Deciding to adopt a plant-based diet and lifestyle, and become vegan, may be one of the most personal decisions you will ever make. That being said, it's not as hard as you think. I grew up in a meat-eating household, graduated from culinary school, and worked in professional kitchens for years, never learning how to cook a meal without meat, aside from the occasional pasta entree. When I think about it, I know much more then the average American when it comes to food and cooking, but I knew very little on vegan cooking.
I decided to become a pescetarian after learing what really goes on in factory farms. I had no idea how bad they were, and as someone who has always loved animals I couldn't justify them suffering just so I could eat what I thought tasted good. But I still ate seafood, and dairy, and it took me six months to give them up, and go fully vegan. Cheese, as I think it is for most vegans, was the hardest thing to give up, but now that I have, I honestly don't miss it that much anymore.
I did a lot of reading when I first became a vegan, and aside from the benefits to the animals, learned there was also a ton of benefits to the enviroment, as well as my personal health. I found these books most helpful; Skinny Bitch a tough love guide to why we should stop eating meat and dairy. Honestly, if this book doesn't show you how truly gross the meat and dairy industries are, I don't know what will. The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet, providing similar views as Skinny Bitch, but without the harshness. Perhaps the most helpful book I've read is Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating which really tells the health benefits of being vegan.
The one biggest thing about eating a vegan diet though, is the food. And Americans as a whole are still very uninformed on what vegans can eat - it's not just salads! - it can make eating out rather difficult. So plan to cook at home, a lot. It's just much easier, probably healthier, and cheaper.