It was August 17, 2019, and we were in the middle of our quick getaway in Washington DC. We were walking to a late lunch and I had sweat in unromantic places you should never get sweat. Up ahead I could see police cars and crowds and my heart picked up a bit – after visiting the white house and all the drama around it earlier that day, I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into.
As we got a little closer, I could hear crowds chanting and finally was able to make out their request – end animal oppression – friends not food – quit killing animals.
I captured it on video to add to my Instagram story and giggled about how these people were in this incredible heat, hollering about food… I literally said out loud to my husband “why don’t they just make a t-shirt or something…geez”
But by the time we got to the restaurant, I couldn’t ignore the voice in my soul telling me that their message was sticking to me.
A few minutes later, I found myself ordering the veggie tacos. They still had cheese, I was still uneducated about animals in my food, but there it was… the switch was flipped. I reassured my husband “I guess they temporarily got to me” and laughed.
In full retrospect, I never enjoyed eating animals, even the things that were regular menu items for me (like a hamburger) always got to me a little bit, in the back of my mind, I always knew I was chewing on a creature. I’ve also never been able to eat meat off of a bone. From a young age, I think veganism was speaking to me.
I’ve always loved animals, to go along with that, in my late 20s, I began to understand my highly sensitive / empath personality. I think a lot of vegans are natural empaths too. I began my vegan journey for the animals. I force myself to watch some of the animal slaughter videos that other vegans post on their social media. It kills my heart, but it’s important to remember why I started this journey.
On a business trip home from Denver in late 2019, I watched Cowspiracy on Netflix and remember the guy on the plane next to me being pretty annoyed that I’d do such a thing. I had headphones in, but his body language was obvious. When I got home late that night, I made my husband watch it with me again. Not only were these cute, sweet animals being murdered senselessly for the food that we didn’t even need to sustain our own lives, it was also killing our planet, a planet I have loved and been conscious of since I learned to line dance in elementary gym class to Pass It On Down by the band Alabama. Now I was vegan for the animals AND the planet
I have worked in the wellness industry since 2012, and all of the leading experts suggest animal products as a way of health and wellness. I can disagree and still do my job, but I had to dig deeper. So I researched programs and settled in during quarantine to finish my Holistic Nutrition Certification. My training is around whole foods, plant-based diet. No animals are necessary. I’ve been helping people with their health and wellness goals for nearly a decade, but now I really believe in what I am doing and I understand the truth about what animal products do to our bodies. At this point, it was no longer just about the animals and the planet, now it was about health, too.
Now, I realize with my small blog and my little Instagram I’m not changing the world in mass. In fact, recently my dad told me “all your Instagram posts aren’t going to turn me vegan ya know?” and my daughter quickly agreed. And that’s okay. Maybe it won’t help them to understand but all it took for me was accidentally walking by an animal rights march to change my heart, so I’m going to continue to plant these seeds and hope it helps someone to flip their own compassion switch like it did mine.