So I guess I've been vegan now for almost eight months and am happy to report that it's still going well. Once in a while someone will ask how my vegan "diet" is coming along and of course it isn't a diet as such (if it were only a diet then I imagine most vegans would have broken it by now), but a commitment and a philosophy. Some might even call it a lifestyle. I think of it more as a personal contract or pledge that you undertake in an effort to do what you can to reduce animal suffering, and in that sense it's a powerful form of activism because I can't think of too many other causes whereby one person can have an immediate impact simply by taking themselves off the meat-eating market. And by refusing to partake in practices that are taken for granted by most, you also have the chance to make other people think about what they eat and why.
My own process of becoming vegan was both gradual and immediate. Gradual in the sense that I had already cut out most dairy products over the years (way too much mucus and congestion!), rarely ate red meat, and didn't like most of the fish options available. The switch was immediate though when I learned what factory farming actually was (the reality of it is hidden for good reason), and what animals went through for the sake of human consumption (whether in terms of food, testing, research, so-called entertainment, or any other forms), and I pretty much stopped animal consumption from one day to the next. And for me a big part of veganism is consciousness; being fully aware of what you eat, and how whatever it is that you're eating actually arrived on your plate. In a sense I think it's like the drunk driving campaigns that urge you to drink responsibly, but in this case it would be being knowledgeable about the processes involved whenever humans eat other animals and how the dairy and meat industries have drastically changed over the years.
I suppose my main hope for the future is that veganism will become as mainstream as environmentalism (I really do believe that will happen one day!), and that being animal-friendly will be seen in the same vein as being eco-friendly as the two are fundamentally linked. In large part I'm vegan because I think it's better for ALL involved: humans, other animals, AND the environment.
Hmmm, now that I've written this it reads more like a mini-treatise than a progress report, but oh well! :)