You can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
I picked up a vegan cookbook so I wouldn’t have to deal with the aversion I felt towards cooking with milk and eggs. I remember reading one review of a vegan cookbook who complained that vegan cookbooks shouldn’t have lengthy introductions about why people should become vegan because anyone would buy a vegan cookbook is already convinced the veganism is good. Well, that reviewer is wrong – I was persuaded to transition to veganism by a lengthy introduction in a vegan cookbook.
The thing which struck me in the lengthy introduction was not the animal rights arguments, but the environmental arguments. I had been so busy being proud of myself for being a semi-vegetarian and being So Nice to the Environment that I felt that I was excused from examining my diet further to see if there was anything more I could do to lower my ecological footprint. The lengthy introduction pointed out that it takes a lot less resources to support a vegan diet than even a semi-vegetarian diet.
That didn’t persuade me to go vegan right away, but hey, since I had already decided I was going to learn how to cook good vegan food, it wasn’t much of a stretch to commit to at least increasing the amount of vegan food I ate.
I also did a lot more reading about veganism. Even though I had been aware of veganism for a long time, I realized, I had never actually listened to what vegans have to say about veganism. This is why, when people have the knee jerk of reaction “I’ll never become a vegan no matter what” I have to wonder … how can you know if you’re not even bothering to listen to the arguments? During this reading, I encountered an excellent bit of a advice – try one new vegan food every single day. This is great advice for several reasons, not the least because it gives people transitioning to veganism something to do which is not centered on guilt.
I went ahead and tried a bunch of new vegan foods – both what I prepared in this shiny kitchen in my new residence with the assistance of the preachy vegan cookbook, and what I could find in local eateries.
I found that, when I decided to abstain from eating fish, cheese, etc. … I didn’t miss those foods as much as I thought I would. On the contrary, as I learned more about the harm which is done in order to get those foods to my plate, the less appetizing I found them.
On top of that, compared to trying to ask people whether the salmon came from California/Oregon (Yellow), Alaska (Green), or the Atlantic Salmon Farms of Environmental Destruction (Red), or agonizing over figuring out whether it was okay to eat this specific animal which was on the Seafood Watch ‘Yellow’ list … just not eating fish was a heck of a lot easier.
Over the course of weeks, I gave up eating animal-based foods for environmental reasons, and once I did that, I found myself much more receptive to the animal rights arguments in favor of veganism. At first I simply called myself a strict vegetarian (someone who eats a vegan diet, but does not abstain from consuming animals through non-food products), but I eventually concluded that it was better to go as far into being vegan as practically possible.
So that is how and where I became a vegan.