Yes, it has been already more than 20 years and what turbulent times they were back then. I had turned vegetarian on June 1st of 1994, so just a few months prior. In autumn I was planning my first big trip to Mexico and Central America. So one day around mid-October, still living with my folks, I awoke in a strangely manner. Entering full consciousness was a deliberate, clarifying and amazing experience. In the process I saw – I just knew that from that day on I wouldn’t consume any animal products whatsoever.
I can’t recall if I already knew about veganism and it certainly took me a few years to give up on leather products as well, incl. my once treasured leather sandals but I implemented a strict vegan diet from that day on. Upon greeting my Mom, I informed her about my newfound ways and suffice to say that she wasn’t too happy. She voiced her motherly concerns rather vehemently but I succeeded in calming her down, telling her that it was my choice and therefor my burden to bear.
Turning vegetarian, I’d become increasingly interested in nutrition, health and cooking. Looking back I have to smile and my rather humble beginnings. Needless to say that I’ve enchanted taste buds all over the world with my magic, even some hardened carnivores. On my far flung travel I’m constantly on the lookout for culinary inspiration, often adapting (veganizing) local dishes. Upon inquiry into my box of tricks I mostly divulge but one. A recipe is but a sketch or a roadmap, it’s my joyful prerogative to improve upon it, to take a detour or two. I never shy away from innovation only there I can see merit. I also believe it should be fun after all and delight in cooking for friends and family.
During my months of vegetarianism I was full of missionary zeal, constantly trying to convince people of their erring and wicked ways. Come October 1994 I had somewhat mellowed, learning to be more accepting of people who are of differing opinions. Basically live and let live! I also started noticing a steady increase in my base energy level, generally feeling more vibrant and buoyant than ever before. This consolidated itself over time becoming a reliable fact rather than a temporary event.
Over the past 20 years I’ve heard it all. I’ve been ridiculed, derided, mocked, insulted and sneered at. I’ve endured countless tedious, relentless questions and provocations that felt more like interrogations. I am well aware that to many people I’m the first vegan ever in their short sweet life but for me well it’s been 20 years, suffice to say that at times I find it rather taxing.
Luckily, there have also been sincere and honest questions and concern of people. Wanting to learn and listen and genuinely broaden their horizon. To them, like to all the seekers of truth, understanding and wisdom, I’m sincerely grateful. All the haters can go…well, elsewhere! 😉
For those interested – there’s TONS of info out there but I will only post this one by famous vegan advocate Gary Yourofsky:
Whatever you do: Cherish and care for Mother Nature!