Viewer of the Month
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.
Follow Courtney's journey:
Rachel is another stellar member of the EvG Apprentice Program. Many can relate to her story of trying out the plant-based diet at a young age and returning to it after time and education - here's her story of how she went vegan and why:
My name is Rachel and I’m a 21 year old college student from Maine. I’m about to finish up my last semester at the University of Maine with a degree in English and Spanish. I went vegan in March of 2012 and I haven’t looked back since.
I originally went vegan in high school, but didn’t stick with it. However, I always knew somewhere in the back of my head that I’d eventually eliminate animal products completely. In my sophomore year of college, I began reading vegan blogs, like Bonzai Aphrodite, and listening to Colleen Patrick-Goudreaus’s podcast, Vegetarian Food for Thought. I specifically remember one day sitting in my dorm room listening to Colleen talk about the horrors chickens experience in factory farms and slaughter houses. I knew I had to be vegan.
Since then I’ve devoured books, visited vegan websites so often that I type them into the URL bar without thinking, and improved my culinary skills dramatically. I love finding more delicious, healthy vegan recipes. My favorites include lentil soup, chana masala, vegetable spring rolls, pumpkin curry, and black beans and rice topped with kale and sweet potato…just to name a few. My approach to health is pretty basic: a scrumptious whole foods, plant-based diet and enjoyable exercise, like Zumba. Health is definitely a process and I’m constantly learning.
When I’m not giving tours on campus or pumping out eight page essays, I love cooking and baking, writing posts for my blog, The Vegan Mishmash, catching up with the blogs I follow, spending time with my friends, traveling, and watching shows like How I Met Your Mother and Friends reruns.
Rachel's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: If I had to pick just one, I’d say Eco-friendly Underwire-free Bras from Faeries Dance. This video was the first I ever came across and was my introduction to Eco-Vegan Gal. Since then, I’ve been hooked on Whitney’s videos and other content. Health, both mine and the planet's, has always interested me. Her videos and articles inspire me to be a healthier, more eco-conscious vegan.:
Follow Rachel's journey:
Lauren has been doing a stand-up job in the EvG Apprentice Program and thus I was eager to learn more about who she is and how she became part of the community. She has a touching story that many can relate to, no matter where they are on their journey to healthy, compassionate living.
My name is Lauren. I am 23 years old and currently live in Austin, TX, with my adorable bulldog/corgi mix, Lilly. I became vegan about 2 1/2 years ago for a few different reasons. Let me tell you a little about my journey:
I have always been interested in health and nutrition and doing the best thing for my body, and therefore have always enjoyed reading up on the most recent nutrition information. However, I also struggled with body image and bouts of binge eating for many years, so I was never completely satisfied with my health. I had played around with vegetarianism/veganism in the past, but I used to think animal products were a necessary part of our diet and vegans were just "too extreme".
Then, one day, I started reading Skinny Bitch out of pure curiosity. All of the information was so eye-opening! I specifically remember one part of the book with quotes from factory farm workers in which they mentioned how some of the pigs would come up and nuzzle the workers like puppies right before they had to slaughter them. As someone who loves her own puppy like a child, that really upset me, and I didn't want to have any part in promoting any practice that was so cruel.
After that, I went through a myriad of books on veganism and nutrition, from Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Life to Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman and Engine 2 Diet by Rip Esselstyn (all of which I highly recommend to anyone), further realizing how important compassion and veganism is to our world. Plus, an added perk: I lost 20 pounds while fully enjoying my food and NOT dieting, and I was finally happy with my body, my health, and -- most importantly -- myself. And I have never looked back! I also spent last summer as a Communications Intern with Farm Sanctuary in upstate New York, and it was one of the best experiences of my life.
During my free time, you'll find me reading, writing/posting recipes on my blog Don't Forget the Sugar, walking my dog, going to the gym or doing yoga, and cooking and baking up a delicious storm of healthy vegan goodies. I love finding and coming up with healthy versions of normally un-healthy dishes and desserts, and my dream is to some day have my own food business.
