I know what you’re thinking. “What makes you think that reading your little vegan blog is going to make me stop eating meat?” So, let me answer that for everyone right now. It won’t. That’s not my intention. I’m not the door to door white collar and tie missionary of the vegan world. I’m more like the menu option with the little green leaf next to it saying, “hey, this is a choice that is healthy but you can also order the steak on the second page.” I’m here to offer something new and it’s up to you if you want it or not. Venturing Vegan is my honest, homegrown and sometimes adventurous venture into the vegan world.
A little back-story: When I was 9 years old, I became a vegetarian. That is, I stopped eating meat (red meat, chicken and fish). A bit of a picky eater, I never liked fish so eliminating it from my diet wasn’t difficult. Strangely enough, eliminating meat was not difficult at all. I feel that our society really mislabels meat products and in the eyes of a child “meat” doesn’t necessarily equate dead animal flesh. When I discovered that my beloved chicken nuggets, hamburger and bacon were actually animals, I was a really pissed off little kid. I was angry at my parents for feeding me these poor dead animals and calling it by another name. No Juliet, this rose is not as sweet by any other name. Of course, what started it all was that infamous moment in a child’s life when they bite into a piece of chicken and see a wormy blue vein sticking out from where they just took a huge bite. Everyone I know, child and adult alike, thinks this is gross, because it is. But as a child, I was beyond grossed out. I was pissed that a piece of chicken had actually been a living breathing animal. Now, it was now dead and fried on my plate just so that I could eat it. It was at that moment I realized I didn’t want to eat meat and that I would never again be responsible for an animal dying just so that I could eat it.
Thanks to the internet, I soon realized that it wasn’t just the responsibility of death that deterred me from eating meat. PETA opened my eyes to factory farming, circus animal abuse and slaughterhouses. Suddenly the personification of animals in Orwell’s “Animal Farm” took on a much deeper meaning. I had suddenly realized that being vegetarian was much more than a preference in taste. It was a lifestyle change that resulted in the improvement of my life alongside that of animals. Luckily, my mother (the forever friendly, spiritually-chic, permahippie) was totally supportive of my newfound vegetarianism. My sister became a vegetarian too. My father however, a steak eating Texan, would only understand the benefits of this lifestyle choice some 15 years later.
The move to veganism (no animal proteins at all) came only 18 months ago. My shift to veganism was two parts. The first part was due strictly to a need to find some change. I had just been dumped, on Christmas Eve, by my boyfriend of two years that I thought could actually have been the love of my life. But no, I, like so many other people who have felt the loss of love and the strangling sense of rejection, realized that I had been wrong. So, out with the old and in with the new. Good motto. The end of the year, might I add, is a great time to be dumped. Why? Because it is a time when we naturally look to clean out the clutter, redefine ourselves and our lives. My New Years Resolution that year was to focus on me and me alone. I outlined an exercise regime (which, proudly, I still stick to two years later) and I started reading more for pleasure. One of the first books I read, a Christmas gift from my mother, was written by Christina Pirello and called, “This Crazy Vegan Life.” By the time I had finished reading it, I was convinced that cheese and all dairy had to go. I had been blissfully consuming copious amounts of cheese and dairy as a vegetarian. Of course, when you shift from eating meat to eating veggies, sometimes you feel the need for something with substance. This, I found could be provided by cheese. The ooey, gooey, stringy deliciousness that is cheese was something I ate everyday. However, I was getting fat!! I also didn’t know the evil that is this conventional substance we call cheese. I always thought that vegan were crazy extremists who pushed this diet thing a little too far. How in the world could anyone live without cheese? Without pizza? Without ice cream?!? Well, 18 months later, all I can say, is how did I ever live with it?
What I will attempt to do with this blog is to open a dialogue about the stigma, prejudice and misconceptions placed on a vegan diet. Further, I hope to answer some questions about veganism, health and maybe even life in general. For anyone who is interested in what they eat, how to eat healthier, and the how buts and whys surrounding veganism, this blog is for you.