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Becoming Vegan

by Scott Hughes

I see becoming vegan as a series of questions, starting with why and ending with how.

Becoming Vegan ~ Why Become Vegan?

People have many reasons for becoming vegans. Any given person may have different reasons than any other person for becoming vegan. The most common reasons include personal health, environmental concerns, and animal rights.

In regards to health, a vegan diet will lead to a permanent reduction in blood pressure, blood sugar, weight, and serum cholesterol. Turning vegan also reduces your risk for cardiovascular disease and many common forms of cancer. Also, vegan foods have significantly lower risks in regard to contamination, in comparison to meat and dairy products which much more frequently lead to food poisoning such as those involving mad cow disease, E. coli, and Salmonella.

In regards to the environment, a vegan diet requires much less resources to produce than a diet animal products. It takes much more land and water to produce meat than vegetables, because the farmer must feed the livestock food that could otherwise go directly to humans.

In regards to animal rights, vegans often become vegan to avoid animal suffering and to avoid the killing of animals. Most vegans have decided that the pleasure of eating meat does not compensate for the pain of killing an animal. In analogy, most people would not kill an innocent human baby even if they would receive $100 and not get in any legal trouble. We don't do these horrors because we sympathize with the would-be victims. We feel the victims' pain, and we would rather avoid that pain by abstaining from animal products.

Of course, any vegan may have additional reasons. Any given person must consider all the factors and decide for themselves whether or not he or she wants to become vegan.

Becoming Vegan ~ How To Become Vegan?

Becoming vegan can happen at various rates. Some people turn vegan immediately. Other people gradually ease into it. You can go at whatever speed makes you comfortable.

Firstly, you want to tell people around you that you are becoming vegan. That way they will know not to offer you non-vegan food and other non-vegan products. You especially want to do this if you live with other people, as they may share food and other products with you.

Becoming vegan requires that you learn what makes a given product vegan. Basically, you will avoid any product that comes from an animal. Concerning food, vegans abstain from any foods with any meat or dairy, which includes eggs, cheese, and milk. You may consider getting a vegan cookbook.

If you want, you can try eating vegan meals before fully becoming a vegan. For example, you could have a vegan lunch for a few days. By doing that, you will already know a few dishes you can have before becoming a vegan. Think of it as practice.

When becoming vegan, most people find they like to get to know other vegans. Then you can discuss vegan issues with these people, and share recipes and other tips. You can do this online on websites such as this one. You can also meet people locally. It helps if you already know a few vegans, so that they can introduce you to more. You can also use web-based social networks such as MySpace and Facebook to find new vegan friends and vegan events, as well as classified ad websites such as Craigslist.

I hope this article answered all of your questions about becoming vegan. If you have any remaining questions, or if you have any comments or suggestions, please post them in our Vegan Forums.