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Hi Anne,
I have been eating a plant based diet for just over a year and before that had little meat or fish, but liked to eat my eggs and drink my milk. I am now 90% Vegan and am making the final steps now. I have been flirting with this for quite some time and feel so great for making the change! But I digress, and I would like to answer your questions:
1. Some Vegans will tell you, it isn't the killing of a being that is so painful to deal with, but the way these animals are raised and slaughtered. Much of the food that is readily available to us, even the "organic" meat is from factory farms where animals live in horrible squalid conditions. I have done some reading that suggests because these animals are so fearful as they are led to and being slaughtered that they are full of stress hormones which is then left in the meat for us to eat. Also, that we are eating that fear (more of a Buddhist teaching). There are some that feel, if you are eating meat that is ethically raised and slaughtered, then that is at least one small step in the right direction.
Of course there is also the fact that these animals contribute a great deal to Global warming, just to raise them (methane gases) let alone ship them.
2. That is a very personal question that only you can answer. I volunteer and am on the board of directors at an animal sanctuary and I just can't do it. We have pigs, cows, buffalo, lamas, goats, an emu, the list goes on. I hear the jokes all the time how great an Emu burger would be, when in fact she is a sensitive and loving creature. For me, it would be impossible to ever turn back to meat if this was the sole reason. But that is my personal preference.
3. You may find that it costs less money to eat locally and plant based. Always take into consideration, your body is much happier when it is eating fruits and vegetables that are locally in season. In some areas that can be tough, considering the climate. I have saved a great amount of money since transitioning to plant based. Meat is incredibly expensive.
4. It takes no more energy to cook a nutritious meal than it does to cook an unhealthy meal. For instance, tonight we will be having tofu tacos. In most circles a taco is unhealthy, at our house it is vegetables, tofu and daiya "cheese" (a cheese alternative)! They are incredible and take only the time it takes to cut the veggies. The tofu cooks in minutes. There are many books and website with alternative recipes. Many of your favourites can be transformed. Vegetarian chili is incredible, add a little tvp (textured vegetable protein) and it's almost like eating meat!! :)

If you can take the time to read up and educate yourself on the meals, recipes and reasons for doing this (Alicia Silverstone's book, The Kind Diet, is surprisingly insightful) and then give it a try for a month, you might notice a huge difference. I love it. The health benefits are out of this world and I will take any edge I can get!! :)

And, I just realized this is a blog from almost a year ago, but with any luck you will see this and give it a try!
Best of luck!
Sue :)