I've written at length about my road to veganism, and about the amazing impact that the decision to go vegan had on my life and health. But I've only briefly touched upon why I became a vegan. The answer to that question is a simple one: I became vegan because I met vegans who were not afraid to tell me that is what I ought to do.
It's true that the things I learned from the books and documentaries about factory farming cinched my decision. But there were people who told me to read those books and watch those films. There were people who challenged me to think about the ethics of vegetarianism as opposed to veganism, and who encouraged me to take that extra step. Two people in particular had an impact on my decision to become vegan: Connie and Chris.
Connie and I, now good friends, were fellow volunteers on a charity project when I went vegetarian. Connie took the subtle approach - sending me the occasional email to recommend I try Daiya vegan cheese, or talking about a recipe she'd tried.
Chris, on the other hand, was an online acquaintance who engaged me in conversation in a vegetarian community on Livejournal. Respectfully but directly, he challenged my speciest views. He said what he believed and left me to defend what I believed or admit the flaws in my thinking. He never pushed his ideology on me or attacked mine, he just examined my reasoning.
When I began to question whether I should be vegan, thanks to Chris, I learned about how I could be vegan, thanks to Connie - who was there waiting to loan me her vegan cookbooks as soon as I expressed an interest. (Also, her delicious vegan cupcakes didn't hurt when it came to convincing me that food could actually be better as a vegan!)
Without having been exposed to both these approaches, I don't know if I would have chosen veganism, and my life would've been the worse for it. So if you've ever wondered if you should respectfully approach a friend about the option to try veganism, the answer is yes.
Photo credit: TDIV