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I’ve always loved animals, so I was horrified when I became old enough to understand that the Babe I loved from the movie was the very same Babe engulfed in my ham sandwich.  Thus, at the ripe old age of seven and a half, I became a vegetarian.

This lasted about a week!

But my love of animals remained, and once I learned about factory farming (in other words, when I discovered that my hamburgers did not come from Old McDonald’s Family Farm, but rather his torture chamber), I couldn’t fathom contributing another dollar to support such horrific practices. (The book, Food Revolution, by John Robbins, was a real eye-opener.)  So, at fourteen, I became a vegetarian for real.

Veganism, however, was a whole different ball of… umm tofu.

No way would you ever see this Ben and Jerry’s card-carrying member giving up her beloved cheese and ice cream.  Sorry animals; it just wasn’t going to happen.

Until China…

My family moved to China when I was a freshman in high school.  Very little dairy is consumed in Asian cultures, so without even realizing it, I cut my dairy-product intake drastically.  And when I finally did realize it, I also realized that I felt a TON better.  Not to say I was a sickly child—far from it—but before China, I’d been getting recurring stomachaches that I now associate with all the cheese and ice cream in my diet.  (My allergies also cleared up, but I don’t want to assume that this was thanks to my diet change; it may have just been due to the change in location. Same thing with my clear skin: One of my friends is adamant that eschewing dairy gives one a greater chance of not having any acne. But I really have no idea if my clear skin is due to a lack of eating dairy or if it’s just a coincidence.)

Suddenly, Veganism didn’t seem so daunting.  I was barely eating cheese anyway; why not give it up completely?

Best decision I ever made!

If you’re interested in trying out Veganism, see the Omnivores & Veganism post
(even if you only want to try it for a day).

Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 

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  1. laci says:

    It IS the best decision I ever made too Katie! I think it’s SO cool you have lived in SO many different places, does it ever get tiring or hard to leave/start all over? 😀

  2. laci says:

    It IS the best decision I ever made too Katie! I think it’s SO cool you have lived in SO many different places, does it ever get tiring or hard to leave/start all over? 😀

  3. xanabioticx says:

    i was a sick child. i became a vegetarian and it lasted for two weeks, then i became a vegan. up til now. it was, like yours, the best decision i have ever made! i am much much healthier (i have only been sick once eversince veganisme). and i am now living a guilt free life. i wouldn’t eat my pets, so why would i want to consume anything that has intelligent life?

    have you watched fast food nation?

  4. xanabioticx says:

    i was a sick child. i became a vegetarian and it lasted for two weeks, then i became a vegan. up til now. it was, like yours, the best decision i have ever made! i am much much healthier (i have only been sick once eversince veganisme). and i am now living a guilt free life. i wouldn’t eat my pets, so why would i want to consume anything that has intelligent life?

    have you watched fast food nation?

  5. sheree says:

    It has been almost 2 1/2 years for me and I can say it truly is the best decision I ever made in my life.

  6. sheree says:

    It has been almost 2 1/2 years for me and I can say it truly is the best decision I ever made in my life.

  7. My omni friends all agree that cheese is one of the things that they would find really hard to give up.

    1. brittany says:

      My husband says the same thing. My solution? I am the one that cooks, so what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him! He doesn’t realize that his cheese is actually vegan imitations. Sometimes he even gives me a hard time about “cheating”. hahaha!

    2. brittany says:

      My husband says the same thing. My solution? I am the one that cooks, so what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him! He doesn’t realize that his cheese is actually vegan imitations. Sometimes he even gives me a hard time about “cheating”. hahaha!

  8. My omni friends all agree that cheese is one of the things that they would find really hard to give up.

  9. Pepper says:

    Hi Katie,
    I’m new to your blog, and I ablsolutely love it. You are so funny. I’ve been vegan for 6 months. I love what you wrote about becoming vegan. I have a 12 year old niece who desperately wants to become vegan. (she is semi-vegetarian now) but she’s struggling with peer pressure. (A school friend called her mom a stupid, psycho vegan freak) How did you deal with other kids at age 14? Your story is inspiring and I am going to point her to your site.

