My story is one of evolution if I've ever heard one I'll tell you. I always say, the best way to become passionate about this journey is to educate yourself otherwise you won't have the motivation to stick with it and that's how my story progressed, through educating myself. When it all began, I just abruptly stopped eating meat without really knowing what I was doing but I was determined to stop even if I didn't fully understand why I was doing it.
Almost 17 years ago, I was sitting in my grade 10 marketing class when a video from inside a slaughterhouse came on the television during another student's presentation. I was busy chatting with my friends at our table but I caught enough of a glimpse that I was pretty horrified. I remember seeing animals hoisted upside down on some kind of conveyor dripping in blood, some of which were still squirming and I remember thinking to myself that I couldn't believe what I was seeing. We all know where meat comes from but if we choose to be ignorant, we really can be unaware of the process of this meat from start to finish. After that day, I went home and told my parents I was going to be a vegetarian. I didn't know how this was all going to pan out but I knew I was going to try.
At this time, I was managing a Kentucky Fried Chicken which was an interesting job for someone who was trying to quit meat. The first couple years were difficult for me because I wasn't really sure what I was doing. I ate a lot of boxed foods, did minimal ingredient reading, and struggled at work not to eat anything that I was so used to eating everyday. It was a big challenge for me but you know what, I felt more proud of myself everyday for trying.
I'd say by the time I was 12 years in, I really felt a passion for animal rights. I donated all of my boots that I loved so dearly but knew they were made with the tortured remains of animals. I had completely cut out all meat, fish, and eggs, and had started cooking better for me food that not only made me feel good about being a vegetarian, but also made me feel good period. Gone were the days of packaged crap that I was consuming because I didn't know any better. I won't lie though, there were days where I would grab those three cheese pizza pops and enjoy every moment of them but for the most part, things were where I wanted them to be.
4 years ago I started this blog with the intentions of learning new cooking techniques, trying new foods, and sharing my knowledge of the vegetarian lifestyle. I wasn't a master of anything by any stretch but I knew that there would be someone out there who needed resources or who could relate with my stories. As time progressed, I started becoming heavily involved in animal rights reporting and action. I was taking stories from all over the internet and commentating on them which essentially furthered my ambitions in helping animals. The more I knew, the more angry I was getting about what was happening to animals all over the world. I've since taken action and contacted world leaders, hunting associations, fur farms, and more, demanding action regarding the way that animals are treated. It has honestly become my biggest passion in life.
Here we are today. I've really improved my cooking having written in upwards of 400 recipes that I've tested and shared. I've grown my blog from 10 views a day to over 500+ a day, and have really dedicated myself to animal welfare. Where do I see this going in the future? Well, I know I want to continue writing and testing recipes but I've been taking a break because of my travelling and living abroad experience. I know I want to continue to focus on animal welfare which is what drew me to volunteering with the DSPCA (Dublin Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), and I have my cookbook written and will be submitting it to a formatter in January to have it available on amazon by the end of January which I'm excited about.
I can't say what the future holds but I see big things. I know I'm going to ease myself into a complete vegan lifestyle when I come back home from this working abroad experience. The dairy and egg industries are plain awful and I know this but I feel good about the work I am currently doing. One of the things I always say on this blog is to celebrate every success. I feel so good about the past 17 years (hiccups included) and essentially the past 4 where I've made this lifestyle my passion. I just know I will continue to feel good about what I'm doing and hopefully inspire others to feel good about themselves and every success they have in their vegetarian / vegan journey!
Hey y'all <3
It's been 4 years since I started this blog and what I've learned is that there's always room to grow especially with an audience like you guys. I've watched my numbers go from 10 views / day to in upwards of 3, 000 on a good day so I'm left to assume that you all love me and care about what I'm saying!
I will be starting up a newsletter beginning in January where I'll detail some of the month's posts, let you know what you've missed, and share some stories about my experiences in everyday life. It will return to being more food focused when I return home from Ireland but as I move to do some work with the DSPCA, I feel like I'll have some good stuff to share with y'all!
If you're interested which I hope y'all are, simply sign up on the left hand side of the main page. It makes you click on something regarding advertising and marketing but don't worry, I'm not interested in selling you anything :D
I look forward to visiting you all each month <3
THANK YOU GUYS <3
Omgosh guys and gals, it's been 4 years since I started this blog :o I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for joining me on this journey.
When I first started this blog, I didn't really know exactly what I wanted out of it. Initially, it was a means of distraction for me when my mother had fallen ill and also a way to force myself to learn how to cook better by testing recipes and learning about new cuisines. As time rolled on, it became something so much more than that, a lifestyle.
It started to grow organically into delving in to animal news and giving my opinions on big stories from across the globe. It grew in to writing my own recipes and learning more about food photography and the importance of a good shot to really let the food shine. It grew into travel as I'm currently sitting in a hostel in Dublin remembering the very first recipe I put out.
