Tag Archives: becoming vegan

Guest Bloggers: Mindful Wanderlust – Thailand changed my life…Why I went Vegan

12 Sep

Always inspiring to hear stories of other vegans and how they came to the lifestyle. Two such people are Giselle and Cody, authors of Mindful Wanderlust. Please do visit their blog, not all the pictures came out properly through the HTML for some reason and it would be a shame to miss out on their adventure.

Here they are in their own words, “We’re Giselle and Cody. Two kindred vegan spirits and travel lovers wanting to share our experiences around the world with people while doing it in a compassionate and responsible way.

We have been traveling around the world long term. We hope to inspire others to do the same and free themselves of people’s expectations. We look forward to meeting new people on our journey, learning about ourselves and others, while being mindful and considerate.

Join us for glimpses of art, working with animals, culture, yummy vegan food, and whatever else we find that piques our interest.” Follow Mindful Wanderlust on all channels: Blog, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Welcome Giselle and Cody!

To be fair, it could have been any country.

Why I went Vegan

Elephant Nature Park in Thailand

But it was Thailand. And I could have been volunteering with orangutans, or sloth bears. But elephants are one of my favorite animals, so I chose elephants to spend time with.

I have been an animal lover all of my life, (or perhaps a “some” animal, lover) but that love grows much more powerful and true when you stop eating them.

How can you truly love them while causing them so much pain and suffering?

Two years ago I stopped eating cows, chickens, and pigs directly after watching Earthlings. I stopped eating fish a few months before going Vegan.

This August marks my 1 year Veganniversary!

Why I went Vegan

Momma Rommie

While at Elephant Nature Park, Cody and I had the honour of spending some of our time with a new born baby Elephant. The rest of our time was spent with several dogs, cats, and people. We had the chance to take a trip to Nakhon Phnom (border of Thailand and Laos) to help out with over 2000 dogs that were rescued from the illegal dog meat trade. We made a video about our experience (You can watch that here) and the response was great. Many people shared the video and made several comments about how disgusting it was that people eat dog meat, and how terribly inhumane the dogs were treated. This made me wonder why so many of us think it is ok to treat pigs, cows, chickens, etc, so inhumanely (I question it on a daily basis).

Billions of cows, pigs, chickens, and several other animals suffer all of their lives. Why are dogs any different? Because we chose them to be pets and not food? Because they are loving and sweet? Have you ever spent time with a cow, pig, or sheep? I have, and they are beautiful, loving, and gentle animals as well.

They don’t want to die.

I made the connection.

Why I went Vegan

Kanchanaburi, Thailand

I am wide awake and fully conscious of what goes into my body, and the products I choose to purchase will never again be made with any or tested on any animals. I only wish I had made the connection sooner. I was not born Vegan, but I am Vegan for life, in more ways than one.

When it comes to flesh; a dog, is a cow, is a pig, is a chicken. There is no difference. Remember this when you are condemning another culture for eating dogs and cats.

There was a time not too long ago that we treated humans in the same way. Some were worthy of a life of freedom, and some were not.

My experience with all of the people at Elephant Nature Park who have so much love and care so much for these animals has permanently opened my eyes and changed my life forever. I can’t turn my back on them. I will no longer be responsible for the pain and constant suffering of another living being, and it feels wonderful and freeing. That is why I am Vegan.

I also encourage people to use their words wisely as it is not that you “could never quit eating cheese, chicken, or bacon”

It is a CHOICE. I loved cheese as much as the next person, but I chose non violence and peace, as I am well aware of the calf that gets ripped away from it’s screaming mother right after birth only to go straight to slaughter because he is useless. 5 minutes of flavor is NOT worth the tremendous suffering involved. There are alternatives to cheese, milk, eggs, and meat. Everything is an acquired taste.

The meat and dairy industry are not looking out for your health. People are being lied to, people are getting sick, and there is mass suffering going on around the world, not only for animals, but for humans too.

Such little compassion for our fellow beings, and all for taste?

They all suffer as much as we do.

Why I went Vegan

Beautiful and Gentle Bull in Northern Thailand

This is what changed my life.

Animals are my family. ALL animals. We share this earth with them. There is no picking and choosing. We humans are not more important. The idea of difference is a human conception for man’s own advantage.

The exploiters making money from meat and leather have done an amazing job in separating a cow from a juicy steak or a $700 leather jacket.

It’s quite easy to be desensitized, but that steak did not want to die, and that jacket was once skin that felt the sun, and wind on it.

Just think about that. We extinguish life like it is nothing. Billions and billions of precious lives.

Why I went Vegan

Rooster at Elephant Nature Park

People think being Vegan is extreme. I think shooting a bolt unsuccessfully into a cows skull so it goes down the slaughter line and is sliced in half while still alive is extreme.

Debeaking chickens without anesthesia, injecting them with growth hormone so they grow rapidly, and their legs are not strong enough to support their bodies so they break, or are severely crippled and in constant pain is extreme. I think cutting piglets tails off with no anesthesia, beating pigs, and breaking their backs for fun while still alive and in excruciating pain is extreme.

