artichoke47
Jul 24th, 2004, 03:05 AM
I went vegetarian about 2 years ago, attempting to cut back on calories. I didn't even take the animals into consideration and the ethical issues didn't cross my mind...yet.

Then I got bored with the foods I was eating, mostly "meat replacement" junk, so I bought a vegan cookbook. At the beginning of the cookbook was an explanation about the different cruel industries and reasons for going vegan. I cleaned out my refrigerator that night and haven't eaten animal products or byproducts since. A few months later, I went vegan in that I buy cruelty-free clothing and household items.

It was the best decision I ever made; it's been about 10 months. :)

TheFirstBus
Jul 24th, 2004, 03:10 AM
Really it was not until somewhat a month after I turned before I got really into it. Reading a book for 1975 Animal Liberation by Peter Singer. I was only in the beginning of the book and my perspective changed on it completly. A long dead friendship was even rekindled via the help of this new thing we had in common. Realisticlly I finally realized I was a part of a long standing prejudice, I had been an advocate for many things for a long while and just hadn't realized this one.

Michelle
Jul 25th, 2004, 06:49 PM
I decided to become vegetarian once and for all in 1996 (had tried it a couple of times, but didn't stick with it). A friend of mine and I made a pact that we would never eat meat again. After making the change, I started reading everything I could find on the internet about vegatarianism and veganism. After reading "Why Vegan?", I decided to go all the way and reject dairy and eggs as well. I stayed vegan for about 2 months before I decided it was "too hard" and went back to lacto-ovo. Living in Alabama where some people have actually argued to me that "the bible says that animals were put on the earth for us to eat" and "well, if we didn't eat 'em they'd overpopulate and take over" (jeeeeez...how crazy is that???) and having had various other ridiculously ignorant statements thrown at me, being vegetarian has been an ongoing adventure. Last week, I finally decided that I was being just as ignorant by continuing to eat products containing dairy and eggs. I have made a pact with myself that I will never eat another bite of food that is the result of suffering among voiceless, helpless creatures.

i_like_deer
Jul 26th, 2004, 05:45 PM
i grew up in wyoming. if there's a worst place to be vegan... i was not vegan in high school but i hung out with vegan straight-edge kids. they were the unhealthiest people ever. when i read "why vegan?" & told them i was becoming vegan, they said "DON'T DO IT, it sucks" & i tried it & it sucked. i was limited to eating what my parents bought & there was NO health food stores that i could persuade them to shop at.

I moved to new mexico to go to college & was living in the dorms & eating at a cafeteria. this is the scene of my second failure at going vegan. they did serve soymilk but that doesn't make up for a meal of sad, wilted salad veggies, white rice & french fries. after i got severe food poisoning from eating cheese there (EVERYONE i knew who ate meat/dairy there got food poisoning at one point), i moved out.

because i could buy my own food now, i started eating healthier, but i was still eating eggs & cheese. then i saw a used copy of "diet for a new america" in a bookstore & decided to pick it up because i remembered my vegan straight-edge friends raving about it. i read it, & that was it. i set a date, pigged out on green chile & pineapple pizza the night before & never looked back.

i found the switch easy because i had already gotten used to cooking all my own meals, & trying new vegetables & recipes was fun. i also found my grocery bills went waaay down even though i had also switched to organic produce. i feel so much better physically & i like food so much more than i ever did--i'll never go back.

John
Aug 11th, 2004, 07:38 AM
Interestingly enough, I began going vegan before I ever made a conscious effort to. First, milk and eggs in their most obvious forms became very repulsive to me. Then, the change happened naturally where I stopped buying leather and other animal products.

One strange thing that happened about a year after I became vegan was that animals lost their fear of me. As I would walk through the woods, deer made no effort to escape me. In fact the would get in my way. I remember a mother deer leading a fawn right in front of me along with a herd. I remember a young stag glaring at me with his mate behind him. Deer can attack sometimes too. Dogs and cats of course were always friendly. Most birds ignored me. Crows would seek out my attention and one crow even landed on the same bench beside to me and stayed with me until I had to leave for class. House flies even allowed me to pick them up in my fingers to bring them outside.

