Spinach and strawberry salad with sweet onion dressing(not shown)
It's May and that means many things for this family. For one, the weather will be nice from here on out until about Halloween (if we're lucky). Two, there is a wedding just around the corner, and in a few weeks we will be getting ready to pack for another trip to Florida! But this May is special because it makes one year of living a vegan life for us (Damien doesn't spend 100% of his time with me, and he doesn't have the option of a meatless life where he goes, and as hard as it is, it is out of my control). By no means have we been perfect vegans, but we are pretty damn good. This was a huge decision that I never thought I would make, or would have seen myself or family doing. To be honest, before becoming enlightened, I never gave a second thought to where any of my food came from. I didn't have a care in the world as to what I was eating or feeding the family. It even got dangerous at one point when Amar'e was 5 months old, she got salmonella poisoning. Ok, I've been in some scary situations before, but having my 5 month old suffer through this awful sickness was the worst thing I've been through. We were shocked that she had salmonella because she was exclusively breastfed and had not started solids yet. After deep thought, we have a couple of suspicions of how she may have got this. One, we ate ground chicken every single night and sometimes the dogs would get a hold of the packaging and take it away and eat what was left. (yuck!!) It is possible some got on to the floor where Amar'e could have come in contact with it. Second, we found out much later that there was a salomnella tainted dog food that had made people sick when coming into contact with it. It's possible the dog could have licked her hands, face, arms, and she may of contracted it that way. Either way, this was a huge eye opener for us that some foods can be dangerous, even though nothing changed for about 7 months after that. Once the inspiration came to make a huge lifestyle change, it all happened pretty quickly. We didn't throw away any food in order not to be wasteful. We ate what was left in the cupboards and fridge and then proceeded to change our grocery list for the next shopping trip. We haven't looked back since. The hardest part was giving up cheese. I will admit I've had cheese on a few occasions in the past year, and have been craving it during this pregnancy, but I'm doing my best to avoid breaking down. It is working so far.
I've also switched all of my beauty products over to products that contain no animal ingredients and that don't test on animals. Animal testing is horrendous! Don't take my word for it, watch the videos yourself. I refuse to have some innocent animal be tortured because I need to wash my hair or skin. There are other ways to test products and I'm more than willing to seek out products that don't test on animals. I've been extremely successful so far. I also feel much better getting ready in the morning knowing that me doing so didn't hurt anything. I am now in the process of finding products for Damien and Andrew to use that are cruelty free. I plan on sharing what products I use in another post soon.
Going vegan has changed my life in many ways. I am now conscious about every move we make from the food we eat, to the second hand clothes we get, to the amount of waste we create. It is more like a vegan and conscious life for us. I've seen horrible things in the course of studying where food comes from and how it's made, and the effects it has on our planet. The same goes for beauty products. In some case these things have caused me to have a total breakdown. I've been extremely sensitive to animal abuse since I was a young child, but like most people I had no idea what the animals went through to be my food, or produce the milk I drank until I looked for the information myself. Seeing what I've seen is enough for me to never go back down that path. If I can do it, anyone can.
I've taken my vegan conscious life one step further into animal activism. For me, becoming an animal activist made sense. I'm not the type of activist that is going to lecture you if you aren't vegan. I'm more like the email writing, educating, "let me inform you" type. After all, it was the information and stuff I discovered that changed me. And like I said, if I can change ANYONE can!
I will leave you with one last thought. This quote says it all:
"I don't want you to think like me, I just want you to think"-Anonymous
P.S.-I would like to take this opportunity to thank a dear friend of mine who has helped me find the information I needed to make the decisions that I've made for myself and my family....so a big THANK YOU Sarah.....and Happy Birthday!!! :)