What it has always been though is celebrating vegetarianism. As it continues to grow, I have big plans for the blog. My Ecookbook is finished and I'm just waiting to get the help of a formatter to put it on amazon. I'm looking in to other new and exciting things like a newsletter and hopefully getting back in the kitchen to start putting together some new and delicious recipes for you guys.
Thank you all so much for continuing to support me and my message. I hope that even once throughout this journey a recipe has inspired you, a story about animal rights has ignited a passion in you, or my product reviews have helped you when searching for something to enjoy for dinner. I hope that we continue to inspire each other for many years to come!
1. You're Helping Animals
I realize this is probably the most obvious of the reasons I could come up with but hey, it's the most important. Leaving animals off of your plate means in upwards of 100 animals were spared a torturous slaughter at the expense of your dinner. Animals who live on factory farms suffer from the minute they're born until the very second they are killed for meat. I always hear things like, "Animals were put here for us to eat" or "They're just cows / chickens etc" but the fact is, none of this is true. Saying animals were put on this earth for us to eat is some kind of sick and twisted justification for something we have no other way to defend. Who put them here for us to eat? Also, imagine a chicken living on a farm when a fox sneaks in and has the intention of killing / eating that chicken, the chicken will likely try to escape fearing for its life. These animals feel fear just like we do and rest assured, their short lives spent in captivity are no different. They fear everything leading up to the moment they are manhandled and slaughtered. It's not o.k and there's really no justification or defense that holds any weight to the actuality of the situation.
Also, it is not natural to us. Although we have been bred to believe meat is crucial for us to get enough protein, nutrients, and nourishment, the fact is, true carnivores can eat their meat raw. Tigers, lions, coyotes etc., these animals will hunt and kill a living animal and eat it straight from that point whereas we have to manipulate this meat to make it safe for us to eat. Someone may argue they eat raw meat frequently but that's just not true, the fact is, we are not natural carnivores. Can you imagine taking a bite out of a rabbit while it's still struggling to get away from you? Horrifying isn't it? It has been ingrained in us that eating meat is what we as humans do but this couldn't be further from the truth.
3. You'll get Lots of Protein without all of the Fat, Cholesterol, and possible Carcinogens
We've all heard the argument before, "How do you get protein without meat?" or "You're probably not getting enough protein" but the truth is, that's just not true. Beans, legumes, and nuts all contain large amounts of protein as well as veggies like broccoli and peas. The best part of these delicious alternatives, you're skipping out on the extreme amounts of cholesterol and fat that meat often provides. Not to mention, various meats have been studied and linked to various forms of cancer, specifically processed meats. Lunch meats, hot dogs, bacon, sausages etc., these foods are all linked to cancer because of the chemicals involved in processing them.
5. You're Helping The Planet
Deny climate change or not, it's a proven fact that factory farms are pumping out more than their fair share of environmentally damaging greenhouse gases. In fact, animal agriculture is eating up our free land, polluting our waters with fecal matter, and destroying our ozone. By leaving meat off of your plate, you choose not to contribute to the downward spiral of our planet. If we all made this choice, perhaps we could stall what is already being described as the rapid change in our environment. Look at the amount of hurricanes and their intensity that we are seeing, this is due to our waters remaining warmer and staying warmer which fuels the strength of these storms. This will continue to get worse and worse over time as our global average temperature slowly creeps up. We could see potentially catastrophic consequences if we don't take serious action on a global scale so why not cut out meat and send a clear message that we want factory farming and all of its toxicity done with!
Check out the TRAVEL page for a post on Nottingham U.K. and for the record, my email and Twitter are back up and running after a long and arduous process involving a million emails and a little aggression.
I've been locked out of my twitter and the email associated with it so I don't know when the next time is that I'll be able to post. I'll let y'all know when it's back up and running!
Before I dive into this article and give my thoughts on it, I would like to start by reminding you guys that I've spoken out about this issue in the past. In my opinion, there are the vegans and vegetarians out there who are choosing their lifestyle because they sincerely care for animals and want to make their contributions individually and then there are the vegans that feel the need to tear everyone else down for not doing enough, the self righteous ones. It's an extremely damaging attitude to have and frankly, doesn't sit in line with the message of compassion. With that out of the way, I want to dive into this article which I absolutely loved!
She also makes note of the fact that she was part of vegan groups where she found that there was intense competition among vegans to be the very best and most veganest vegan of all. She points out that she'd regularly see vegans tear each other down for their choices or mistakes they've made while also reminding everyone how amazingly vegan they were. She left the group obviously as she realized that the competitive nature of the group was disheartening and kind of went against what she believed to be the compassionate message we are supposed to be spreading.
In the end, she speaks about being wholly content as an imperfect vegan, someone who consciously avoids animal products but will never beat herself up for making a mistake. I fell in love with this article and wanted to chat about my own experiences and opinions regarding this issue.