These are not isolated events. This is insanity and violence on a daily basis.

The world will not change for the better until we begin to treat all sentient beings with love and compassion.

What I share is not opinion. It is fact and truth. The problem is, most of the time people do not like the truth unless it benefits them.

There is so much suffering that we can all so easily end. It really is that simple. It starts by thinking about more than just yourself.

I am being the change I want to see in the world. Compassionate, non violent, kind, aware. Vegan 100% cruelty free.

It has changed my life.

For more information on living a compassionate cruelty free vegan lifestyle check out these links!

Gary Yourofsky is a Vegan animal rights activist. His speech helped in opening my eyes. How can you argue with him? You can watch his speech here GARY YOUROFSKY

Earthlings is a feature length documentary about the speciesism and animal abuse perpetrated by humans for entertainment, companionship, food, clothing, sport, and scientific research. The film is narrated by long time Vegan and academy award nominee, Joaquin Phoenix. You can watch the video here EARTHLINGS

But for the sake of some little mouthful of flesh, we deprive a soul of the sun and light, and of that proportion of life and time it had been born into the world to enjoy.


Non violence leads to the highest of ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.

~Thomas Edison~

Why I went Vegan

Flower loves Everyone!!

“150 years ago, they would have thought you were absurd if you advocated for the end of slavery. 100 years ago, they would have laughed at you for suggesting that women should have the right to vote. 50 years ago, they would have objected to the idea of African Americans receiving equal rights under the law. 25 years ago they would have called you a pervert if you advocated for gay rights. They laugh at us now for suggesting that animal slavery be ended. Some day they won’t be laughing.

~Gary Smith~

I am not interested to know whether vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn’t…..the pain which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity toward it, and it is to me sufficient justification of the enmity without looking further.

~Mark Twain~

Guest Blogger: Steps in Stilettos – How I became vegan

27 Mar
Hey everyone! Put your hands together for our newest contributor Jamie, author of the blog Steps in Stilettos. Her post is about her journey into veganism.  Join Jamie on her blog, facebook page, and Twitter account. Welcome Jamie!
A little bit about how I discovered a plant-based lifestyle was when I first decided to become a vegetarian at the age of fifteen and I really started thinking about where my food came from and what I was eating.   I was in high school taking biology class and our assignment was to disect different types of insects and animals.  Looking at the insides of animals got me thinking about what exactly I was eating.  The thought made me nauseaus and I came home to declare to my parents that I was going to become a vegetarian.  Of course, they were shocked, as no one we knew ate this way.  They had no idea what to feed me and I mostly ate cereal, as I also didn’t really know what to eat.  I took a multivitamin every day because I was convinced by others that I couldn’t possible be getting adequate nutrition as a vegetarian.  However, this transition for me personally, aside from being controversial, was relatively easy because I didn’t change the way I ate, I really just cut out all forms of meat and replaced them with cheese versions.  I could still go to family and friends’ homes for dinner and was always able to eat some part of what was being served.  At restaurants, I even still had some variety of choices.  I remained vegetarian through college and began discovering the new tofu based meat substitutes that were more actively coming on the market.   However, like many Americans, I still had no clue about nutrition and what vitamins and minerals my body needed to thrive.  I was really just trying to eat as “normally” as possible while still holding onto my values.
It wasn’t until age 28 that I discovered and opened myself up to the vegan and plant-based worlds.  I remember I was stuck in the airport at work and my boss actually recommended that I read “Skinny Bitch,” a new and controversial book that had just come out, since he knew I was vegetarian.  Since I was already bored, I immediately went into the airport bookstore and bought the book.  Do you ever believe that certain moments happen for a reason?  As I get older, I believe in this more and more.   I read almost half of the book before I arrived home that night, addicted to the pages and hungry for more information!  What this book opened my eyes to was the fact that dairy cows are subjected to huge amounts of pain and suffering and that by consuming milk and dairy, I was still contributing to animal creutly.  What’s more is that I learned that animals products were actually bad for us, a completely new idea to me, and that much more nutrition could be obtained from plant-based foods.    This revelation sent me on my path to reading more books about plant-based nutrition from authors like Dr. Barnard, Christina Pirello, Dr. Esselstyn, T. Colin, Campbell, Alicia Silverstone, and more!  I kept wanting to learn more and more because this paradigm shift in thinking was fascinating to me and so different from anything I was taught growing up.  I even took classes through Cornell University in their Plant-Based Nutrition Program to earn a Certificate.  The classes and lecturers in that program are amazing and were able to give me detailed answers to everything I ever wanted to know, such as links to animal protein and diseases like cancer, how different vitamins and nutrients act in our bodies and why plant-based eating is the healthiest diet.   By surrounding myself with information and different support groups through the classes and online community, it gave me the confidence to stick with the diet and the information I needed to continue on my path of healthy living.  I love life and I want to enjoy it as much as I am able.  To me, that doesn’t necessarily mean trying to outlive everyone, it means living the days that I have with as much energy to do the things I want to do and to experience life without being sick, stuck on medicine, or in the hospital for treatments.
Becoming plant-based has changed my life for the better!  As a child and young adult, I suffered from relatively severe allergies and asthma.  I was in the hospital at least once a year for breathing treatments, had to carry an inhaler everywhere with me, and was dependent on taking allergy pills for most days of the year.   Being sick as a young child made me believe that I would be dependant on medicine for the rest of my life.  When I cut out meat products at the age of fifteen, I noticed an improvement in my asthma and allergies.  I was able to play outside and run without having an asthma attack.  I see the correlation now, but as a young adult, everyone just told me I was “growing out of my asthma” and that’s what I believed.  However, as soon as I cut out dairy products, my allergies and asthma disappeared!  I currently have no need for allergy pills and I don’t even own an inhaler!  It is so freeing being able to even say that, as I never thought it would be a possibility for me.  Asthma attacks and weazing are a distant memory of my past and something I don’t see myself having to deal with again.  These days, I feel energetic, vibrant and healthy and can be as active as I want!  It’s truly amazing!  I have taken control of my health simply by the foods that I choose to put into my mouth everyday!

