Wow! I can hardly believe that today marks 6-months since I officially decided to go vegan! While at the time it had seemed really sudden not only to myself but to those who are closest to me, I have since realized that my journey to becoming vegan was a process about three years in the making.
My initial research into vegetarianism began when I was working at a small indie record label in Silverlake which, at the time, resided in the same building as PETA. I remember one of my early interactions with a PETA employee, as we each prepared breakfast for ourselves in the community kitchen. As I was slicing fruit to go on top of my then favorite breakfast item, greek yogurt, and she was spreading cream cheese on a bagel. She glanced nervously over at me and whispered “Shh! Don’t tell!” Confused, I asked what she was referring to and she responded that PETA strongly encouraged their employees to be 100% vegan. After assuring her that her secret was safe with me I returned to my desk and immediately started searching for more details about the organization. I had heard of PETA of course, but having a limited knowledge of the topic I was curious to learn more about what vegan meant and why they had such a strong stance on the topic.
It’s surprising that my awareness of vegetarian values was so limited, considering a good friend of mine was vegetarian and I had been preparing vegetarian versions of meals for her for years. While I was happy to make prepare vegetarian items for her, I only remember one time actually asking why she was vegetarian and my memory of her answer is even foggier. I do, however, remember thinking it would be silly if she was vegetarian “for the animals.” While it pains me to admit that and saddens me to realize that a thought like that would have crossed my mind in the past, I do feel as though having come so far in my own mindset has helped me to be aware of other people’s mindsets regarding vegetarianism. And with this awareness, I hope to be able to communicate more effectively with those whose viewpoints differ from my own.
In addition to the few interactions with vegans and vegetarians that remain in my memory, I’ve come across some other clues about my process of becoming vegan such as my old grocery lists. Some of the earlier lists show mostly meat-centric meals but also shed light on a trend towards eating more vegetables and having one vegetarian night per week. Shortly after reading Eat To Live, I began cutting meat out of my diet almost entirely and making green smoothies every morning for breakfast. Dairy and eggs were still in my diet and after a while my intake of those items started increasing, probably because I was using them to replace the meat that I was accustomed to consuming previously.
It wasn’t until I watched Vegucated, a documentary about people who took a 6-week vegan challenge, that I learned about the horrible treatment of animals that was taking place in order for me to be able to consume all of that dairy and eggs, items that I already knew I would be much healthier without. After watching the film I felt shocked, depressed, anxious and could barely sleep that night. It was that day six months ago that I officially became vegan. And I haven’t looked back!
Actually, that’s not entirely true. I very often enjoy looking back through my instagram photos of all the wonderful vegan food I have been enjoying during this new phase of my life. Here’s some of my favorites from the past six months.
Tu-nut sliders from Real Food Daily at the LA Vegan Beer and Food Fest:
Vegan sushi is amazing! Who knew?
I even learned how to make pho!
Custom vegan meals prepared especially for me in Italy when I was there for my wedding and honeymoon:
I’ve discovered and fallen in love with jackfruit. Check out these Pulled Jackfruit BBQ Sandwiches:
And tofu scramble (never thought that would happen!):
Raw Vegan Mocha Cheesecake anyone?! (yes, I made it and it was amazing!)
And of course, TONS of green smoothies: