The Thinking Vegan Pop Quiz: How long have been vegan and why?

By on May 20, 2011



Gregory J Santollo

‎7 years. The harder I tried and the deeper I read to justify eating meat, Just solidified that we are herbivores. That eating meat and dairy are wrong. It is cruel to the animals, bad for the planet and horrible for your health.


Sunny Rowe

Since March 22, 2007. I went from being an everything-eater to strict vegan after receiving Skinny Bitch in the mail. I read it first thing in the morning, and by our previously scheduled dinner date at my in-laws house, I had made the switch. They made some kind of pork dish and I ate a piece of bread for dinner that night.


Mark Woodworth

About a year, I watched food inc, and a mercy for animals video. after being vegetarian for the 6 months prior to that, I decided it was time to cut out the cheese and make a difference in the selfish world.


Vanessa Lackford ‎

18 months. I have been vegetarian all my life, and knew I ‘should’ be vegan. It happened after watching a brief video on FB of a cow waiting in line to go into the slaughterhouse and trying to turn around. I had no choice, I went vegan immediately. Best thing I have ever done. just listened to Moby on Radio 2 in UK, being vegan was not mentioned, but the compassion and humility just flowed through.


Tami Drake

‎10 1/2 years. I made the decision to become vegan because of the realization that being vegetarian wasn’t enough. I was also surrounded by some pretty astonishing vegans at the time! My husband has been vegan for 28 years, I met him in 1999 and followed his example for a compassionate lifestyle.


Brendon Clarke-Pepper

Roughly 5 years. I was at home one day eating a turkey slice (of all things!) when I became suddenly aware that I was eating an animal. I instantly became a vegetarian. I went to do groceries 8 hours later and realized what dairy was (breast milk was all I could think) and I was vegan. In one day I went from take-out like KFC everyday to being vegan.


Shauna Sherick

I had been vegetarian for about 2 years then went vegan 6 months ago. I work as a veterinary tech and made the connection that I could not save one animal then turn around and eat or use another animal.


Michelle Morgan ‎

3 years this month. I had been vegetarian for 17 years up to then and had struggled with going vegan. I tried “vegan Tuesdays” for a while but that was short lived. Then one day, I was at breakfast and when the waiter put down my plate of scrambled eggs, I realized that would be the last time I would succumb to my selfish cravings for eggs and dairy.


Marilyn Ramos

It will be ten yrs. in July. I went to my first animal rights conference and after seeing videos about eggs and dairy, I immediately went vegan. It has changed my life and given it more purpose


Lindavegan Middlesworth

‎21 years of vegan bliss! 10 years vegetarian before that. First, I had to get cancer and heart disease but then read Dr. John McDougall’s book, The 12 Day Program, and stopped all animal products the same day I read his book. It made perfect sense. I rid myself of cancer, heart disease, extra bodyfat, fibroid tumors in a few weeks time! Then one week after reading his health book, my neighbor told me what happens to dairy cows and I picked up “Animal Liberation” by Peter Singer. That did it. Then I became a compassionate vegan for life. John Robbins,” Food Revolution” was inspirational too. Luckily, we humans are designed to eat plants, not animals or their secretions. Being vegan is so much more than food. It means telling people why I am vegan so they can hear the compassion I now carry in my heart for all beings and they can know that our food choices can either contribute to animal suffering or they do not. I will never be silent and will spend every waking moment of my life thinking about how I can support others going vegan too. Our lives depend on it, our animals deserve freedom and our earth will die unless humans wake up and stop the animal holocaust. At 67, I feel like I am 20! The inner peace I have in my heart comes from my kind, plant food eating! And the fact that I no longer visit any entertainment that includes animals or buy products or clothing with animals parts in them. I so do not support charities who send billions of dollars to animal research labs. My soon to be website is! I am certified in Plant Nutrition from Cornell and if you need help going vegan, please email me at:


M Butterflies Katz

Hi there. I’ve been vegan for 32 years. I stopped eating animals when I was 12, over 40 years ago, the minute I learned that “meat” was a dead animal. I guess I have always loved and respected animals. I became vegan upon reading the magazine of The American Vegan Society, specifically about the horror of the dairy industry. I vowed to become vegan right then and there; rid my closet of all leather, started to purchase all vegan toiletries and cosmetics, and grew with my veganism from then on. I still worked at an establishment that served fish, until I realized I could no longer do that as a vegan. My vegan ethic just keeps growing through the years… I see veganism on a deeper level through the years.


Jeanne Besanceney ‎

10 years ago. Fell in love with a Vegan Nutritionist who helped to elucidate for me the reasons to be entirely Vegan. Was moving in that direction since childhood – 30 years ago, when I was naturally averse to eating animals.


Peter Keller

Vegan since 2000. I went vegetarian 6 years prior after seeing a pig roast (at a Renn Fair, where the “Rogues” chopped off the head and kicked it around like a soccer ball). I went vegan after learning of the interconnectedness of the meat and dairy industries. I couldn’t eat cheese after “Brain” of the animated TV show “Pinky and the Brain” called it “congealed bovine discharge.”


Stephanie Gray

My decision to adopt a vegan diet was initially both moral and medical. Sustained by moral reasons. Became vegan in 1995 (16 years). First went vegan after reading a book “Food Your Miracle Medicine and around same time seeing a PETA newsletter.

Going vegan made sports-related knee arthritis disappear and made moderate fibromyaigia mild. Had already been vegetarian since 1984 (27 years).

Newsletter from PETA allowed me to connect dairy and veal and exposed me to the horrors of battery hens. Also, learned about the cruelty involved in down and wool.

I would have done it for either the health benefits or the moral reasons alone. That I could accomplish both simultaneously made my becoming vegan a total no-brainer.


Kate Ogden

I have been vegan for one year, two months, 1 week 🙂 I made the choice “cold” after watching Earthlings. There was no way to see that remarkable film and not “make the connection”. I have two vegan daughters as well and they in turn have helped friends find a way to be compassionate in their choices. I live in LA so it is soooo easy to find great choices for cooking AND eating out.


Kortnie Sloat

I’ve been vegan for about a year and a half now and I was inspired by my sister to go vegan and take a stand against animal cruelty and to be healthy 🙂


Billy Howard

I was 17 when eating a chicken leg unconsciously in lively discussion with my family. Suddenly my body said, “Hey, what a sec. Take a look at what you are eating.” The world stopped around me as I looked at the herb and breadcrumb crust, the part I liked best. Then I saw the gash where I had torn the flesh away. I looked into the wound of muscle, sinew, tendons and bones all disrupted, broken, torn, hanging there like a train wreck. The more I looked, the less I wanted that in my body. I very slowly put the piece down and haven’t picked up another since. That was 36 years ago.


Bec LLa Peach Annetts ‎

4 years. I was vego for 5 years prior to becoming vegan and it just became a natural progression. One of the best decisions I have ever made, haven’t looked back 🙂


Luis Brenes

‎5 years on a row now. Before that I was vegetarian for 3 years, it was just the natural way of things. I became vegetarian after reading several Alexander Skutch´s books, where I learned that the meat industry is responsible for the destruction of many acres of forest. Also I have always had this strong bond with animals, to the point that I can bare human suffering rather than animal suffering for human reasons. Maybe my values are not the regular set, yet I find myself quite comfortable with the idea that nobody (and I mean nobody in the broadest sense of the word) dies in this world because of me.


Scholing Marie-anne

Vegan for about two years now…it was a mercy for animals video that inspired me…I was lacto-vegetarian for 18 years…


Deborah Ⓥ Prophet

I finally made the connection after being a vegetarian for 25 years and then realising that the dairy industry is more torturous than any other after watching Earthlings, MFA footage and Gary Yourofsky’s “Best Speech You Will Ever Hear” video. My husband became vegan over night after I posted a video about baby male chicks being ground up alive and my two sons aged 6 and almost 2 have never eaten flesh and are now vegan. It is not a diet, we are ETHICAL vegans and always will be. It’s a lonely path we choose and we are such a minority living in the Middle East but it is the only path we’ll ever take.


Empire Oneoneeight

I became a Vegan about 8 years ago! I was eating a Japanese dish at work and remember the food tasting like it was either spoiled or re-fried after already being cooked. That dish was pushed aside and I ate an apple for lunch. That same day I decided to start doing some research on being Vegetarian well, after one month of that and all of the research I decided to go 100% Vegan. I have never even had a craving for meat, dairy, or any other animal derived foods. I’m always questioned about being Vegan since this has happened so, I decided to get a tattoo that says “Vegan for life” to promote Veganism even more. Of course this always starts conversation off in different directions. Well, about a year ago I wanted to spread the word even more and have since started Empire118 which is a small Vegan clothing line out of Orlando, Florida. My job now is promoting Veganism everyday. I do what I love now for a living and have since enjoyed walking away from the corporate world! I have met some truly amazing people so far and look forward to my visit on the west coast for 6 months sharing information and helping those interested in understanding Veganism. I’m always up for a challenge, gaining more knowledge and meeting like minded individuals. I will always have compassion for the animals and I will continue this journey through Empire118 for life! Thank you for everything that you do! –Shawn


Steven GoVegan Adams

‎2 years, self-love


Curtis Craft

Almost 3 years, and I chose to do so because I feel it’s unethical to abuse our power in non-consensual ways. I wanted to make a difference, no matter how small. The world is too depressing as it is. One more vegan on the planet can’t hurt.


