The Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Being an Animal Rights Activist

Hello everyone,
I hope that you have all had an incredible summer.  I know that it’s been a bit…
I cannot believe that summer is almost over! Where does the time go?!  My summer consisted of working at the gym as fitness director, running my own business, taking a plant based nutrition course, activism, volunteering at a sanctuary, going to a wedding in San Francisco with the hubby, attending my 20 year high school reunion (whoah, I know!), and kissing Layla (our fur baby).  It was filled with ups and downs; the lowest of the downs took place a few weeks ago.  And that brings me to the subject of this blog:  “The Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Being An Animal Rights Activist”.
I know that seems like a rough transition, but hang in there.  It’ll make sense by point 3.
1) Being an Animal Rights Activist is one of the hardest jobs in the whole world!
Not only do you not get any financial support for your actions, but the job never stops. I am no where near as active as some other activists, but I co-hosted a Cube of Truth almost every weekend for a year. In addition, I try to cook vegan food for people to sample, offer online challenges and to post something valuable/informative on social media every day! This work may not sound difficult but you never hear the end of it when you are fighting for something that is against the social norm.  It is full of Internet trolls, family insults including “you are a f*ing moron”, and strangers posting pictures of tortured animals.  The hours also never stop.  Being an activist means knowing the truth about what happens to animals and never being able to get away from the images: on social media, going to the grocery store, at family dinners, smelling barbecues in the neighborhood, seeing commercials on the TV’s at the gym, listening to food commercials on the radio, in your dreams (or nightmares).  It is a constant battle of trying to be compassionate, yet knowing what a dark place this world can be.
2)  Self-Care is crucial and must be done to sustain this movement! (And this is where my breaking point comes in….)
As an activist, you feel like you can never stop.  At this very moment, thousands of animals are being slaughtered and I should probably get off my butt to advocate for them instead of writing this blog.  I don’t have time for a bath or a vacation because the animals need me (and if one more person tells me abut their vacation when I am trying to save the world!). I am tired but I need to go to a Cube.  I want to cry but I can’t stop.  I don’t have time to be sick…..and vegans don’t get sick!
These are all thoughts that go through our heads.  I have heard fellow activists who feel guilty for sleeping in a warm bed because the animals the animals don’t get the same luxury.
For me, it had been months of no sleep, anxiety, and months of activism when I simply broke: both physically and mentally.  I saw a video on Instagram of an activist who was entering a meat market.  At this market, the customer went inside, purchased a live animal and the animal was killed right there for them to take home.  There was a video of a baby cow, and this is where I lost it.  I cried so hard, one of those gut-wrenching cries where you have to hold back the vomit.  Since then, I have been broken.  I have not been able to think of activism, I cannot see a video on social media and I have had the most intense stomach pain for the last two weeks.  Not doing self-care or taking care of my mental well-being finally caught up with me.
As an activist, we have to remember that we have to put our oxygen masks on first.  We cannot take care of this planet and save animals if we don’t take care of ourselves.  It is not selfish.  It should be a requirement.  This is a lifelong movement and the animals need us for the long haul.
3)  It is okay…better yet, more than okay to be happy!  
I think sometimes as activists we think that we have to watch the slaughterhouse videos, we have to study the facts regarding how animals are killed and how we are destroying the planet.  And we become so angry at the world, at our family and at our friends.  We scream at them that “meat is murder” and we become people that aren’t fun to be around.  While I don’t think that we should ever sugar coat our feelings, I do think we may get more people on board if we are happy and compassionate human beings.  Someone is more likely to jump on board if they see us as an inspiration instead of someone who is sad all the time (“I don’t want to be vegan if it makes me angry like you!”).  In addition, what is that doing to our health if we are angry and sad all the time?!  The animals don’t want that.  They want people to be strong so that we can thrive in this fight.
Having said all of this, I am not quite sure when I will completely recover from my breakdown.  I am spending my free time doing Yoga, meditation, eating healthy foods, taking baths and staying off of social media (that’s a whole other subject).  I am not quite sure when I will be able to dive back into activism 100%.  I know that when I do, I will try to remember these points so that I can make it through this long haul.  Maybe some extra Layla kisses will help ❤
Thank you all for reading.  I will be back with something happier soon.  And to my fellow activists, please take care of yourselves!  ❤

The Surprising Foods that May Contain Animal Products

Sometimes the hardest part about switching to a vegan diet, is the surprising amount of foods that contain animal products (that you would never even think of!).  Most people know that giving up animal products means giving up meat, dairy, eggs, fish and honey.  But did you know that switching to a vegan diet may mean that you need to find a vegan wine or beer alternative?  Or that your gummy vitamins could be made from insects?!

Here are some ingredients that are made from animals and which foods you may possibly find them in:

*Bread products may contain L-cysteine, which often comes from feathers, to keep them soft.

