Here at Don’t Fear the Vegan we hear so many stories on what lead people to their vegan journey and they always warm are hearts. We also have found over the years that those with stories rather than whims are the ones that tend to stick with the lifestyle rather than getting burned out. As Vegans we feel it is important to share our stories so others that are considering going down the path know that it doesn’t have to be an overnight transition.
Way back when, my mom gave us a copy of the Mad Cowboy and after reading we went vegetarian. We continued eating dairy and eggs for four years until my daughter was born with a dairy allergy that was discovered when she was four weeks old. She was getting sick due to the dairy I was eating, that she was getting via my breast milk. I quit immediately as well as eggs which I was allergic to but had still eaten in baked goods figuring they probably weren’t good for her either.
After nursing for three years (that’s a whole other story) I broke down and ate cheese on occasion when eating out despite the fact that it made me violently ill and was followed by a tremendous feeling of guilt even though I still didn’t call myself vegan or have any idea of the horrors of the dairy industry. Cheese is like CRACK! The fact that my three-year old would question why I would eat cheese and say things like, “Mommy, cow’s milk is for baby cows!” made it more clear.
One of the moments of clarity for me was right after we moved to Seattle and were so excited to find out about the vegan grocery store Sidecar for Pigs Peace. When we went in, Doh the manager was working and we started talking. Then out of nowhere like she was a priest that I was confessing my sins to, I began to tell her how we were raising our daughter vegan even though we add been unable to commit to a full transition to a vegan lifestyle. She smiled and said, “Everyone’s journey is different.” That night I went home and began researching the dairy industry and it changed my life forever. I try my hardest with my interactions with others to be as patient and remember that no one wants to be bullied into anything. The simplest statements can lead to change.
Did you go straight to being a vegan or was there a transition? If you were vegetarian first and went to vegan later what prompted the change? If you are vegetarian now but considering vegan what is your biggest hurdle? What would you recommend to people who are attempting to transition from vegetarian to vegan?