They say it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks. For the first 50 years of my life this old dog was a meat and fish eater and never really thought too much about the impact that it had on animals and the environment, not to mention my overall health. I grew up with a steady diet of meat, chicken and fish and didn’t ever conceive that I could follow a different culinary path. The genesis of becoming a vegan started, unbeknownst to me, five years back when I suddenly lost my taste for meat. I wasn’t affected by an animal cruelty documentary, I just simply lost my taste and I never missed a roast beef sandwich or steak au poivre again. I switched to mostly chicken and turkey and there was a part of me that convinced myself that doing so was somehow more humane because meat wasn’t involved in my diet.
Then the big change occurred….I married a vegan. While she never pressured me to adopt a vegan diet I did notice something interesting—she was eating healthy, delicious food that was plant-based. She could always find a vegan option on a menu and she her body was getting all the protein and nutrients it required. So three months ago I did it. I took the challenge and decided that I’d go vegan. I didn’t give a timeline, I just simply said I’d give it a go and see what happened.
So let’s recap the last three months. First off, I am (proudly) still a vegan and there honestly has not been a day where I’ve wanted to go back to my old carnivore ways. Oh I still get cravings-being in Boston and smelling clam chowder or seeing an ad in a newspaper for lobsters at $5.99 a pound or passing by Kelly’s Roast Beef almost did me in, but that feeling came and went. And when I want to “go off the rails” I’ll have vegan pizza for breakfast or OD on rice mac and cheese.
Business lunches and dinners haven’t been an issue either. I am lucky that living in Los Angeles has afforded me greater choices as far as vegan options on lunch menus and most restaurants are more than receptive to altering their dishes to make them vegan friendly. Usually the good natured ribbing I take from friends and colleagues about my plant based lifestyle fades when my lunch arrives and is met with “wow that actually looks good”. I haven’t converted anyone yet, nor is that my mission, but I’ve made a few people stop and think. I don’t consider myself a vehement vegan, but more of a gentle persuader.
So here I am, three months in. And counting.
—Jim, Los Angeles, California