I’ve always had a heart for animals. I became a vegetarian at age 10, after witnessing a pig being killed. Talk about traumatic! It was eye-opening and I quit eating meat right away. I’m grateful for my family’s support. A lot of kids can’t choose what to eat. But my parents provided vegetarian options for me—and have since also gone vegan!
I didn’t know about the horrors of the egg and dairy industries until I was in my late 20s and a friend gave me a copy of John Robbins “Diet for a New America.” Wow! I cut out all animal products—including leather and wool—and officially went vegan. That was in 2000 and I’ve never looked back.
As a vegetarian, I thought I was doing all I could do. But as a vegan, I know there are always more ways to help. I learn about the many industries that exploit animals, and I work to tell others. That’s why I started writing about animal issues, cruelty-free clothing, and vegan food on my blog, www.sunshineandslaughter.com. I actually have a second blog, www.jeanofalltrades.com, which is a fashion blog. It’s not animal-focused, but shows how to be stylish without using animals.
I try to get involved locally too. I volunteer for NARN (the Northwest Animal Rights Network). I love working at their table at street fairs. When people come to the booth and ask questions about health and meat alternatives, I’m happy to help! It’s hard for me to “cold call” someone who’s not interested, but when someone’s heart is open, I’ll do my best to be supportive and help others transition to veganism.
It’s funny—as a kid, I thought going vegetarian would shorten my life (but that it would be worth the sacrifice). But then I found out that I’m doing myself a huge favor by eating whole, plant-based foods. My initial reason for being vegan was exclusively about the animals but I’ve learned so much about nutrition. I eat much more varied and delicious food than before I was vegan. There are so many great foods to try and I feel so much healthier.
When I first started out on this journey, people I talked to didn’t know what a vegan was. Veganism today is so mainstream. It’s easy to get a soy latté, a veggie burger, or a faux leather purse. It’s encouraging to see others discover a cruelty-free way to live. Being vegan brings me great joy, and I love that others are discovering it too.