People turn to veganism or vegetarianism for several reasons. Some of these reasons include bettering one’s health, reducing animal cruelty, and contributing to a more sustainable world. Any of these can be false assumptions if the transition is made without studying available resources and asking lots of questions. For the first two months I was a semi-vegetarian simply because I was always hungry. My body was used to animal proteins and fats and I did not feel full no matter how much produce I ate. My first week going “cold turkey” I ended up eating over $30 of fruits and vegetables in a single day and still went to bed hungry. At the end of the first week my stomach hurt, I was up that Saturday night talking out loud saying “I’m so hungry” to myself with tears welling up because I failed at what I set out to do.

So the next day I went out and had beef for breakfast then vegetables the rest of the day, the next day, and the next. Three days later I had chicken for one of my meals, then went back to vegetables the next few days. This sucks, I thought to myself. I didn’t find the beef and chicken personally appetizing anymore but I knew my body needed it. Eventually I was down to eating almost vegan and was able to cut out animal meat. However, I replaced my twice a week meat consumption with another animal product (cheese). This is where many people stop, at vegetarianism. I was proud of myself, I cut out meats, eggs, and milk. I found almond milk was delicious and I enjoyed it more than regular milk, made  me wish I knew about it a long time ago.

I’ve never been a “food person” my diet has consisted of mostly beef, vegetables, and lots of water prior to my decision to go vegan. I think my limited diet might have contributed to the quick transition. Other vegans I’ve met have told me it took 2-4 years for them to achieve their goal so 2 months to vegetarianism and another 4 to veganism is pretty good I think. If your reading this for inspiration or pointers, be happy with where you are, remember we all make mistakes (i did), and study up on the available research material, there is lot’s of it these days and the material is growing by volumes.

So after two months, I was down to a vegan diet with the exception of feta cheese. One day I looked at my feta cheese and thought this is going to be the last day I eat this delicious cheese and it was. I made a burger sandwich which was basically sliced bread (buns have egg), with a boca burger, and garlic feta sprinkled on top. Yum. I thought vegetarianism is pretty tasty and veganism will be too :).

So why did it take me four more months to become vegan? Well, mostly because I didn’t read the label, I ate at restaurants where I didn’t know the menu. I forgot how delicious horchata was and decided I’d better have that one last time, arroz en leche (rice pudding) is pretty tasty, In-and-Out grilled cheese animal style with extra lettuce and tomatoes got me back to vegetarian. Several other dishes that made me want to stay where I was, but I had set a goal and was determined to accomplish it.

Eventually I learned to read the label (the less ingredients the better), ask at restaurants “does this have milk or eggs” (I admit sometimes I lied about being allergic), and to not care about people looking at me weird because I’m “one of those vegans”. My family has been pretty supportive, although I haven’t been able to convince them to join me.

So that’s my journey in a nutshell. I’ve registered a domain www.culturalvegan.com where I’ll be showcasing different dishes from different cultures that are completely vegan as well as posting resources for where to shop and how to shop. please bookmark the site and check back often. I’ll be starting development on it soon.

Going vegan was a decision that I made in order to change the cycle of the way I grew up. Eating meat was just one step for me, I also stopped playing violent video games, and changed my vocabulary to exclude violence from it. Keep an eye on www.culturalvegan.com and check back here and click on the veganism topic link. I’ll be keeping both current and covering things such as sustainability, health, and factory farming in addition to recipe’s and tips for transitioning to a vegan lifestyle.