Guest Blogger: The Barefoot Essence – Wheat, and soy ….oh my!

23 Aug

Please welcome back Jackie, author of the blog Barefoot Essence, for her hat trick appearance on VBU! Feel free to read her previous posts:  Change your diet, skip surgery and I’m a shareholder…in Community Shared Agriculture. Stay in touch with Jackie through her Facebook, Twitter and blog. Welcome back Jackie!

When I met my husband in 2003 I was about 30 pounds heavier than I am today. I tried many diets and some were successful, until I stopped following them. I lost 20 pounds or so shortly after getting married by getting a dog and becoming more physically active. I started to pay closer attention to what I ate noticed I had more energy and my clothes were getting looser.

Fast forward to pregnancy. Pregnancy was a time where I really began to pay attention to what was going in, and on my body. I was growing another body inside of me; I had a responsibility to ensure my baby was healthy. I received the extensive list of forbidden foods from my doctor. I was told to avoid cold cuts, soft cheese, fish more than once a week and undercooked meat, as these could all pose a risk to the fetus. I gained about 50 pounds with both of my pregnancies. I ate a mostly healthy diet incorporating lots of fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately I negated the healthy food effects by eating ice cream every, single, evening.

After I had Jacob, I wanted to get back to my ‘normal’ weight. I paid attention to serving size and ate as healthy as I knew how to at the time. I did a lot of walking. This was easy as we lived in Chicago at the time. I would pack up Jacob and some diapers and go for a 10-mile walk, peeking into shops and eating lunch in grassy parks. I had heard somewhere that dairy should be avoided to assist in weight loss. I replaced my huge daily glass of skim chocolate milk with soy chocolate milk and ate cheese only occasionally. I watched the weight fall off effortlessly. I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight in three months.

When Jacob was about a year old, I became more conscious of our family’s eating habits. I had to feed my son real food now. I had a responsibility. I began reading books by Michael Pollan; ‘The Omnivores Dilemma’ and ‘In Defense of Food’. His books made me question our nation’s food supply. How much processing happens to the chicken nugget in that cardboard box at McDonalds? I began arming myself with as much food education as possible. I watched the documentary ‘Food, Inc.’ and switched to mostly organic foods. I read the books ‘Skinny Bitch’ and ‘The Thrive Diet’ which both advocate an animal-free diet. Animal free? I grew up eating animals, so did my parents, didn’t we need protein from them? And milk? The milk ads on television tell us we need three servings a day. I thought back to all the ‘forbidden foods’ from my pregnancy – they were all animal products. If those foods were unsafe for me when I was pregnant, why would they be safe any other time? Hmmmmm. That was a moment of clarity. I began having more meat-free meals and still had the occasional cheese or yogurt. I felt better when I avoided meat, but I still felt bloated by the afternoon. I was also getting sinus infections several times a year and had terrible seasonal allergies. At the recommendation of a massage therapist I saw a naturopath. The naturopath asked me to document what I was eating for a week. She noticed I ate yogurt daily and suggested I go without dairy for about three weeks to see how I felt. After about two weeks without dairy I wasn’t sure if felt a difference or not, was it all in my head? Then I had a bowl of ice cream. I was instantly bloated and gassy. Nope, never doing that again. Goodbye dairy.

When I was pregnant with Talia, I ate a mostly plant-based diet, I avoided dairy like the plague and ate meat once or twice a month, usually if someone else was cooking it. After I had Talia, I ate a plant-based diet 99% of the time during my pregnancy and afterwards, and lost the weight effortlessly in two months. I say 99% because I don’t worry about that trace of egg that might be in that veggie burger on the restaurant menu.

I still felt bloated after eating whole-wheat pasta, however. I wondered if this was bothering me as well so I eliminated it for a few weeks. In one week I lost 10 pounds I didn’t even know I needed to lose! I had some fresh bread at a restaurant a few weeks later as a test, and I paid for it dearly. I consulted a naturopath again to perform food sensitivity testing. I had good suspicion these foods didn’t agree with me and the test results echoed this feeling – I was sensitive to several things, including wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, corn and peanuts.

