Vince is a rising star. Mark my words, he will become a vegan household name. I met Vince when he signed up for the Pick My Brain sessions and I was blown away by his enthusiasm and commitment to spreading the healthy vegan message. He has a fantastic website and has a budding YouTube career. Most importantly, he is one of the friendliest and most passionate vegans I have ever met. I'm so excited to introduce you to him today and learn more about his history along with you.
Hey everyone, my name is Vince Lia and first let me say that is an honor to be chosen as an Eco-Vegan Gal Viewer of the Month. I am the man behind the website Healthy Vegan Guy, which is centered around plant based recipes and provides information to educate and inspire others about the benefits of living a healthy vegan lifestyle.
Of course, my life wasn't always like this. Growing up in an Italian family, I was constantly surrounded by cheese, meats and desserts that I ate daily. That was until the day I first heard the words "ulcerative colitis" (UC) that changed my life forever. It was November of 2005 and I started experiencing abdominal pain that I just disregarded as something small that would pass, but it didn't go away. The breaking point came when the pain became so unbearable, I felt like I was going to pass out that I left work and drove myself directly to the doctor's office and then to the Emergency Room. After being discharged, they still did not know what was wrong with me. My first GI doctor had me trying various medications with no luck. It was not until I asked for a colonoscopy that my diagnosis was finally confirmed, but now what?
I was told don't eat vegetables, don't eat this, don't eat that, that you become almost scared to eat anything. My condition and symptoms proceeded to get worse, my medications became stronger, and the effects that this condition can have on you physically is just as bad as the mental toll it takes. I couldn't leave the house without knowing exactly where I was going and the number of bathrooms I could stop at along the way. My life revolved around going to the bathroom and I gradually stopped participating in any physical activities because of this fear, such as playing basketball, running, hiking, etc. My body wasn't absorbing any nutrients and I proceeded to loose about 40-50 pounds. It was at this point that I knew I had to do something.
I started a few diets, some of which did improve my condition slightly, but it wasn't until I migrated to toward a plant based and vegan diet that I noticed substantial improvement. I started by having a fresh juice every morning from a local juice bar. I remember having this and waiting to see how my body was going to react, since I hadn't eaten any raw vegetables in years, and surprisingly, I made it through without any issues. In fact, I felt better. I then gradually introduced salad and vegetables back into my diet, and let me tell you, a salad never tasted so good after not having it for years!!
I gradually eliminated meat from my diet, then all other animal products until I became fully vegan, and that's when the fun started. I started spending more time in the kitchen cooking some delicious vegan meals. I was making food that tasted so good, I didn't even miss the food I once had as a child. Why miss that food when I could create something that tastes just as good, or maybe even better, in my unbiased opinion....haha. I was exposed to world that was not only about food, but an overall lifestyle that I naturally gravitated towards and quickly embraced. I wanted to share this information with others, which I why I decided to create the website. Although I do still take some medication, I have been able to reduce it and hope to become medication free soon. When looking back, you can say that having UC has been a blessing. I may have never embarked on this journey and met such an amazing group of people that share in this passion and live their life with a purpose.
Vince's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: "It is hard to pick a favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video, since there are so many to choose from, but a recent one stands out in my mind. It was a video Whitney did with Colleen Patrick-Goudreau and Michelle Cehn to discuss the response to Beyoncé's Vegan Meal Plan. It struck me because we all begin our vegan journeys for different reasons. Most of us consumed animal products at one time in our lives and we should support any progress and embrace it as a positive change, since we never know where someone is on their path. Progress over perfection....right Whitney?"
Right Vince, you know it! :-)
Follow Vince's journey:
- Web Page: http://www.healthyveganguy.com
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbuD2Iu622R8JDO7hA5i25w
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Healthy-Vegan-Guy/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/healthyveganguy
- Instagram: http://instagram.com/healthyveganguy
- Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/healthyveganguy/
Natalie is a true go getter, which is a quality I absolutely adore in people. When I first met her I was surprised by her youth because she presents herself so maturely and professionally online. Her vegan website is beautifully designed and she has a fantastic YouTube channel. Online entrepreneurs, bloggers and vegans around the world will be inspired by her health story and journey.