Lauren's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: I've been a fan of Eco-Vegan Gal since I first went vegan, and I think Whitney is fantastic! I know I have used several of her recipes and health tips along my health journey, and I love how positive and fun she makes being eco-vegan look. The information on having a vegan dog was also very helpful for me. My favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video is the one where she makes her Easy, Eco Organic Peppermint Holiday Hot Chocolate. What a healthy spin to such a decadent holiday treat!:
I met Kylie when she applied to the EvG Apprenticeship Program - I was instantly impressed with her online presence and can-do attitude, but her sweet personality really touched my heart. She is incredibly passionate about veganism and I love her story about making the transition, as well as her husband's journey to plant-based living. Bonus: the photo of her with Buttercup from Gentle Barn is just so darn cute!
My name is Kylie. I am 34 years old living in Los Angeles with my husband and two rescue dogs, Henry & Willow. I started my vegan transformation just over two years ago. I had a couple of extremely inspiring friends who were vegan and I admired them immensely for a couple years before I realized it was silly to just look up to them when I could join them! I gave myself a challenge: go completely vegan for one week and see how it went. By day 3 I felt noticeably better, lighter in body and mind. At this point the term vegan to me was strictly dietary. I didn't think about all the animal by-products that were in the beauty products I was using and the clothing I was wearing. In that first week I also started reading and researching. I read The Kind Diet and that was a great starting point to open my eyes into what it truly means to be vegan. As I sat there with tears pouring down my face, soaking the pages of the book I knew that I could never go back to the way I was living. I could no longer ignore what was really going on in the world.
Being vegan is a constantly evolving journey. Everyday I learn something new and try my best to make ethical and eco conscious decisions. Luckily, there is a huge vegan community in Los Angeles and online. I have met so many amazing people who share my way of thinking and I get excited when my omnivorous friends tell me they are going vegan. It took my husband a full year of me being vegan before he made the switch (and I didn't even have to beg him, he did it all on his own!). Now the two of us love discovering new vegan places to eat around L.A. and it's great to have a partner in crime ;-)
In my spare time I like to blog about my experiences as a vegan and make things for my online shop Fabulously Fierce. I love unique home decor,
so my main focus is on that, but I do make some embroidered clothing as well. Having a creative outlet keeps me sane (most days)!
Kelly's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: Eco-Vegan Gal has been such a great source of information for me as well. Her positivity and knowledge are so inspiring. Whenever I have a question about certain products or what I can do to make smart choices for the environment or just need a little mental boost, I know I can find it in one of her videos! Since I'm not the best at taking care of myself and tend to lose motivation to exercise, I especially love her video "How to Reach Exercise Goals and Make Them a Priority Every Day":
One of the best parts of running Eco-Vegan Gal is meeting people virtually. I receive some really sweet digital correspondence from amazing people around the world, and it's always touching to hear their stories. On my birthday this year Amanda sent me a sweet note on Facebook to let me know that I inspired her to go vegan 2 years ago - her words brought me so much joy and I was really interested to hear more about her story. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Hi! My name is Amanda. I am a 30 year old vegan, and I live in Connecticut. I have always loved animals and have been lucky to have them around me my entire life. A few years ago, I started to become more interested in cooking and nutrition. And was learning more and more about what is in our food and where it comes from. I had been curious about vegetarianism for a while and in September 2010 I decided to try giving up meat (except for fish) for a month, or maybe until that Thanksgiving, and then see how I felt. I only knew a handful of vegetarians then (and I definitely didn't know any vegans). That night, I turned to Google. I think I googled "vegetarian" and I came across the Peta video "If Slaughterhouses Had Glass Walls, Everyone Would Be Vegetarian"... Well that shocked me to my core.. I hadn't cried that hard in a long time. I already knew that it wasn't right to be eating animals, but I didn't know how horribly they are treated. I also didn't know all the other issues that come from the meat/dairy/egg industries (environment, world hunger, etc) It and a few more videos I watched, left me disturbed and appalled. And I knew after that I could never eat meat again. A friend of mine recommened that I read Skinny Bitch. I went to the bookstore across the street the next day and read that book in about a day and a half. I continued to eat fish once in a while and was probably 99% vegan at home. Going out, I was still consuming some dairy and eggs.. Pretty much out of laziness or "convenience". I guess I was leaning into it.
