My name is Kari, I am 29 years old, and I live in Southern Indiana. I refer to myself as a "midwestern southerner" in the blog heading because I was born in Ohio, moved to Tennessee at age 9 and lived there until I was 22, then moved back to Ohio for graduate school and eventually settled in Indiana after earning my M.A. in mass communication. I feel like my upbringing in both states affects my personal "culture." I have the southern tendency to make small talk with strangers while standing in line (which often earns me some stares up here in Indiana...unless the person I happen to be making small talk with is also southern). I have favorite foods that are midwestern, and favorites that are southern. Since most of my formative years were spent in the south, I generally feel pretty southern, but my midwestern side often shines through much more now that I am back in that region. (And neither place is a particularly easy one to be vegan or vegetarian, unless you happen to live in a college town or a large city.)
I was vegetarian once before, in graduate school, but eventually gave in to stress and cravings for comfort food and wound up slowly adding meat back into my diet. In fall of 2011, I started transitioning back into eating more vegetarian meals, this time for health reasons. I started with Meatless Mondays, which eventually became "meatless most of the time," and ultimately "meatless every day." When I realized how much better I was feeling, it made me never want to go back to eating meat again.
But this time was a little different -- this time, I know a little more about what really goes on at those factory farms, and I realized that some of my diet still supported those farms. I don't want eggs that come from chickens that may not be in cages but are still packed in dirty chicken houses and never see the light of day. I don't want dairy products made from milk that was intended for a calf that was taken away from its mother just hours after its birth to be raised on formula and then used as a milker to repeat the cycle (females) or sold for veal or cheap meat (male). Even as a lacto-ovo vegetarian, I would still be supporting that industry, and I don't feel right about that.
So I've decided to go vegan, for both ethical and health reasons. Right now I am still working on transitioning, but so far I am loving how much better I feel. I started this blog because I wish there were more blogs out there that talk more about the journey to veganism, and the issues one runs into as a new vegan. I hope others will find it beneficial.