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!  ❤

My 10 Favorite Vegan Foods and Events Coming Soon

Hello everyone,

I hope you are doing well.  I am so sorry that it has been so long.  Somehow the month of April got away from me, but I am back!!!

Two quick things:

First, I am kicking off some FREE challenge groups, starting in June 2019.  One challenge group will be for anyone who is interested in going vegan.  The second group will be for people who are already vegan but may want to become activists.  Both challenge groups will be run on Instagram so please make sure to follow me there (@happyhealinvegan).  You won’t want to miss out; both groups will include some amazing prizes!!!!

Second, I have just published a new video:  My 10 Favorite Vegan Foods for Transitioning to a Vegan Diet.  This video includes some amazing products and is great for vegans and non vegans alike.

I hope that you continue to have a great week and I promise to be back with more content soon ❤

Experiencing Vystopia in the Real World

Hello everyone, I hope that you all had a wonderful weekend and are ready for a fabulous week!

I had an incredible weekend at Farm Animal Refuge in San Diego.  It was their bi-annual open house and I spent all day Saturday with farm animals, my vegan family, and ate delicious food.  It was pure Heaven!  I came home after a 9am-5pm day and felt like I was on a vegan high.  I was encouraged after being surrounded by people who completely got me and who felt the same way that I do.  Every person I talked to was a true, animal lover who is dedicating their lives to advocate for ALL animals, and I truly felt like the world was changing.  I completely felt at peace (and btw, had the best night of sleep that I have experienced in months)!!!

Today has been completely different: it’s as if I have woken up from a great dream into a nightmare that won’t end and is surrounding me.  I am suffering from what Clare Mann refers to as “Vystopia.”  By definition Vystopia is the “existential crisis experienced by vegans, arising out of an awareness of the trance-like collusion with a dystopian world. It is an awareness of the greed, ubiquitous animal exploitation, and speciesism in a modern dystopia”.

Let me take you through my morning.  It started by driving to work, passing the beautiful cows down the street who are being raised to be slaughtered for beef.  Along the way, I pass a dairy truck, filled with milk from cows who have impregnated and have had their babies stolen (and killed!) from them. I pass a Jack in the Box, McDonalds, and Burger King, filled with lines of people who are waiting to eat animals.  Not to mention the constant ads on the radio filled with propaganda from the animal agriculture industries!  Within the 20 minutes that I am in the car, I have become very aware that I am the minority.  One of the few who thinks that animals should live and deserve better!

I always try to remain positive and to stay optimistic.  But today I am feeling sadness, grief and hopelessness.  I am feeling guilty for judging the non vegans that surround me and for worrying about their health and for also selfishly worrying about our planet.  I am tired of worrying about offending people when there are BILLIONS of animals being killed EVERY year for their taste buds!  (And why is it that we have to celebrate birthdays and holidays with a corpse on our plates?! More to come on that one later…..).

In ways I get it.  We have been conditioned to believe that we need to eat animals and I used to do it too.  We all run around with our busy lives and do what we have been told to do, not considering the actions that we are taking.  What I don’t get is how when you know the truth, when you have seen the footage, how you can ever put that piece of animal in your mouth again.

Sorry for the rant but I think it’s important that you know that every day as a vegan activist is not sunshine.  There are days where you feel like the world is out to get you (think about a belief that you have that you are the most passionate about.  Now imagine a whole world telling you that belief is wrong!).

And I know that tomorrow will be better and that I will get out of bed ready to fight for what it right.  But today, I want to step back into my dream of the weekend with peace, amazing friends and animals who have been saved from this terrible nightmare.

Please let me know if you can relate to this post.  I would love to hear from you!

Sometimes it would be easier to not care…

Hello everyone,

This is a blog that I wrote just last year and I wanted to share it again today.  Facebook reminded me that it has been one year since we went to visit these babies and I want to honor them with this story.  We started off with twelve babies and today 5 of them are still alive and thriving!!!  Please take a moment to read this blog.  I still feel just as strongly about this today!

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“Those who have the privilege to know, have the duty to act.” -James Aspey.

Most of the time, in this blog, I try to share information with you: whether it’s vegan nutrition, facts or a kick butt workout that I have created.  Well today is not that day!  Today, I need to share a story with you in order to get it off my chest…that’s what a blog is for, right?!  I truly hope that you will read it anyway; you never know, you may still learn from it or may find it inspiring 🙂

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Since becoming vegan, I have definitely had my share of bad days and this past Sunday was no exception.  Over the past two weeks, my husband and I had been volunteering at an animal sanctuary where 12 baby cows had been rescued the day before they were scheduled for slaughter.  Just like other days, we showed up ready to feed the 9 remaining babies and to give them some love (during the last few months, I have absolutely fallen in LOVE with cows, realizing how incredibly smart and docile they are.  They honestly remind me of a big version of my sweet dog).

When we arrived at the sanctuary, we could tell immediately that the energy was completely different.  Not only were we one of the only people there, but the people surrounding us were completely silent.  We walked in, said hi to the babies and checked to see if they had been fed.  In the meantime, we noticed a baby on the ground who was being loved and kindly spoken to by the sanctuary owner (a 16 year old teen girl, by the way!).  She told us, “this one isn’t doing so well.”  We went on with our sanctuary chores, which included picking up the stall and being sucked on by the other babies, but knew that this poor baby had reached the end.  Surely enough, this baby passed away within minutes of our arrival.

Although we were in complete shock, we stayed, comforted the young teen, helped around the sanctuary (all while walking around the dead calf), and left after an hour.  I cried the whole way home.

