I appreciated this man's honesty and his willingness to admit publicly that his behavior and his ethics were not yet in alignment. He could have chosen instead, to close his heart to this issue. He could have chosen to buy only specially labeled meat, with a label falsely claiming it was "humane" and pretend there was no hypocrisy in paying top dollar for special classist meat, believing it to be from animals who willingly volunteered to sacrifice their children so that we humans could continue with an unnecessary tradition (meat eating) that is the single biggest factor causing environmental damage to the planet today. He could have argued that any animal's most significant interest (staying alive and/or protecting their children) just isn't as important as any human's trivial interest (the pleasure of taste). Instead, he told the truth -- he just liked eating meat, but it was nagging at his conscience to do so and he was interested in trying to find a real solution to this problem, that could allow him to be at peace with what was in his heart.
Some people never really enjoyed eating the muscle, fat and blood of other beings -- I have several friends who grew up being forced to eat meat when they never liked it. That was not me. My favorite childhood foods (besides candy and ice cream) were barbequed ribs and steak soup. I had learned to enjoy eating them, long before I had any idea that they were the violently dismembered bodies of beings I considered myself a lover and protector of. The only way I was able to go vegan, (once I realized that to not do so, was making me complicit in violence against the very beings I espoused myself, "a lover of...") was to spend a lot of time connecting the imagery of the violence and gore that went into meat and dairy, with the sensory experience of looking at or eating them. A dead skunk on the side of the road did not make me salivate -- the only difference between it and the meat I had loved was the removal of the fur, and the intentional violence that caused the death of one and not the other.
But the fact that this man saw his desire to eat meat and dairy as an addiction was actually more accurate than he realized. The book, The Pleasure Trap by Goldhammer and Lisle explains how our evolution helped us to adapt to environments where caloric scarcity was common, but now most of us live in environments of caloric over abundance we are poorly adapted to. (Hence the epidemics of diabetes and heart disease.) The very dopamine system in the brain, so critical for an organism's survival, by making procreation and maximum consumption of calories pleasurable, get's hijacked by the caloric density of meat and dairy. The Pleasure Trap also explains how we can get free of the stranglehold of these foods.
In addition to the path suggested by the Pleasure Trap, people have succeeded in liberating themselves from meat and dairy addictions in other ways. Some people find the use of meat and dairy analogs very helpful in their transition. Beyond Meat has come out with some products that are so realistic, many vegans find them repugnant. Miyoko's Kitchen has been using the same culturing techniques that cheese producers have used for centuries -- but applied them to plant milks with AMAZING results. (You can also read her book, Artisan Vegan Cheese if you want to make your own!) Today there are many many other choices on the market as well. My biggest caution in using these, is to avoid those that contain gluten. It is likely that many more people are sensitive to gluten, than current testing methods can accurately predict. I believe that undiagnosed gluten intolerance is THE single biggest factor why some people fail to feel better on a vegan diet...if they end up eating more gluten in place of meat and dairy. Likewise, If you ever meet someone who claims that the best they ever felt was on Atkins, or eating low-carb, this could be a red-flag for gluten intolerance! The other thing to watch out for are products that use soy, corn or canola without it being organic or at the very least GMO free (There are so many possible concerns with GMO's -- but clearly any plant that has been engineered to make its own insecticide in every cell would be very likely to alter the gut microbiome!)
Some people have been successful transitioning to vegan gradually by first committing to always eating vegan for breakfast. After a few weeks, they make all their lunches vegan, and then finally make it all day. There may be advantages to doing it gradually like this too. Our gut bacterial microbiome is adapted to whatever our diet has been. If we suddenly start eating a lot more fiber, our current population of bacteria may not be well suited to digesting this and could leave us with some GI distress. By transitioning slowly we can gently change our microbiome to one that is well suited to eating more fiber. (Note: A growing body of research is suggesting that the organisms in the guts of vegans are more likely to be the types that reduce inflammation, and protect against cancer.)
Finally, our most important tool for successfully transitioning to vegan is to thoughtfully consider the information, ideas and influences that we expose ourselves to. We literally do become what we think about. So make conscious choices in what you read, see and expose yourself too. My resources page has literally hundreds of links to videos, articles, MP3's and websites that can nourish you on so many levels and support you in living a healthier more compassionate life. Set aside 30 minutes every day to go and explore what is on that page, you will be amazed at how you change over time!
If you click on the picture at the top of this post, you will be able to read an article on the topic of "stigmatizing meat" that I thought made a very interesting case, and at the very least I think you'll find to be a great conversation starter.