I’m vegan.

That phrase probably prompted a bunch of thoughts to pop up in your head. Maybe it was “I bet she’s not getting enough protein.” or “I still can’t believe someone would give up cheese.” or maybe even “Finally! An article about food in Louisville that applies to me.” Regardless of whatever might have popped up, being vegan is something that’s had a big impact on how I experience living in Louisville, and I wouldn’t change a second of it. 

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Like pretty much everyone, though, I haven’t always been vegan, and adopting a completely new lifestyle that a lot of people didn’t agree with or understand wasn’t an easy decision. I did it anyway, and here’s the story of how.

The year was 2002. I was five years old, and it was a normal night. I was sitting at the kitchen table while my mom prepared a typical dish for us, roasted chicken. Up until this point, I had no problem with chicken, but as I sat there watching her cut the meat, something in my head clicked. “Wait” I said, “Is that an actual LEG from an actual CHICKEN?” I was horrified. After that, I decided I was no longer going to eat chicken, it was a gross farm animal!

Of course, the connection didn’t spread to other types of meat, and I did start eating chicken again. I wouldn’t say I loved meat, but if it was available, I would eat it (all the while trying my hardest not to think about the animal it was before). Until one fateful day thirteen years later, when I watched a documentary on Netflix about veganism out of sheer boredom.

The documentary was called Vegucated. The story line was innocent enough, three people tried out veganism for six weeks, and watched what changed about their health and their lives as a result. Somewhere in there, the filmmakers were able to add in some of those slaughterhouse and factory farm footage videos. You know the ones; you see them pop up from time to time but never actually want to click on them. Once I mentally “clicked” on the videos, I didn’t think I could go back. Add to that the improved health of the three New Yorkers the documentary followed, and my already established, but repressed aversion to meat, and I was sold.

After five years of this lifestyle, I’ve learned a thing or two about the best spots for vegan food in Louisville, (hot tip, it’s not only the fully vegan restaurants!), how to deal with being the only vegan in the family or group of friends, living with an omnivore partner, how to talk to people about why I do it, and a little bit of everything in between. With #VeganInTheVille, I’ll be sharing my experience as a vegan in Louisville, and some of the “vegan wisdom” I’ve gained along the way!

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