Hi everyone, I am Natalie Thomas—writer, photographer, and imagination behind FeastingonFruit.com. As if that doesn’t keep me busy enough, I am also a student at the University of Florida working towards my marketing degree and hoping to graduate in 2015. I am a used-to-be horsey girl of 9 years who parted with her equine partner before heading to college. Perhaps I’ll return to that life one day, although I’m still not sure how I feel about the ethics of it. In the past couple of years I have fallen in love with yoga for the movement, the flexibility, the peace, and the fun of going upside down. In addition to baking and creating recipes, I also love graphic design and am starting to love photography too. In other words, I’m an artsy girl with way too many ideas and not enough time to create them all.
I grew up in a healthy-ish home. My mom tried really hard to feed us healthy and has always and will always believe that homemade is superior to anything in a box. Salty snacks were scarce in my house, but the sweets were abundant. I had quite the sweet tooth, and lots of homemade baked goods around to satisfy it. Some of my best childhood memories are of baking with my mom and sister. We decorated cakes and cookies and even plastic plates if there was nothing better to frost. Despite that, I was a pretty healthy kid.
High school hit and I started to think more about food and health. To decrease my junk food intake, my sister and I adopted the concept of “junk food days” twice a week and no junk food on the other 5 days. Looking back it was a bad idea for a few reasons. Those “junk food days” became sickening full of candy and chocolate and ice cream, and way too much of it all. But I also think it was the start of a not-so-good relationship with food. Foods became good and bad, foods became a focal point, food became something to restrict. I’ll get back to this later…
A recurring theme of my story is trying to imitate my older sister. I love her beyond measure, but I really had trouble being my own person around her. When I was a freshman in high school, she decided to become a vegetarian. I’m not sure if she did it for health or ethics, but without much thought I followed suit. The same thing happened a few years later when she decided to become vegan. That was about 4 years ago, and I’ve been vegan ever since. Also during the crazy mixed-up time we call high school, I began to take the food restriction thing too far. It turned into an eating disorder with food restriction and over-exercise, and a whole host of other physical and emotional challenges that make it completely not worth any skinny body. I am just now starting to really work on repairing my relationship with food and my body. In addition to recipes, I have started to share my thoughts about recovery on my blog as I find the words and courage to do so.
Health is still a work in progress for me, but I’d love for you to come on over to FeastingonFruit.com and share the journey.
Natalie's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: "I wanted to simply post a link to Whitney’s entire YouTube channel, because every single video is full of information, inspiration, and/or yummy food. But to narrow it down, I really love the Q&As because of their wonderful length and personal feel. This Q&A with Kathy Patalsky was beyond incredible: I love both Whitney and Kathy, and I love them even more together!"
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Victor is one of those people who gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside, which is remarkable given that he's a total tough guy on the outside. I'll never forget when we first communicated online - he won a giveaway I ran and his response started with "OMG YESSSSSSS!!!! I've never won anything EVER" and ended with "Thank you, thank you, thank you!" I loved his enthusiasm and passion. About a year later he reached out to offer her personal training services and we've been in touch off and on ever since. Victor is a fantastic role model for vegan men. Ladies, try to contain yourself when you read what an amazing husband and doggy dad he is!
Hey Fellow EvGers! My name is Victor. I moved to Los Angeles (A.K.A. “Vegan Heaven”) about 12 years ago from the Boston area. I have a wonderful wife, son and two cute dogs, and all of us are vegan (yup, our dogs are, too!). I am also a certified personal trainer, wannabe blogger, as well as a student at UCLA, pursuing a degree in psychology.
I would say my vegan journey probably began in my early youthful days, as I have always had a passion for social justice and compassion. I’ve seen firsthand, as well as voraciously read about, the plight of the poor, minorities and women, so standing up for the voiceless and oppressed has always been important to me.
I met my wife, a long-time vegetarian, about eight years ago, and whenever I ate a burger, she would say, “Moooooo.” While I know she was being funny, I also knew that it hurt her to see someone eating her favorite animal. So knowing that I might be with her forever, I decided to look into this vegetarian thing. I began reading “Fast Food Nation,” and was quickly appalled at the treatment of the animals, migrant workers, and the general behavior of the meat, dairy, and fast food corporations. My wife was also reading, “Skinny Bitch” at the same time, so about a day after I decided to go vegetarian, we began planning how to go vegan.
While I went vegan for the animals and the environment, I could’t believe how much my health had changed. As someone who suffered from IBS for 10 years at that point, my condition basically vanished upon going vegan. I also lost nearly 70 pounds simply by changing to a vegan diet, and a basic exercise routine! So these days, I enjoy sharing the benefits of a vegan diet to the world, as well as proving that you can be just as strong and healthy eating plants!
