I'm vegan! I'm one of those annoying vegans! A vegan that loves being vegan and wants to talk about being vegan ALL. THE. TIME! A vegan that wishes EVERYONE was vegan! But also a vegan that realizes that everyone (unfortunately) isn't vegan and I try to respect everyone's right to not be a vegan. My wife isn't vegan. Womp, womp. But maybe you're interested in being a vegan??? And if so, you've come to the right place.
I went full on vegetarian in 2006. I thought about veganism, but it seemed so hard. I've never been a fan of meat and vegetarianism just made sense. I was a hardcore vegetarian until 2011 when my life fell apart for a little bit (divorce, moved, etc.). I could barely keep myself alive and felt a little self destructive for about 9 months. I ate some meat during this time. But eventually I pulled myself back together and was like WTF was I thinking? Back to vegetarianism. But in the back of my head veganism was nagging at my moral heart. In 2015 I read a really sad story about momma cows and that was it. Here's the article that changed my life: https://www.thedodo.com/dairy-cow-calf-baby-rescue-1010627123.html. It made me cry and cry to think about how sad that momma cow was and also how smart she was to want to hide her baby since she'd lost so many before. If momma cows are sad about losing their babies and are smart enough to hide them, how in the hell could I justify eating cheese??? I couldn't. And bam, vegan I became.
Why should I go vegan?
Maybe you love animals, like me. I LOVE ANIMALS. I can't even think of hurting an animal. Not for any reason including for my eating or tasting pleasure. If animals are your most important reason for considering veganism, you might be interested in reading more about "Ethical Veganism." The term ethical vegan is often applied to those who not only follow a vegan diet but extend the philosophy into other areas of their lives, and oppose the use of animal products for any purpose. We consider veganism to be a life philosophy and not merely a diet.
Maybe you like animals, but you really care about the health benefits of being a vegan. You might be interested in reading more about "Dietary Veganism." Dietary vegans are often most interested in the health aspects of veganism (of which there are MANY!), and they might still use animal products in clothing (as leather, wool and silk), toiletries and similar.
Some people are most interested in the environmental impacts of veganism and identify as "Environmental Vegans." Animal agriculture is one of the most significant causes of environmental degradation and pollution in the world. Many environmentalists have realized that beyond driving hybrid cars and recycling and reducing energy consumption, the single biggest change they can make to support the environment is to go vegan.
Finally, there has more recently been a growth in consciousness that veganism is an intersectional, feminist issue. I think this quote from Aph Ko sums this perspective up best: "The position that non-human animals occupy in our cultural imagination is proof for how easy it is to accept the lower status of some beings without even a second thought. I would assume that this should be concerning to you, especially since feminism is all about fighting for the rights of the minoritized and powerless. Please understand this—incorporating animal bodies into your activism isn’t a distraction from anti-racism or sexism—it’s an extension of the conversation because in reality we’re not just talking about racism or sexism, we’re talking about white supremacy and patriarchy. We’re talking about capitalism and other discriminatory systems of domination that operate off of exploitation. Therefore, although our bodies might look different, we must all come together, not to show how we’re similar, but to demonstrate how these systems negatively impact us all." (source) There is a lot of overlap between ethical vegans and feminist/intersectional vegans.
I'm glad you asked. There is no wrong way to go vegan. Some people go cold tofurkey (vegan joke!) and cut everything out immediately. Some people feel like that seems daunting and overwhelming. So they do a gradual method of converting to veganism. Some people go vegetarian first. Then they cut out milk products. Then they cut out cheese. Then they cut out eggs. Whatever gets you there is great. Everyone's journey is different and if the end result is being vegan, great!
Here are some great links to websites to help you with your transition:
http://features.peta.org/how-to-go-vegan/ (This is NOT an endorsement of PETA; they're hella problematic -- but they do produce some good resources)
Here are some great books about veganism:
The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory
Ecofeminism: Feminist Intersections with Other Animals and the Earth
Why I will ALWAYS be vegan: 125 essays from around the world
Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health, and Society
By Any Greens Necessary: A Revolutionary Guide for Black Women Who Want to Eat Great, Get Healthy, Lose Weight, and Look Phat
Decolonize Your Diet: Plant-Based Mexican-American Recipes for Health and Healing
Viva Vegan!: 200 Authentic and Fabulous Recipes for Latin Food Lovers
Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed
Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine
Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook: Eat Like You Give a F*ck
The Homemade Vegan Pantry: The Art of Making Your Own Staples
Artisan Vegan Cheese
A few great places to shop (expensive, gourmet) vegan food online:
The Herbivorous Butcher
I take a multivitamin supplement just in case I'm not always watching my vitamin and mineral intake (yes, girl, there are fat and unhealthy vegans too). I love the Deva brand Deva Vegan Vitamins Vegan Tiny Tab Multivitamin & Mineral. You can read more about it on their website & it's available in several places either online or in person. I usually get mine from Amazon.
Pinterest is a great place to find all sorts of things related to veganism. I have several boards dedicated to vegan recipes if you'd like to check them out:
Are you a Chico local?
Here's some extra cool stuff you might be interested in:
Chico Vegan Meetup
Chico Vegan Meetup Facebook page
Chico Vegan Co-Op (Members Only Co-Op) (CNR Article about the Co-Op!)
Chico Vegan Co-Op Facebook page
Chico Vegan Resource Page
Chico Natural Co-Op (open to the public; not exclusively vegan)
S&S Organic Produce & Natural Foods (open to the public; not exclusively vegan)
Are you an Indy friend?
Here's some extra cool stuff you might be interested in:
The Indianapolis Veggie Meetup Group