Today, I eat a plant-based, allergen-free diet and have never felt better. You don’t realize how sick you are until you feel amazing! I don’t stress about traces of these foods in things like gluten free bread at a restaurant or in a piece of organic, fair-trade dark chocolate as they don’t seem to bother me, and having a more relaxed approach also keeps me healthy. By listening to what my body was telling me I was able to find the perfect lifestyle for me. I feel lighter, I don’t get bloated, my seasonal allergies have disappeared, I haven’t had a sinus infection in years, I think more clearly and sleep soundly. I am also still losing weight without even trying. I’m letting my body guide itself towards a natural weight …and I need to replace a lot of items in my wardrobe again.

Guest Blogger: A House Full of Health – How to be vegan: A newbies perspective

9 Aug

This post is from Marsha, author of A House Full of Health, who has been a previous contributor to VBU! You can read her previous posts here and here.

Marsha wrote a preface and I think it’s important, here she is in her own words, “I wrote this blog 6 months post making one of the greatest decisions of my life. I’m new to the vegan world and to the blogging world so I know what it’s like to be nervous about putting yourself out there to try new things. I want to share with others what it’s like to go vegan. Blogging, well I still don’t quite have the hang of that so can’t help there. The vegan world, I’ve found, is so friendly, I’ve been so grateful for all the wonderful support. Cheers and happy reading!”

You can find Marsha on TwitterFacebook and through her blog. Please welcome back Marsha!

Going vegan! Who’s going vegan? I am? Really? Are you sure? 

Oh how I thought I was being incredibly crazy!  I thought the fact that the hubby mentioned first meant something infiltrated our water system affecting our brains!!  

It’s been 6 months! 

And, now? Nope, I don’t think we are crazy!  We are so very happy with our choice!


Have you thought about the vegan/vegetarian lifestyle? Does it intimidate you just a bit? It did for me, actually.  I remember the very first week we didn’t eat any meat or dairy I thought I would eat the house! I was SO hungry! I’d wake up in the middle of the night starving! Famished! Ready to eat the cats as they lie sleeping on my bed! Anything! I was so hungry! 

Think about the times you eat Chinese food, within the hour you are hungry again. It’s as if you didn’t eat any dinner, right? That’s how I felt! 

Then, I thought, what was I missing when eating a big plate of Chinese food? Protein. I was missing protein. I generally ordered a plate full of veggies in some sort of sauce over a bed of white rice. Of course I was hungry an hour later. That didn’t have the amount of protein I was used to as I sat down to a big steak! 

Just like everyone else, we vegans need complete protein to get all our essential amino acids. We don’t want to fall prey to the negative protein balance now do we? That’s starvation and I love food so that is NOT an option.

According to the USDA, a man age 40 weighing 160 pounds needs 56 g of protein per day. A woman, weighing 140 pounds age 40 needs 46 g of protein per day. That’s about 0.36 g of protein for every pound of body weight.

Protein needs to very based on age, size, health, physical activity, body weight, body type and for those pregnant or nursing.

When I speak of protein, I speak of a complete protein, all essential amino acids needed. There are some plant-based foods that carry all essential amino acids. Soy is one of them as is quinoa. It was once believed that vegetarians and vegans could possibly develop a protein deficiency if they didn’t get all the essential amino acids that they needed within one meal. But, when we eat, our body stores amino acids in something like a storage bank, we use what we need when we need it. So, it’s not a necessity to get all 8 amino acids in one sitting. As long as you eat a variety of foods throughout the day you will get all of the essential amino acids that you need. So, don’t go eat a block of tofu. It’s just gross.

Okay, so now that I have protein in my system I don’t wake up wanting to eat everything in sight in the middle of the night. It took about a week and I was used to being “vegan.” Ah! Much better!

What is vegan?

Vegan has so many different definitions. Some are vegan based on ethical reasons, some for environmental reasons, some for health reasons. There are vegans that combine all of them as well. It’s up to you to decide what is best for you. I don’t judge how vegan other people are as I only wish that people don’t judge me.

Being vegan, for myself, is mostly about health. I am more aware of items that I purchase, trying to purchase cruelty free items,  but I’m not perfect. And, because I am not rich (although I wish that I were!) I still own a variety of leather shoes. Does this make me a bad vegan? To some, it may. For me, I certainly don’t want to waste what I already own. But, I will be more aware next time I buy a pair of shoes.

I was definitely pretty nervous when I decided to stop eating meat and dairy. I didn’t know what to do. I was trained in a French culinary school, I cooked with meat and butter, lots of it. That’s when I decided to start this blog. And then I found twitter, I know, that sounds so weird, right? But really I couldn’t have done it without all my awesome vegan Twitter friends.

