Veganism-Emma’s Story

Activism, Veganism

Emma is the editor & creator (and occasionally writer) for The Messy Heads. She enjoys yellow curry, print media, and singing to herself.


NOTE: This is an excerpt from a 75 page, detailed, comprehensive ‘Guide to Veganism’ we made. The guide ranges from ethics, to recipes, personal stories (like the once you’re about to read), veganism on a budget, resources, myths, + so much more. Click here to shop the PDF Guide (it costs as little as a latte or a few rides on the subway, and could quite possibly change the way you think forever).

Emma’s Story:

I remember being younger, maybe 6 or 7 at my old house. We had these things called “cold dinners” which was just a European style plate. Cheese, bread, thinly sliced meat, grapes, that type of thing. I remember looking at the slices of meat and seeing veins running through them, I looked at the veins in my wrists and feeling completely sick. I started to remake the connection that that meat comes from a living thing, just like me.

This started a struggle with food. I don’t think it was ever told to me that being vegetarian was an option. My parents just fed me meat that you couldn’t tell it had been an animal, aka hot-dogs, meatballs, pepperoni, things that were processed and very far removed from a tangible, living thing.

I essentially just tried not to think about it.

By the time I was in highschool, I just hated the taste of cheese, meat, milk. I was maybe eating meat once a week, because I felt like I had to keep my iron counts up as requested by my coach and parents and as normalized by society.

When I went off to college and had no friends, I spent most nights just on my laptop. I got into YouTube for the first time ever, and kept seeing all of these videos about veganism. Back then it was a new thing on YouTube, and everyone was so pretty, skinny, happy, living in these tropical locations. It was an intense parallel to my gloomy first semester in Seattle, studying and not seeing a drop of sunshine.

I started doing research off of YouTube, reading books, watching documentaries. I started eating fully vegan, which at that time was just apples in my cupboard, kind bars, and five coffees. I definitely wasn’t a healthy vegan, I was just a college student.

In my spare time (which felt like a lot) I was watching documentaries and sharing what I was finding with the small following I had online, this led me to even more and more resources, and how to actually eat healthy as a vegan. I forget about that now because it seems so obvious to me, but it was hard to think about eating an entire day without milk meat and eggs. It started to make so much sense on all fronts, environmental, ethical, health. The evidence kept piling and piling up and I couldn’t believe how blind I had been all those years.

I had a list of documentaries to watch, the last one on the list was Earthlings. I was putting off watching it, mainly because I was already fully vegan. But one night in my dorm I just decided that I needed to know everything, all sides of the industry.

I barely made it through twenty minutes of that film. Just seeing the animals brutally slaughtered. It was too much for me. I cried so hard I got sick for a week. I felt so intensely guilty for a while, thinking about all of the meat I had eaten, and all the animals I had killed. It took me a while to get over that guilt and feel that me going vegan now was good enough.

I wish I hadn’t been lied to for so long, I wish I had trusted my instincts, or been given the support to go vegetarian when I was much, much younger.

To me, it’s so plainly obvious that eating a piece of meat for five minutes isn’t worth an animal dying.

Veganism really clicked for me on the ethics front, but whether you go vegan for ethics, health, environment, you start to see every side.

I went through a few years where I felt uncomfortable explaining to people that I was vegan. Which led me to a lot of, “I’m lactose intolerant..” or “I am vegetarian…” and a lot of half truths. The truth is, the hardest part about eating vegan was the judgment I felt from other people. How I would have to suddenly explain something so personal, something so fragile and close to my heart. It left me feeling quite vulnerable. I started simply answering: It makes me happy. Which is hard to refute. You can argue all you want about stats and how you tofu is bad for you (ps I don’t eat tofu) and ancient man and diet and health and this study and that, but you can’t argue my happiness.

Veganism is a personal journey. My advice to you if you are interested at all is first to get educated, and be compassionate. Not only for other beings, but towards yourself.




  1. I’m still not fully vegan but making small changes everyday to live a healthier life. I also couldn’t get through any vegan documentaries – I didn’t need to even start some. I feel so deeply for animals that I couldn’t bare to watch them. It’s fair to say it didn’t take me a lot of convincing to start decreasing the amount of meat and diary I consume.

  2. Tia Zeineldin says

    I was a vegetarian before I came to the US, and once I arrived I had so many people convince me to start eating meat again be cause “America runs on meat”, which is true. There’s a fast food restaurant on every corner of every street, mostly ones that don’t have ANY vegan/vegetarian items on their menus. So, I sadly fell for it and started eating meat again. Until last year when I stumbled over a documentary that made me realize what I had done. It led me to watching more documentaries and reading more books and doing more research. It was like I was obsessed with it for a few weeks. Of course, I immediately transitioned to veganism, I didn’t even wait to go through the vegetarian process first again. Since then I am very proud and happy to say that I am vegan.

  3. Beatrice says

    4 years ago when I became vegan I felt so isolated, there was no one else I knew that was vegan and anyone that knew I went vegan made me feel terrible about it. Love seeing that more and more people are making the change and putting all the info out for others to be more informed! So nice to have found such an inspiring person who also stands for all the right causes. You make me feel less alone, Em. Love you

  4. Pingback: Vegan Vibes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *