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.
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).