Veganism is not only a change in diet, but it is a change in lifestyle, and not always an easy transition for those who try it out.

Kelsey Hamel is currently residing in Minnesota, although a local to Calgary. She has been strongly considering the transition to becoming a vegan for quite some time.

“I feel like morally it’s the right thing to do for me.”

Morals often come into play when it comes to those deciding to cut out animal by-products.

“I love animals and when I eat meat, I find that there’s this nagging thought at the back of my mind.

“I know deep down that I never want to harm an animal and what I’m doing is contributing to that.”

Hamel says she usually doesn’t let the thought dominate her conscious mind, although she still feels it lingering in her subconscious.

She tries to go meat-less whenever she can, but wants to take it one step further.

“I’m not necessarily saying that it’s objectively the right thing to do, but I feel like it’s the right thing for me.”

“I also feel like being vegan would make my body, mind, and soul feel better.”

Hamel feels that eating a strict vegan diet requires a lot of planning ahead.

“Overall, I the world is heading in the right direction when it comes to consistent vegan options.

“I’m not much of a planner and I really value flexibility, which is probably the main reason why I haven’t made the commitment yet.”

Another local Calgarian, Sidney Mousley, has been vegan for 13 months.

“Growing up with a dad that was a butcher for 15 years, and being raised in a city imbedded in a culture that revolved around beef: I grew up a huge meat lover.

“Bacon, steak, chicken wings, milkshakes… I loved it all. And consuming it was normal, until I watched a documentary called Earthlings.”

Mousley said that changed everything for her.

“I immediately started reading, watching, talking about, and doing all the research I could on veganism.

“The amount of information that I uncovered made me angry. I went vegan overnight, that was it.”

Marketing campaigns try to cover up that dairy is rape. Male chickens are suffocated or ground up the day they hatch. 50+ billion animals are bred into existence only to be mutilated, tortured, raped and slaughtered every single year. And for what… Taste? Tradition? Habit? Convenience?

“We are committing an unnecessary violence, and I don't want to be a part of that.”

Mousley says when asked why she is a vegan, she simply says because she stands 100% against animal cruelty and exploitation.

“Once I realized that something does not need to die in order for me to live, the choice was clear.”

Although Mousley had never been very concerned with her health, within the first three months of this diet change, she was noticing dramatic differences.

“I had less acne, my hair and nails were growing faster, I had so much more energy, my skin was suddenly super soft, I lost 10lbs of weird flabby fat around my body.

“There were so many amazing benefits that I didn't even expect to happen.”

But the most notable benefit that Mousley noticed was when for the first time in her life, the autoimmune disease she had been diagnosed with at 12 years old started to reverse.

“The doctors said that my thyroid would eventually die and I would be on medication for the rest of my life.

“It was supposed to be only a matter of time, until eating a plant-based diet actually started repairing the disease.

“I couldn't believe it. Veganism changed my life!”