By Kylie Hargrave
Elm Staff Writer

When I told my family I was going to stop eating meat at 13-years-of-age, they laughed and started making bets on how long it would last. My brother was especially in on this, and often taunted me with my worst weakness: bacon. It’s weird how now I can’t imagine being appealed by bacon, but at the time it was a real battle.

That’s how it goes though; it was extremely hard at first, but after about two months, meat began to become as appealing as plastic. The smell of meat gradually began to become unappealing to me and eventually gross.

However, while giving up actual meat was strangely easy giving up food with meat products in them was so much harder. I still to this day crave real (gelatin filled) gummy bears or real quality (lard filled) refried beans, for example. It’s certainly not easy, but over time it just becomes second nature. It’s strange to me, but if I was placed in front of a large array of gummy bears that I was told were vegetarian, I would eat every last one, but if I was told they were regular gummy bears I’d hardly feel the desire to eat them. Now this ability didn’t start to form for about a year or so, but every one gets there.

What was even harder, and what I want to focus on more, is the transition to veganism. I assumed it would be as easy as the transition to vegetarianism, but I was oh-so-wrong. I didn’t truly think about all the foods that have some sort of dairy, egg, or honey in them. I was overwhelmed at first and felt seriously limited. I was about ready to give up at the two-month mark. But if you are trying to make this transition, or are thinking about it I promise it gets so much easier. Over time I found wonderful food alternatives and products that satisfy my cravings as well as recipes and products that just happened to be vegan.

After about six months I no longer felt limited as I accumulated more knowledge, and now, three years down the road from making the transition to veganism, I am still finding new ways to increase the variety of my diet. Actually, I think my diet actually prompted me to explore many wonderful foods that I would have never thought to search for as a regular omnivore. It’s as if I would’ve been limited by not becoming vegan as strange as that sounds. I would’ve never felt the drive to expand my food experience if it weren’t for my limitations. And while I still desperately crave some Blue Bell ice cream every now and again, I know I can reach out to some Almond Dream for a similar satisfaction, and be happy knowing that I may be helping further a culture shift that could improve the lives of animals in the food industry for the better.

Overall, I simply believe it’s worth it. It’s hard sometimes and the cravings are real, but nothing beats the satisfaction of hearing about all the horrible transgressions against animals in the food industry and knowing I’m doing something about it or at least trying to. And as an added bonus, you get to look into the eyes of the people that thought you couldn’t do it and proclaim your success.

The Elm

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