About two years ago, I went to Chef Chloe Coscarelli’s book signing in Santa Monica, and my wife said, “Hey, there’s Eco-Vegan Gal!” I said, “You’ve never told me about her!” Apparently my wife had been following her forever but held out on me. So that night, I went to ecovegangal.com and was blown away! I am totally one of those people with about a thousand different passions and always wondering which one I should “pick,” so I was astounded that someone could combine journalism, physical health, mental health, veganism, hygiene, the environment, how to be your best self, business skills, and about a million other topics under one umbrella.
Not only does Whitney cover all of these categories, she does so in multiple formats (i.e. the regular Eco-Vegan Gal channel, “Live Q and A,” “Uncensored,” and so on) across multiple platforms (her webpage, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, etc.). So I would say I follow Eco-Vegan Gal because she seems to have a video or article about all things vegan and general day-to-day life issues, and also because her various sites help me improve my ability to have an impact on the world, as well as as better my own personal and family life.
Victor's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: "My hands down, favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video is, “Education and Power Can Change The World,” because it captures what Whitney is all about: The importance of “Inspiring, educating, and empowering” others, as well as ourselves. I get fired up every time I watch this, and I hope you do, too!" "
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I met Abby through my online course "The 4 Week Vegan YouTube Plan," where she instantly became a rockstar student. Her magnetic personality and contagious passion greatly benefit her ability to spread the word about plant-based living online. Meeting Abby in person took my adoration for her to a whole new level - she is destined for greatness and is jam packed full of love and fun. Here is the story behind this remarkable woman's vegan journey:
Hi, there! I’m Abby and I am a sassy on-camera personality. I’m a vegan, health conscious, adventurous, shake-what-yo-Momma-gave-ya kind of gal. I host a show called “The So Abby Show” that is your one-stop-FUN-shop for all things wellness and adventure!
From the time that I was very little, I have always been a big animal lover. I may be a firecracker, but I have a huge heart. I’ve always been extremely sensitive to animals’ thoughts and feelings. My parents had a dog – a Sheltie named Duffy - and he was definitely instrumental in establishing my love for animals. He and I had such a special bond. I actually learned to walk on him – I’d hang onto his fur and we’d walk together. I started walking at 9 months and am a petite gal so my mom said it was a pretty funny sight! I also would go to him every night before I went to bed and I would lie on him and sing a song to him.
When I was 11 it really hit me that a hamburger was a cow, so I announced to my parents that I wasn’t eating meat anymore. I am so grateful that I was able to have parents who totally accepted what I said to them and that I was able to still thrive on a plant-based diet even in a small town in the Midwest. I’ve always had the support of my friends and family who have learned how to modify dishes and they always think of vegan options. I so appreciate that. However, I also think they know that one thing about me is that I’m going to do whatever the heck I want to do and feel is right to do no matter what anyone thinks anyway! Ha! See, there’s that sass! ;) But, I think that’s a trait that’s super important to remember when being vegan: stand up for what you believe in – no matter what.
Since I stopped eating meat at such a young age, I don’t know if I really even knew what vegan was. I knew I was a vegetarian and didn’t eat meat, and at that point in time, that was great. But, as I matured, I learned about veganism and realized I never really ate much cheese, dairy, or other animal products anyway, so at one point I did make the clear statement and choice that I was specifically vegan. I was also very active in dance in sports and also started running at age 12, and then as I progressed with my fitness and nutrition, I really got into the field of health and wellness and began eating cleaner and cleaner. It kept on going and I eventually ended up getting my PhD in Exercise Physiology. I also learned how eating certain things affect my health and learned how to use holistic methods to help me with my health issues (including managing an autoimmune disease). After a lot of education and seeing my own proof, I now only use holistic methods for any health ailments and on my body, in my home, etc. In addition to being vegan, about 5 years ago I learned that I would have to go gluten-free due to a diagnosed gluten intolerance. It was a bit tough at first, but just like veganism, I don’t know any different now.
I love veganizing and de-glutenizing my favorite dishes or those I grew up with. My friends and family love them, too! I’m a big fan of spreading the vegan love and really enjoy bringing tasty vegan, gluten-free dishes to events.