I wondered if maybe without the smell of death emanating from my pores, I didn't smell like a human anymore. Maybe nature was encouraging me. Maybe it was my state of mind at the time. Or maybe semi-strange things happen to me on a regular basis.

gertvegan
Aug 11th, 2004, 09:42 AM
Love the story John. I read a cow instead of crow, ha ha. I find myself talking to animals, no not like a nut. I, like you, also began going vegan without making a conscious effort, and not really knowing what vegan was.

John
Aug 11th, 2004, 09:30 PM
Unfortunately, while there used to be huge flocks of crows where I live, now it is rare to even see one. I suppose West Nile Virus is responsible. I did a search on the internet to find some info on dwindling crow populations and instead the closest I got was a site about people who like to hunt crows.

I got a thrill once when I spotted a white crow. :)

Kuklasmom
Aug 17th, 2004, 12:03 AM
My vegan story is not unlike many others. I was an omnivore for the first 21 years of my life (I'm 56 years old); when we married, my husband and I decided to try a vegetarian diet. We did some reading to make sure that we got our proper nutrition, and we made the transition with no problem.

After we divorced, I remained a vegetarian. I read Peter Singer's Animal Liberation, joined PETA and a couple of local animal rights groups, and was amazed to find that a vegan diet was possible, very nutritious, affordable, and convenient!

I made the change for the benefit of animals; I'll never go back.

Best regards,
Kukla's Mom

feline01
Aug 17th, 2004, 07:56 PM
I went vegetarian about 6 years ago as I was eating in a restaurant called the Cheesecake factory, enjoying a shepard's pie and just stared at the mound of shredded poor cow muscle tissue and realized how could I eat this poor murdered cow when I love animals. I stopped eating meat then and there and gave up seafood within 6 months after that. I met my husband about a year after I became vegetarian. He was a dedicated carnivore, ate steak and 4 egg omelettes for breakfast. Over the years, I would read tidbits to him about the treatment of animals. He tried vegetarianism once and stopped after we had a fight and he ran straight for a hamburger. In 2001, I read Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser and was horrified so I read out many,many bits to my husband who also became disgusted. That was enough to convert him to vegetarianism. Then in October 2002, he made the announcement that if he wasn't going to exploit animals for their flesh, he wasn't going to keep exploiting their unhatched chicks or milk so he went vegan and I followed within the next week or two. We've been happily vegan since. I gave birth to twins in April 2004 following a healthy, vegan pregnancy and we plan on raising our twins vegan as well.

gertvegan
Aug 17th, 2004, 08:39 PM
Nice little story feline01, glad to hear the family are all doing just fine.

Fruitbat
Aug 17th, 2004, 10:55 PM
I ws brought up omnivorous with a lare appetitie for meats, cheeses, and vegetables and fruit in almost euqal quantities i.e. huge amounts. I was highly active child skiing, horseriding, swimming skating gymnastics and I was happy.

Then in my teens my family moved for a 3rd time and i never settled in my new home - no one accepted me I was that strange foreign girl. I had few friends always the outcasts at school - I absorbed myself in my studies. My only other occupation was gymnastics a sport for which I had a passion - a sport which had taken over my life as I trained 15-17 hours a week besically whenever I was not at school. But although I loved the sport my new club was miserable for me - again the girls were never very close friends. After 3 years I couldnt take it anymoe and I made the heart-breaking decision to give it up.
Meanwhile I was deeple depressed as a lonely, bored teenager with no siblings and parents who thought she had turned out fine as a sensile intelligent your woman and needed little guidance so we never talked much. I had alot of presure to be the perfect daughter and only grandchil and only niece etc - not intentioanlly imposed by my family but self-imposed by me because of the great love they had for me and I for them. My depression became despair of ever beign happy again - I wanted to control my life so as to control happiness and to show everyone I was strong and had self-discipline and ot make mysel feel better about myself - I started dieting when I was 17. I quickly became anorexic. When I was 17 and a half I gave up gymnastics which was the only thing keeping me away from full-blown anorexia - after that point weight-loss was myonly non-academic occupation - it became a game and a goal-setting exercise and self-disciplinary exercise like gymnastics had been.
When I was 18 I started to admit to myself and some select friends that I had a problem. I though this meant I was cured but it did not. As an excuse to avoid my worse phobia - fats - I became vegetarian but I told myself if was because I wanted to be healthy and this was how I would cure myself. My parents wer eunhappy at first but got used to it and now they are not unsupportive and always helpful about being vegetarian but extremely anti-vegan. My parents nevernoticed that I was anorexic despite commentson my thinness from both sets of Gparents, my teachers, and a close family friend. It was only after the close family friend said I looked anorexic that my parents said I was too thin but they blamed vegetarianism. My Mum wanted me to quite being veggie as she is very omni but my Dad supported me by saying if it was wot i wanted that wa ok but I needed to modify my diet to be healthy again. His concern touched me but I was angry at being interefered with by my parents. I started to lie and decieve my parents so that they thought i was eating more than I really was.The weight kept disappearing and when I left home to go to uni there was no one to watch over wot i ate and my weight plummeted. I never looked as thin as I truly was - but I still looked very gaunt. Imagine not being able to sit in hard chairs, lean on a wall or lie on you rbed without your bones hurting you. Imagine being cold all the time even in the middle of summer unless there was no breeze and you are in direct sunlight. Imagine being so tired all the time you can barely lift your arms. Imagine wakig up in the night desperate for food - and between meals feelign faint, bad-tempred impatient, nautious and dizzy, with a pounding heart and sweating because you are so starving hungry... Once I left home I was happy - something I never htough possible - so in theory thre was no reason for me to continue living this life - but the problem was out of my control - i lived to kill myself - anorexia was my life.

