It started while camping with some buddies and talking about trying to eat healthy. Ted mentioned a documentary called "Forks Over Knives". I watched it soon after that and was intrigued by a plant-based, whole-food diet. I didn't know if I could do it, but I was willing to try. The next weekend, mid-October, I went home to Fargo for a weekend. That was the last time I ate meat. I became convinced that getting my protein from other sources was healthier than consuming animal protein.
Since then I've learned more about being vegan, watching more films like "Food, Inc" and "Vegucate", as well as perusing websites and reading books complete with dozens of recipes for making a vegan version of almost anything you can think of. I've found a soy-based crumble that makes a pretty good taco, but I really don't want a large part of my diet to be "fake meat". So I continue trying different recipes that use fruits and vegetables, grains and seeds, and some great spices to make things I really like.
I also need to remind myself, that the mere absence of animal protein may make something "vegan", but it doesn't necessarily make it good for you. I read somewhere that cinnamon Teddy Grahams contained no dairy, gelatin, etc. so could be considered vegan. The next time I was shopping I read the ingredients, bought a box and took it home. And ate it. Those things are so good, but only once in a while. And in moderation.
Besides learning about new ways to think about what I eat, I've learned more about where our food comes from. A simple thing like the amount of energy spent to raise cattle for beef being very inefficient left me thinking I could make a smaller footprint on the planet by not consuming it. And the things I've learned about how the animals we eat are treated has only confirmed that, for me, meat and dairy are no longer viable options. I know that the mere mention of PETA would have some classify a person as a radical wacko, but I don't think ethical should be a bad word when we talk about how we raise and process living things for our consumption.
In the same way an American's diet has gotten worse in the last century, the way we get our food has gone astray. It's not family farms and small processing plants anymore. It's huge corporations who insist on faster and cheaper, and government subsidies, without tight regulations, to feed our voracious appetite. I don't want to be a part of that anymore. I'm only doing what feels right to me, but I think that Paul McCartney was right on when he said "If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian".