I became a vegetarian out of curiosity and environmental reasons. Six months later i became a vegan because of punk rock, and because of ethical reasons. It's been an interesting ride, partly because it coincided fairly directly with my racing a lot more.
I went from feeling great in the first few months, to feeling pretty shit throughout last winter. Balancing a vegan diet with a high energy expenditure is, while far from impossible, a little tricky on a student budget. But the first few slip ups led to a pretty solid diet.
I made a lot of mistakes, insofar as i mistakenly ate a fair bit of non-vegan food in the first few months. It still happens occasionally, but i tend not to worry about it. I've knowingly eaten non-vegan food a few times when out training in the sticks, with no vegan options available, and I've definitely turned a blind eye and applied the rules of vegenough with the odd veggie pastie. I figure if i allow these occasional bending of the rules, I'm far more likely to remain a life long vegan, rather than folding under the crippling rules of a militancy,the irony being that you often become a post vegetarian, which is not desirable.
But in trying to manage my life style choices, i have learnt a lot about nutrition, a lot about holistic approaches to diet and health - i can thank Casey and the internet for that - which has impacted my life in really good ways.
I'm not sure if a vegan diet is preferable to a meat diet, i don't know enough about it. What i do know is that it has made me more aware of how the body works, and how it fuels itself, especially when under high stresses. If i can, in so doing, remove myself from the culture of animals as means to an end property, then i feel i have made a good life choice.
I still crave bacon, and i still have boring dreams where all that happens is that i make an omelette, but i figure sometimes the easiest choice isn't the right one.
And besides, oreos are vegan, who the fuck needs anything else?
So here's to another ten years of less cruelty in my diet (and potential diabetes).