I have just joined this Forum and find it interesting (good news!) reading that so many of you are trying the move from being vegetarian to being vegan. Having gone through the transition and now a vegan for the last twenty plus years, a reflection:
Largely, vegetarianism is about the food and 'vegan-ism' is about the animal. Put another way, a vegetarian thinks a lot about what can be eaten while a vegan thinks more about where that food came from. A subtle difference, but one which switches the focus from us to them. As a vegetarian you have learnt how to eat, cook, choose the ingredients for your next meal. Now, as a vegan, while you will limit your food choices even more, you will also want to think less about where 'it' is going than from where 'it' came.
Personally, I find being a vegan far more a lifestyle and a more morally (hate that word!) based commitment than ever was the case as a vegetarian. So, if your concerns are about what you will eat now, you may be looking at the transition in a difficult way. If you are looking to save more animals and have a greater positive impact on the planet...you'll make it! Good luck.
I love the vegan life, the choices, the creativity of the recipes, making one's own concoctions - I love to cook and bake, just created my own "Red Lentil Winter Squash Coconut Curry" soup, and it turned out wonderfully - the possibilities are endless with the food as are the choices of which issues and groups to approach or join in with speaking for those without a voice. It is an amazing life, a joyous life, a life of meaning and purpose, and I am grateful for it.
Craige, I have to disagree with your statement "Now, as a vegan, while you will limit your food choices even more..." I think that a plant-based diet actually offers MORE choices. Those choices are non-traditional, and yes, it's not the same stuff that the status quo is eating from McDonald's or your local steak house. The bottom line is that as more and more people choose vegan, there will be more and more choices available at your local restaurants and in prepared foods... and yes, right now you may have to whip up your own recipes for more of a variety... but VARIETY is plentiful in a plant-based diet... it is the tradition of the preference for animal foods that causes the limitation... not the diet itself. Perusing any vegan cookbook should open anyone's eyes to the boundless choices and all the wonderful possibilities. That being said, I hate cooking and want to see a BIG CHANGE in the landscape of the local restaurant and prepared foods menus. And that change happening is all about supply and DEMAND, so as more and more people choose a plant-based diet you will start seeing those changes creep into menus and prepared foods.