My whole life I struggled with eating meat. Whether I thought it was the taste, the texture, the smell, the fact that I was eating a once living being, it always bothered me to some degree. But I ate it, sometimes it was because I was led to believe it was good for me, or forced by my family to eat it (hey that’s what we did in the 80s, I was a card carrying member of the clean plate club!). As I got older I got very picky about the meat I did eat. At first it was just beef or chicken that was skinless and boneless, as far away from resembling that it had ever been a living thing. This year, I decided to become a vegetarian. I already ate very little meat and drank very little milk, but oh was I hard pressed to give up cheese and eggs. I mean I got them from reputable companies that touted free range and grass fed animals that were humanely raised. So, I went vegetarian, no real issue there, except for time I forgot that I went vegetarian and ate a BLT (oops). As I continued to search for vegetarian friendly recipes and lifestyle I came across more and more information on what animal products do to the body. I also learned more about factory farming and how those free range grass fed touting companies were not what we thought they were (some are, but many are not). I watched documentaries and undercover footage of factory farms, even dairy farms, where the milk and cheese was coming from. What happened to the male chickens born at hatcheries etc. It was horrifying to say the least. Many times I sat in front of my computer in tears and ready to throw up from the revelations laid out before me. I also watched the documentary Forks over Knives and learned so much about a plant based diet, the health benefits, and the detriments of animal products. All of these experiences were eye opening and life changing. As a self proclaimed animal lover I could not continue to live my life counter intuitive to my beliefs. So i chose to go vegan. I now consider myself a vegan. Is it hard sometimes to say no to that cheese pizza? Yes, sometimes it is, but then I remind myself of how that cheese got here. The harm to the animal and the environment, and the potential harm to my body if I consumed it. Its not hard then to walk away from the decadent strawberry shortcake in the office. (although that would not be so hard to make into a vegan version!). I have found so many incredibly delicious recipes, supportive friends and great resources and products to keep me on this path. I do not want to go into the specifics of factory farming and how animal products harm the body and the environment, there is PLENTY of information out there, just check out my Pinterest board or Google factory farms, and check out Forks Over Knives. Moving forward I pledge to only share delicious vegan recipes here, and maybe revamp some of the old ones to fit this new life. Bon Apetit!