Not Your Typical Path to Veganism : My Vegan Story

Posted in: Activism, Vegan Living


“There Is No Way that Is Why You Became a Vegan”

That’s the reaction I get when I tell someone my story. Not every vegan journey is a heart-warming stroll through a sunny pathed park surrounded by rainbows. Some are a shade darker and, dare I say it, sillier. I loved steak, ice cream, buffalo wings, ranch dressing, and bacon. Even as a vegan for over three and a half years, I still have fantasies about the rotisserie chickens that are tantalizingly placed near the checkout lines at the grocery store. How did I go from eating 3-pound steaks to refusing to eat bread with honey in it? I am sorry to report that the answer is neither epic, nor inspiring, but it is rather unique.

As a member of a football fraternity in college, I subjected myself to all types of harmful activities. From binge drinking to drug experimentation to eating entire pizzas at 3am, I did it all. While I did dabble with the vegan options in the dining hall out of boredom with the standard burgers and chicken cutlets, the ethics and greater picture of veganism had not yet reached my consciousness. However, I turned a corner after a week-long bender in Myrtle Beach my senior year.

I will spare you the details of said bender. In short, I lived off of hard liquor, tobacco, methamphetamines, and coleslaw for a week. I only remember half of the trip so, while I wish I had been the prototypical Thad from Blue Mountain State, I more likely resembled Tweek from South Park, albeit smoking a lot more cigarettes. The end result of the seven days was me curled up in a ball in the backseat of my friend’s truck, driving back to college for our graduation ceremony.

The Turning Point

It was on this drive, during which my body was experiencing total system failure, that I converted to veganism. In order to avoid the inevitable hangover to end all hangovers, I turned to my good friend: psychedelic mushrooms. While physically I was unable to move two feet to pick up a granola bar,

powered by pretty colors and visions that would make Alice in Wonderland seem coherent, I was leaping over mental hurdles. The hangover was successfully postponed! My mind quickly started deciphering how to avoid this debilitating situation again.


I decided, nestled on the soft seats of my friend’s Ford, that I would treat my body like a temple. That meant only putting wholesale plant-based foods into it. From that moment on, I was a vegan. I cannot accurately recall the logic behind this decision, but I am certain it was compelling, as evidenced by me still being a vegan three and a half years later. During this time, I have educated myself on veganism and animal treatment in industrial agriculture, leading me to become an ethical vegan. However, I still eat much healthier than before and am reaping the benefits.

There it is! My vegan journey started in college, sampling chickpea stews in the dining hall because I could not force myself to eat another chicken tender. It ended with a mushroom-induced revelation on the backseat of a pickup truck, enjoying a mental trip prior to a soul-crushing hangover. While there are many decisions I have made under the influence of mind-altering substances, none have stuck with me quite like my choice to become a vegan. I have had numerous new experiences and met countless fascinating individuals in the ever-growing vegan community. Most importantly, my actions now align with my values.

If you think you need some type of epic and inspiring life-altering event to try veganism, think again. Maybe all you need is a funny story and a different frame of mind.


–Joe K


One Comment


What a heartrending story with a joyous ending. Thank you for sharing in such a raw, vulnerable way, Joe.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.