Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.

Vegetarian to Vegan: Making the Switch

Written by Ashley Palmer | December 28, 2010

Like many people, I once justified eating eggsmilk, and cheese by saying, “But they don’t kill the animals.” What I failed to realize is that the animals who are raised for these products face a horrifying fate that is no different than the one faced by animals who are killed for their flesh.

The money that I was spending on these animal-derived products was going right into the pockets of the industries that I was standing up against as a vegetarian. Once I learned that hens have their beaks cut off with a hot blade and are crammed into cages so small they are unable to spread their wings and that mother cows are forcibly impregnated in order to produce milk for humans and then have their babies stolen away (yep, that’s where veal comes from), I knew I could no longer support any industry that profited from exploiting animals.

Going vegan is the best decision that I have ever made. If you’re in a similar situation, please take a look at my following suggestions for making the transition from a vegetarian diet to a vegan one:

  1. Make vegan versions of your favorite meals. Yes, you can use the same exact recipes! Just use soy milk, vegan margarinevegan cheese, and faux meats where your recipes call for the real thing. You’ll be surprised by just how tasty, satisfying, and comforting it is to enjoy your favorite foods without causing a single animal to suffer.
  2. Try new, interesting, and intriguing foods. Ever wonder what mock shrimp tastes like? Or maybe you’ve been too scared to try tofu. Never been to that Indian or Thai restaurant down the street? Now’s your chance! Being vegan will open your taste buds up to a whole new world.
  3. Browse hundreds of free recipes right here. Use PETA’s simple recipe search to find just the meal that you’re looking for. Search by cuisine type, meal type, or keyword, and you’ll be on your way to foodie heaven in no time! Click here to get started.
  4. Ask a friend to do it with you. Each vegan saves more than 100 animals a year. You can help even more animals if you ask your friends, family, and coworkers to go vegan too. Plus, knowing that you’re “in it together” will help keep you motivated.
  5. Remember the animals you’re fighting for. Explore PETA’s website and become familiar with the issues surrounding animal agriculture. The more you learn, the easier it will be to go vegan.

Going vegan is the easiest, cheapest, and smartest thing that you can do for your health, the planet, and animals. Now that’s a New Year’s resolution worth bragging about.

So what are you waiting for? Go vegan now!

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  • julia says:

    I grew up in Wisconsin and currently live in Minneapolis. I completely appreciate the previous comment from the other midwesterner about the lack of products in the dairy industry state, but encourage him/her to try including some vegan foods in
    her diet as possible. Even in the very small town where I grew up in southern Wisconsin, the Piggly Wiggly sells soy milk and tofu. Also, there is a lot that can be done vegan without soy products. I’ve been a vegan for almost 10-years and like to bake–anything can be made vegan with an egg replacement product like ‘Ener-G’or even part of a banana in lieu of the egg. I encourage this person to look at some vegan cookbooks (Drena Burton is the name of one author, for example–she created the incredible vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe I love to make). Any vegan foods she is able to use, even though being completely vegan right now isn’t a reality, is a step in the right direction! Good luck and congratulations!

  • Ashley-P says:

    erin w: Most conventional egg beaters are not vegan, and are made out of eggs. There are some egg replacements listed here: http://www.peta.org/living/vegetarian-living/egg-replacements.aspx
    and on our Vegan Baking Cheat Sheet, available here:http://www.peta.org/living/vegetarian-living/baking-cheat-sheet.aspx
    Learn more about egg-laying hens here: http://www.peta.org/about/faq/Whats-so-bad-about-eating-eggs.aspx
    Good luck! :)

  • erin w. says:

    @courtney smith: i have never understood the whole egg thing. u mean when we buy eggs from the store, they are the same eggs that would be baby chicks??? please don’t think of me as ignorant or stupid, but this has always confused me. What about the Egg substitutes, r they vegan. like egg beaters. I am trying to become vegan too, but am stuck in a vegetarian rutt. thanks!

  • LostGurlJKBlue says:

    I’ve been vegetarian a long time but working towards vegan. I’ll have this site as a tool to stay on the wagon. Gross video on FOD with rabbits on hook alive for pelting. I wear no animals so I do feel right most of the way.

  • pescilove says:

    When you live in certain areas (like Wisconsin/the Midwest) it’s really difficult to live a vegan lifestyle. Vegetarian is simple, you don’t eat anything with a face. But where I live, vegan products like soy milk and tofu are hard to find or super expensive in a place where the dairy industry flourishes. While I’m still under my parents roof I’ll have to remain vegetarian, but when I get out on my own, out of this place and start buying my own food, I’ll definitely make the switch.

  • 3D says:

    Even if a group of very influential people who want to end animal exploitation were to emerge, not even they can stop factory farming. That’s the truth.

    Still, I feel that there is something beautiful about how some of us are going vegetarian and vegan despite this fact. It’s like fighting to protect something by doing what’s in your power to protect, even if you know that your opponent is stronger. Something resembling a fighting spirit.

    Regarding cost though, I know what you mean that buying food can be more expensive. It’s a lot easier–and cheaper–to impregnate cows year-round and then use milking machines on them to get cow milk than it is to get almonds or soy and grind it up and make almond/soy milk out of it. Naturally, cow milk is cheaper.

    Similarly, the same can be said about hamburgers that cost $2 vs. a vegan meal that might cost $6.

    It’s because the meat industry has been perfecting it’s business for about two hundred years that they’ve been able to minimize costs as much as possible, undercutting prices of vegan-friendly products.

    However, with more demand for vegan/vegetarian products, we’ll see an increase in the supply. I suspect that this will lead to a price reduction in vegan foods/products so that within ten years or so, the price difference between “normal” food/products and animal-cruelty free food/products will become relatively low.

    But actually, Trader Joe’s has a lot of good, cheap, vegan-friendly food. I bought some food this morning with an anti-vegetarian, anti-animals friend. I bought something like 4 thai wonton soups, 1 pad thai, organic corn and peas, mock beef, organic apples and bananas. He thought that my shopping would cost me at least $35, but it ended up being less than $25.

    So we’ll see within the next few years, it will become a lot easier to be vegetarian and vegan, further helping the rising movement against animal cruelty.

    At the end of the day though, I’d rather not eat any of that cheap but unhealthy food these big companies call food since the cost of that food will show up later on (in medical costs).

  • Cernunnas says:

    @whatthewhat You’re obviously blind, with all my respect. Poverty is directly linked with this issue, it’s all about the ones who control the World… you should try and look a bit into it a bit further and you’ll be surprised. And I have to disagree with you. Being vegan doesn’t necessarly mean to buy things at speciality food stores. I go to these only when I feel like having something, and anyway, it’s not that expensive. Really. I bet you say that because you haven’t been to one, checked out the things a vegan would want/need, and see the prices. That’s just a myth. Even still, if in your zone such things were very expensive like you say, you could always order online.

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