I Became Vegan at Age 12

Christy Lalonde, Co-founder of Vegtago has been vegan for 10 years.

Hey everyone! This is my first ever blog post so please… bear with me here as I learn, but I wanted to come on here and share my story with everyone. In the past few years, veganism has been growing and I am so excited to see it happen! 

    

Where It Began

My story began when I was 12 years old. The year was 2009, I was a little grade 7 student. I had first heard of the idea of being a vegan through twitter (yes, I joined twitter in 2007…), from a musician I admired. I didn’t know anything about being a vegan or what it meant or why anyone would want to be a vegan. I, like most children, grew up eating chicken dinners and bacon breakfasts (totally gross now!!). It wasn’t until one day, I decided to do more research into what “vegan” was. I began watching videos of how horrible slaughterhouses were and how inhumane animals were treated.  Those videos, which I’m sure all of us have seen, absolutely horrified me. They made me sick to my stomach and it was at that moment I decided I was never going to support such an incredibly horrible industry.

That night my parents informed me they were making steak for dinner; it was at that moment I told them of my newly made decision to stop eating meat and animal products. Of course, I received a negative reaction from my parents, they thought I was crazy and often told me I was just going through a “phase” and that soon I would overcome it. In the years to come, my parents tried there best to make foods to accommodate my new diet. In 2009, there were very little vegan options on the market. It was hard to find good veggie burgers and other alternatives. They struggled to cook me dinner and constantly begged me to give up on being a vegan and return to a “normal” diet. I knew deep in my heart I could never. I constantly told them, I am an animal lover and being an animal lover means loving ALL animals including pigs, cows, and chickens. The beginning of my journey was difficult because I had never met anyone vegan, and my parents and siblings always made little remarks to me about how ridiculous cutting out meat was. Nevertheless, I stuck through all the jokes and remarks because I had very strong beliefs and wanted to stand for those beliefs. At the time, it was hard to eat out with friends because virtually no vegan restaurants existed, and regular restaurants had little or no vegan options. The early days were difficult but now with so many vegan alternatives, restaurant, and even grocery stores specifically selling vegan foods, it is so much easier to be a vegan!

    Presently, I now use my experience to educate and support others in their journey to becoming a vegan. In 2009, only approximately 3% of North Americans identified as vegetarian or vegan, today that number has quadrupled! 10 years later and I have now gotten my mom to embrace and accept a vegetarian diet and also converted my sister Jessica to veganism! I believe through education and awareness we can all be apart of the change and in the future, the vegan population will outnumber the population of those who still eat meat and animal products.