For me, being vegan is not a “diet” or a “fad.” It’s who I am. I don’t know any different and I will always be vegan for the rest of my life. It’s part of my soul.
In my free time I love being active outdoors and on the water, photography, traveling (which includes hunting for cool vegan spots, obvi!) and playing with my two rescue cats who I would throw myself in front of a bus for. :)
Abby's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: "What?! You’re telling me I have to pick ONE video out of the plethora of amazeballs Eco-Vegan Gal videos?! Well, it’s extremely hard and I love a lot of them for different reasons. Overall, I love Whitney’s videos and her brand of Eco-Vegan Gal because everything she does is done with her heart, and her passion and compassion just pour out through the screen and on the page (and in person!). She is 100% real and relatable and is a beautiful soul on a mission. These are just a few of the many lovely traits of the extraordinary Whitney that I know and love. :) So, I decided to go with one that is simple but serves such a great message – “How Your Vegan Lifestyle Can Influence People Who Initially Criticize It.” This video serves as a great reminder that while we vegans would love everyone to be vegan, not everyone will agree. And, for those people who do go vegan, it takes time. I love educating people and am always open to having a conversation with people about veganism, but I realize that everyone is on his or her own journey. In addition, this video also reminds us that we need to stay true to ourselves – do what’s right for ourselves, stay authentic, and keep on truckin’. And if we do that, we get these unexpected surprises that bring so much joy. I love stories like the one that this video highlighted: Whitney went vegetarian (and then vegan, obviously) on her own terms and for her own beliefs, stuck to it, compassionately educated her friend when needed or asked, and learned later (after a long time, to boot!), that she was an integral part of two peoples’ journey toward a plant-based lifestyle. This serves as an example of so many things in one story: integrity, authenticity, compassion, and love. "
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Stephanie is a fellow YouTuber who I recently got to know well through her participation in my web course The 4 Week Vegan YouTube Plan. She has been a rockstar student and her videos are getting better by the day! I've been a fan of her work for a while now due to her autenthic and inspiring content - I especially love following her fitness and raw food journey. Her story about why she became a vegan and how it has impacted her life is heartwarming and it's amazing what she has accomplished in 3.5 years.
Hey Guys! My name is Stephanie and my YouTube channel is called Vegan, What?. I was born and raised in Cali, ventured out to the East Coast for a few years, and made my way back to the West Side (It was too cold over there lol). I love to make yummy vegan recipes, fitness videos, and share information on how to have fun being vegan. Through my channel I hope to entertain and inspire others to live a Fan-Vegan-Tastic life!
I began my vegan journey in April of 2011 and it's been an amazing transformation. I was tired of how my body felt and I knew I needed a change. I wanted to be more compassionate and kind to my body but I didn’t know how or where to start. But, I did remember hearing about Alicia Silverstone’s book The Kind Diet. I went online and did a little research and decided that I needed to check this book out. When I received the book in the mail I was excited and nervous at the same time. I wanted to see what new and delicious food I would be trying but I didn’t want to hear about how terrible I was for eating meat. So, I proceeded with caution. “I’m just going to be a flirt,” I said, which in her book means to just try and incorporate some vegan changes into your life from time to time. No commitment. That’s exactly what I wanted: no commitment! As I continued reading the book I realized that by eating meat and dairy, I wasn’t just affecting my health, but I was also contributing to the pain and suffering of animals and their children. I continued to research by searching the web and watching documentaries and I was finally faced with the question “Am I going to make a change or not?”
So, I decided to take the plunge and go vegan. Wow, it’s been such an amazing experience and the benefits are endless! I lost weight and became about 99% asthma free (I only use my inhaler when I’m sick which is so rare these days). It was like my body had been waiting for me to make this change. I’ve met some wonderful people and animals, ate some delicious vegan food that I never would have had the chance to try, and feel completely as peace with at least one of my life choices.