Anne E Lynch ‎

12 years this November (birthday gift to myself). Completely for ethical/animal liberation reasons, and have never looked back!


Tracy VeganPebbles Bedford

Nearly 5 yrs now, I was vegetarian for 14yrs before that. I wanted to stop eating animals at 12 yrs old after i saw a street campaign to stop the production of foie gras but took 7yrs to convince family. I became vegan because I finally realised that dairy was torture too and when I looked at my diet the only thing I was consuming was milk, eggs and cheese!! mortified! iIam now a vegan and have never looked back 😀


Erika Porter

It’s been a year for me. I was veg for 6 years before that. It’s something that happened to me. One morning I woke up and couldn’t put dairy, eggs, honey, or flesh in my mouth. I can’t really take credit. My body just says NO.


Steve Knibbs ‎

15 years, after reading a book called “Radical Vegetarianism”.


Angela Stemmer

‎1 year and 2 months, I went Vegan overnight after watching Earthlings. Stopped eating cows, I don’t like to call it meat, 6 months prior to that because I deliver mail out to farmers. I couldn’t stare them in the eye and then go home and eat them anymore 🙂


Tracy Sampson-Flitcraft

About a year ago, I watched Food Inc., and found that I began to have this strong interest in my “food” and where it was coming from – as I just never thought about it before…I just went to the store and purchased what I needed, plain and simple. One night, I sat at my laptop, and for hours upon hours, I watched video after video about how we cause animals to suffer for our own benefit (food, clothing, entertainment, experiments, etc. etc.). I was saddened that I had been so close minded up until then. I was mad that I never really thought about HOW my food got to the table, and I was upset looking at the leather on my feet, dangling from my arms, and covering the interior of my cars. I can literally say, I had an awakening. From that point on, my life changed. No one around me is vegetarian or vegan, and I had never known anyone who lived life this way. Something happened to me when I “saw” what was happening to animals. I have always been an animal lover and I felt ashamed to continue to use that terminology knowing that I was a partipant in their pain. BUT, now I no longer have to feel ashamed, because I will make a difference in educating others. It has been such a liberating and personal experience for me to eliminate all animal products from my life. I am truly grateful that something made me sit up until 4am one night, only about a year ago, and cry staring at animals undergoing torture for our (human) greed and consumption. I will say since making the change I have done something that has given my such fullfillment in how I live my life.


Sonja Ikäheimo

I went vegan almost 8 years ago and I was vegetarian for nearly a decade before that. In college, I stopped eating flesh and wearing leather as I decided it was wrong that any animals should die for me. I didn’t know about factory farming at all when I decided that, so everything after that first step was a learning process that took years. My biggest regret is that it took me so long before I went vegan. I wish I’d known someone who could have told me as I was truly ignorant about dairy and eggs, so when I finally learned the truth from an AR magazine, I was sickened at what a hypocrite I’d been for years thinking I was an ethical vegetarian. My own experience is why I always talk about veganism, never vegetarianism.


Dottie Laster

It’s 4 years this month. It was a health choice I made after reading The China Study. But since becoming vegan I have learn so much about the horrible abuse of animals which has definitely taken center stage. The good health veganism brings is just a wonderful perk!


Daniel Humphries

Since January after being mostly vegan for 13 years. I stopped buying cereal and snacks with honey in and asking for no cheese on pizza when dining out. I strive to make any new purchase vegan and cruelty free.


Holly Goheavy

Vegan since February 2007. My journey began with the sea turtle, and the first item to be dropped was seafood when I learned that turtles drown in fishing gear. The more I learned, the more I removed from my diet- until one day I said aloud “I guess I am vegan!” The journey still continues, and I’m always learning. I LOVE being vegan and will be for life!!!


Armaiti May

I’ve been vegan for about 12 years now, and was vegetarian growing up. Reading Diet For A New America by John Robbins opened my eyes to the cruelty in the dairy and egg industries, as well as the health and environmental reasons for going vegan. My main motivation for staying vegan has been for ethical reasons.


