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!  ❤

FREE CHALLENGE GROUPS start tomorrow! (For vegans and non-vegans)

Hello everyone,

Happy Sunday! I hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

Starting tomorrow, I am offering two FREE challenge groups every Monday!  They will both run for 7 days at a time and participants will have the opportunity to win some amazing prizes!

The first is a Go Vegan Challenge.  This challenge will be great for anyone who wants to go “cold-kale” for 7 days, for someone who wants to try new recipes, or for anyone who wants to eat more plants.  It’ll include a grocery list, recipes, easy vegan swaps, cooking demonstrations and support.

The second is for anyone who wants to Get Active For the Animals.  It will encourage participants to do something for the animals every day, for 7 days.  It’ll include a list of ways that you can advocate for the animals with large-scale organizations, at the grocery store, on social media or in restaurants.

Did I mention that both challenges are FREE????!  They will start on June 3rd and will run every week from now on.  You are welcome to participate week after week.

To sign up, simply click on the link below:

SIGN UP HERE!!!

Have a great day!  I cannot wait to work with you! ❤

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 ❤

How Going Vegan Has Improved My Health

Hello everyone,
Happy Wellness Wednesday!
I just realized today that it has been almost two years since I went vegan. Honestly, it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. Here are some of the health transformations that I have had since making the switch:
 
I healed from Lyme disease.
 
I no longer need to take thyroid medication (which I had been on for almost 17 years!).
 
My skin has improved greatly.
 
My bloating has decreased and my digestion has improved.
 
My asthma is gone.
 
I have a ton of energy!
 
My joints no longer hurt.
 
My periods are no longer debilitating.
 
I look forward to cooking (before I went vegan I couldn’t even boil water!) and love that I have found passion in my life!
 
There is absolutely no turning back!!! I cannot wait to see what my vegan future holds…
Have you had any health transformations since going vegan?  
I would love to hear them!
Or are you ready to make the vegan transition for your health?  I am here to help you anytime you are ready!

Why I Went Vegan and My Tribute to Jake

Hello everyone,

I hope that you are having a wonderful week so far!

I have been in kind of a funk lately, and I realized it was because I was coming up on an anniversary of one of the worst days of my life.  Two years ago yesterday, I lost my best friend and fur baby, Jake.  Jake was the most incredible dog I have ever known and was part of our family for 11 years.  Not only was he part of our family, but was basically a child to us (since we don’t have human babies).  He was there when I woke up, went on every trip with us, spent the entire day by my side and snuggled against my stomach all night long.  Jake was never grumpy and was always filled with unconditional love, compassion and the energy of a puppy (until his last week on this planet).

Jake became ill in September 2016.  We had noticed a small lump on his paw, which we were praying was just an infection.  Unfortunately, after many round of antibiotics, it didn’t go away and testing came back positive for cancer.  We ended up amputating his toe to try to stop the spread and were initially successful.  All of the margins were clean, and his blood work and X-rays were impeccable.  We had many long months of bandage changes and keeping him calm, but were optimistic about the future.

Right after Thanksgiving, Jake developed a cough that wouldn’t go away.  We finally took him into the vet one late Monday night and were praying that maybe it was a cold or even whooping cough.  When the vet came back in with the X-ray results, she just said, “You guys, I am so sorry.” Jake’s lungs were completely filled with cancer and there was truly nothing we could do.  She said it could be weeks, months or even years but she really didn’t know how long he would make it.  Jake was gone by the following Sunday.

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What I didn’t realize at the time, was that losing Jake would transform the rest of my life. Not only because this was my first real experience with death, but also because he helped me discover my true passion: saving animals and helping people.  You see, when I watched Jake suffer and take his last breath, I realized that I never, ever wanted to contribute to another animal’s suffering for as long as I live.  I also realized at that moment that ALL animals want to be loved, feel fear and want life.  There is no difference between a dog, chicken, cow, pig, sheep, fish, cat, horse, donkey, etc.  So why would I fight so badly for one while paying someone to torture and kill another?!  At that moment I became VEGAN and later discovered animal activism.

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I will miss Jake every day for the rest of my life, but I am so grateful for the lessons that he taught me.  It’s amazing how one, little, 30 pound dog can change your life forever <3. Thank you buddy!

 

Other Names for “Dairy”

Did you know that there are other sources of dairy than just cheese and milk?!

I think that one of the hardest parts about transitioning to a vegan diet is that dairy is found in so many foods.  In addition, dairy isn’t always labeled as that.  It can be referred to by many other names.

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Let’s start with the basics.  Dairy from cows or goats (yes, goats!) is used to make cheese, ice cream, whey, yogurt, Greek yogurt, milk, ghee, cream cheese, cottage cheese, butter, milk chocolate, kefir, and creamer.  It can also be found in processed foods such as crackers, candies, vitamins and medication.

One of the best ways to check to see if a food is dairy free is to read the ingredient list.  Stay away from the list above as well as the following: casein, lactose, galactose, rennet, quark, lactate, cream, nisin preparation, recaldent, natural flavors.

The best way to avoid dairy all together is to stick to a whole food plant based diet and to avoid packaged foods.  You can also look for the “Vegan” label when buying packaged items.

I hope that helps a little bit. If you need even more help transitioning to a dairy free life, please read the following blog posts: How to Make “Cheese” without the Dairy and It’s easy to give up dairy with these awesome alternatives!  Also, feel free to contact me anytime!