  10. Pepper says:

    Hi Katie,
    I’m new to your blog, and I ablsolutely love it. You are so funny. I’ve been vegan for 6 months. I love what you wrote about becoming vegan. I have a 12 year old niece who desperately wants to become vegan. (she is semi-vegetarian now) but she’s struggling with peer pressure. (A school friend called her mom a stupid, psycho vegan freak) How did you deal with other kids at age 14? Your story is inspiring and I am going to point her to your site.

  11. I love reading how people made the transition to veganism! I’m so glad you did, you are a great inspiration to so many other people.

    Isn’t dairy so gross??? Not only is the dairy industry absolutely violent, brutal and abhorrent in its treatment of animals (every glass of milk has a chunk of veal in it) but it pushes the lie that everyone needs to eat dairy products to get calcium! You couldn’t find a worse source of calcium if you tried thanks to the high animal protein content creating an acidity imbalance in your body that actually causes calcium to leech from your bones in an effort to rebalance our ph levels.

    Hah, listen to me preaching to the choir! Anyway, lovely post Katie!

  12. I love reading how people made the transition to veganism! I’m so glad you did, you are a great inspiration to so many other people.

    Isn’t dairy so gross??? Not only is the dairy industry absolutely violent, brutal and abhorrent in its treatment of animals (every glass of milk has a chunk of veal in it) but it pushes the lie that everyone needs to eat dairy products to get calcium! You couldn’t find a worse source of calcium if you tried thanks to the high animal protein content creating an acidity imbalance in your body that actually causes calcium to leech from your bones in an effort to rebalance our ph levels.

    Hah, listen to me preaching to the choir! Anyway, lovely post Katie!

  13. Jessica says:

    Katie,

    I’m by no means vegan, but our rude awakening was when we watched the Rave Diet…

    So nieve…I didn’t realize that animals were raised and treated like that until my late 20’s…and I’m so embarassed to admit to that because I grew up on the farm and just naturally assumed animals were all blessed with that life of freedom I knew and loved. So sad, and such a horrific treatment that WE created…I can’t even blame the factories…WE allowed it to get like this by the diets we push and accept…and the lack of knowledge we agree to when we go to the store and don’t care where the meat came from…just as long as we have it. Unfortunately supply must meet demand… 🙁

  14. Jessica says:

    Katie,

    I’m by no means vegan, but our rude awakening was when we watched the Rave Diet…

    So nieve…I didn’t realize that animals were raised and treated like that until my late 20’s…and I’m so embarassed to admit to that because I grew up on the farm and just naturally assumed animals were all blessed with that life of freedom I knew and loved. So sad, and such a horrific treatment that WE created…I can’t even blame the factories…WE allowed it to get like this by the diets we push and accept…and the lack of knowledge we agree to when we go to the store and don’t care where the meat came from…just as long as we have it. Unfortunately supply must meet demand… 🙁

  15. Simply T says:

    I already commented on one of your other post, but I read this section from your FAQ and I wanted to comment again – My journey into vegetarianism/veganism is similar in a lot of ways to yours – I knew on some level that the meat I’d been eating my whole life was causing pain and suffering for animals. And I am an animal lover as well, but I chose to put that thought out of my mind thinking it was “too hard” to become vegetarian/vegan.

    I guess you can thank Dwight Schrute and insomnia for my final push toward going veg – I saw the Jim and Pam get married episode and Dwight gives them 2 Red Eared Slider turtles, 2 bibs and a “turtle hammer” so they can cook and eat the turtles.

    I turned to my boyfriend and said, “People don’t really eat turtles, do they?” He told me that yes, yes they do.

    This totally broke my heart because I used to have a pet Red Eared Slider named Donatello (like the Ninja turtle). During that time I’d been suffering from chronic insomnia, so late that night I decided to look it up. Learning about people eating turtles lead to reading about factory farming and my fate was sealed. I knew I couldn’t eat meat anymore. But I had no intention of going vegan.