I didn't officially go 100% vegan until December 2011. Another friend of mine was curious about my veggie lifestyle, so I lent her Skinny Bitch, and told her about some videos to watch. The next day, she told me that she threw out all of the animal products in her house and wanted to go vegan right away! Well, I jumped right on board with her (it's a lot easier with a buddy) and never looked back! And brought a few more friends with me since then :)
Since I've been eating more healthy plant-based whole foods, I've felt great! I used to get sick all the time. Now I hardly ever do! My nails started growing so much stronger, so I stopped biting them. <--Yay! I have more overall energy. It has been better for my skin (dairy is horrible for skin). This year I started working out and building muscle. Which is awesome. And it has actually really helped with my depression, which I have had since a teen. No drugs for me! While I do believe it has to do with what we put into our bodies, I also think living a more compassionate life helps your overall well-being. I could go on and on and on...
I love food! I consider myself to be a "foodie", and I love to cook. Despite what many people may think, there is soooo much variety in a plant-based diet. I have so many vegan cookbooks, that I need to get a bigger bookcase before I get anymore. As much as I enjoy trying other people's recipes, I love to experiment in the kitchen and just throw things together. Some of the best things I have eaten came from doing just that. I love to share what I make/eat on Instagram and Facebook. A lot of my friends (mostly non-veg) tell me I should start a blog.. so I have been thinking of doing that. I would also like to get more involved in animal activism. I know that by not purchasing products that come from animals, or are tested on animals, and by boycotting anything that exploits/hurts them (circus, zoos, puppy mills, etc) are all great ways to help animals.. But I would like to be more physically involved.
Going vegan was the best decision I have ever made and I wish I did it sooner! :)
A couple quotes I'd like to share:
"If we can live happy and healthy lives, without causing harm to others, why wouldn't we?"
-Jenny Brown, co-founder of Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary
"Don't do nothing, because you can't do everything. Do something. Anything."
The internet (especially Google and YouTube) is so great for the veg-curious! Or anyone who wants to know where our food comes from and what goes into it. There is a quote I've seen a few times (don't know who said it) "In the age of information, ignorance is a choice." And I believe that is true. The information is out there, people! I was shocked and elated to see how many YouTube videos there were on veganism! All you have to do is type "vegan" into the search bar and at least one of EcoVeganGal's videos show up. (she has almost 500.. and that's just on her main channel.. she has at least 3 others-- WhatAVeganEats is also a great one!) I don't remember the very first EcoVeganGal video I saw, but I do know that I came across one, and just kept watching more of them, and subscribed to her channel. Whitney has a video for pretty much anything eco or vegan you can think of, as well as ones about just living a happier life. I truely believe that she genuinely cares about your well-being and wants to share with you all of the wonderful products, companies, books, and people that she discovers. Thanks to Whitney, I found out about Kris Carr, Happy Herbivore, vgirls|vguys, and other YouTube favorites: The Vegan Zombie and the lovely Shelley Williams, just to name a few. And those people brought me to others and so on.. I had no idea how many of us there are. It is so nice to know that there are all of these other inspirational, compassionate people out there and that we are not alone in this.
Amanda's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: I had a hard time choosing a favorite EcoVeganGal video. I enjoy her product reviews, because she is so honest and does them with integrity, but one video that is speaking to me right now is a bit different from that. The Importance of Living from the Heart: