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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.  :)

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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!

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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?”

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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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