    Until I read “The Skinny Bitch Diet.” It had excerpts from Gail Eisnitz’s “Slaughterhouse,” which I read as well as Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Eating Animals.” After reading those, I was convinced to go vegan. And like I said in my other comment, I’ve successfully eliminated all animal food-products except for cheese (which I am working on). I’ve also started purging my closet of my clothes that are made from animal products as well. Eventually all my clothes, shoes, and furniture will be vegan, but it will take a while to get there.

    So, in short, thanks for writing about your experiences, it definitely helps to read about others with the same belief systems!

  16. Simply T says:

    I already commented on one of your other post, but I read this section from your FAQ and I wanted to comment again – My journey into vegetarianism/veganism is similar in a lot of ways to yours – I knew on some level that the meat I’d been eating my whole life was causing pain and suffering for animals. And I am an animal lover as well, but I chose to put that thought out of my mind thinking it was “too hard” to become vegetarian/vegan.

    I guess you can thank Dwight Schrute and insomnia for my final push toward going veg – I saw the Jim and Pam get married episode and Dwight gives them 2 Red Eared Slider turtles, 2 bibs and a “turtle hammer” so they can cook and eat the turtles.

    I turned to my boyfriend and said, “People don’t really eat turtles, do they?” He told me that yes, yes they do.

    This totally broke my heart because I used to have a pet Red Eared Slider named Donatello (like the Ninja turtle). During that time I’d been suffering from chronic insomnia, so late that night I decided to look it up. Learning about people eating turtles lead to reading about factory farming and my fate was sealed. I knew I couldn’t eat meat anymore. But I had no intention of going vegan.

    Until I read “The Skinny Bitch Diet.” It had excerpts from Gail Eisnitz’s “Slaughterhouse,” which I read as well as Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Eating Animals.” After reading those, I was convinced to go vegan. And like I said in my other comment, I’ve successfully eliminated all animal food-products except for cheese (which I am working on). I’ve also started purging my closet of my clothes that are made from animal products as well. Eventually all my clothes, shoes, and furniture will be vegan, but it will take a while to get there.

    So, in short, thanks for writing about your experiences, it definitely helps to read about others with the same belief systems!

  17. Diet For A New America was the book that convinced me to go vegan too! Cool! 🙂

    The choice to live vegan is such a blessing–I wish that everyone could understand that…

    1. Menna says:

      I love these testimonials! I grew up loving animals and wanting to spend as much time with them as possible – so I joined FFA and raised goats. I will never forget the look on my goat Houdini’s face when I sold him to be killed. He was scared and betrayed and just wanted to be with me! At that moment I had difficulty seeing the difference between goats and chickens versus dogs and cats. I felt conflicted and foolish for being so sad following that experience… Only later at 18, when I went vegan for a week on a whim, did it all start coming together for me. I felt great, so I decided to read up and see if this was for real. John Robbins changed my life too via his book “May All Be Fed” and his argument for feeding the nations! It brought veganism full circle for me as a Christian. The practice of loving animals and abstaining from animal products is a form of loving all of God’s people too. Animals are a beautiful opportunity for us to practice compassion and mercy.

      I am 23 years old and so happy that I was guided to veganism when I was. Thank you for sharing your story, and thank you to the other commenters for sharing theirs!

    2. Menna says:

      I love these testimonials! I grew up loving animals and wanting to spend as much time with them as possible – so I joined FFA and raised goats. I will never forget the look on my goat Houdini’s face when I sold him to be killed. He was scared and betrayed and just wanted to be with me! At that moment I had difficulty seeing the difference between goats and chickens versus dogs and cats. I felt conflicted and foolish for being so sad following that experience… Only later at 18, when I went vegan for a week on a whim, did it all start coming together for me. I felt great, so I decided to read up and see if this was for real. John Robbins changed my life too via his book “May All Be Fed” and his argument for feeding the nations! It brought veganism full circle for me as a Christian. The practice of loving animals and abstaining from animal products is a form of loving all of God’s people too. Animals are a beautiful opportunity for us to practice compassion and mercy.

      I am 23 years old and so happy that I was guided to veganism when I was. Thank you for sharing your story, and thank you to the other commenters for sharing theirs!

