What I Learned From My Year Of *Thinking* About Becoming Vegan


When I first had this idea, my stomach turned over at just the thought of going vegan. Even the night before I started considering going vegan, I wanted to back out, but my editor had already accepted the pitch. The next day when my alarm clock rang, I left the old me behind. That day and every day for the next year, I was going to think about maybe becoming a vegan.

I was surprised at how excited I was, at first. I told every friend would listen that I was thinking about becoming vegan. At a barbecue, I explained the atrocities inflicted on both animals and the environment by factory farms. To my surprise, I didn’t feel the usual pangs of guilt. While the others looked at their burgers in disgust, I wolfed mine down with glee. It felt amazing to know that I might decide to stop tormenting the planet with my diet, unlike my friends who would never even think about thinking about going vegan.

Eating out was a mixed experience. By considering vegan options, I was shown a whole new culinary world, but my new lifestyle bothered the waiters. After listing all the vegan options, in addition to the non-vegan ones that could be made vegan, they’d often rush off in a huff once I’d settle on a double bacon cheeseburger. I understood it was a lot of work for them, but my ideas about food could save the planet!

My newfound speculative veganism also drove a wedge (a cheese wedge, that is!) between myself and my friends. I assured them I’d never be one those preachy vegans, and they’d ask if I was still talking about that weird vegan resolution from six months ago. So I tried to show them that I was sincerely contemplating veganism by buying a bunch of clothes. I even wore a PETA shirt to a hot wing eating contest (which I won!) and one of them told me I was “actively hurting the cause.” He was just a sore loser I guess.

My mentally taxing journey ended with the holidays. At that point, I was exhausted by imagining the personal growth I’d potentially experience. I had started binge eating ice cream to cope with the stress. So, as I sat with my family to eat Christmas dinner, I thought for the last time, should I become a vegan? Would it even be Christmas without having two servings of my mother’s Christmas ham?

Luckily, I didn’t have to answer that question! If you’re curious, I had three servings that night. After all, it might be my last chance.