Twitter is where I met Dreena Burton. I must say, Twitter and blogging are like high school. You want to fit in, you want to be the cool kid, and you want to be noticed. Dreena was like my high school crush, in a way. She’s the cool kid and I wanted her to notice me. She was the first that gave me the advice to keep on tweeting and keep on blogging. Then, one day she followed me on twitter. I almost peed my pants. Seriously! The cool kid followed me! But, to be serious Dreena is an amazing vegan cookbook author. I ordered her book, Let Them Eat Vegan, off of Amazon and waited, patiently, for it to arrive. What I love about Dreena’s book,  is the simplicity of all the recipes, they use of whole foods, and all of the real life suggestions to make things just a little bit easier. Read my view review here. Anyway, I don’t think I could’ve been vegan very long without Let Them Eat Vegan. I thought being vegan meant lots and lots of fake meats. I am not a huge fan of fake meats! Being vegan absolutely does not mean you need to stuff your faces with the fake stuff!

I have met many supportive people on Twitter, Facebook, and around town. Support is key.

I met another friend on twitter, Janae Wise,  mother of 4, vegan, gluten-free, fitness instructor, and all around wonderful woman. She is constantly encouraging my blogging by reminding me that I am new. All bloggers have to start somewhere and I can’t be perfect or the best right off the bat. She is so right. She is very encouraging and has kept me going. One day I strive to be a wonderful picture taker, blogger, and inspiration like she has shown to be herself.

Of course, I have a good friend that lives nearby that welcomes all my questions no matter how silly.  Mel Mason,  My holistic health coach, has been a saint. Without her encouragement, dedication, and willingness to listen and help without judgment I would not have made it as far as I have.

How do you go vegan or vegetarian you ask? Yes, it will take a little dedication, practice, and time. But, it is all worth it. Your heart, health, and happiness will thank you.

I am a lover of lists. I make lists for what needs to be done during the day, what I need to pack for trips, what food I’m going to make during the week, and a list of items I need to buy at the grocery store. This makes the process that much easier.

So, here are a couple of lists. What I’ve learned, what’s in my pantry, what’s in my refrigerator, and some of my favorite vegan staples and some of yours.

A couple of things that I’ve learned in the past 6 months:

Have support: family, friends, Twitter, Facebook

Eat plenty of protein

Enjoy your food

Have a well-stocked pantry

Plan your meals

Ask questions, of me, of  dietitians, nutritionists, healthcare providers, friends

Talk to people

Don’t give up

Staples I like to keep in my pantry:

Rice, brown and white. Forbidden rice as well.

Canned tomatoes


Beans, all varieties (kidney beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, white beans, any bean!). Dried and canned

Vegetable stock

Better than bullion vegetable base

Green chilies, Trader Joe’s has the best!

Black olives

Artichoke hearts

Sun-dried tomatoes

Pitted dates


Spelt flour

Chia seeds, great information on Chia seeds found here

Raw cashews, other raw nuts and seeds

Raw sugar

Agave Nectar

Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids

Popcorn kernels

One of my favorites! Popcorn!

Vegetables and fruit I always have on hand:






Lettuce, Romain


Sugar snap peas

Purple cabbage






Lemon and limes

Onions, red and yellow

Mini bell peppers


Apples, Oranges, lemons!

Items I like to have on hand, in my fridge:

Almond milk or other plant-based milks

Hummus, different varieties

Hemp seeds

Nondairy plain yogurt



Flax seed oil

Hemp seed oil

Maple syrup

Tofu, I know tofu can be scary! But, give it a try! There are so many ways to use it and love it!

The first time you go grocery shopping it may cost you a little bit more than your usual grocery trip. But, this is just to stock your shelves with all your staples. Once you get the hang of it, shopping and cost will be easy and low. I tend to shop weekly because all that produce barely fits in my refrigerator each week. If I shopped bi-weekly there would be no way. I even created extra space, a sort of pantry, in my laundry room to make room for all the goodness I buy.

Raw Cashews

My favorite staples:




Raw cashews

Braggs Liquid Amino Acids

Carrots, celery, onion (I lump these together because they often go together in soups and such)


Hemp seeds

Chia seeds

Chia Seeds

I asked of you some of your favorite staples in your vegan kitchen:

Quinoa of course was one of them. Tofu in tempeh, kale and other leafy greens, nutritional yeast, beans, raw cashews, and flax oil.

 Do you have any others to add to my list?

I believe a good diet, is one that’s not a diet at all. More of a lifestyle. You eat healthy because you want to be healthy. You are what you eat, as they say. Going vegan can be intimidating, difficult, expensive. But, as with any new thing this is only the beginning. Once you’re in, you’re in. Less difficult, less intimidating, and less expensive. I’ve been at this for 6 months and I sometimes feel like I’ve been doing it my whole life. I’m still learning how to cook, how to use items I’ve never heard of, and what substitutes I need to use for certain things. But I love the learning, the experimenting, and the vegan world that I’ve fallen into. Everyone has been so supportive and helpful.

Go out, give it a try, experiment, have fun with it! If you have questions drop me a line! I’d love to hear from you. I’m here to be supportive. 

Blogging, vegan, it’s all new to me but I’m here to stay.

Cheers and happy eating!