*Gelatin is made from the connective tissue of pigs and cows.  It is used in Jello, Gummies, and many candies.

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*Refined sugar, which is found in a plethora of sweet foods, was possibly lightened with bone char, derived from the bones of cattle.

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*Isinglass, comes from fish bladders, and is often used in the making of beer and wine.

*Shellac, an insect-based product, is sometimes used to wax fresh produce or in candy.

*Deep fried foods and fresh pasta often contain eggs.

*Whey, casein, lactose are all derived from dairy and can be found in many packaged foods and protein drinks (dairy can also be found in vitamins and pain medications).

*Cochineal, or carmine, is red food coloring that is made from insects (although we are discussing food, this one is often found in cosmetics).

*Some food additives are also derived from animals.  These include; E120, E322, E422, E471, E542, E631, E901, E904.

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The easiest way to avoid the use of animals for your food is to stick to a whole food plant based diet.  However, if you want to purchase foods that have been processed, please look for “Vegan” on the label and make sure to ALWAYS read the ingredients.

And of course, I am always here to help you!  Contact me anytime ❤

 

*This information can be found in the book Vegan Recipes and Preparation by Saskia Fraser

 

 

How much fiber are you getting and why this is important…

For anyone who has made the transition to being vegan, you know that the question that you get asked most often is, “Where do you get your protein?”  I think instead, people should ask, “Where do you get your fiber?”

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Fiber is incredibly important to our overall health and longevity.  Not only does it help us feel full after a meal, but it also helps to eliminate unwanted toxins and excess hormones.  The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine states that, “without adequate fiber, hormones and other chemicals are continuously reabsorbed back into the bloodstream.”  In addition, did you know that fiber has the ability to control cholesterol levels and to clean out the intestines?!  Did you also know that ANIMAL PRODUCTS (meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy) CONTAIN NO FIBER???!!!!!!  It’s no wonder that colon cancer and skyrocketing cholesterol levels are so common.

So, where do you get fiber and how much should you be getting daily?

Fiber is found in plant foods including: beans/lentils, soy, vegetables, fruit, and grains.  The recommended amount is 40 grams per day!  Make sure to give your digestive system a few weeks to get used to the change.  Do not add it all in at once 🙂

I hope that helps, and remember next time someone asks you about your protein, make sure to ask them about their fiber :).

 

 

Lyme Disease Anniversary and My New, Favorite Book

Hello all,

I cannot believe how quickly this year has gone by and I realized just recently that we passed my Lyme Disease Anniversary!!!

October marked two years since I was first diagnosed with Lyme and so much has changed since then.  I created a quick video that will give you an update on my current Lyme Disease symptoms and discusses my treatment.  In addition, it discusses my new, favorite book: Medical Medium Thyroid Healing.   These two things may not seem related but it’ll make sense in this video.

Also, if you are currently suffering from Lyme, Hashimoto’s, Hypothyroidism, Fibromyalgia, Graves’, Epstein-Barr or other illnesses, this may be the video for you.  It is amazing how all of these conditions may be related and are easily treatable (according to Medical Medium).

Please, please, please share with family and friends who may be dealing with these conditions and thank you for taking time to watch my video :).

 

Why Do Vegans Always Talk About Being Vegan???

Hello everyone,

A few weeks ago I set up a little experiment on Facebook and asked my followers for the one question that they have for vegans.  Most of the questions were ones that I expected.  “Where do you get your protein?” “What supplements do you take?”  But one that I didn’t expect, and caught me a bit off guard, was …..“WHY DO VEGANS ALWAYS TALK ABOUT BEING VEGAN?”  

Here is a quick video with my answer.  I hope that you will take a few moments to watch it.

***Also, if you have a question for me, please make sure to leave it in the comments below.  I would love to hear from you. ❤

 

 

5 VEGAN FOODS for Transitioning to a Vegan Diet

Hello everyone and happy Food Friday!

Have you ever considered switching to a plant based diet but maybe think that it’s too complicated?  Or maybe you are afraid that you’ll have to give up all of the foods that you enjoy?!

Well I have great news for you!  You can keep eating everything that you are eating right now: pizza, burgers, ice cream!  There are vegan versions of them all!

Here are the top 5 Vegan Foods that I recommend to clients who are transitioning to a vegan diet.  Although I don’t necessarily think that they are the healthiest foods in the world, or the least inexpensive, they are great for helping you kick off the journey.  And anything is more healthy and compassionate than our normal cheese, meat and eggs!

Please check out my quick video to see these items up close and personal.  I have also listed them below.  Maybe they will find a way into your grocery cart this weekend ❤

  1.  Coconut Bliss Ice Cream
  2. Earth Balance Buttery Spread
  3. Califia Almond Milk
  4. Vega Protein
  5. Beyond Burgers