By Joi Ito – I blogged a decision to become vegan on December 13, 2006 which is approximately six months ago. I'm happy to say that it was the right decision and that I've never been healthier or happier as long as I can remember and I intend to continue being a vegan.
Other than some allergies, I've gotten rid every one of half-a-dozen or so chronic conditions including obesity, fatty liver, high uric acid (gout), heartburn/ulcers/stomach acid, nervous tension, sleeping problems and rising cholesterol. I also have more energy than I've ever had.
I've lost approximately 18 kg (40 lb) or so and have been stable at this weight for about the last two months. Most of the weight fell off during the first few months and my weight loss has slowed to a basic equilibrium. Other than the slightly scrawny look I have now, I think most people think I look healthier.
The experience is not a scientific experiment. I started exercising almost every day, quit smoking and quit excessive drinking. Each of these things seems to help the other, but I don't think it's just the diet.
When I started this diet, I thought that it would be a sacrifice and that I would be trading good health for less fun. I am happy to say that I enjoy eating as much or more than when I was eating meats and fish. Since going vegan, I've really started getting into my garden and my composting. I spend hours and hours in the garden when I'm home. I dream about my garden and my compost and have really internalized the cycle of waste/compost/plants/food.
Now when I encounter a fresh tomato in a lonely airplane, I get a burst of joy as I imagine where this tomato has been, the soil that it came from and where the soil got the nutrients to allow the tomato to grow. When I eat local vegetables in my travels, I imagine what sort of local farms or hills the veggie came from and enjoy the image of the chain of events before I received it. In addition to the wonderful bursts of taste that I now appreciate much more, I also get the happy feeling of participating in this wonderful natural cycle. Mindfully eating a breakfast plate of grilled veggies and fresh fruits is really a joy.
Clearly, your milage may vary and I don't intend to proselytize or judgmental of those who aren't vegan. However, if you've thought about being a vegan for any reason, I suggest you try it. It isn't as hard as it sounds.
We're still working on getting more contributors for the Vegan Wikia if you're interested.