At going on 19 I was anorexic and desperate for a cure. I neede to break away from it before it killed me but how? Vegetarianism far from improving the situation merely accelerated it. I had always wanted to be healthy and I had lost sight ot health - and then I bought a book called Guide to Optimum Nutrition and although not vegan all the positive things nutritionally speaking came from vegan things - a fact that was highlighted by the author. At the same time I discovered a vegetarian restaurant in town that was new and almost entirely vegan excet for dairy option of milk and ice cream and margarine. It showed me how tasty vegan food could be. Whenever I left that place I felt so good - I thought that if eating always made me feel this good then maybe a vegan diet was what I was looking for.

At the same time as changing diet, I changed my lifestyle - I became active again in lacrosse, swimming and working out in the gym. I felt so wonderful. From then on it was a matter of returning to a normal person.

Since December this year - 8 months after becoming vegan - I have set out on a new quest - Optimum health - this include fitness and nutritonal aspects of life. I am still a control-freak but food is one of my greatest sources of pleasure. I am a normal healthy weight, very fit and quite strong. I do get depressed and binge when I lose control of my life ie. when exercise is deprived me or I am forced by family out of veganism. Gradually a vegan diet evolved into a vegan lifestyle with the awareness of health and environmental and animal ethical issues of a complete vegan lifestyle. Ex - vegan and eco-friendly bath products have two-fold benefits - better for the skin and better for the animals and environment.

I feel at peace with myself and the world. I am happy and healthy partly due to being vegan and vegan partly due to being happy.

feline01
Aug 17th, 2004, 11:34 PM
Fruitbat

Congratulations on your success over the long battle with anorexia. Your story was interesting and I am glad you are still around to tell it. I, too, have struggled with a life-long battle with my weight but the opposite end, being overweight. I certainly did not become vegan to lose weight (it was always about the animals and environment) nor have I but I am probably the healthiest I've ever been and I know that I can lose if I just start exercising.

Good luck with your studies and with your ongoing battle.

Sue

Veggie4Life139
Sep 26th, 2004, 04:14 PM
What made you become vegan? Was it some influence from some animal friends, or a bad experience with meat? With me, I had 10 chickens whom I loved to death, had birthday parties for, and everything. :) That's the reason I became veggie, and now vegan. So what about you all?

Artichoke47
Sep 26th, 2004, 04:29 PM
My consciousness woke up. :)

boomer
Sep 26th, 2004, 06:42 PM
I had been veggie for 13yrs, then read an article on chickens and how they were kept. I had been lactose intolerant for a while so even though I only having 1 or 2 eggs a week I was horrified that I could be partly responsible for what I saw. Never looked back happy now and at peace trying to convert the world.

snaffler
Sep 27th, 2004, 11:33 AM
I started as a veggie at the age of 11 we used to skateboard & go-kart around the back of what I later found out to be a slaughterhouse we used to hear noises of a strange nature in the buiding but took no notice late one summer 6 of us climbed on the roof and looked through a sky light to see what was going on in this buiding......

