We love starting conversations here with The Flaming Vegan writers. But what about other vegans? What do they think?
By browsing sites that have vegan testimonials, here is what I found. Since these comments are posted publicly, I am allowed to repost them here. I chose those that touched me, inspired me, or surprised me the most.
I also would like to read some of your comments and testimonials. I know some of these will ring true to you or may perhaps shock you. Write whatever you wish in the comments.
1- Since I became vegan, Ive noticed that other animals can feel my veganism and I've formed very close bonds with other species of animals. And since I became vegan, Ive noticed many more people becoming vegan too! - M Butterflies Katz
2- Since I became vegan, Ive noticed how every other commercial on TV has some kind of animal product in it. - Diane Sims
3- Since I became vegan, Ive noticed I no longer feel debilitating depression or anxiety as I feel in sync with the universal energies. I no longer seek materialism or status, yet feel worthy of good fortune. I have found my voice, and with that, a sense of purpose. - Cully Miller
4- Since I became vegan, Ive noticed that 1.) I question things more. I had swallowed the BS that humans HAD to eat animal products so after I realised this was untrue I wondered what other BS in my culture/society I was swallowing. 2.) I felt physically and mentally so much happier and healthier. Like I must have been riddled with unconscious guilt before, which was destroying me physically and mentally. 3.) I feel closer to animals and herbivorous animals trust me more now. (eg horses sniff our breath to see what we've been eating. If it's meat they tend to fear us, for obvious reasons.) - Amanda Benham
5- Since I became vegan, Ive noticed that human-caused suffering and exploitation are everywhere and are the intrinsic foundation our cultures, traditions, and economic and social systems are built on. And that our species is essentially a parasite that takes, uses, devours, and destroys until there is nothing left. Ive noticed that all forms of oppression and exploitation and injustice are inextricably interwoven. Ive noticed that no matter how much I thought I knew about our treatment of other animals, when I looked deeper, the reality was invariably and markedly worse than I could have ever imaginedbeyond anyones worst nightmares. Ive noticed that there is no reason to believe in some mythical place called Hell because for untold billions upon billions of irreplaceable individuals, hell is all they will ever know and it is we humans who have sentenced them to it, all so we can appease our taste buds, vanity, egos, and enrich our bank accounts. And, not surprisingly, Ive noticed that I dont like our species very much and that I firmly believe the planet and all Earthlings will be much better off after the inevitable demise of homo sapiens. I've noticed that "if youre not angry, youre not paying attention"; and that "once you know something, you cant unknow it"; and that empathy is a very painful gift; and that true lasting happiness is a near impossibility in a world filled with and powered by misery, violence, and death. And Ive noticed that despite the insurmountable odds and impossibility of getting humankind to fundamentally change its collective view and treatment of the Earth and other Earthlings, I know that my purpose in life is to attemptin whatever small way I canto do just that. - Monica Ball
6- Since I became vegan, I have noticed I am sexier. - Justina Novitarini
7- Since I became vegan, Ive noticed how times have changed over the past 40 years.....how much more educated we are today about animal exploitation and suffering.....and how there is no excuse for not being vegan in 2011! - Susan Gallagher Cassidy-Ray
8- Since I became vegan, Ive noticed how good fruits and vegetables taste.
9- Since I became vegan, Ive noticed wild animals arent as afraid of me. Butterflies land on me, toads follow me around the yard, and even wild animals that I find that are hurt are docile and allow me to pick them up. It is totally awesome. I dont get sick, not even a cold, the flu, nothing - Julie Ann Sherwood Zserdin
10- Since I became vegan, Ive noticed how much happier I am. - Batty V Katt
11- Since I became vegan, Ive noticed so many things. I could write a short story: Mental clarity, a heightened appreciation for life, a greater love for animals even for humans, (even though their ignorance at times, makes me short tempered), a need for more knowledge...and on and on and on. - Shelly Vegan Norton
12- Since I became vegan, Ive noticed how very fearful humans are of change and how they long to be compassionate but cant. - Dianne Robison
13- Since I became vegan, Ive noticed how even MORE cruel people can be. They just lash out just because; just because I do not eat animals or their secretions. It's really sad and quite weird! - Lis McVeganham-Wolf
14- Since I became vegan, Ive noticed the necessity for education and non-violence, and the obligation I have to contribute to that. - Carolyn Bailey
15- Since I became vegan, Ive noticed the arthritis I had just been diagnosed with before becoming vegan has improved beyond belief. Not the reason I became vegan at all, just a happy side effect! - Vanessa Lackford
16- Since I became vegan, Ive noticed how much goodness I can help bring into this world.
