I turned vegan in January 2012 after making a New Years' resolution to find out more about the food I was consuming. Before that I had been a vegetarian for 22 years, but had developed a penchant for sausage rolls and the odd chicken burger to accompany the night bus home. I decided I wanted to know for sure where I stood with regards to eating meat.
Late one night I came across Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals. The reviews said reading it would change my life. I bought a copy and after two days and only 40 pages in, stopped eating eggs. After three days I was asking to have my tea black, no milk, and after four I had decided to become a vegan. I was only halfway through Foer's book, but after learning about the reality of meat, dairy and egg farming, I started to be physically repulsed by eggs and milk. This was why I initially started being a vegan- the physical reaction, not an over-arching philosophical debate, but simply because I couldn't walk past my local cafe without the smell of bacon making me feel sick.
Afraid of what my friends would say, and mostly the idea of failing after a week or two, I kept my new decision a secret, and ironically enough, it took a few weeks for anyone to realise. By then I had made up my mind to try and follow a vegan diet for as long as I could.
My initial decision to turn vegan was based on animal rights and the environmental impact, but the benefits to my diet have been obvious from day one. I can't stress enough the change I've felt in the control I have over what I consume. I don't care if it sounds naff, I'm past that: taking up a vegan diet is truly the best decision I've made for myself in years.
While I've managed my way through more than 12 months of being vegan and every scenario it has thrown at me (family BBQs, 24 hours without food in Florence, birthday cake in general), I'm still making up my mind about a lot of other issues, which I hope to cover in my blog posts over time.
It's always great to hear from readers or people considering a vegan lifestyle- just drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org