Why I’m Slowly Becoming a Vegan

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Becoming a vegan was never something I thought I would do. I grew up on chicken nuggets and chocolate milk - why would I ever give up something so delicious?

However, as I’ve grown older, I find myself slowly creeping closer and closer to a dairy-free life. I became a vegetarian when I was 15. It was a New Year’s resolution - I had considered it pretty non-seriously for awhile, but decided at about 5:00pm on December 31st that I was going to take the leap of faith and give it a shot. Naturally, my family and friends were a bit skeptical. But somehow I downed my last dinner (a bowl of chicken tortilla soup) and I haven’t touched meat since.

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For me, the change to vegetarianism was a kind of spur of the moment, “let’s see if I can do this” decision. I had always been an animal lover, so while animal rights was on my mind, I was still half expecting to back out two weeks into January to devour a burger.

I soon found out my expectations were wrong. I figured I’d be deprived, tired, and hungry all the time, essentially living off of carrots. To my surprise, I found I didn’t really miss meat (I had always been more into the carbs anyway) - in fact, I was enjoying the chance to experiment with new recipes and try some new foods.

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In my case, the animal rights and sustainability motives really came later. I found that as I encountered other vegetarians and got more into the swing of my new lifestyle, I was also raising my awareness of the world around me and realizing the benefits a plant-based diet have on the earth. The fact of the matter is, diets lower in meat are better for the planet, and going vegetarian is one of the biggest things we can do as individuals to help protect the earth.

So while I still enjoy the milk in my morning cup of coffee, I find myself less and less inclined to get that extra slice of cheese on my sandwich, because for me it’s not really adding much anymore when the benefits of not eating animal products are so great. Over time, I’ve made tiny changes to my diet, so now taking the leap to almond milk doesn’t feel like that much of a change.

That being said, veganism is clearly not a feasible option for everyone. I got here rather unexpectedly, over the course of years, and I still can’t call myself fully vegan. Choosing what to eat is a very personal decision, and there are still many ways to live sustainably without ever giving up meat! However, for people like myself, limiting the amount of animal products in my diet gives me the chance to give something back to the planet.

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