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I have been a vegetarian for nearly 25 years.  There have been times during those 25 years when I was strictly vegan.  I fall off the wagon from time to time however, and while I do eat eggs and dairy, I am never tempted with any meat or fish of any kind and therefore I consider myself to be a vegetarian not a vegan.  To clarify, a vegetarian does not eat any part of a fish, shellfish, bird or animal flesh; a vegan does not eat any flesh nor any product of an animal including dairy, eggs, or honey.  Most vegetarians and all vegans will not wear fur, leather, down, or wool, as the farming of the animals and the means by which their skins are obtained are deemed cruel.


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I was first introduced to this lifestyle by accident.  I was in my early twenties and was a runner, yet I had high cholesterol.  It was baffling to me.  I ran several miles every day, went to the gym, was far from being overweight, but I was unable to get my cholesterol under control.  My doctor at the time recommended trying a vegan diet, pointing out that many people cannot process animal fat or flesh.  He also said I could go on medication to lower my cholesterol (which most Americans do) or I could adopt a vegan lifestyle.  I opted for the latter, and  it worked.  My doctor was not some hippy or herbalist,  he was your run-of-the-mill general practitioner.  When I asked why more physicians don’t recommend a vegan or vegetarian diet, he stated that he believed most people don’t want to hear that.  They feel like they are being preached to and are far more open to taking a pill rather than putting down their hamburger. I nodded with understanding.

My friends and family of course asked me if it was hard to give up meat.  I suppose at first it was.  But the more research I did about factory farming and the negative environmental impacts it had, in addition to the slaughtering of animals, the more I was convinced I was making the right choice.  Around the holidays, friends and family would say things like ‘it’s not Thanksgiving without the turkey!’  I was always quick to point out that for me, at least, celebrating the holidays was not about eating the flesh of some poor defenseless bird, but rather about coming home to spend time with my loved ones.  I was there for them, not the meal.  That always stopped them in their tracks and gave them a moment to reflect.  They soon stopped criticizing my choices.

The more research I did, the more I realized that my choice to become a vegetarian and to live a vegetarian lifestyle soon shifted from a personal health choice to a choice to end cruelty against animals and negative impacts on the environment.  I have never been one to criticize the choices others make.  If someone asks me why I choose to not eat meat or why I don’t wear leather, I will tell them.  I will then direct them to websites where they can gather more information and make their own decisions the same way I did.  I am the only member of my family who has chosen to be a vegetarian.  Even my husband still eats fish and chooses to wear leather.  I respect my family members’ choices the same way they respect mine.  I have never felt that it was my job to convert but rather to inform, if and only if people choose to seek information.  Now, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have strong convictions and opinions - I do.  But I also know that people don’t want to be hit over the head with my convictions.  That being said,  if you, the reader, have chosen to click on this link to my latest blog, I hope you will find it informative and I thank you for reading.

If you are considering a vegan lifestyle, the first question you might ask is ‘Where will I get my protein from?’  There are many options: nuts, legumes, beans, tempeh, tofu, and gardein to name a few.  At the end of this blog I have included several links, including a recipe to help get you started should you choose this path.  The second question people will often ask is about their source of calcium.  Broccoli is an excellent source of calcium as is almond milk, rice milk, or soy milk.  Try different brands and find the one that you like best.

I realized my choice to live a vegetarian lifestyle shifted from a personal health choice to a choice to end cruelty against animals and negative impacts on the environment.


Play around with recipes.  Peruse vegetarian cookbooks, like the one I have linked to at the end of this blog.  Explore vegetarian restaurants.  Here in NYC, two of my favorite vegan restaurants are Blossom and Candle 79.  Candle Café is also well known for its organic vegan menu.  You will be amazed at how great you will look and how good you will feel when you choose to change your diet.  The positive effects don’t just stop there.  Factory farming is not only cruel, but the amount of harmful waste and gas that is produced has lasting impacts on our planet as it pollutes our water supplies and air, according to the USDA.  For more information about factory farming please click on the links below.

When it comes to fashion and choosing cosmetics that are cruelty-free, your choices are just as varied as your food options.  There are many faux leather and faux fur providers available to the public.  Cosmetics will state on their packaging whether or not they are cruelty-free and/or have been tested on animals.  Once again, I have added some of my favorite places to shop at the end of this article for your convenience.

The most important advice I want to leave you with is this: Do your homework.  Don’t just take my word for the things you have found in this article.  Do your research and make the best decisions for you.  Personally, do I wish the whole world were on the path to veganism?  Of course I do.  Is that realistic?  Of course not.  Remember, if this is the path that you choose for yourself for whatever reason, do not judge others if they choose not to follow you.  Live your life the best way that you know how.  Be kind and make compassionate choices wherever, whenever, and as often as you can.  If you can commit to doing at least that, then you are well on your way to making the world a better place and leading a healthier and happy life. 

Recipe for Gardein Piccata from the site chooseveg.com courtesy of The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen

Gardein Piccata Serves 6

6 (4-ounce) Gardein breasts, pressed thin and sliced on the bias
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups all-purpose flour
8 tablespoons non-dairy margarine
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
⅓ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ cup vegan chicken or vegetable stock
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup capers, rinsed and drained
½ teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon chopped shallot
Pinch of sugar, if needed

⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley

Season the Gardein breasts with salt and pepper. Dredge in the flour and shake off the excess. In a large saute pan over medium high heat, melt 3 tablespoons of the non-dairy margarine with 3 tablespoons of the oil. When they start to sizzle, add 3 breasts and cook for 3 minutes, until browned on the bottom; flip and cook for another 3 minutes to brown the other side. Remove the breasts to a plate. Melt 2 more tablespoons of the non-dairy margarine with 2 tablespoons of the oil, heat until they sizzle, and cook the remaining 3 breasts in the same fashion. Remove the breasts to the plate.

Reduce the heat under the pan to medium-low and add the lemon juice, stock, wine, capers, garlic and shallot. Bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits from the pan for extra flavor. Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed. If the sauce is bitter, add the sugar.

Return the breasts to the pan and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, until they are heated through and the sauce is thickened. Remove the breasts to a serving platter and add the remaining 3 tablespoons of non-dairy margarine to the sauce. Whisk vigorously. Pour the sauce over the breasts and garnish with the parsley. Serve immediately. 

Ultimate Guide to Cruelty Free Make-up

Vegan Clothing Stores Online

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Choose Veg


Negative Impacts of Factory Farming

Factory Farming and the Environment


I am originally from Massachusetts. I went to Barry University in Miami where I received a BA in Communications. I started my Masters at Fort Valley State in Education and finished at the University of Phoenix. I have published two children’s books and have a novel coming out in the spring. I currently own and operate pupwalks.com and live in Manhattan with my husband and our two dogs.


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