Combichrist – Caliber:Death

Peter Murphy – Cuts You Up

The Faint – Fish in a Womb

Justin Timberlake – Rock Your Body

Accersory – Matrix

Guest Blogger: Life of a Vegan

18 Jul

Most of us discovered veganism in our late 20’s and even 30’s, our newest blogger VeggieGirl29, is starting early. Here she is in her own words, “I’m a Vegan teenager that has been vegan for 7 months now and vegetarian for three years. I feel like I open the eyes of the younger generation that wants to make the switch but their parents are against it. I also face the struggles in high school and being a teenager and being vegan as well. I feel like I open eyes.” Follow her on Twitter and her blog; please welcome VeggieGirl29!

So the other day, I was talking about my veganism and such. WELL, someone asked me if I believed in God. Obviously I said yes. They’re response was, “God put meat on this earth for humans to eat.”

Here’s my response to that:

First, greed is a deadly sin. How greedy certain people get about meat, gets kind of sickening. People kind of over do it on the whole meat thing. I saw someone eat a beef rib, a hamburger, a hot dog, and I think one other thing I couldn’t tell you. That is being to greedy and taking too much from animals.

Second, it has been proven that ANY organism shouldn’t be drinking other animals milk, humans shouldn’t after the age of two. We aren’t suppose to be having milk and cheese in our systems… So God didn’t give us that, we forced it upon ourselves.

Lastly, if God wanted me to eat meat so bad, wouldn’t I be in the hospital at this moment? I mean honestly, if eating meat was so good for me, wouldn’t I be getting sick? But isn’t it the other way around? Becoming vegan I have lowered my chances of getting heart disease incredibly and up my chances to fight diseases.

Sorry if I offended  anyone with this post, but I was offended with at response that man gave to me. If you are a vegan or a vegetarian out that, you are no less that anyone else just by what you eat.

With all my respect,


P.S. you can always ask me questions and follow me on Twitter @VeggieGirl29


Guest Blogger: The Cold Turkey Vegan – The Power of Intention & The Advance Decision

28 Jun

Every so often I meet new vegans who have started to blog about the change in their life. This is the case with Jinnie Lee and her husband, both have been vegan for 25 days and that is a fantastic feat to go from omni to plant strong. Her blog is aptly named Cold Turkey Vegan. Here she is in her own words, “My name is Jinnie Lee Schmid, and my husband and I have been vegans for 25 days! We watched Forks Over Knives and made the switch the very next day. My blog is an invitation to follow my journey from the very first days of our vegan adventure, because I feel that if I can do it, anyone can – and I would love to support others on this important and fun adventure!” Follow her on Twitter, Pintrest and like her Facebook page here. Please welcome Jinnie Lee!

This is not the post you are expecting to read after today’s doctor visits. That post, the one in which I compare and contrast the results of my two most recent blood tests, will come a bit later. Partly because I need to work on organizing the data into a nice, readable table that can be easily updated to show my progress over time. But also because I wanted to share about a different, interesting experience that occurred on my way home from the doctor’s office.

Every time I go to or from my doctor’s office, I drive by a McDonald’s – not to mention, now that I think about it, a Chick-Fil-A, a Checkers, a Diary Queen, and a Krystal! Talk about running the gauntlet! (My previous doctor was located across the street from a Dunkin’ Donuts…one must ask, what evil did I commit against a whole grain in a previous life, to have stacked the deck so high against me this time around?!?)

Today I drove right by that ‘ on my way home, without even a “twinge.” Even thought it was nearly 1:00 pm and I hadn’t eaten yet due to the requirement to fast before my blood work.

It’s funny, and pretty unusual, to feel the lack of something. But I felt the lack of that “twinge” pretty strongly. It surprised me, because I have a long history of not only eating fast food in the car, but of rationalizing my decision to do so. Although I sometimes drove directly to the fast food joints with the intention (and anticipation) of eating a favorite unhealthy meal, many times I also ate there in a fit of desperation. And I don’t mean just the desperation of dieting and deprivation – although I’ve felt that too – but here I’m talking about that feeling of having burned my last calorie, jonezing for something to eat because my blood sugar is dropping, my head is tarting to pound, I’m starting to get dizzy and or grouchy or whatever.

I would argue that these are relatively rational, legitimate reasons to want to grab the first, most convenient food item around. Even “regular” people (non-disordered eaters, if any such things exist) sometimes let their hunger go so long that they get desperate to eat. And all types of eaters are doing the right thing when they respond to their body’s need for nourishment.

What struck me today, though, was a memory of the ways I used to rationalize my “need” to go through McDonald’s. Using those extreme hunger pangs, or my need to get to the next place, or to otherwise stay on schedule, etc….to tell myself that getting my “meal” or “snack” from Mickey D’s was a perfectly acceptable solution. Or, at the very least, a perfectly justifiable one considering the dire situation staring me in the face.

Today, instead, I drove right past that McDonald’s without even a thought (except the germ of this post). I had no idea what exactly I intended to eat when I got home. I had no reassurances that a phone call or traffic jam or other unforeseen incident wouldn’t keep me from getting my hungry self home in time to eat the meal I needed. But, I knew that what I needed to eat – my plant-strong, whole-foods, low-oil, low-sugar, low-soy selections – were at home, not at that drive-through. And I knew that’s what I WANTED to eat, even though it was a few more minutes away.