17- Since I became vegan, I have noticed that a layer of gloom was lifted from my mind and soul. I began to realize that 1. I don't need animal protein to survive, 2. I can think more clearly and rational about things in general than before, 3. My allergies improved tremendously, 4. I continue to grow spiritually and easier now as to where I was before was like pulling the ball and chain. 5. I can eat a lot more now and stay at a healthy weight. There is only one possible negative thing about it, and it is that I have little interest to socialize with the people I did before, I know I have nothing against them personally but I can not longer relate to them in the same way as before and make sense to their mentality and their moral retardation so I choose to stay away and spend the time I used to give to them to creating awareness about animal rights and educating myself further. I am still in the crawling stages compared to many but I am loving every second of it! This has not had a negative effect to me at all. I always like the company of my husband (also a vegan) and my two dogs better. - Clara Bemer
18- Since I became vegan, Ive noticed that everybody should have a goal and an IDEAL. Mine is to be alive to witness the day that all animal factory farms and slaughterhouses are closed and all laboratories that use animals for experimentation are closed. Everybody exists. It is only the few who live. To live, you should have an IDEAL. Life is short. The path is long. The pinnacle is very high. The time is very little---Old Hindu verse - Arthur Poletti
19- Since I became vegan, Ive noticed how something so simple as respect for all, can be made so complicated and demeaned by social conditioning. Lorraine Haines
20- Since I became vegan, I have noticed not only the injustices behind animal products, but capitalism itself. In the same way that the animal-using industries want the public to remain disconnected from the horrors that occur behind closed doors, capitalism feeds off the ignorance of consumers so that we buy more, unaware about the consequences our impulse buys have on cheap laborers and the environment as a whole. Veganism has inspired me to consume less and to be more mindful about the purchases I make, as well as become more aware of various forms of privilege, oppression, and other social justice issues that are intertwined with animal liberation. - Chelsea Miller
21- Since I became vegan, I have noticed I've noticed the frightening lack of interconnectedness most humans have to the living world around them and the incredibly destructive thoughtlessness with which they go about this. I may be healthier in body BUT I'm A LOT sadder than I have ever been. No personal improvements can outweigh the knowledge I have gained that humans are a cancer on this planet and that we will not be missed. I feel a personal responsibility to tread as lightly on this planet as I can possibly manage. Becoming Vegan has been a wake-up slap to reality! - Jen GaiaVegan
22- Since I became vegan, I have noticed how conformist most people seem to be.
23- Since I became vegan, I have noticed that although the world seems a much weirder place now, I am much happier and I am extremely glad to have had the opportunity to encounter veganism and be just to animals. - Vera Cristofani
24- Since I became vegan, I have noticed I have more energy, less to no aches, clear skin and better mood. Now I notice all the time how much our society relies on animal exploitation, how dairy is everywhere, how apathetic people are to violence on animals. And how the connection I have with my dogs was always great, but now is on another level (and this includes all living beings). - Martina H. Shakahari
25- Since I became vegan, I have noticed that we truly DO live in 'The Matrix' and are a virus on this planet. Vegans have burst through the delusion that all's well behind the Slaughterhouse curtain. Also that the rabbit hole is very very deep!!! And how DISCONNECTED we are from nature! And how many animal-lovers eat animals. - Diane Smith
26- Since I became vegan, I have noticed that Compassion arouses such suspicion in people, but it's the best thing I have or will ever do. I love animals and now I am a living protest. Looking around we are ethically bankrupt in the way we treat animals as *things* and I don't want any part of it... It changes your life in every way for the better. - Wendy Shaw
27- Since I became vegan, I have noticed less hair on my body, inclined to be cooler temperature wise, and my love and respect for the animals, for the indigenous people has grown and grown. I am also very happy in my own skin (vegan 36 years) NO animal milk 67 years, no eggs 69 years. - Rex Tyler
28- Since I became vegan, I have noticed
- that food can be a drug, or a medicine.
