Vegetarian to Vegan, 1 Hesitant Step at a Time

vegetarian to vegan
vegetarian to vegan

My vegetarian to vegan transition was far from an overnight accomplishment. As I posted yesterday, merely returning to a vegetarian diet after giving up on veganism took a multi-year effort.

It started about five years ago. At the time, I had two plant-based restaurants, in Virginia and Washington DC. I was enjoying building our Fruitive brand and wholeheartedly believed that future generations would embrace plant-based foods.

But I still couldn’t bring myself to adopt a vegan diet. The arguments against it in my head kept shouting down the desire for it in my heart.

So I surrendered. Going fully, or even mostly, plant-based would have to wait until I was ready.

In the meantime… Is Born

I thought about creating a plant-based website to promote eating mostly plant-based. was the domain I really wanted.

Unfortunately, wasn’t available. But (without the hyphen) was! So I negotiated a selling price for the domain name through

After reaching an agreement with the seller, I felt the normal anxiety that comes with making a large investment kick in.

But my worries about affording the domain took a back seat to my gut feeling that owning it would ultimately change my life. My gut won, and in 2015 became mine!

However, for the next couple of years, my plans for developing it were on hold as I continued building Fruitive.

When I finally got around to it, my first attempt was a low-budget effort. I couldn’t give it the time it deserved.

Finally, in late 2017, I was ready for a dietary change. As long as I could keep eating cheese and my morning omelet, I’d go vegetarian for my 2018 New Year’s resolution.

My wife and kids still ate meat but accepted my resolution. Owning Fruitive and having Katie’s support made the switch to vegetarianism fairly easy.

So as May – and my birthday – approached, I decided I could do better.

Vegetarian to Vegan: The Time Had Come

The decision didn’t require much thought; it was just my time to move from vegetarian to

I adopted a new diet for 2018

vegan. Twenty years had passed since I’d abandoned my vegan diet because I had no support system.

But 2018 was a different year – and I’d reached a much different place.

I was:

  • the founder of a vegan restaurant.
  • The owner of
  • surrounded by employees and customers who were enthusiastic about their plant-based diets.

And most importantly, I was married to Katie.  She’s happily supported me in all my dietary choices.

Having grown up in a Midwestern meat-and-potatoes family, she wasn’t interested in going vegan. But she’d always enjoyed watching me chase my dreams.

And being fully plant-based was one dream I’d never completely abandoned.  So, taking advantage of the Fresh Start Effect , I went from vegetarian to vegan at age 40.

The changes were immediate. My energy level rose, and my lifelong struggle with migraines ended. Katie and the kids were so impressed that by the end of the summer, going vegan became a family affair!

Making the Switch

On Labor Day weekend, we filled our kitchen with plant-based ingredients and relegated the meat to a utility-room freezer. Katie told the kids we’d follow Dad’s diet until Thanksgiving.

She’d been preparing my vegan food since May, so her meal plans were ready to go. And by 2018, the local groceries were stocking plant-based meat and dairy alternatives.

On Thanksgiving, Katie prepared the promised turkey with all the trimmings. I’d hoped she wouldn’t cook a turkey, but kept my mouth shut. Then as now, forcing my dietary choice on my family seemed like the wrong approach.

Vegan Thanksgiving trimmings.

So what did I do?

I piled my plate high with all the vegan “trimmings” and left the turkey on the platter. Problem solved, and I didn’t miss the meat one bit.

My vegetarian to vegan transition was complete!

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