Stephanie's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: "hmm…there are so many, but I guess if I have to choose then it would be The Kind Diet – Artichoke Dip: cooking with Eco-Vegan Gal. I believe Alicia Silverstone posted this video on her website and that’s how I found Eco Vegan Gal. You really inspired me to start my own channel and start producing content. "
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I can honestly say that Cobi Kim is one of the best people I know. Her passion, compassion and talent is outstanding and I learn from her on a daily basis. Cobi and I met through YouTube, which led us to recording a few videos together, establishing a great friendship and launching an online course about creating a rockstar YouTube channel. If you have yet to discover her vegan recipe videos (aka Veggietorials) your mind is about to be blown and your mouth on the verge of watering. With no further ado, let me turn it over to Cobi to tell you more about herself:
Aloha friends! I’m Cobi Kim, the woman behind Veggietorials, a vegan lifestyle channel with a focus on fabulous food, cruelty-free products and travel. I make snappy, short-form videos and hope to provide a comfortable entry point for people to learn, discover and explore how delicious and beautiful a compassionate lifestyle can be. I’m originally from Hawaii but currently reside in the Pacific Northwest with Winston the Pug.
Health journey: I was a vegetarian for many years but it was not until I worked as a Cooking Instructor for the Cancer Project that I fully realized the incredible healing power of eating a whole-foods, plant-based diet. That shift on my plate enabled me to see all the benefits of living a life devoid of animal products. My goal is to give people simple inspiration, veganize familiar dishes and make eating healthy accessible to all.
Cobi's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: "With a catalog of over 550 EvG videos, asking me to pick just one favorite is tough! Extreme Healthy Vegan Cheapskates is a video I’ve shared over and over when people say that eating vegan and healthy on a budget is impossible. I love that Whitney used such a fun approach to provide a fantastic resource for meal inspiration."
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Candace deserves recognition as being the most zen member of the Eco-Vegan Gal team - her passion for yoga, meditation and natural healing is incredibly inspiring. It is also an important part of her animal rights activism, as this inner peace is crucial to staying calm during her research and social media outreach. Here is Candace's story of what brought her to veganism and the important work she does for and with others:
My name is Candace and I live in Flagstaff, Arizona, but was raised in California. I was vegetarian for 12 years and have been vegan for almost 4. My motivation to become vegetarian then vegan was and is for animals. Of course, a nice benefit of being vegan is that it's a much healthier lifestyle, though it is easy to eat an unhealthy vegan diet. I traveled to Switzerland, France and Italy and managed to eat vegan there, I'm very proud of that; it would have been easy to give in, but being vegan runs very deep within me. I love to cook, one of my favorite challenges is to make a non-vegan recipe vegan.
I'm pretty intense about animal rights, if you're my Facebook friend you are constantly reminded of my passion with my posts. I know it can be a downer, but we can not look the other way.
When I'm not working at the clinic that I manage, I teach yoga, meditation and sound baths, as well as offer reiki to cancer patients at the cancer center. I'm currently working on starting a nonprofit called The Peaceful Revolution Project, where I work with the under empowered using meditation and yogic teachings. I also have a Facebook page for fun, where I post food adventures, etc.
Candace's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal article: "One of my favorite posts on the Eco-Vegan Gal is "Is Palm Oil Vegan?". It's is a reminder that the vegan movement is a work in progress and we can't become complacent. Its easy to think you have reached the highest point of your journey as a vegan, but it's no only about eating healthy its also about conscience living, and making sacrifices.."
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Jodi is a very sweet part of the Eco-Vegan Gal team - I love her kind, open spirit and it was so wonderful learning more about her journey in this feature. I think you'll be inspired by Jodi's story about how the vegan lifestyle helped her connect with her family and lose weight:
I’m 23, and currently reside in Menomonie, Wisconsin. I studied Technical Communication and recently graduated in May 2014—woohoo!
I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin with a couple horses, dogs, barn cats, and chickens. Horses are my greatest passion, and I’m fortunate to be able to work at a stable that caters to the dressage, eventing, and hunter/jumper crowds while I’m at school. I have two horses back home, Star, a ten-year-old Breeding Stock Paint, and Swayze, a four-year-old Paint/Arabian sporthorse. My family also has an eight-year-old European Crème Golden Retriever named Ryla who is very dear to me.
I, along with my mother, became vegan nearly four years ago due to the health benefits. My family has a history of health problems, and we wanted to prevent those same problems from happening to us. My mom discovered the vegan diet, and we began the process of eliminating animal products. At first, I began eating vegan because I agreed with my mom’s reasoning, but after doing some of the reading for myself, I started to eat vegan because I wanted to.
