My journey to a vegan lifestyle was a slow process. I didn’t experience that one moment—that epiphany—that made me take a look at whom I was eating or wearing.
My husband, David, was my first inspiration. For one of our first dates, I decided to make him a wonderful home-cooked meal. I loved to cook, so I thought, what better way to impress this guy? The mistake that I made was in preparing a chicken dinner. David was a vegetarian!
He was extremely polite, explaining that chickens, along with cows, pigs, and fish, were his friends, not his food choice. We shared the salad and vegetable side dishes while he told me about his vegetarian lifestyle.
David set a great example for me, teaching me that all animals had feelings and that their lives should be respected. Over the course of several months, I gave up eating chickens, cows, and pigs. But I was still eating fish, consuming dairy products and eggs, and wearing leather and wool.
Fast-forward to the 1996 PETA Gala, where I was enlightened about animal rights; I turned my life around after that evening. It wasn’t long before I was a full-fledged vegan, proudly wearing my nonleather boots, eating foods that were completely free of animal-derived products, and living a compassionate lifestyle. Ingrid E.Newkirk became my hero that night because of her ability to inform and motivate people like me to change the way we view and treat animals. Before hearing Ingrid speak, I just didn’t know about all the cruelty that happens to animals behind closed doors.
To this day, PETA keeps me informed with its fantastic website PETA.org, motivating me to do what I can to help animals and educate my friends, my family, and the new people I meet about my vegan lifestyle.
While I discovered animal rights late in life, my activism now keeps me aware, my vegan diet keeps me healthy and fit, and my compassionate lifestyle keeps my conscience clear. My transition to a vegan diet was not overnight, but once I made the connection between the animals on my plate and in my closet, I never looked back. When people ask me about going vegan, I tell them that my husband David paved the way, but PETA sealed the deal.
Make your time with your friends and family—including your animal companions—even more meaningful.