It's exciting stuff. I made the transformation from vegetarian to vegan only about two weeks ago, but it's been pretty exciting stuff.
Even when I was vegetarian, people who were vegan seemed somewhat like wacko extremists. No yogurt, cheese, milk, eggs, butter? Really? How in the world would someone have that kind of self discipline and drive. I mean, restaurants everywhere use things like butter in their cooking. I just didn't have the drive to make such a change. Sure, sometimes, during the year or so before I became vegan, the thought of drinking milk some days would gross me out. I'd think of calves being fed a combination of milk, hormones, antibiotics, and the blood of other cows and we too grossed out to touch the stuff for the next few days. But I love cheese, I love mint chocolate chip ice cream, and I especially love goldfish crackers. The idea of giving these things up long term was something I couldn't even think about.
Then I read a book called Skinny Bitch, which you've probably seen or heard of even if you don't remember it. It's full of quite a few flaws in reasoning and other errors, but it did compile everything bad I've ever learned about the meat/dairy/egg industry in one nice little place where I was forced to read it all. Even though the sources they quote throughout the book are often less than reputable (PETA, for example), BUT everything int hat book about animal factory farms I had heard somewhere before, I just really hadn't compiled the information together and been confronted with it directly. The quotes in the book from people who had worked or were currently working in these facilities were horrifying. Shoving tasers up pigs' butts? Gross. Pulling horses out of transport vehicles they they become frozen to, ripping off their skin? Gross. I'll stop writing about the bad stuff for now because to be honest I don't like thinking about it, and who would?
On a happier note, which I meant this entire post to be on, I feel so alive and full of energy. I eat way better than I did before. Vegetables take just as long to steam as a frozen dinner takes to heat up. I don't worry about calories or anything, just making things taste good in a vegan way, and boy does food taste great when you put some time into it! I'm also blessed by the fact that I'm in college and the surrounding grocery stores cater to local, organic, vegetarian, and vegan preferences. I realize that most grocery stores don't carry "Rice Dream" ice cream, which has a delish mint chocolate swirl flavor, soy yogurt, or even vegan butter. Whatever will I do when I move? But for now I'm content in the fact that I haven't had to give up any of my favorite foods, just find substitutes for them.