In order to align your life choices with your values, you will need to inquire about the effects of your actions (and inactions) on yourself and others. Although we are always stumbling upon new knowledge that shifts our choices and life direction, bringing conscious inquiry to life means that we continually ask questions that lead us to the information we need to make thoughtful decisions. Asking questions is liberating because we develop great understanding and discover more choices with our new knowledge.
The thinking man must oppose all cruel customs, no matter how deeply rooted in tradition and surrounded by a halo. When we have a choice, we must avoid bringing torment and injury into the life of another, even the lowliest creature; but to do so is to renounce our manhood and shoulder a guilt which nothing justifies.
The phytochemicals, antioxidants, and fiber- all of the healthful components of plant foods- originate in plants, not animals. If they are present, it is because the animal ate plants. And why should we go through an animal to get the benefits of the plants themselves? To consume unnecessary, unseemly, and unhealthy substances, such as saturated fat, animal protein, lactose, and dietary cholesterol, is to negate the benefits of the fiber, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are prevalent and inherent in plants.
Without pushing an agenda (okay, maybe I've pushed a bit), I've spread a little veganism wherever I've gone. I've become friends with chefs at the meatiest restaurants you can imagine, and shown them a few things that opened their minds (and their menus) to vegan options. It's easy to be convincing when the food is delicious. It doesn't feel like a sacrifice--it feels like a step up.
We generally accept that it's natural for carnivorous wild animals to kill other animals in order to live. But people don't often think (or even know) about the extraordinary and unnatural suffering that humans inflict on the animals that we freely harvest for food, with the help of modern high technology and the animal food sciences.