Another example would be a group I WAS apart of that I've recently left. It was a group for Vegetarians and Vegans to come together and celebrate their dedication to animals, or so I thought. It's constant propaganda calling out the dairy industry which I'll admit, is not a good industry whatsoever, but it's a group for both Vegetarians and Vegans to come together. All I witnessed in this group was celebration of veganism and that was it, no such celebration of the contribution that vegetarians make. This to me was the self righteous veganism I was discussing at the beginning of this article. Shaming people for not doing as much as you or not contributing to the overall cause as significantly as they are, it's abhorrent.
Even my Instagram has been targeted by self righteous vegans who start by complementing me but follow up with facts about the dairy industry and why I need to go fully vegan if I care about animals, facts that I'm already aware of and eat away at me every time I consume a piece of cheese. What's unfortunate I think is that they don't realize how condescending that is and why it's not actually helping their cause which I would understand is to help animals. I've even heard things like, "Vegetarians should just eat meat because they're still contributing to animal suffering and don't care about animals." What the actual fuck?
First of all, as a proud vegetarian of almost 17 years, I find it wholly offensive and completely inaccurate to suggest that a vegetarian doesn't care about animals or should go back to eating meat. Saying this to someone shows a complete lack of actual empathy for animals because who in their right mind would tell someone to eat animals because they don't do enough for them? Doesn't that kind of work against the actual goal of convincing people to be vegan and save animals? Also, I've been operating this blog for almost 4 years now, that's 4 years of my time that I've dedicated to recipes, product reviews, fruit and veg facts, and most importantly, animal activism. I spend MY FREE TIME almost daily researching and speaking out through my blog and social media about the atrocities of industries like factory farming for meat, circuses using wild animals, horse drawn carriages, and more. For someone to suggest that I don't do enough or should go back to eating meat is completely ridiculous and sends a clear message of self righteousness that I liken to extremism.
I think it is SO IMPORTANT to share a message in the most positive way possible without trying to be self righteous, offensive, or using shock tactics to alarm or frighten people into thinking the way you do. We need to spend more time trying to celebrate those who want to cut meat out of their diets 3 or 4 days a week, more time celebrating the vegetarians of the world, more time celebrating the companies that are attempting to cater to our lifestyle but have no obligation to do so because at the end of the day, every little bit counts. Every person who adopts a meatless Monday is one person who is not eating animals for one day a week. Every vegetarian is someone who is saving in upwards of 100 animals a year from slaughter. Why can't we celebrate this without reminding everyone how much better we are?
What I took from this article was her positivity and the reminder that we all just have to be the best versions of our self we can be without being too stressed or worrying that we're not the perfect vegans. If your lifestyle causes you to stress everyday that you're not making the right choice or that someone is going to drag you through the mud for making a mistake, it's not worth it.
We all have one common goal and that's to help animals. Our approach is recognizably different, but the message should always be the same. We all care about animals, we all want to see animals treated better and live a life without cruelty, and we all should be able to be the best versions of ourselves without negativity from people who are supposedly our peers. Listen, if you became a vegan or a vegetarian just so you can parade around telling everyone why they're disgusting and you're shit doesn't stink, you aren't in it for the right reasons.
I Implore you guys to check out the original article at the top of the page and leave your comments here or on twitter, facebook, or insta.
Remember, being vegetarian is great, being vegan is great, being a fucking meat eater who cuts meat out two or 3 days a week is fucking fabulous, that's what we need to remember.
Make sure to check out my Trip Advisor page as often as possible to keep up to date with all of my restaurant and attraction reviews. I've tried a lot of places here in Dublin and just updated with 5 new posts. I'll also be updating after I visit Nottingham and Valencia in January as well as wherever I go throughout Dublin :)
Writing and testing recipes in a hostel is no easy feat I must admit but that doesn't mean I don't come up with something lovely on a whim. I was really craving soup, particularly because everyone around me was getting the beginnings of a cold, so a big bowl of veggies and warm, spicy broth appealed to me. That's the inspiration behind this soup, staying healthy and feeling nice and warm thanks to much needed spice.
In this bowl of soup there's celery, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, onions, chickpeas, spinach, peppers, and lots of fresh parsley but my favourite part is the heat. I've been missing heat since I arrived in Dublin, I haven't been able to locate pepper flakes yet anywhere and considering they are one of my top 3 ingredients to use in the kitchen, it's been difficult to say the least. I was lucky to score a jar of pepperoncini matinati which essentially means crushed chilis. It comes in a jar packed in oil but it's fresh pepperoncini peppers crushed down into almost a gel which you can use in almost every dish. I've used in on my eggs, in this soup, and in pasta so far and it's the perfect amount of heat to add, I'm obsessed.
Anyhow, if you're looking for something to warm you up and help stave off the sickies, head to the RECIPES page!
Jonathan - Happy Veg
Dedicated Foodie. Proud Vegetarian. Recipe Creator. Friend to all Animals.