I have spent several years struggling with my diet. I have decided to make my vegan challenge to be more gradual.
When I say gradually going vegan, my intended goal is to have a fully vegan diet by the end of two years. I realize two years seems like a long time to transition, but I have never been one to handle sudden life changes well. Additionally I have to figure out what I enjoy eating, and how to make it. I am not very skilled in the kitchen beyond boiling potatoes and pasta. I also believe this amount of time will give the people around me time to adjust.
When I first decided that I wanted to make a change, I was in college. My parents were not very supportive of it. I was belittled and told that my diet would fail. I partly fault myself due to my inability to communicate properly with them at this time. I think they thought I was just doing it to be rebellious.
In lieu of lack of support, my diet did indeed fail. I went away from it, for about two years and then came back. I realized how much I actually didn't like meat. I have tons of examples, even ones from childhood. The only time I actually "liked" meat was when it was covered in sweet sauces that totally covered up any taste of actual meat. So I excluded meat from my diet. I also stopped drinking milk because I noticed a significant difference in how it made me feel. For several month now, I have been vegetarian. This has not been difficult.
My family has accepted I do not eat meat. When asked why, I simply reply, "I don't actually like meat.". The simplicity of my answer has made it much easier for my family to accept my lifestyle change this time around. They even made an effort to make sure there were vegetarian options at Christmas. I greatly appreciated this, and have hope that they will continue to accept my lifestyle change.
At this point in time I have not told my family that I intend to go vegan, partly because my reasons are more complex than not liking meat. Right now, I intend to go vegan for my health, but have compassion for animals, and a dislike of corrupt industries. Yet when I am questioned, I will point out that the things I am cutting out, like eggs and diary products, do not make my body feel very good.
All of these reasons are the absolute truth. No matter how many more reasons I discover or feel strongly about, I will keep my answers simple, and inarguable. I think that if you take the argument out of your reasons, people find them hard to argue. Apart from this blog, I will not express my arguable opinions to non-vegan supporters.
I want to challenge myself, not just with the food I put in my mouth but in the research of the products I use as well. I see this as an experiment, as well as an adventure. I want this to be more about what I discover than what I cut out.
My goal with this blog is to document my transition. I want it to encourage others and help them see that becoming a vegan doesn't have to happen all at once. I envy those who have made their changes quickly and painlessly, but sometimes, in my case, the turtle wins the race. (Well I kind of see this as just getting to the end of the race. Just hand me my participation trophy when I get there.)
I also am not trying to convert anyone. This isn't a religion. I want to empower those who want to become vegan but see it as a daunting mountainous task.
My support system:
I have a great partner who loves and respects me enough to support my lifestyle change. While he does not intend on becoming vegan, I intend to find meals we can both enjoy together. I plan to document his opinions of the recipes we try.
I have some friends who are also going vegan. I am happy to say that they are much better in the kitchen than I am. Hopefully I can pick up some tips. Most of all, it is great to have friends who do not just write me off as crazy, and I am excited to learn alongside of them. We have each other to encourage on this journey.