Becoming vegetarian was easy. My daily meals as a college student consisted of Easy Mac, PB&J’s and Red Bull, so cutting out meat kind of just happened. I then consciously made the decision that eating things someone else had killed was unethical since I would never be able to pull a trigger myself. Out of sight was no longer out of mind, and a meat shunner was born. A bonus was that vegetarianism was a lot cheaper.

I’ve always had an aversion to milk. I was eating soy milk on my cereal, but not quite cutting out dairy totally, so I couldn’t call myself a vegan – though the idea of becoming vegan was weighing on me. I just thought it would be very hard given the social lifestyle of a college kid, and then as a newbie to the world of graduation.

Neal Barnard MD - PCRM founder - nutrition researcher, author, and health advocate. Dr. Barnard is an adjunct associate professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine.

But then I saw something called the Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine’s 21-Day Vegan Kickstart. I always need some sort of a deadline (and a little kick in the pants) to get something going, so this sounded kind of perfect for me.

I’m also a compulsive list-maker and iCal-updater (nerd alert!), so with PCRM’s meal plan and grocery list, I was all set. I knew I would use this vegan kickstart program to turn my vegetarianism into full-fledged veganism from the start. And that’s exactly what happened. Beginning before Day 1 I was bombarded (or more, my inbox was) with celebrity testimonials and health benefits, but in my mind I already knew I was sticking around. And though I didn’t need the “please baby don’t go” speech, it was kind of nice to archive PCRM’s talking points to share with others. Anytime I want I can perform a Gmail search and pull up a plethora of recipes at my disposal. The best thing is, since they know us kickstarters are new to the vegan-world, the recipes are simple and the ingredients are cheap and easy to find. (It’s like they know me).

PCRM’s Vegan Kickstart program was an important cornerstone in my journey to becoming vegan, helping me explore more reasons to cut out all animal products and stay cruelty-free for life. It’s a great way to encourage teetering vegetarians (who might be friends, family members, or employees) to take the leap – it makes them realize that it’s not so hard, and doesn’t have to be intimidating. I can still eat vegan Mac’n’Cheese, PB&J’s and drink my Red Bull, so I guess not everything has changed.