Vegan For A Month - 6 Lessons I Learned The Hard Way

Have you ever thought about going vegan?

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At the end of August, I decided that after a few years of being mostly vegetarian, it was time for me to see what veganism was like.

I say "mostly" vegetarian because my reasons for being vegetarian stem from environmental and animal rights concerns, not from a dislike of meat. In fact, I grew up in a city that turned BBQ Tri-Tip into an art. But the more I learned about the environmental impacts of beef, the less I could enjoy a hamburger. And the more I learned about the conditions of poultry farms, the less I could enjoy a chicken salad. And the more I learned about unsustainable fishing and its impact on our seas, the less I could enjoy one of my most favorite things in the world - sushi. I didn't cut meat out altogether because a few times a year, particular cravings and access to cruelty-free chicken or (yay!) sustainably caught fish would converge and I'd enjoy a guilt-free meat-centric meal.

But, it started to grate on me that if I cut out meat for environmental and animal rights reasons, why am I not cutting out dairy as well? Dairy, too, has a profoundly negative impact on our planet and so, if I continue with that logic, I should go vegan and eliminate animal products from my diet, right? Logically, yes. Practically, not so much! Give up cheese? Give up steamed milk in my coffee? Sigh.

But I decided I'd give it a month, and see how it went. On the next page, check out the lessons I learned.