Any books, figures or experiences that specifically led to vegetarian/veganism?
My decision was an overnight one. I had been eating according to the Weston Price tradition.....organic grass-fed meat, raw dairy, fermented foods, etc. One night, however, after contemplating some vague abdominal pain, I decided I'd go vegan if I ever found out I had a terminal illness. (Big jump in thinking but it was very late!). The next morning I decided, "if I'd do this do cure my body, why not do it to prevent?" So...here I am, 3 weeks later.
Not very interesting & it didn't involve much reading or researching....but that's my story! (Granted, I have so many vegetarian & vegan & macrobiotic & gluten-free & dairy-free friends, I'm surrounded by nutritional info on a daily basis).
I became vegetarian shortly after becoming involved in companion animal rescue and volunteering at a city animal shelter. Basically I came to realize that I could not reason through my love of dogs and cats while eating cows or chickens. Over time I lost my taste for meat completely and felt queezy at the thought of it. I never felt like I had to tell myself not to eat it, I just really don't want it. There are many books, statistics, and images (and movies, like Food Inc.) out there that solidify my feelings, but ultimately I think it comes from within, and becomes something you are so sure of that you don't need to question it.
When I was 2.5 my nursery school had a farm field trip where we got to play with some chickens and other animals. Later that evening my parents took me to some fast food place that had a large chicken symbol and I said to my mom, "you mean that is the chicken we are eating? Not me, not ever again!" It just never made sense to eat animals to me.
Becoming vegetarian was a very slow process for me that started in my teens. I didn't care for a lot of meat and was very picky about the meat I did eat. (And by meat anything with a heartbeat) A few years ago I still ate bacon and tuna because I liked the taste. Ominivore's Dilemma really made an impact on me. And then just watching lots of different documentaries - Food Inc, King Corn, No Impact Man, Supersize Me, etc... I've become completely vegetarian within the past year. I pulled out a can of tuna 6 months ago and I had to put it back because I knew I wouldn't be able to eat it anymore. I do eat eggs, but I buy local when I can or otherwise organic. I now have a very big problem with how the animals are treated and I feel sick to my stomach when I think about it, while I originally just didn't care for the taste of most meat or the veins/fat I found in it. I'm slowly changing how I eat and buy dairy also because of the treatment of the animals.
The China Study, anything by Dr. McDougall (lots of free info on his website), Dr. Neal Barnard's Breaking the Food Seduction, and even Eat To Live (though I don't follow that entire school of thought). I should say that was all for the health side of it.
After reading and seeing various things over the years (I love how The Kind Diet is written) I just couldn't do it anymore.
I was fortunate enough to grow up on land with animals. When I made the connection I stopped eating most animals except birds and fish and never looked back and haven't to this day. As a young adult I went through periods where I didn't eat birds, very long periods, and am picky when I do, this continues. Now days I am not completely veggie due to that and wild caught fish consumption. But I am closer to one than anyone I know so most people call me one despite me telling them I am not.
When I was 11 years old I had a traumatic and realistic nightmare about an animal holocaust. I woke up the following morning and announced to my parents that I wouldn't be consuming animals anymore.
Having never met a vegetarian or even knowing a term for what I was about to embark on, I began to ask what was in EVERY food item that was provided for me. My parents were concerned that their pubescent daughter wouldn't get all the nutrients she needed to grow normally, so they thoughtfully hired a nutritionist and wearily informed my pediatrician. Unbeknownst to them, the doctors were truley unhelpful and only encouraged me to consume the most amout of dairy I could possibly fit into my days.
Unfortunately, I did not know of the harm that was caused to animals (or my body) by dairy consumption until I was almost 19 years old. I will FOREVER be greatful for my boyfriend-at-that-time who was raised vegan in California, was not vaccinated, was homeschooled and was the first animal rights activist I had ever met. Until he and his family entered my life, I was alone on my journey of enlightenment and love for animals. On my 19th birthday I went vegan and haven't looked back. Since then I have learned of the countless benefits of veganism to every aspect of my life and the environment and animals.
In 16 years, I have become more and more in harmony with my beliefs and I honestly cannot reccomend anything more than the way I try to promote a healthy vegan lifestyle. Over two years ago, my fiance and my best friend both went vegan overnight, and my love for both of them grew so much! She has since started converting her son to a vegan lifestyle and has raised her daughter vegan from birth. AJ & I plan to raise our family vegan with absolutely no apprehensions.
I can reccomend so many books, documentaries, websites and groups, but depending on what an individual is looking for, I try to gear folks toward that particular path.If you want specific reccomendations, send me a message.
Best of luck on your own personal journeys!