I became vegetarian at the age of 10, but had stopped by the age of 23. I had always been shy and felt uncomfortable sticking up for my choices. I wanted to make a difference, but I was tired of always feeling different.
A few years later, I was living in Norway. As part of a New Year’s Resolution, I was doing a different challenge every month. My friend Julie challenged me to go vegan with her that July. She also recommended a podcast by Colleen Patrick Goudreau, called Vegetarian Food for Thought, and told me to check it out before our month began. So I did.
What I learned astonished me. I learned about the violence of animal agriculture and the ethics of a totally plant-based life. I wanted to learn more, and I dove head first into research. I learned about the environmental impact of eating meat, and the horrific conditions faced by animal agriculture workers.
I thought maybe I could eat animal products from small family farms. So I went to go work on a small Scottish family farm to try it out my idea.
Then one morning on the farm, I had a complete transformation. I was feeding the pigs when I realized that especially in this idyllic setting I couldn’t imagine harming them. And if I couldn’t do it, I wasn’t comfortable allowing others to do it on my behalf.
I became vegan. My month long challenge had evolved into a lifelong commitment to make the kind and conscious choices that matter most to me.
Then I fell in love with Eric. He was following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for health reasons, and I am an ethical vegan. We both enjoy cooking and wanted to make food together.
We all have mixed diet relationships. We want to share and connect with our loved ones, without compromising on our ethics. This is a common problem facing veg-friendly folks.
The good news is we don’t have to choose between our values and our social lives. I founded The Inclusive Vegan to help plant eaters feel supported in mixed diet homes through delicious, vegan recipes that everyone can enjoy, together.
Amanda Goodman holds a Certification in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell University and an Ed.M. from Harvard University. She is a regular contributor to KrisCarr.com and has been featured on Hello Natural.