The book that fully converted me was The China Study by T. Colin Campbell. (A dense, but informative book.) Since reading The China Study, I’ve read numerous books on veganism and nutrition, in addition to the dozens of cookbooks my mother and I now own. The transformation that has occurred since I went vegan has been unreal—I went from a size 8 to a size 4 in a summer, and the positive shifts in my demeanor have increased drastically. After being vegan for nearly four years, I could never imagine eating the way I used to. ￼
Health has always been a part of my life, but until I went vegan, it had been on the backburner. Now, cooking is one of my favorite pastimes and all my friends know me as the organic-eating, vegan girl. (Which I find rather endearing while they consider it humorous.) A couple other tidbits of information about me: soccer is my favorite sport—I’ve played for sixteen years and love every opportunity to kick a ball around; I love to work out and be active; fashion is more of an addiction than a passion; and books—I love to read and could spend all day in Barnes & Noble.
Jodi's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: "My favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video is: “How Recognizing Your Personal Value and Power Contributes to a Better World”. I’ve always been drawn to inspirational quotes, videos, and people. Whitney is one of those inspirational people. This video nearly put me in tears because everything Whitney says in the video is true. Oftentimes, we forget how much power we truly have over our lives and the influence we have over the lives of others, and this clip reminds us of our power and influence.."
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Amanda plays a very active role on Eco-Vegan Gal, most notably via her wonderful product reviews. She and I have a lot of things in common, from living in Boston, MA to having a passion for the enviornment, animals, holistic living and organic, gluten-free food! Here's more about Amanda and her mission to take care of all species and the planet:
I went vegan in July 2012 after watching Food, Inc. and Earthlings, and doing my own research about the meat industry. I was a vegetarian for a couple of months and thought I would never go vegan. I was that person who said, “I could never give up cheese”, but learning about the dairy industry and chick culling broke my heart. Choosing a compassionate, cruelty free lifestyle is by far the best choice I have made in my life. The added environmental and health benefits are amazing! I was diagnosed with anemia during my adolescence and since going vegan it has been reversed. Removing gluten from my diet and losing twenty-five pounds has helped curve my PCOS symptoms. Overall, I feel healthier, lighter, and happier since going vegan.
I am a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Boston with a BA in women’s studies and psychology. Since college I have been involved with social justice campaigns from women’s rights to LGBTQ rights. Going vegan encompasses my commitment towards ending oppression for all living beings. Being part of the EVG team has inspired me to co-launch The Envi Girls, a site dedicated to eco-vegan living. When I am not interning and working on The Envi Girls, I work for Vegan Cuts and an app. In my free time I enjoy trying out vegan & gluten-free recipes, writing, reading, practicing yoga, and volunteering.
Amanda's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: "Eco-Vegan Gal plays a role in my life as a vegan committed to eco-friendly living. I find Eco-Vegan Gal to be the most informative, well-rounded site out there for eco-veganism. Whitney’s passion and dedication captures my attention, and I know other viewers feel the same. My favorite EVG video is Feel: How Your Emotions Affect Your Health. I love this video because it speaks to how much our emotions affect our overall well being. I know since going vegan my emotional health has improved and I have become a more positive person. Positivity is an amazing emotion that greatly affects our health versus negativity, which brings our health and others around us down. Optimism and positivity keeps me healthy, happy and productive."
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Lily has been a dedicated member of the EvG Apprentice Program since spring 2013. I've had the lovely opportunity to spend time with her in Los Angeles and she is such a joy - I am blown away by her knowledge and dedication to the vegan movement. Reading her story was so enlightening - I loved hearing about her journey and her childhood and I hope you find it equally as inspirational:
My name is Lily, I'm 26 years old and I live in Los Angeles, CA with my two cats Daisy & Juniper. I'm the founder & author of www.greenlilies.com, a vegan/green lifestyle blog dedicated to inspiring everyday people to adapt a more natural way of living. I'm also graphic artist (www.lilytrahandesign.com) and I work full-time for peta2, the youth division of People for the Ethical Treatment for Animals as a social media strategist.
I was raised in a household where my mother cooked everything from scratch, grew 90% of the produce we ate in our backyard & always relied on holistic alternatives for our health instead of conventional drugs. She also trained me to minimize waste, the use of electricity, etc. so many of my desires to reduce my carbon footprint stem from my upbringing. In high school I flirted with the idea of becoming a vegetarian (but was really a pescetarian) as I knew meat was not very healthy. Although when I first learned about the term "vegan" meant at the age of 15 I thought the concept was downright crazy and impossible.