Lawrence Ziese

Pescatarian since 2004 after nearly dying from a bad case of diverticultus and IBS. I had been studying diets all over the world and the longevity associated with them and reduced all meat to 2-3 fish/egg/yogurt servings a month, while most meals were vegan. It wasn’t until I met some supportive and fun people in the vegan community (and learning more about the environmental impact and the treatment of the animals) that I eliminated all animal products from my diet, clothing, and lifestyle. I’ve been vegan since November of 2009, I made the conscious attempt in October until I mindlessly ate a Snicker’s bar. I wonder if the vegan I was dating knew what a huge impact she made?


Tylor Ujaama ‎

15 years, because #2 is better than #1 now, if you know what I mean!


Patrice Davis

I accepted a friend’s challenge to go vegetarian for 30 days and learn about how my food got to my plate. Did my “homework” and saw more cruelty and torture than I ever wanted to or could have imagined. After 10 days I became vegan. I couldn’t justify not eating the flesh when I continued to support the cruelty through the use of eggs, cheese, and milk. Felt a peace I’d never known before. I did it solely for the animals and I’ve never looked back. The health benefits were simply a happy byproduct. Got a late start at age 57 and couldn’t believe how I never gave my food choices a second thought. As my friend says, people just don’t connect the dots between the food on the plate and the actual animal in the factory farm that suffers and dies. My pic says it all. Vegan 8-15-09.


Bethany Cole

I have been vegan for about a year. I decided to be vegan because my Mom taught be to not hurt animals. You can look into their eyes and see their emotions. Seems simple. I chose not to contribute to a business that tortures animals daily. Why would I want to pay people to kill animals? I also do not think it’s natural to eat the flesh of animals.


Chrissy Cardoza

Hi, I have been a vegan for 2 years this September after reading “Skinny Bitch”. I decided to do this because it was like a light bulb went off for me, it only made sense to do this. I am really so proud of myself for making and staying true to this commitment. There are so many plusses & benefits to being vegan I would never go back. The animals and my health are just too important not to. I wish everyone would educate themselves on the horrors of factory farming & learn about healthier and delicious ways of eating. Being vegan is like being a rockstar!


Marisa Borders

I have been vegetarian for close to 25 years. My transition to veganism was a several year process that began after I read Peter Singer’s “Animal Liberation” in 2000. I became fully committed to veganism at the beginning of 2009 after reading Will Tuttle’s “The World Peace Diet”. Learning about veganism has been enhanced by reading, reading, reading”Diet For a New America”, “Vegan Freak”, “Eating Animals”, “The Kind Diet”, “The Friends We Keep”, “Farm Sanctuary”, “Being Vegan”, “Skinny Bitch”, “Second Nature”, “Animals & Christianity”, “Becoming Vegan”, etc., etc., etc. Thankfully there is a wealth of information on the internet, and I am also a subscriber to VegNews. I think that for many, becoming vegan is a long but fruitful journey (no pun intended), but ultimately it is the most amazing destination ~ one of deep empathy with and concern for our fellow earthlings.


Lorna Beasley

My husband and I have been vegan for 8 years. My family taught me ethics and empathy from a very early age. I educated myself on the matter of animal abuse for an English paper in my first year of college. My husband and I were appalled by the common practices of factory farming and went raw/vegan over night (because my husband was just as concerned about his health). Raw lasted 3 months, then we calmed down and settled as vegans. Much easier and less planing but kudos if you can stick with the raw life!


Rozan Soleimani ‎

3 years and 5 months. 🙂 Reasons: 1. factory farming 2. the environment and 3. my health


Demo Maratos

Listening to punk rock as a teenager challenged me question every aspect and activity in my life. I was drawn to the music, art and words of punk rock. Intellectual words of thought and anger at the status quo that I had never read before, struck a chord with me. Songs about war, racism, religion, and animal liberation filled me with an intensity that I hadn’t found in music until that point. When I began to question where the food on my plate came from, I found very uncomfortable answers. I didn’t want a cow to be hanged upside down, shot in the head with a bolt gun and bled dry simply so that I could be provided with a meal. Having paid close attention to the lyrics of bands like Flux of Pink Indians, Anti-System, Conflict, Nausea and others I became interested in animal rights. It was a pivotal point in my life. Shortly afterward, I realized the cruelty I questioned was something I had control over. Inevitably I eliminated animals from my diet and became vegan in 1989.