What made the difference today, I wondered?

What I think is the difference is intention. Another way to describe intention, in this case, is the advance decision. See, I made a decision on June 2nd (25 days ago!) that I was going to eat this way. As shocking to me as it is to those who know me, I haven’t wavered from that decision (*yet – see caveat at the end of this post).

Since the decision had already been made on June 2nd, there wasn’t really any other decision to be made as I passed that McDonald’s. At least not on this day. It was, today, simply another building that I drove past on my way home.

Anyone who is has committed to a significant other, to God, to a goal, or a cause, or a creature – you know what I mean. We can’t usually separate ourselves from things that would tempt us from our commitment, at least not completely. There will be always be handsome men and pretty women walking around; there will often be opportunities to cheat or lie or take advantage; there will be times we want to procrastinate or take a day off or cheat…But, on a good day, we find ourselves blinded to those temptations and able to drive right by.

I’m happy for the good days I get! Aren’t you? It’s not a perfect science or a lifelong guarantee…but, I think we get them because we took the leap of faith that is intention, the decision made in advance.

*So here’s the caveat. It occurred to me, as I drove by those Golden Arches, that I’ve felt this way during the early stages of other attempts at dieting, too. This scares me a little, especially since I’m putting all of this OUT THERE via this crazy new-fangled thing called the interwebs. I would like to think that my current state of plant-strong contentment “feels different” and therefore “is different.” But, alas, I fear I must also face reality – Day 25 is impressive, but mere mili-mili-miligrams forward on the journey I hope to travel. (The writers of the Big Bang Theory know the real name for that unit of measure, but I do not.) I intend to keep track of the milestones that have tripped me up in the past. What I remember about my most recent Weight Watchers experience is that I rocked it for about two months with no problem, then I waffled on and off for a few months (still trying but losing effectiveness), and then pretty much bailed on the plan (whether I admitted that to myself or not). That’s not a good enough reason to get scared and quit, nor to predict certain doom and failure. Instead, my plan is to watch, celebrate, and reflect on each of my upcoming Month-iversaries with this is mind. And, as always, I’ll keep ya’ posted!

Guest Blogger: Vegan La Raza – New Vegans Are like Vampires

1 Jun

Being a vegan has its challenges for sure, here’s a post from Karla, author of blog Vegan La Raza. Here she is in her own words, “I am Mexicana/Salvadoreña and have been a vegan since October 2011. I started this blog because I want to look at my identities as a woman, a person of color-specifically a Latina, and a vegan. Because of these identities, I have experienced oppression in many ways, shapes, and forms during my lifetime. As someone who carries a history of injustice and violence, I choose not to perpetuate violence and exploitation towards other living beings, including human and nonhuman animals. Something has to change and it will begin with me.”

Well said Karla! Please enjoy!

The other day I was taking a shower and began to crave cheese. That’s the thing about being a new vegan, the cravings for certain foods are still there. While I am completely disgusted by the flesh of dead animals, I do crave some dairy products – mostly cheese.

I remember the first time going vegan crossed my mind. I was sitting on my couch reading an article about cows being raped in order to become pregnant and produce milk. I was horrified! I immediately glanced at my fridge and pictured the yellow block of cheddar cheese sitting inside. Calculating the number of things I would no longer be able to eat gave me a headache, so I put down the article and made myself a quesadilla.

I began to read as much as I could about animal rights. Slaughterhouse by Gail A. Eisnitz and The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist Vegetarian Critical Theory by Carol J. Adams were two book that helped me understand more about the subject and really pushed me to adopt a vegan lifestyle. Adams discusses the objectification of women and animals in a male-meat centered culture, while Eisnitz describes the experiences of animals and workers in slaughterhouses.

A few weeks after reading these books, I adopted a vegan lifestyle. It’s important to understand that animals do die as a result of dairy and egg production. Male calves are sent to be killed and sold as ‘veal’ and male chicks are ground up alive. Males are of little use in an industry that exploits females while they’re alive and benefit from their dead flesh once they’re too ‘used up’ to birth babies or lay eggs.

Still, I was in the shower a few weeks ago craving cheese. Sometimes, I imagine how it would feel to buy a bag of hot cheetos and munch away in my apartment. Only I would know, I’d satisfy a craving and go on living a ‘vegan’ lifestyle.

Then, a thought crossed my mind, ‘Wow…being a vegan is like a being a vampire with a soul’ – a vampire like Buffy’s Angel or Sookie’s Bill from True Blood. These vampires crave human blood, but they know it is wrong to bite and drain a human being just to satisfy their desires. These vampires resist their cravings and opt to have another blood source. In True Blood, they drink synthetic blood, packaged in bottles called Tru Blood.

This describes how I feel. I do crave certain dairy products, and sometimes the taste of a boiled egg. Then, I think about a calf being taken away from her/his mother and the mother crying, missing her baby. I think of baby chicks being ground up alive only to end up in cat and/or dog food, of chickens living in confined cages, debeaked and stacked on top of each other laying eggs until they’re sent off for slaughter.