  18. Diet For A New America was the book that convinced me to go vegan too! Cool! 🙂

    The choice to live vegan is such a blessing–I wish that everyone could understand that…

  19. Sarah says:

    wow! that is really an eye opener. I always thought (please don’t take offense) that vegans were sorta, well, weird. I mean God said that all was created for us to eat, so i didn,t see a problem. also, i though they were all abunch of enviromentalists. I don’t think ill be vegan or even vegetarian any time soon, but i respect you all!

    1

    1. Hi Sarah,
      No offense taken! Honestly, I have probably made fun of people on “different” diets in my lifetime, too. One instance that comes to mind is in the movie Notting Hill. I laughed along with everyone else when they poked fun at the raw foodist. It’s probably because I just didn’t understand the lifestyle. (I still wouldn’t want to be a raw foodist, but I definitely respect them now!)

      I think, as veganism becomes more mainstream, it’s being perceived as less and less “weird.” I mean, even Ellen DeGeneres is a vegan now ;).

      1. Sarah says:

        it is becoming mainstream, and if people feel that is the lifestyle for them, go for it!

      2. Sarah says:

        it is becoming mainstream, and if people feel that is the lifestyle for them, go for it!

    2. Hi Sarah,
      No offense taken! Honestly, I have probably made fun of people on “different” diets in my lifetime, too. One instance that comes to mind is in the movie Notting Hill. I laughed along with everyone else when they poked fun at the raw foodist. It’s probably because I just didn’t understand the lifestyle. (I still wouldn’t want to be a raw foodist, but I definitely respect them now!)

      I think, as veganism becomes more mainstream, it’s being perceived as less and less “weird.” I mean, even Ellen DeGeneres is a vegan now ;).

    3. Mark says:

      So, Sarah, you think that vegans are weird to respect ALL animals like you do a cat or dog and not kill/eat them? Have you murdered an animal with your own hands or spent your life shielding yourself from the sight of it by paying some low IQ’ed reprobate to do it for you? (Please, take no offense to this.)
      Search YouTube for Meet Your Meat. It’s a short video revealing the mistreatment of animals raised in factory farms. 90% of the meat, dairy and eggs you purchase from the grocery store or restaurants come from these facilities. If people didn’t purchase these products, these breeding/slaughter facilities wouldn’t exist. You can either choose to live by your conscience and feel proud by it or stick your head in the dirt like the comatose masses while the poor animals continue to suffer in silence. –Mark P.

      1. Mary says:

        I realize this is a few months old, and I’m not Sarah, but I do wish to point out that NOT all us omnivores support factory farms, and it’s 100% wrong to assume such. Bully tactics do nothing toward sweetening reluctant omnivores toward sympathy for vegetarians/vegans – I know, I was a vegetarian with occasional periods of veganism for several years and was all-too-often a real jerk about it to omnivores. I’m honestly surprised, in retrospect, that no one belted me one. It did lose me friends, which I later regretted.

        Some of us omnis – more of us every year – are very conscious of the food chain and that we take life to feed life. I HAVE looked my meat in the face before I took its life – I decided that if I was going to eat meat, I had to kill a land-based creature (it was a chicken) with my own two hands, and if I could not do it I could not allow myself to eat meat. (I had already fished quite a lot and pulled lobster traps, although I get so seasick I probably fed a lot more lobsters than I EVER ate!) Whenever I eat meat, I eat it mindfully; I thank the spirit of that animal for nourishing me and consciously take it into myself. I don’t eat conventionally-produced meat or eggs or farmed fish/seafood, period, and maybe 1% of my dairy intake comes from conventional sources (I’d prefer 0%, certainly, and that IS my target). I purchase meat, dairy, and eggs from local farmers who raise their animals the way cows and sheep and goats and pigs and chickens are supposed to live, outside in the sunshine and rain and fresh air, eating the things that are right for their bodies without steroids, pesticides, or unnecessary antibiotics, reproducing naturally (no artificial insemination), with enough space to be active and healthy. At a few of the farms I buy from, I have had the opportunity to meet and touch and talk to an animal I would later eat, and the cows, goats, and chickens that my milk, cheese, and eggs came from. The people who raise my animal-source food for me are not “low IQ’ed reprobates” by a long shot.