I’ve been vegan for 6 years. I was one of those kids who cried at movies like All Dogs Go To Heaven, so the seeds were there from the start. Plus, I’d always kinda thought meat was gross. My best friend growing up was an ethical vegetarian for years. I’d always respected her for that and would often copy her food choices. Becoming vegetarian was a slow process for me, however. I didn’t “give up” meat, I just slowly stopped eating it until one day, during my senior year of college, I declared myself an official vegetarian. It was like I was engaged to vegetarianism for years and years and finally realized it was time to tie the knot; I’ve always had an immense love for animals and it was time I made it a point to stop eating them (it pains me just to type that).

I didn’t actually know what a “vegan” was or that there was such a thing as “veganism” until the latter part of college. I was volunteering at a nonprofit and several of my fellow volunteers were vegan. They were really cool people and explained what “vegan” was, but only really emphasized what a vegan excludes from his or her life – not *why* he or she chooses to exclude them. Nonetheless, I like to think that they influenced me somewhat, as they were such all-around lovely people. Anyway, about 6 months, a college graduation, and a 6-week European backpacking trip later, I was feeling overdosed on dairy products. My best friend (the same one as above) and I pretty much survived Europe on bread, cheese, and gelato. Upon my return, I felt I needed to detox. I have no idea how I came across the book Eat To Live by Joel Fuhrman MD, but I did, and I read it cover to cover. I was utterly grossed out and outraged when I learned the *real* nutritional facts about dairy (and meat) and the corrupt politics surrounding that. That was it – now not only was eating meat unethical and disgusting, but eating dairy was extremely unhealthy and disgusting. I decided to test out veganism. I continued to read from other sources and learned that eating dairy was also extremely unethical – and that eating meat was even more unethical than I’d thought. By what would’ve been the “end” of a brief experiment with veganism, I felt physically amazing and philosophically convinced that veganism was the best practice for everyone – humans, non-humans, and the environment. So although my “engagement” to veganism was initially noncommittal, it was extremely brief relative to my courtship with vegetarianism, and before I knew it, I’d come to understand that it was the best – the only – way for me to live.

I’ve since continued to develop my philosophy and educate myself (and others). All animals, human and non-human, deserve to be treated with respect, not used as “products” to satisfy our every whim and fancy. We do some sick, sick things to non-human animals and it’s appalling. If one cares at all about doing “what is right,” then going vegan is undeniably the “right” thing to do. Speciesism is part of the whole family of other terrible “isms” – racism, sexism, heterosexism, ageism, etc. To live vegan is also the healthiest thing one can do – for our bodies, rivers, oceans, forests, and our individual and collective psyche(s).


Caroline from Chicago

Fifteen years – after a Thanksgiving talk by John Robbins.


Jessica Ryle

2 yrs. After finding out tubes made at my place of work were being sold to vivisectors.



I’ve been a #vegan my entire life. Never would consider eating any animal products EVER. “Love animals, don’t eat them.” 😉




  1. Vanessa
    May 20, 2011

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    14 years vegan this July! And I was vegetarian for about 5 years before that. I gave up meat when I was 12 because that is when I realized that if I really was the animal lover I thought I was, then I couldn’t eat any animals. I went 100% vegan on my 18th birthday after slowly transitioning away from dairy & eggs. As soon as I found out there was an alternative to milk, I switched. And so it went with ice cream, baking, etc… It was so easy, if there was an alternative that didn’t involve animals, why wouldn’t I switch. 🙂

  2. Helen Williamson
    May 20, 2011

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    Since 1977, so nearly 34 years. I became vegetarian at 11, when I looked at the Sunday roast and recognised a pig, cow, sheep. I became vegan aged 17 when I realised that the meat and dairy industry are totally linked – and the trauma that dairy cows go through.

  3. Laura Miller
    May 24, 2011

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    3+ years. I became vegan on the very same day that I saw “Fast Food Nation”. The last part of the movie was so upsetting to me that I knew at that moment that I would never consume animal products again. It had that much of an impact on me. Since then I have educated myself more and more on animal abuse issues. All life is precious and sometimes it is almost more than I can bear to think of what horrendous cruelty is heaped upon defenseless animals. Can the ignorance/evil in the hearts of man ever be

  4. chooseyourownfoodchain
    May 30, 2011

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    I just want to say that I love this one quote from Lindavegan Middlesworth: “I will never be silent and will spend every waking moment of my life thinking about how I can support others going vegan too. Our lives depend on it, our animals deserve freedom and our earth will die unless humans wake up and stop the animal holocaust.”

    I’ve never met you, but I think you’re awesome!

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