IMG_7671*This is not the deceased baby.  Just one that is sleeping……

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ANOTHER REASON TO STAY AWAY FROM DAIRY:  I knew how incredibly scary the dairy industry was but we learned another horrifying fact before we left.  This sanctuary, which had now lost 4 babies of the original 12, had rescued the calves from a dairy farmer.  He was a completely evil man, who wouldn’t let the rescuers take all of the calves, and even kicked the babies in front of them so that they would “die quicker”.  As if this wasn’t bad enough!  I learned that sometimes in the diary industry, if the farmer knows that the mama cow is having boys, they will abort the babies to get them out sooner.  The sooner the babies are out, the sooner they can use the milk and make a profit!!!  These 12 babies were not only young but they were abortions who didn’t stand a chance.  They were incredibly malnourished and didn’t receive ANY love, or even colostrum, from their mom.  REMEMBER THAT MALE CALVES ARE THROWN AWAY, SLAUGHTERED AND ARE USED FOR VEAL.  NO MILK = NO LIFE

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Two days later, and I am still having an extremely difficult time dealing with not only the loss of this baby, but also the enormity of this horrendous industry.  When we came home on Sunday, I was absolutely in shock!  I wanted to cry, scream, run away and completely check out.  I thought to myself that maybe I am not strong enough to deal with this suffering; maybe this is a hopeless cause that I should run away from right now!  Wouldn’t it be easier to just not care and to go on with everyday life?!  Maybe then I can stop being sad.  I can stop being pissed off that we as a society are contributing to this EVERY SINGLE SECOND of every single day!  And just maybe I can stop being pissed off at those around me who are selfishly taking lives so that they can enjoy a minute of satisfaction on their tongues!

MESSAGE TO VEGANS AND NON VEGANS:  And then I realized something.  I realized that it simply not the faults of my family, friends and strangers.  We have been convinced by media and the power of this industry for so long. “Milk does a body good.”  “Milk builds strong bones.”  “We need milk for calcium.”  “At least milk isn’t killing anyone, right?” “Dairy cows need to be milked.”  IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT!

And if we, as vegans, don’t speak up and fight…who will?  This horror will just continue and these animals will continue to be tortured, murdered and have their babies taken away from them.  So as much as I would love to crawl into my bed and grieve, I cannot.  I have to spread awareness and I owe it to these babies who didn’t make it.  There is no more time to be silent.  Once you know the truth, you are obligated to spread the message!

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So as I leave you, to wipe the tears off my face, please, please, please consider how you can make a change.  Are you a vegan who is afraid to speak your mind?  Or are you a non vegan who is ready to make a change?  Either way, please get out there, educate yourself and fight for these innocent creatures who just wanted to be loved!!!

Thank you ❤

 

For more information on the dairy industry, please visit my “Resource” page and check out the following links:

Cowspiracy http://www.cowspiracy.com

Dairy Is Scary https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcN7SGGoCNI

Dairy is Scary (No Graphic Images)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DcxKBSEzeQ&t=3s

 

From Lyme Disease to Animal Activist

On October 29, 2015, I got one of the worst calls that I have ever received.  It was from my doctor and he said that my “Lyme disease diagnosis was positive”.  He went on to explain that although I had “acute Lyme”, I would most likely have ongoing symptoms for the rest of my life.

At this period of my life, I was in horrible pain. I had extreme fatigue, severe muscle cramping (imagine teaching fitness classes when you can barely feel your legs!), tingling in my extremities, brain fog, depression and crippling digestive issues.  I would lay in bed every night and cry.  I had no idea why this was happening to me and couldn’t imagine spending the rest of my life in this immense pain.  I was incredibly scared, frustrated and felt completely alone.

Luckily, in this day of age there is the Internet.  I was able to find a Lyme community and friends who helped me through the misery and also found solace in those who had recovered.  There was hope!  Fortunately, three years later I am mostly symptom free and am extremely grateful for my recovery.

IMG_1060 April in a Swing

So, how did someone with a debilitating illness go from being stuck in bed to becoming an animal activist???

The answer is so simple:  when you have experienced suffering, pain, fear and loneliness, you do not wish that on any other sentient being!  You can watch a graphic video of an animal at a slaughterhouse and completely empathize with them and the feeling of not wanting to lose your life.  I can feel it in my bones and can feel the fire in my heart, trying to come up with strategies to make it stop!  You see, animals know exactly what is going to happen to them.  Most are sick, starving and have been tortured up until their death.  They are scared and cannot make it stop…and they cannot turn to the Internet like I did to get support.

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Today, I am a Lyme warrior and an animal rights activist.  I spend my weekends volunteering for our local chapter of Anonymous for the Voiceless (that I am a proud organizer of).  I spend time at local sanctuaries and try to educate the public daily about the horrors of the animal agriculture industry.

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And today, I am grateful for my Lyme disease diagnosis.  Who knows?  If I hadn’t suffered the way I did, would I still have the desire to fight for the animals?  I will never know but I truly think that everything happens for a reason.  Maybe my reason for Lyme was to find my true passion in life as an animal activist.

 

For more information about my Lyme disease journey, please click here.

My Favorite Vegan Resources

Hello everyone,

Do you ever feel lost in the sea of knowledge on the Internet?  Do you wonder where to start on your vegan transition?  I have compiled a list of my favorite vegan resources and have put together a short video that explains them all.

Note: these resources are great for anyone who simply loves food, nutrition facts or just loves to learn.

I hope that you will take a few minutes to watch my video and to share the resources with family and friends.  Thank you for your support ❤