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Why I Went Vegan

Inevitably, if I’m eating with someone for the first time, at some point I will be asked why I became a vegetarian. Over the years, the story has developed to the point where it sounds a bit rehearsed. I start out by saying that it’s actually kind of embarrassing. When I was eight, my family was eating dinner at good friends of ours and I was helping serve the food. I was passing out chicken soup or some other meat based food when I was told not to give any to the second oldest son Noam. Intrigued — I asked why not and his mom explained that once Noam figured out that chicken in fact came from a chicken, he no longer had any interest in eating chicken, or any other animal for that matter.

While I considered myself to be a rather intelligent eight-year old, until that moment, I don’t remember ever thinking about meat as something that was once alive and was then killed to be consumed. That night I told my parents that I no longer intended to eat meat. My parents, used to my declarations of intent, said that was fine, but recommended that I wait till we got home — we were abroad in Israel at the time — but I was determined. My mother was extra accommodating — my parents had lived in Tokyo for a year a few months after I was born and keeping kosher resulted in their decision to basically become vegetarians during the duration of their stay. But I digress. At eight, it was just about this feeling, this confusion, this strange idea that who am I to kill another living being in order to eat it. It was revulsion — not that others were doing it, I never (well aside from a bet with my brother) tried to convince others that what they were doing was wrong; it was a deeply personal decision. I went steady for a while but then progressed to not eating fish.

When I was 16 or so, I went to Hungary for the summer, and worried that I wouldn’t get enough protein, my parents convinced me to start eating tuna. I complied and when I got back they moved on to chicken. It was eleventh grade, I had SATs and college on my mind, and so I found myself complying again. There was the honeymoon of my meat consumption, and then reality set in a few months later. I didn’t want to be eating meat and stopped just as suddenly as I started. After my freshman year of college I weaned myself off of fish as well. By that point, my vegetarianism was so much more. It was no longer just the philosophical questioning of my relationship to these living beings – it was also the way these animals were being treated even before they were being killed, it was about the impact this was having on the environment, it was about so much more. While I toyed with going vegan for a while, I was nervous about protein, but I was even more nervous about eating with friends. Going out to restaurants was hard enough being a vegetarian. When I went to dinner parties, people always got way too stressed despite my pleas not to worry – after all I always found something to eat. But, after the recent Iowa egg recall I couldn’t come up with any excuses.

In September 2010 I decided I was going to give veganism a try. While I can’t see myself ever eating meat or fish, the egg/dairy decision is more negotiable. It’s about the treatment of these animals and, if I were on a family farm, yadda yadda yadda, I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. And with that, I decided I would start a food blog – something I wanted to do for a while now – and chronicle my adventures. I also figured it would force me to be a bit creative. Ok, so this story got a bit side tracked, but you made it this far. Hope you enjoy the recipes, and let me know if you have any suggestions.

[If you like these cartoons as much as I do, you can purchase theme here]

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 12, 2012 3:38 pm

    I loved your post. I am also vegetarian but the reason that pushed to do such switch in my life was to improve my health situation, especially after having cancer and overweight.
    check out my story at my blog.

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