Vegetarian to Vegan: The Transition
Are you thinking about making the switch from vegetarian to vegan? There is no denying that this is a huge step. It can take years and many attempts. These are the things that were most useful to me, in deciding to switch to and maintaining a vegan lifestyle.


There are two parts to this. The first is letting go of everything you’ve ever been told about dairy. I’m not trying to ruin your childhood, but the milk moustache commercials were a crock of… We don’t need celebrities and painted-on moustaches to advocate for healthy food. Which is why there aren’t any commercials for apples.

Here are some truths:

  1. Milk depletes calcium from your bones. It doesn’t make them stronger. In fact, the more dairy you consume, the greater your risk of fracturing a bone later in life.
  2. Milk is packed full of hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides…which are linked to cancer. Especially breast and prostate cancer.
  3. Babies who are given cow’s milk, or a dairy based formula have a greater risk of developing type 1 diabetes.
  4. Cow’s milk is for cows. Not humans. Is it any wonder it does more harm than good? Every one is lactose intolerant. Have a skin condition? It’s most likely due to the dairy that you consume. We are just not designed to consume it. I repeat: we are not cows.

Here are some awesome reads and a video that really resonated with my husband, and encouraged him to quit his nightly cheesy nachos + sour cream + glass of milk habit.

Now that we’ve covered your health, we should talk about the health of the animals. The dairy/egg industry is cruel. Just as cruel, if not more cruel than the meat industry.

Picture a dairy farm. Are you picturing a little red barn with twenty cows, where the farmer hand-milks and pets them while chanting Good Bessy. That’a girl Daisy. ? Nah, dude. That’s not real life.

Here’s what really happens: Cows are forcibly impregnated, they are drugged, and they are killed for cheap meat or animal food when they turn the ripe old age of… 4 or 5.

But wait, where do their babies go, you know, those who the milk was intended for? Well, the girls are taken away, but at least they get to grow up to be forcibly impregnanted, drugged, and then killed for cheap meat.

The boys, they are veal. AND THIS was my “aha!” moment. I was going through my Instagram feed one day and I saw this:


As a breastfeeding mother, this completely broke my heart. I pictured my own babies hopelessly and desperately rooting. To this day, I cannot speak this fact out loud without crying.

Lastly, I just want to touch on the egg industry for a sec. Out of all the factory farmed animals, birds are the most mistreated. When chickens are born into the egg industry, the male chicks are automatically destroyed. Thrown from assembly lines into plastic bags to suffocate, or ground up alive.

95 percent of laying hens live in tiny wire “battery cages”, stacked on top of each other, until they are too stressed and tired to lay anymore, then they are promptly killed for animal food.

Unfortunately, buying a carton of eggs with a “Free Range” stamp isn’t any better. In fact, there aren’t any regulations for the size of buildings these hens live in. Most of the time they aren’t outside, as you would imagine. They live in severely over crowded, windowless buildings. And like all hens in the egg industry, after their egg production decreases, they are slaughtered.

If you are vegetarian for ethical reasons, then it’s easy to see, the dairy/egg industry IS the meat industry. Once you choose to know, you can’t un-know. It makes it difficult to justify eliminating meat and then not eliminating dairy and eggs from your life.

Test drive it

Set small, achievable goals for yourself. Start by eliminating eggs from your diet, as they seem to be easier for people to give up than cheese. Then replace cow’s milk for almond milk. And so on.

Start by going vegan for one week, one month, etc. I always aimed for a month. Each time was easier; and eventually I just never went back.

Do not beat yourself up over setbacks. Accept it, and move on.

Discover cashew cheese

…and the many, many other delicious alternatives to dairy products. There are a ton of pre-packaged alternatives in grocery stores; but most of these items are easy to make at home. Bananas are ice cream! Nuts are cheese! Coconut milk is sour cream!

Find support

I found so much support within the vegan community on Instagram. I have met life long friends. I have met people who are as compassionate, as sensitive as I am. I know that without these people, without their encouragement, I would probably be stuck, going back and forth between vegetarianism and veganism. Where ever you find support, know that this could be the key to your success. There is SUCH strength in numbers.

  • Mimi

    Excellent article, I’ve been transitioning for a year now.

    • Annessia

      Thank you so much for reading, Mimi! Best of luck to you, on your transition to a vegan lifestyle!