- that my body increasingly prefers raw foods.
- the connection between mood and hydration.
- that what i crave is not always what i need.
- that people are truly addicted to meat and dairy.
- that vegan is the healthy and ethical choice.
- that vegans are more 'awake' than omnivores.
29- Since I became vegan, I have noticed how deeply rooted suffering, cruelty and injustice is and how it's so completely normalized and how hypocritical everything is. - Sarah Kiser
30- Since I became vegan, I have noticed how wonderfully connected I feel to Mother Earth and all her creatures. My soul is at peace. - Kerry L Shoemaker-Davis
31- Since going vegan, Ive noticed that going vegan is easy take it from a newby. And I didnt think it would be easy! I have not once been sorry. I have not missed anything I used to eat (like meat, eggs, butter). I cant even begin to tell you the wondrous ways my life and views have changed. - Bridget Vegan-is-Love
32- Since I became vegan, Ive noticed that it improved mental health. Afterwards what sadness/anger I felt with the new facts (I watched Earthlings years after going vegan for no reason I could define, and I had no idea humans could be so cruel) is like fuel and very different to any depression I had before going vegan, which was no doubt caused by a subconscious knowledge. There are cues we pick up about inconsistencies/injustice around us. - Tharan SxEv
33- Since I became vegan I've noticed that I actually feel like "me" more than I ever have before. I may be the only one around that sees the world without the aid of rose-colored glasses... Sometimes it's lonely - But it's also REAL - I can live with that. - Bea V Elliott
34- Since I became vegan, Ive noticed that I am also kinder to myself. - Luis David Rojas
35- Since becoming vegans, my husband and I have virtually eliminated any chance of experiencing the vascular/heart disease so prevalent in our families. Our lipid figures indicate that we will never need the quadruple coronary bypass surgeries required by both our fathers. Just as important to me, I now maintain my ideal weight of 110 with a way of eating that I love and can cheerfully live with forever. I had been a yo-yo dieter for over thirty years, with a top weight of 165. Laurie M, Norman, OK
36- After shifting to a plant-based diet for health reasons, I soon learned that the vegan diet can also help end world hunger, radically decrease global warming, and save billions of animals from torture. We live in an unsustainable system that simply must change for the future of life on Planet Earth ... and for our children who follow us. Jim Hicks, CT, Former Executive VP, Polo Ralph Lauren
37- My pregnancy was stellar because of my vegan diet. I had no morning sickness, I was so comfortable, and I felt great. My newborn was super-healthy. She hasn't had an ear infection yet, and when she gets a cold, she kicks it very quickly. I'm sure that's because she never had dairy, and doesn't have a build up of mucus. Sarah G, Santa Cruz, CA
38- Since becoming a vegan the intestinal problems that I dealt with for the first 42 years of my life disappeared. Ann W, Belvedere, CA
39- Many people think vegans are too skinny. Interestingly, I was actually underweight before going vegan, and the vegan diet helped me to put on five needed pounds. I think the vegan diet helps you achieve and maintain a healthy weight - whether that means you need to gain or lose weight. Elliot G, Tacoma, WA
40- Although initially my journey to better health seemed only an easy way to lose weight (just eat tons of veggies!), as I continued educating myself I could no longer deny that the benefits of eating healthy were so much greater than just losing a few. I began to see this as a gift I could give my children and so far, so good. My 2 1/2 year old is one of the few toddlers I know who heartily gobbles down eggplant, broccoli, artichokes... We all do so much to protect our children, be it car seats or bike helmets or teaching them the dangers of smoking. In my mind, teaching them to eat vegan is yet another way to keep them healthy and safe. Colleen E, Springfield, VA
41- People are often bewildered when I tell them that I went to graduate school for African American studies. After all, I am a white boy. To me, however, it makes complete sense. For as long as I can remember, the struggle against systematic oppression has resonated with me. What better narrative of resistance than that of black people in America? This is not to suggest that other narratives (queer, feminist, indigenous, etc.) are not equally important. In fact, as time has passed, I have come to understand that struggles against oppression mustnt be compartmentalized. Rather, all struggles for liberation are deeply intertwined. It is a struggle for total liberation. This notion of total liberation is not limited to humans; it encompasses earth and animal liberation as well. This is why I am vegan.
