As you might recall, I've actually been vegetarian for several years (since 2004, to be exact). I always wanted to go vegan because I felt that my personal ethics regarding animals and animal rights were not consistent with how I was living my daily life. I had tried to go vegan before, but I never stuck with it.
So what was the problem? Fundamentally, I didn't know where to go to ask questions. I had found discrete ways to investigate veganism - the most obvious, of course, being to explore creating vegan desserts so I could continue to enjoy my baking (and eating) hobby - but I found that as I figured one thing, another would baffle me. Interestingly, I have found that most people fall in the same boat; many people intellectually appreciate the merits of veganism and the ethics behind it, but without any practical know-how on making the transition, they are stuck.
Then, I got a great tip from Marla Rose from Vegan Street; she had recently reviewed Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's book The 30-Day Vegan Challenge and strongly endorsed it, so I thought I would give it a try. Let me tell you - I picked up this book, read it from cover to cover, and I never looked back.
This book was phenomenal. Colleen addressed all questions, big and small, about becoming and staying vegan in a friendly, non-judgmental way. Once I finished the book, I put together a general plan for becoming vegan, identified what areas would be challenging, and identified how I would confront those challenges and incorporated them into my plan. For example, Colleen noted that one challenge of becoming vegan was knowing what to make dinner after a long day at work when you're creativity is drained. She then provided a helpful "go-to" list of quick and easy dinner ideas if you're in that situation. That was definitely me; early on, when I needed something fast, I often returned to that list so I wouldn't stumble into old habit patterns. It was a huge help for me.
It's now been over two years and I've never looked back. In fact, after reading her book, it is almost embarrassing - in a good way - how easy it was to become vegan! I truly cannot endorse this approach enough, and I still turn to this book as a resource and for Colleen's absolutely delicious recipes.
Now, The 30-Day Vegan Challenge is an online program: click here if you would like to sign up. Colleen is in the process of revising the next edition of the book, and I will certainly let you know when she publishes it. Everyone who is curious about veganism should give it a try; I promise, you won't regret it!