My Plant-Based Journey
While a plant-based diet is about food, a plant-based, eco-friendly lifestyle is about so much more – it’s about healthy, compassionate and sustainable living. I'm constantly learning and growing in this lifestyle, and it's a joyful journey!
I became vegetarian "for the animals" in 1999. It always bothered me to see trucks full of animals on their way to slaughter, and I finally decided to stop contributing to that by no longer eating them. However, I never bothered to educate myself on the plight of animals ... I just patted myself on the back for doing my part by not eating them. I also continued to eat dairy and eggs daily, and always said I could NEVER give them up -
especially cheese! Besides, I bought "humane" eggs, and figured animals weren't dying as a result, although I never bothered to look into it at the time. Turns out I was very wrong.
In 2019 I became Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB) to eat healthier. While on vacation that year, I read the book The Whole Foods Diet by John Mackey and Dr. Alona Pulde and Dr. Matthew Lederman. I was shocked to learn how bad meat, dairy and eggs are for our health - they're literally killing us - so we made the switch the very next week! Our family ditched dairy and eggs and went fully plant-based July 7th, 2019.
I continued to research and learn. Learning what I now know about the impact of animal agriculture on the environment and the horrors of our treatment of non-human animals, strengthened my resolve - we were not only going be a healthier family, we were doing the absolute best thing we could do for the environment, and living compassionately and not harming other sentient beings. I am now an ethical vegan. It's been totally easy. We all feel so good about our decision, and only wish our eyes had been opened sooner. I don't even desire those foods any more ... in fact, the thought of them repulses me, and breaks my heart.
The biggest challenge for me was learning what to cook. Meal Planners were a huge help! I've used various meal planners, including the one in the Whole Foods Diet book, and several online meal plans: Forks Over Knives, Plant-Strong Engine2, Rich Roll's Meal Plan and Clean Food Dirty Girl. I've amassed countless recipes and we are enjoying eating a much larger variety of foods now, and more delicious foods, than we ever did.
When we went plant-based, I immersed myself in learning ...
reading books, researching online, listening to hundreds of podcasts, and watching documentaries.
I even went on a vegan cruise/conference filled with plant-based health and nutrition doctors/speakers, fitness classes and cooking classes. On this cruise I was honored to meet T. Colin Campbell, author of the The China Study, and one of the pioneers of modern nutritional studies and the plant-based movement.
Photo of me with T. Colin Campbell, author of the China Study, and LeeAnn Powers, owner of vegan restaurant Completely Rooted.
As I researched plant-based health and nutrition,
I learned how important a plant-based diet is to is not only to our health and animal welfare, but to the planet as well.
The more I learned, the more my eyes were opened to other aspects of healthy, compassionate and sustainable living - I became aware of fast-fashion and plastics pollution, for example. Our children are journeying with us as well, and our 13-year old daughter has presented school projects on plant-based eating and the environment, animal agriculture, fast fashion and plastics pollution.
This is a lifestyle, and my family and I continue to learn and grow.
We strive to do what we can to improve our health and the health of the planet, and to liberate animals.
I'm a vegan activist now, and we have solar panels on our home, a year-round vegetable garden, and focus our spending on vegan, cruelty-free and sustainable companies. It's a journey, and we are enjoying every step!