Jodi is a very sweet part of the Eco-Vegan Gal team - I love her kind, open spirit and it was so wonderful learning more about her journey in this feature. I think you'll be inspired by Jodi's story about how the vegan lifestyle helped her connect with her family and lose weight:
I’m 23, and currently reside in Menomonie, Wisconsin. I studied Technical Communication and recently graduated in May 2014—woohoo!
I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin with a couple horses, dogs, barn cats, and chickens. Horses are my greatest passion, and I’m fortunate to be able to work at a stable that caters to the dressage, eventing, and hunter/jumper crowds while I’m at school. I have two horses back home, Star, a ten-year-old Breeding Stock Paint, and Swayze, a four-year-old Paint/Arabian sporthorse. My family also has an eight-year-old European Crème Golden Retriever named Ryla who is very dear to me.
I, along with my mother, became vegan nearly four years ago due to the health benefits. My family has a history of health problems, and we wanted to prevent those same problems from happening to us. My mom discovered the vegan diet, and we began the process of eliminating animal products. At first, I began eating vegan because I agreed with my mom’s reasoning, but after doing some of the reading for myself, I started to eat vegan because I wanted to.
The book that fully converted me was The China Study by T. Colin Campbell. (A dense, but informative book.) Since reading The China Study, I’ve read numerous books on veganism and nutrition, in addition to the dozens of cookbooks my mother and I now own. The transformation that has occurred since I went vegan has been unreal—I went from a size 8 to a size 4 in a summer, and the positive shifts in my demeanor have increased drastically. After being vegan for nearly four years, I could never imagine eating the way I used to. ￼
Health has always been a part of my life, but until I went vegan, it had been on the backburner. Now, cooking is one of my favorite pastimes and all my friends know me as the organic-eating, vegan girl. (Which I find rather endearing while they consider it humorous.) A couple other tidbits of information about me: soccer is my favorite sport—I’ve played for sixteen years and love every opportunity to kick a ball around; I love to work out and be active; fashion is more of an addiction than a passion; and books—I love to read and could spend all day in Barnes & Noble.
Jodi's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: "My favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video is: “How Recognizing Your Personal Value and Power Contributes to a Better World”. I’ve always been drawn to inspirational quotes, videos, and people. Whitney is one of those inspirational people. This video nearly put me in tears because everything Whitney says in the video is true. Oftentimes, we forget how much power we truly have over our lives and the influence we have over the lives of others, and this clip reminds us of our power and influence.."
Follow Jodi's journey:
The Kind Mama is described as a simple guide to supercharged fertility, a radiant pregnancy, a sweeter birth, and a healthier, more beautiful beginning. Written by New York Times Bestseller of The Kind Diet, Alicia Silverstone has created a really inspiring and practical book that helps women take charge of their motherhood. I find this guide so empowering, especially because Alicia strongly believes that pregnancy doesn't have to be uncomfortable, that instead it should be 9 months of bliss before a lifetime of happiness.
Alicia draws on her own experience and research (there are so many citations!), as well as the expertise of obstetricians, midwives, nutritionists and health counselors. She aimed to make this an all-in-one resource, taking readers though every stage of pregnancy with solutions, advice, and over 30 plant-based recipes. It's really exciting from a vegan standpoint how she positions the plant-based diet as an extraordinary way for women to feel their best during and after pregnancy. And, I love how she ties in many natural approaches to baby-making, from trusting instincts to meditation to non-toxic products.
If you're part of the Eco-Vegan Gal community and a fan of The Kind Diet, I'm confident that you'll love The Kind Mama as much as I do. I was thrilled to receive a copy for review from Rodale, and got extra excited when they offered 5 copies to giveaway! Want to add this book to your collection? Here's how to enter.
The main requirement for entering this contest is to watch this video. Within it I will mention a secret passcode! Beyond that, you can earn points to increase your chance of winning, which are outlined in the Rafflecopter widget below.
Open to U.S. residents only
5 winners will be announced here and in the EvG newsletter on Monday May 19th - best of luck to you!
"Since the beginning of time, humans have shown innate ability to take something good and make it way better. This action has improved the lives of generations."
