Plant-Based Transition FAQ #1: Why I Became Plant-based.

While I try not to be obnoxious about my plant-based diet by unnecessarily proclaiming it every time I sit down at a dining table, people eventually notice that I always choose the vegan option, and 3 common questions ensue:

  1. Why?
  2. Was it hard?
  3. Do you feel better?

In this post I'll cover:

1. Why?

Short Answer:

Too many documentaries

Long Answer:

In high school, a friend sent me a short viral video called the Hidden Face of Food (WARNING: the video is graphic and gruesome). I told my mom that my little teenage heart could not take the guilt after learning about animal cruelty, and that I didn’t want to eat meat anymore. 

Her reply: You will eat what I cook.

Fair response at the time for a single mom raising 2 kids working 70+ hour weeks and trying to maintain her sanity. And hey, mom’s cooking is 🔥, so I got over it.

In college dining halls, I had a new flexibility to choose what I ate. Emory University had great options for vegans and vegetarians in my opinion, with a whole section of the cafe dedicated to plant-based meals. 

That’s not where I gravitated initially though. My Freshman year, I ate everything in sight.

Gradually, red meat started losing its appeal, and I got pretty tired of grilled chicken. So, I owned the “pescatarian” title for a while. It was a sweet spot for me, because while my meals were plant-based, I felt like I had options when eating out, and still enjoyed a lot of my mom’s cooking.

After college, the documentary that did it for me was Cowspiracy. After making delicious and muy cheesy zucchini noodles, my friend Nhi and I took the next proper step in a sleepover, which was choosing a movie on Netflix. 

Cowspriracy came up as one of the top Netflix films, so we watched. 

Throughout the process of becoming more “woke” in college, I learned a fair share about institutionalized structures of oppression, and the ways in which I as an individual could inform others about/fight those structures while advocating for marginalized communities. 

This movie reminded me that very similar structures surround food! I hadn’t realized growing up that Got Milk advertisements, public school food options- even the supposedly one-size-fits-all food pyramid didn’t necessarily have my health as a primary concern. 

I identify as a fairly gullible person, and I am working on it; but It tripped me out how much of my life, and the lives of so many people have been shaped by motives that are not as simple as I thought they should be when making large public health decisions. I thought the motive was always as straight forward as: optimizing people's wellbeing to live healthier and happier.

Cowspiracy explores how the interplay of government, nonprofits, and the private sector can, and have resulted in deviations from that motive. I also watched Forks Over Knives, Fed Up, and Soul Food Junkies- all of which I recommend, and which confirmed for me that I wanted to set upon a fully plant-based diet aka vegan, although I do have honey occasionally.

In my next posts, I’ll cover two more common FAQ’s:

  • Do you feel better?
  • Was it hard?

Let me know your thoughts and questions in the comments section below!