Being Vegan – My Story

By Paul Graham

Contributing Writer

I used to be in the vocational ministry for over 20 years in Northern California, working with young people and professional athletes.  So many stories, so many lives changed before my eyes.  It was an amazing experience to see teenagers grow to be young adults and establish themselves in life and become difference-makers wherever they happened to be led.  I used to tell them that one of the most powerful things that they will ever have is their testimony…what has happened in their lives.  Some may not agree with your beliefs but they can never discount the good that has been done in your life.  People can disagree with ideology, but how can they disagree with what has personally happened in your life? This not only applies to your belief systems but also other life-altering changes that take place in your life, such as the decision to take a kinder and compassionate road by choosing not to eat animal meat or dairy products of any kind.  Becoming a vegan over four years ago was a life-altering experience for me.  I want to write about so many aspects of being vegan, but I think first that it is important to share with you what brought me to this place and the wonderful that has happened since then. 

Just as many find themselves to be, I was V-curious.  I had just turned fifty years-old and I had experienced some life changes both personally and career-wise. I had always been athletic for as long as I can remember; always playing some sport or engaged in physical activity and exercise.  As so many adults do, I experienced times of being in better shape than others…gaining a few more pounds than I would have liked, losing them and working hard to try and stay ahead of the curve.  I enjoy working out and going to the gym and I have noticed, like so many come to find, that you have to work harder to get the same results that you did when you were younger.  Your body just does not respond the same way.  I have come to understand that we are only as good as the fuel that we put into our bodies.  We give our bodies the best possible chance of winning and achieving positive results of exercise by eating the best that we can.  I often tell people that for fifty years I ate almost anything that I wanted.  I did not miss out on much.  I have always loved to cook so I can easily control my own destiny.  For years prior I had almost completely sworn off red meat and ate very little chicken and fish.  I had not drank milk in a very long time but obviously had cream in this or that and had a cheese addiction like most.  As I began to explore how I could stay ahead of the curve and achieve optimum health, it became obvious that the best way to do this was going to be through a plant-based diet.  So I decided to become a vegetarian with the goal of becoming a vegan,  It just became a matter of the the will and one day I just stopped eating meat.  For good. 

Through education and research I found my way.  I realized there was a whole world of information to guide me on the internet as well.  I met some great people.  But more than anything, it became a matter of the will for me.  I had made a turn and I was never going back.  The next step was to get rid of the dairy and I did.  I found great substitutes where needed.  About that time I had gone to the doctor for a physical.  I do not go to doctors very much for a variety of reasons.  I believe in doing what I can do to work preventatively and see them as little as possible.  The results were good but could be better.  He said that my cholesterol was getting near the border of where I might need to watch it.  He thought it might be a hereditary issue because the other indicators were not present but said I should start taking a little medication to keep it under control.  I just did not want to do that. I told him that I had just become a vegan and I wanted to see what I could do with a change in my diet.  He just looked a little disappointed but said we will monitor it.  My blood pressure was good but not great. I needed to drop about 15 pounds.  I told him that I would see him in about six months.  I just lived the life the best I could day to day, eating vegan and exercising like before.  When I came back to the doctor after six months he ran some more tests to see where things were at.  My cholesterol had dropped 50 points and was now in the great range.  My blood pressure went from good to great.  I had lost 20 lbs.  My skin and muscle tone were great.  I had experienced some problems sleeping at night and this took care of itself as well.  The doctor was very impressed and I can attribute it all to being vegan. 


Though my reasons for becoming a vegan would appear to be mostly for health reasons…it is so much more than that.  Truly, it is the best way that I can show kindness to myself and my family by eating plant-based foods.  But it is equally as important to show kindness to animals.  Every day I protest the cruel treatment of animals by choosing not to eat meat or animal products.  It is said that by being vegan you spare the lives of at least 100 animals a year.  That is making a difference.  Being vegan is about taking action and standing for what is right. Being a vegan is also about kindness to our planet and reducing our footprint.  The meat and dairy industries are some of the biggest polluters on the planet.  As demand goes down, productions will eventually go down as well and everyone will win then. Everyday I choose to build bridges to help people live a more kind and compassionate life.  These last four plus years have been simply amazing in so many ways and just a foundation for all that is ahead.  I am just one but I am definitely not alone.  Everyone has a story and each is remarkable in its own right. This is what happened in my life since becoming vegan and I know it is happening in the lives of more and more people each day. The world will be better because of it.

Paul Graham

Paul Graham was born and raised in Northern California and has lived in Las Vegas since 2004.  He is a top wedding officiate, a green Realtor and writer.  He has a daily vegan food blog which is 365 days and 365 vegan meals in Las Vegas.  He can also be reached at or

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