What I witnessed next turned my life around in an instant and another friend as well.....We witnessed a cow getting shot in the head with a captive bolt gun it was horriffic I hate to describe the other things we saw but I went straight home and said mum "I never want to eat meat again".

She respected that which was cool, in my late teens after being involved with animal rights and began to learn more about dairy / wool / clothing etc I just said thats it I need to change to veganism full time and as I had already been drinking soya milk from the age of 15 the only thing I needed to change was pizza....

I am now 33 and have never looked back..

Wanda
Sep 27th, 2004, 04:20 PM
I had been vegetarian for 5 years and read a small paragraph in a book about how calfs are removed from their mothers and how cows are kept pregnant all the time.
That was it for me! Even though I had always said that I would never become vegan, I became vegan right that second (even though I didn't realize until about an hour later).

Andie
Sep 27th, 2004, 07:27 PM
I had the same experience as Wanda, the horror of a baby calf being seperated from his or her mother. I read about that in a book by Jeffery Mousad (spelling???) about the emotional lives of farm animals. I couldn't finish the book, I was so upset. I had tried to be a vegan before and had trouble. This time, its clicked.

Wanda
Sep 27th, 2004, 08:54 PM
It does have to click.
A few months after I had become vegan, I found out that the paragraph about dairy was also included in the older edition of the book. This meant that I had already read it a few years back. I was so shocked when I found out!
It does really help to understand other people though. The right information isn't enough. It also has to be the right time. It just has to click!

uww27225
Sep 27th, 2004, 09:03 PM
Speaking of it clicking! I went from being omni straight to vegan. It wasn't really b/c of anything I read at that moment. I had tried being veggie in high school but that only lasted a matter of weeks (if that). Veg*nism has always been what I fet was "right", but the "sacrifice" always held me back. I truly though ignorance was bliss when it came to what was on my plate. Then one day I was driving home from a bridal shower where I ate a bunch of dairy and meat items and it just clicked. I thought, 'I don't want to do this anymore. I'm going to try to be vegan.' I gave myself a deadline, which is actually about a month away. I said I'll be vegan for 3 mos. and then re-evaluate my situation to see if it's something I want to continue. I can't imagine going back. Sure I get frustrated at the lack of options at restaurants, but the idea of consuming any animal or its secretions grosses me out.
The short story is I became vegan b/c I didn't want to have to apologize to my food before eating it anymore!

mysh
Sep 28th, 2004, 04:18 AM
I read about the latest news of a BSE outbreak in the US, and started reading about the gross underreporting of vCJD (variant Cretzfeld-Jacob Disease - the neurological degenerative disease caused in humans by consuming BSE). It turns out that (depending on the study you read) 2%-20% of all cases of Alzheimer's are actually vCJD. The average across all studies works out at ~12%. This means 5000 people die in the US each year from the effects of consuming the BSE-tainted flesh of murdered cows (or other animals). As Alzheimer's patients in the US don't have to be autopsied, this goes through completely under the radar.
Either way, this got me thinking about removing all cattle meat from my diet. Then I read that pigs are slaughtered too young to generally be able to discern the symptoms of any kind of spongiform encephalitis, and BSE can easily transfer to pigs, who do get fed remnants of cow carcasses. Some studies indicate that chickens are equally at risk. So, all in all, it seemed like a good enough reason to entirely quit eating meat.
I remembered from previous browsings that PETA had a loot of good information, so I read everything I could on their websites, and realised that the issue of my own health was negligible compared to the real issue of animal welfare. I also realised that ovo-lacto vegetarianism indicated a fundamental lack of understanding of the issues. So I went honey-vegetarian. It took me a few more months to get a proper understanding of the honey issue. Now I'm just finishing off what honey-including products we have remaining in the house that noone else will eat. Then I'll be free of that abuse, too.
When I started the reading of the PETA website, for the first week, I allowed myself things with milk-derived substances, but by the end of that week, I really couldn't face such things anymore. The mention of it "clicking" really makes my thoughts and actions at the time make sense.

So the whole journey started off with concern over my own health, but very quickly became entirely "for the animals" thing. I actually eat a lot of junk (lots of pita-bread with hummus, excess pistachios, chips with salsa, etc.), which really isn't helping my weightloss program any. But I am very careful not to be harming animals on the way. And I wouldn't have made it without a lot of helpful information from this forum, as well as a lot of clear, principled, unambiguous, and uncompromising opinions from members of this forum.
Thanks!