        Would I like to see every factory farm on this planet razed, even if that meant meat would cost more and be less readily available? Heck yeah. Do I think that’s going to happen in 21st century USA? Highly unlikely, I don’t see McDonald’s, Domino’s, or Applebee’s going to organic, pasture-raised meat anytime soon – but I CAN choose to not patronize those companies. (I do also realize that I am quite privileged in that I can choose to eat this way.)

        BTW – the doctor who suggested that I seriously consider re-integrating some meat (I eat it about 3 times a week) into my diet was actually vegetarian (and mostly vegan) himself, but thankfully open-minded enough to know that what worked great for him wasn’t necessarily going to work for everyone.

      2. Mary says:

        I realize this is a few months old, and I’m not Sarah, but I do wish to point out that NOT all us omnivores support factory farms, and it’s 100% wrong to assume such. Bully tactics do nothing toward sweetening reluctant omnivores toward sympathy for vegetarians/vegans – I know, I was a vegetarian with occasional periods of veganism for several years and was all-too-often a real jerk about it to omnivores. I’m honestly surprised, in retrospect, that no one belted me one. It did lose me friends, which I later regretted.

        Some of us omnis – more of us every year – are very conscious of the food chain and that we take life to feed life. I HAVE looked my meat in the face before I took its life – I decided that if I was going to eat meat, I had to kill a land-based creature (it was a chicken) with my own two hands, and if I could not do it I could not allow myself to eat meat. (I had already fished quite a lot and pulled lobster traps, although I get so seasick I probably fed a lot more lobsters than I EVER ate!) Whenever I eat meat, I eat it mindfully; I thank the spirit of that animal for nourishing me and consciously take it into myself. I don’t eat conventionally-produced meat or eggs or farmed fish/seafood, period, and maybe 1% of my dairy intake comes from conventional sources (I’d prefer 0%, certainly, and that IS my target). I purchase meat, dairy, and eggs from local farmers who raise their animals the way cows and sheep and goats and pigs and chickens are supposed to live, outside in the sunshine and rain and fresh air, eating the things that are right for their bodies without steroids, pesticides, or unnecessary antibiotics, reproducing naturally (no artificial insemination), with enough space to be active and healthy. At a few of the farms I buy from, I have had the opportunity to meet and touch and talk to an animal I would later eat, and the cows, goats, and chickens that my milk, cheese, and eggs came from. The people who raise my animal-source food for me are not “low IQ’ed reprobates” by a long shot.

        Would I like to see every factory farm on this planet razed, even if that meant meat would cost more and be less readily available? Heck yeah. Do I think that’s going to happen in 21st century USA? Highly unlikely, I don’t see McDonald’s, Domino’s, or Applebee’s going to organic, pasture-raised meat anytime soon – but I CAN choose to not patronize those companies. (I do also realize that I am quite privileged in that I can choose to eat this way.)

        BTW – the doctor who suggested that I seriously consider re-integrating some meat (I eat it about 3 times a week) into my diet was actually vegetarian (and mostly vegan) himself, but thankfully open-minded enough to know that what worked great for him wasn’t necessarily going to work for everyone.

    4. Mark says:

      So, Sarah, you think that vegans are weird to respect ALL animals like you do a cat or dog and not kill/eat them? Have you murdered an animal with your own hands or spent your life shielding yourself from the sight of it by paying some low IQ’ed reprobate to do it for you? (Please, take no offense to this.)
      Search YouTube for Meet Your Meat. It’s a short video revealing the mistreatment of animals raised in factory farms. 90% of the meat, dairy and eggs you purchase from the grocery store or restaurants come from these facilities. If people didn’t purchase these products, these breeding/slaughter facilities wouldn’t exist. You can either choose to live by your conscience and feel proud by it or stick your head in the dirt like the comatose masses while the poor animals continue to suffer in silence. –Mark P.

  20. Sarah says:

    wow! that is really an eye opener. I always thought (please don’t take offense) that vegans were sorta, well, weird. I mean God said that all was created for us to eat, so i didn,t see a problem. also, i though they were all abunch of enviromentalists. I don’t think ill be vegan or even vegetarian any time soon, but i respect you all!

    1

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