My journey as a vegan

Haley Duval, Senior Photo Editor

If you’re an animal lover, it probably crosses your mind from time to time that you consider going vegan. If you’re not already and you know you want to, what exactly is stopping you?

Perhaps you believe that it’ll be too difficult and you’ll miss out, worry your whole family might disapprove, or like how I was, you just don’t know how to start.

To clarify the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan; vegetarians do not eat animals, but may eat products that come from them. 

Such as dairy and eggs. Vegans, however, eat no animals or animal products at all.

I was around six years old when I first learned the concept of veganism while I was watching an episode of “That’s So Raven” and I was so blown away with the idea that there are people who do not eat meat.

Although the episode might have scarred me for life when the main characters turned into a cow after accidentally eating a real burger instead of a veggie burger, I continued watching the series and I still wanted to be like Raven’s goofy best friend Chelsea, who was a vegetarian on the show.

I remember thinking I don’t want to eat animals either but I kept it to myself and did nothing about it for the next six years because I thought no one would help me or would think I was crazy. 

I was just six, I couldn’t cook for myself yet.

At the time, I would rather eat meat and feel guilty about it than starve. 

Also, my six-year-old little mind did not know how life would be like without chicken nuggets.

It wasn’t until I was in middle school when I finally put my foot down and became a vegetarian after years of wanting to. 

And it wasn’t until high school when I decided to try the vegan diet. 

I haven’t looked back since. 

Well, no, that’s a lie. I went back and forth to vegetarian and vegan pretty much throughout high school.

Not everyone can go vegan right off the bat, including me, and it’s okay to take it easy in the process.

Like any other lifestyle change, going vegan may take some time to get used to.

Everyone goes at their own pace. 

If you’re thinking of becoming vegan or vegetarian here are some tips I learned over the years. 

1. Start with meals you already know and enjoy. 

2. Make sure you get your essential nutrients. Just because your diet is vegan doesn’t mean you’re 100% healthy.  There’s tons of junk food that are vegan and that’s perfectly fine. Balancing your food is the key. 

3. Don’t be afraid to try new foods. Expand your taste buds. It’s fun trying new vegan foods. 

4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. 

For instance, it won’t be the end of the world if you ask  your serverfor no cheese while ordering a veggie burger. 

It never fails to surprise me when people ask me when I will start eating meat again every time they see me.

What a crazy question to ask someone who has been a vegetarian since the age of twelve and a vegan since fourteen.

To answer their question, I will not randomly throw nine years down the drain just so I can have some bacon and eggs for breakfast. 

There is no point stopping now.

I stopped consuming meat for almost half my life, it’s safe to say I feel like veganism is a part of who I am now.