I believe many people are turned off by ethical connotations of the word “veganism”. This must be the case, because there are so few vegans (perhaps less than 2% of U.S. adults according to a 2003 poll!), and I can’t think of any good reason, unless it’s that people are just accustomed to eating animals?
On my site, a vegan diet simply refers to a diet that is free of animal protein, including meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. When I say becoming vegan, I mean adopting a plant-based diet. Nothing more.
Once you decide to adopt a vegan diet, at least three-fourths of the supermarket floor space, and 99% of restaurants (including much of your favorite all-you-can-eat buffet) are off-limits! That was a depressing realization when I first began practicing a vegan diet a few years ago.
It’s not that hard to adopt a vegan diet, and nor do you have to be 100% faithful to benefit from one. For me it was a gradual, not an overnight, process to give up eating animal products. But–when you become vegan for health reasons–you don’t have to feel guilty for the occasional and sometimes unavoidable lapse of meat-eating.
In fact, the most challenging part of becoming vegan is how to deal with eating out, and dining with family, friends, and colleagues. Therefore, as it is when developing any new habits, it’s helpful to find like-minded people who are also interested in reducing their intake of animal products, too. But don’t despair if you can’t think of anyone now!
Trust me. I was a HUGE meat eater. I couldn’t have imagined giving up grilled steaks and rack of lamb with mint sauce and veal shanks cooked in wine…or garlic and herb crusted chicken. But eating a vegan diet doesn’t require you to feel you are sacrificing the pleasure of eating. You can have your (vegan) cake and eat it too.
It takes time, but your tastes will adapt, and you will not crave or miss animal products, because there are infinite possibilities for delicious vegan meals and snacks. Just follow some of the links on this site, or Google “vegan recipes” for yourself. Don’t expect to change overnight, just believe you can achieve whatever you want if you want it bad enough.
For those of you who read this far but forgot why you should consider becoming a vegan: Strong evidence suggests that eating animal products is not good, and is probably more than a little bad for your health. To see for yourself, I highly recommend (again) you read The China Study.