It wasn't until about 4.5 years ago that I met a vegan for the first time in real life (I grew up in Colorado where I hardly knew any veggies at all.) We had a nice dialogue about her journey and all of the benefits so I decided to give it a go strictly for health reasons. I had nothing against animal rights activists but just never really felt or understood the empathy they had for other beings. "The Kind Diet" by Alicia Silverstone became my guide, but for some reason I still missed the memo on the way animals were raised. I did see many improvements in my health though! Suddenly so many things I just accepted over the years as "normal" such as skin problems, digestion issues, gas, insomnia, congestion, excess fatigue, headaches, etc. all diminished over time.
From that point on I ate a mostly-plant based diet, until 2012 when I finally saw the truth about how animals are treated and finally understood that there's really no "humane" way of killing someone. It doesn't matter if they're a human or a cat, cow, rabbit, etc. we are all sentient beings, we all have same capacity to feel love & pain and we all have the desire to live in peace. I also had this sudden realization that if I'm in the position where I'm able choose what food I want to eat everyday, then I should choose the option that not only benefits myself but other living creatures as well. That was when I declared myself as an actual vegan and knew that I was no longer doing this for myself, but for the planet and for the billions of voiceless animals who have the right to be happy too.
Blogging and activism have been some of the most rewarding experiences of my life and I encourage everyone to join in on the fun. On another note- I hope to write my own Korean vegan cookbook very soon!
Lily's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: "Eco-Vegan Gal has been such an amazing resource for me and my lifestyle - I really recommend the website & Youtube channel to anyone who's seeking to adapt healthier habits the right way. I especially like Whitney's video "Learning How To Lose Weight & Love the Body In a Healthy Way" because it addresses how diets are very skewed in our society, particularly for women."
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Courtney is a rock star member of the EvG Apprentice Program. Her passion for animals extends well beyond her companions at home, and she is dedicated to fueling her fitness routine with a plant-based diet. Courtney shares what sparked her interest in the vegan lifestyle and how it has shaped her life:
Hey There! My name is Courtney Rasbach. I am the creator and writer for SouleJourney. I’m 23 years old, I live in the Indianapolis, IN area. By day I work as a veterinary technologist and in community outreach speaking to the public about animal welfare issues for the Indianapolis Humane Society. By night I am a writer, equestrian, photographer, fitness freak, painter, gardener, lover of life and all animals.
I became vegan in February of 2012, for a couple of reasons. First let me explain that I have always believed that when one buys something from a company they are directly supporting the company’s values and mission. I soon realized I have had a cover over my eyes for way to long! I started researching my favorite companies and soon saw just how many places still do animal testing or exploit animals! THIS HAD TO STOP! I was being a hypocrite. How can I claim to believe what I stated above and still buy Tyson chicken or certain coats or even Tampons. So, I chose to stop being a hypocrite and start being a stronger voice for animals.
I began to watch all the documentaries on Netflix: Forks Over Knives, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, etc. I began doing research on the internet: PETA, The Vegan Dread, Happy Herbivore, etc. I began to see how twisted the web of animal exploitation was and ever since then have slowly made life changes and tried to educate people along the way.
The next reason I chose to become vegan stem from my love of fitness. When I read The China Study I was sold. I also found inspiration and motivation in the first vegan competition team, PlantBuilt. I saw that I can achieve my physique on a vegan diet which gave me even more motivation to become vegan.
During my free time I absolutely love to spend time with my beautiful animals! I have a horse named Indian Red, a dog named Carl, two cats Althea and Emma. I also love working on my blog, going for hikes with my Carl, working on my yoga practice or going to the gym.
I hope you have enjoyed getting to know me a little bit better. I hope you find your way over to my blog where you can learn more! I know I can not wait to get to know the viewers of EvG more as I continue to contribute to the site!
Courtney's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: During my research in how to make the switch to veganism I found myself on Eco-Vegan Gals website. I fell in love. I loved the content and the creator, Whitney. The part that I love the most about this site is you get the chance to watch Whitney develop into the well-educated Eco-Vegan chick she is today. It gave me motivation when I made the switch early on when things got hard to keep going and to keep learning. One of my favorite video of Whitney’s is one of her most recent ones, “How Essential Oils Can Help You Reach Wellness Goals in 2014”. This video is right up my ally in holistic healthcare. I am not a fan of antibiotics and such, I would much rather take a Epson salt bath or see the chiropractor and use some essential oils to help feel better.
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