Maybe the cravings will one day go away. Sometimes they’re stronger than others. I hope I am always strong enough to curve them and pick up a compassionate food choice.

Guest Blogger: Watch Me Lose 150 pounds…

6 Dec

Lucky for us we’re getting return bloggers. I’m so curious about Jason’s journey into veganism as he is already on his 51st day. There are so many health benefits to being vegan and I’m glad he is finding out as he goes along his path. Please welcome back Jason!

Though I’ve spent almost every winter in Sunny Florida, this is the first in many that hasn’t been ruined by snow.
For the last seven or eight years from October through February I have been plagued with winter dandruff. Not the “Oh no, I have a flake or two on my shoulder” kind of dandruff or even the “I’m a crazy girl in the Breakfast Club and I have so much dandruff I can create performance art with it” dandruff. Unfortunately, mine was much worse than that.

I have been dealing with a full blown blizzard of dead skin cells that causes drifts to pile up on my shoulders and on my laptop’s keyboard. If you already have my picture on your fireplace mantle or set as your screensaver, you can see that I am a dashingly handsome, bearded man who combines rugged good looks with blue eyes that are reminiscent of a wolf’s, wild and free. This is because I only allowed photos to be taken in the summer when my head didn’t look as much like a flour sifter in use. In the winter, my hair and beard would fill with all the dead skin flakes from the head they were covering, gathering up all the errant bits that tried to escape my red and raw forehead, eyebrows and cheekbones. When the season and weather were right I could shed enough skin to look like a snowy version of Charlie Brown’s friend Pig Pen.

As a morbidly obese individual you have to accept a lot of unpleasant things about yourself and the world you lumber around in. You don’t fit in the coolest roller coasters. Sears does not carry your size shirt, belt, or sport coat and frankly they’d probably rather you not touch the shoes just on principle. People you don’t know call you Big Man. Waiters look confused when you ask for a diet Coke. Rinsing off in the shower requires a removable shower-head or unrealistic levels of athleticism. Small children ask if you are Santa. When you walk into the Big & Tall Men’s Clothing store, people know you are not there because of your height. Food vendors eye’s light up when they see you approaching.

If you take all this into account, a mountain of dandruff can seem almost inconsequential- but that’s only because you don’t fully appreciate the red, raw, flaking head that I’d been walking around with. It got so bad I went to the doctor!

Note the exclamation mark attached to the previous sentence. Most people would have used a period because going to the doctor for a medical issue is nothing to exclaim or even get a little worked-up about. I, on the other hand, only go to the doctor when I think I might die and even then it has to be a potentially painful death. Kidney stones, infected bowels, knife cut to the bone: these are my type of doctor and emergency room visits. Not something that Head & Shoulders is supposed to cure.

The doctor did not say that I had scalp cancer which was a relief. Instead, she explained that I had a fungus that was ravaging my dermis. Apparently, we all have this fungus living on us but normal people have immune systems that take care of it. My immune system must have been busy with other tasks because it didn’t pay any attention to my scalp.

Dr. Nicelady gave me a prescription for a small bottle of shampoo that cost 20 bucks and several tubes of cream to rub into the skin not covered by head and facial hair. The medicine worked well but the cream smells like great-grandparents and the shampoo was way to expensive to keep up with. I would medicate my head when I could but I often just let the flakes fall and chalked up the additional grossness to the aging process and the fun of being me.

After losing fifty pounds with Atkins I was hopeful that the snow storm would abate, but when September and October rolled around nothing had changed at all. Then, during the first three weeks of being a vegan I was sure that a magical cure would save me but the dandruff kept falling. Sadness!

Now with seven weeks of veganism behind me, I realize that I have not been thinking about the skin disorder for a while… because I have not been suffering from it! The exciting news crept up on me this morning when I was looking at the dark colored shirts I seldom wear during Florida snow season. I parted my hair and peered at the skin beneath. There was no red, raw skin. There were no little cracks in the dry skin. My face didn’t look red and injured and my beard was plain and undecorated with fake snow. This is an exciting turn of events and a vegan side effect I’d given up hope on.

Weight loss is great. Cholesterol dropping like a rock is life changing. Blood pressure normalizing is stellar. However, I am shocked that there are so many additional beneficial side effects that this new vegan lifestyle is offering. Sure, I’ll miss being a living, walking snow globe but to make up for it I get to wear my slimming black turtleneck this Christmas without having to explain that I was just dusted in coconut.

Blog Review: Earth Remedy

22 Sep

Meet January and Tommy: an “average” American couple in their 30s eating an “average” American diet of over processed foods coupled by tonnes of soda. After seeing Fat Sick and Nearly Dead and Forks Over Knives they became inspired to become vegans and got hooked on juicing! Tommy lost 40lbs in one month. That’s incredible. They also started a blog called: Earth Remedy.

The results from the way they used to eat to now have been incredible and has greatly improved their health.

What does their blog focus on? Continue reading