I stopped eating meat about 18 years ago. I had recently become involved in the straight edge hardcore scene. Listening to bands such as Earth Crisis, Raid, Chokehold and Contempt made it nearly impossible to avoid the politics of food. Around this time, I also was deeply influenced by the teachings of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (founder of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness, better known as Hare Krishna), having been introduced to the Vaishnava movement through the music of Krishna-core bands like 108 and Shelter.
I remember leaving shows with books like Bhagavad Gita and Higher Taste, in addition to the usual ephemera (zines, seven inches, etc.). After arriving in New York City for college, I began to spend time at the ISKCON temple in Brooklyn on Sunday afternoons for the weekly vegetarian feast. There, I learned more about the interconnectedness of all life; that to kill an animal for its flesh is as reprehensible as killing a fellow human being. All creatures are spirit souls; although humans and animals appear different on the outside, the inner constitution the eternal soul is the same for all.
Prahupada wrote, To be nonviolent to human beings and to be a killer or enemy of the poor animals is Satans philosophy. In this age there is always enmity against poor animals, and therefore the poor creatures are always anxious. The reaction of the poor animals is being forced on human society, and therefore there is always strain of cold or hot war between men, individually, collectively or nationally. (in Srimad-Bhagavatam, 1.10.6). It made so much sense.
Although a few years later I distanced myself from the teachings of Prabupada (being a cynical atheist was in vogue in the late 90s), I continued to maintain a vegetarian diet. I was convinced that this was enough eating eggs didnt make me complicit in the killing of animals, right? Of course, in retrospect, I find myself asking, How could I be so damn naive? I suppose I could use some lame excuse like I went to graduate school in Wisconsin, aka Americas Dairyland. I hated football and had a profound aversion to beer, which flows like water in Americas midsection; to take a stand against the cornerstone of the states economy would surely have gotten me banished. Admittedly, I was not as outspoken back then as I am today. When I came back East, I found new excuses for not going vegan.
I did, however, go vegan five years ago. Having spent time in the activist community, I had a better understanding of the connection between human and animal liberation. Being vegetarian was not enough. The reality that my consumption of eggs and dairy made me complicit in an unthinkable holocaust was unavoidable. So, one day, I simply made the decision to go vegan. It was really that easy or, so it seemed. For the first few years, I went about it all wrong. No doubt, I was eating cruelty-free. However, my diet was unhealthy. Who knew there was so much vegan junk food?! As long as it had no animal products or byproducts, I consumed it. Processed fake dairy and meat products were staples of my diet. While my conscience felt great, my body felt terrible. I gained weight. I was always tired, and often sick.
In the past several years, I have learned a lot about eating well, learning that I can have a healthy body and a clean conscience and it is not that difficult. These days, I eat only whole foods, and I feel amazing. In addition to being vegan, I am gluten-free (turns out I have a gluten intolerance). I am straight edge, and recently I have reconnected with Krishna consciousness. I am an avid cyclist, riding over 150 miles a week. I might even enter a race or two this year. Being a vegan athlete is not unfeasible, despite what omnivorous athletes might argue. In fact, I am convinced that my vegan gluten-free diet improves my performance in the saddle. I am stronger, faster and more mentally-focused than ever. I wake up before the sun rises with incredible energy; and, this energy is sustained throughout the day.
Of course, its more than just feeling good. For me, it continues to be about total liberation: self liberation, human liberation, earth liberation and animal liberation. Veganism is more than a diet; it is more than a lifestyle. Veganism is a stance: the uncompromising confirmation that animals are not ours to abuse, exploit or consume. Perhaps this sounds a bit dogmatic. I am often accused of that; however, I am loath to offer an apology. It frustrates me when so-called radicals fail to address the subjugation of non-humans and the disregard our society has for the earth. How can one reconcile taking a stand for human rights and then consume a bacon cheeseburger. It makes no sense to me. It is so blatantly contradictory. I believe it was Civil Rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer who said, Nobodys free until were all free. I interpret this to include human AND non-human animals. This is why I am vegan.