Everyone's move to a vegan diet is different, and you can share your story below, as well as read others' stories. I've heard about children who asked their parents where beef comes from, and when they find out it is a cow, they are done eating meat for life.
Others of us take some coaxing, either from others or from ourselves.
Some people take the transition slowly and others jump right in.
No one way of starting a vegan diet is right or better than the others.
You know my story, I was a vegetarian for 14 years and kept myself in a bubble away from the real stories of animal cruelty. When I finally made myself learn about them, I was done. But it took a long time to get to that point.
Even once I decided not to support factory farms, I tried for a few weeks to eat only sustainable fish, and to look for cheese from true "free range" farms. But, I went to a food conference in D.C. called "Taking Action for Animals," and after that I dropped the fish and cheese.
By the way, our subscribers to "Vegan Bytes" get more tips on a vegan diet and weight loss...
I started to lose weight and feel happier about my decision.
One method of going vegan I really like is the slow attempt to change over a few meals a week-- maybe one meal a week you eat vegan, or if you can move faster, try one meal a day.
Eventually you can work yourself up to two meals a day, and then go completely vegan. This is the easiest way to start building up a pantry of good vegan foods, rather than making a massive trip all at once.
Once you are ready to try something different, Something I like to do is to try not to think of my diet in terms of THE REST OF MY LIFE. I think the idea of a lifelong vegan diet plan can be intimidating to some people.
For instance, although I know with absolute certainty that I will never eat meat again (and I'm cool with that thought), I used to have a hard time thinking that FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE I wouldn't eat cheese.
So, since I didn't want to eat it, I just took it a day at a time. Every day I just didn't eat cheese. It's a nice mind trick.
You could always become vegetarian first, and then work your way up to a vegan diet. I have found that I tend to worry that it's going to be more of an issue than it really is. Almost all restaurants have something on their menu that is vegan, and many will help you design something that works for you.
Sometimes I do end up having to order several side dishes, but I almost always walk out feeling satisfied.
Of course, when you are in your own home, designing a vegan menu is much easier. I grew up outside DC, in an extremely culturally diverse neighborhood, and I loved it. I love food from different cultures, and I love trying new things.
I find that when I cook, I typically make something I am very comfortable with, but I love to try new vegan recipes. The big key to remember is that you need to be putting whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes into your diet. You don't need to worry that you have all four at every meal, just that over the course of the day you are eating all of them.
I think a lot of people are scared to try a vegan diet because they think they will be eating tons of green salads. They imagine a dinner and picture meat, potatoes, and limp green beans, the typical home-cooked American dinner. Then they erase the meat and look at a plate of overcooked green beans and mashed potatoes. To them, vegan diet plans look like nightmares.
Even if you are going for a vegan weight loss diet, you don't need to eat just salad to lose weight. At my house we love salad, but we eat probably one green lettuce salad a week. We love potatoes and green beans, but we cook them a million different ways. And, we eat TONS of different foods.
We have our go-to meal for days when time is short, but with the wide variety of beans, grains, and vegetables available, it's hard to have the same go-to meal within a span of a few weeks.
One of the questions people always ask me when they find out I'm a vegan is if I ever worry about developing a vitamin B12 deficiency. Of course, there's nothing to worry about when you eat a healthy, well balanced diet and include a supplement for B12.
People also sometimes also ask me how I combat the inevitable gas that comes along with eating a high-fiber diet. I've researched and found the best natural gas remedies you can make yourself.