Today is our six month anniversary as vegans! Jane and I made our transition "cold turkey" (pardon the pun). We actually set a date, 07-07-07. We chose this date, partly because Jane likes to have a "start date" for any changes in behavior, and partly because I had to go on a business trip right after we'd decided to go vegan. So we set on July 7th, which seemed like an auspicious start for anything.
When we started eating vegan back in July we both believed it was the right thing to do for health reasons. But we both felt a sense of self-deprivation as well, and we weren't sure if we could do this. No more sushi, no cheese, no milk?!?!!! So we decided that we would try being vegan, with intent and commitment, but we were not going to forgo our traditional Thanksgiving (our favorite holiday). We would do the same thing we did every year: Go out and get the biggest turkey we could fit in our oven; make our wonderful stuffing, laden with cream and butter; prepare all our usual sides; and gorge ourselves for a week. After which we'd re-evaluate.
But a funny thing happened in those few months. After not eating animal flesh for a very short time, we suddenly no longer had the urge to do so. Of course, there was (and still is) the occasional moment when we crave something from our past. For the most part though, we didn't yearn for the turkey anymore. Jane had also been reading vegan literature which she was sharing with me, that made it rather difficult to conceive of eating any animal product again.
At first the transition to vegan eating was, if not difficult, then something that required thought. We'd spend hours at the grocery store, reading every label; not everything that's vegan is marked as such, and not all vegan products are healthy (that was a shock!). And often the things that you might think would be vegan have hidden ingredients (cassein and whey, to name a few) that you need to watch out for. Jane struggled with finding new recipes. It just wasn't a habit, and everything seemed new and difficult. But over time, that's changed. We have a number of quick staples in the house, so there's always something on hand if neither of us can deal with the idea of preparing a meal. Jane has a few "go to" recipes that she relies on, and is having fun experimenting with her new cookbooks. We have some restaurant options nearby that actually cater to vegans. It's gotten easier.
But still, it is certainly not the easiest path. Try getting your elderly parents to understand that the food they prepare for you is not "good" enough for you to eat. Or how about the person who prepares a meal for you, knowing full well you're vegan, and "forgets" to tell you there's sausage hidden inside! Nor is traveling something to be done without a little forethought. We always need to check things out on the internet... is there a vegan restaurant nearby? Or maybe a vegan B&B? Or, at the very least, a Taco Bell?
But we believe this is healthier way to eat. And we've come to believe that no animal should have to be tortured so that we can eat. We believe we're healthier. And then there's the added bonus: We've both effortlessly lost weight. Jane has dropped eleven pounds, and I've lost twenty -- without trying! So, yeah, we're vegan!