I, Melanie Shields, Am a Vegan!
good morning loves. below, enjoy an email we recently received from a reader and supporter of our blog. messages like this one always remind us of why we started blogging in the first place, and they always, always keep us going on this journey. yay!
Hopefully you remember me, but if not I'm sure this will be lovely news either way!
I am so happy and proud and unbelievably excited to report that after being blessed with a job I adore, and finally figuring out how to budget for my own groceries, I can proudly proclaim, I, Melanie Shields, am a vegan!
My sister gave me PETA's College Vegan Cookbook for Christmas this year, and I made it my goal to slowly but surely make the steps to becoming vegan. I'd been trying it off and on for about two years, and I finally realized that I was going about it all wrong. I couldn't do it the same way I became vegetarian, I had to do this slowly. So, I've been trying my hand at cooking and navigating the maze of gross versus delicious dairy alternatives, and have since purchased many more awesome vegan cookbooks - including Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet. Lindsay, seriously, if you haven't tried her peanut butter cups... you are missing out on a world of taste heaven!! I made them for my friend's birthday, mostly so that I could join in on the birthday gluttony, and I swear not a single one was left while her entire homemade birthday cake was untouched! I felt a little bad but hey - they're just that good!! :-)
Anyways, I've been slowly weeding out dairy from my diet for four months now. It has been so much more difficult than becoming vegetarian was! I became vegetarian overnight, and never looked back but along this journey I've realized I have a pretty concerning obsession with cheese!! Hahahah! But I decided my love for the animals was so much greater than my love of cheese, and luckily they have some pretty kick ass soy cheese out there too!
It's been a long journey, as you know! I first contacted you two years ago - I had been vegetarian for a year and was trying to figure out what made sense for me. Now, as I look forward to going away for university in Newfoundland this September, I know that I am armed with knowledge, health, and an overwhelming sense of compassion which I know will guide me through whatever challenges life throws at me. I appreciate this journey so much more than the decision to become vegetarian because it has been a real struggle. I had so many moments where I thought I just couldn't do it, and I even questioned why I was doing it! I would ask myself "why am I doing this? No animals are dying for this, are they? I'm not hurting anyone!" I'm almost embarrassed to admit those questions, but that's what this journey is all about - gaining knowledge and compassion! I learned that not only am I hurting innocent animals, I'm hurting my body too.
But I can now say that I have never felt so healthy in all my life! My plan has been to weed out dairy in four months, and this, the last month, will be a bit of a cleanse with absolutely no dairy, making the "official" date of my becoming vegan March 31 - my Vegeversary! It's almost sad that a seventeen-year old girl has just begun to feel optimal health, but this was so worth the wait! I've always been a bit overweight, and since going vegan, even in the beginning stages, I lost fifteen pounds! I'm no longer in the "slightly obese" category, and my body feels so invigorated. My skin glows, I don't wear makeup anymore and everyone always asks me what products I use. To that I say carrots! :-)
I have always loved and connected with nature, but this new attitude has strengthened my relationship with nature so much. Now that I truly understand the life around me, there is such a mutual respect and love that comes from being in nature. I even feel more connected to my dog, and maybe it's just me humanizing him, but I feel like he knows that I've changed and loves me more for it. He follows me around everywhere and doesn't protest so much when I take him on a steep hike! (He's a Pomeranian, so he's very small and has a hard time on the steep inclines!)
I know this is getting very long! I just wanted you to know what an impact you and your blog have made in my life. Thank you so much for keeping me inspired through the tough times, and for making me laugh through the good times.
I always look forward to reading your blog, and will of course continue to do so!
Thanks so much for everything, Lindsay! You've been a true inspiration.
Want to be featured on our blog? Send vegan success stories to firstname.lastname@example.org!