The statement above (from the Way Better Snacks website) reminded me that we have the capacity to make a big change for the better at any moment, especially when we work together. I write this a day after the tragedy in Connecticut, which took the lives of many innocent children and adults. This event left the whole country, if not the world, in a state of shock and sadness, in a period of time that is meant for joy and celebration amongst family and friends. I've picked up two major points from conversations online and in person: people are ready to do something to prevent tragedy and they're making it a priority to cherish their loved ones. But I wonder, why does it take tragedy to come to these realizations?
One of my favorite things about running Eco-Vegan Gal is meeting amazing people and fortunately it happens all the time, especially through social media. I can't remember exactly when or how I was introduced to Sally of Pure Snickety, but it happened via Twitter and it only took a few messages from her for me to feel good vibes. I've really enjoyed following her journey and I know you will too - I am thrilled that she wrote this beautiful, in depth piece to share her story:
"I am so honored to be chosen as Eco-Vegan Gal's Viewer of the Month! As with many things that have taken place since I started Pure Snickety, she contacted me at the perfect moment. I have recently decided to commit to being vegan and she has been one of the biggest influences in this decision.
I have preferred animals to humans my entire life ;-). I have always had a deep connection to the animals I was raised with and around. There is just something amazing and unique in the unconditional love they give. I suffered abuse from someone I loved and trusted throughout my entire childhood. I believe that was the basis for my forming such a deep love and appreciation for animals and the kindness they have in abundance.
I chose to be a vegetarian without really thinking about it. I simply did not like the look or taste of meat, so eating vegetarian came natural to me. I would eat a kosher hot dog smothered in ketchup on rare occasions to satisfy others, but I always felt sick to my stomach the next day. My digestive system clearly did not like meat either. As I have suffered digestive issues most of my life, this was just another reason to avoid meat. It was after I became a vegetarian that I learned about the horrors that take place on factory farms. I saw bits and pieces of undercover videos, always turning away or closing my eyes in response. It broke my heart and soul every time something like that crossed my path. I was unaware of how widespread the abuse in such farms was and still is or that it extended to dairy farms as well.
As I grew older, my choice of foods became very limited as I began making food for myself when my mother went back into the workplace. I became a very picky eater and largely dependent on processed, microwave foods. Not surprisingly, my health issues continued and became worse as I aged. I was diagnosed with acid reflux and irritable bowl disorder in my early 20's. Unfortunately, this only made my diet worse as I began avoiding foods that irritated my digestive system. Acidic foods that I love, like tomatoes and citrus fruits, were chosen less and less frequently. I have become caught in a cycle of sickness that is directly related to food and stress.
While getting my degree in web development, I was introduced to the healing powers of essential oil. As I loved mixing things as a child, the idea of mixing oils to create a lovely scent that can also heal really appealed to me. I was instantly hooked! My husband teases that I am always mixing things ;-). I began using oils for my health related issues. As a result, I started learning about all the ingredients that go into beauty products today. I was very shocked to find animal ingredients and synthetic chemicals linked to cancer in almost every products out there. This lead me to the decision to create my own body care products using essential oils. When one of my products lessened a friends eczema symptoms, Pure Snickety Vegan Body Care was formed.
Why did I create a vegan business when I am not vegan? Simple, I did not see why animal fat and other animal derived ingredients were necessary to moisturize or clean my skin. I also thought that it was extremely hypocritical for a company not to test on animals, yet have ingredients that involved animals in any way. What I didn't know is that this personal decision would change my life.
When launching Pure Snickety's products on the market this past September, I discovered a large online vegan community. I learned so much, so quickly, that it was a bit overwhelming. I was shocked to learn that something as simple as sugar was processed with animal bone ash. I was horrified to learn that my favorite foods, cheese and butter, came from conditions just as abusive as meat farms. I began learned more about GMO's and gluten. I had to really face the way I was treating my body and animals by doing something as simple as eating. I went through a period of feeling helpless and ashamed. That is, until I found Whitney of Eco-Vegan Gal.
Whitney has been very influential in showing me "how" to be vegan. She is friendly, honest, true to herself, and most importantly, kind and compassionate to those who are not yet vegan. She, and others like her, have taught me that in order to be compassionate to animals, I also need to be compassionate and patient with myself. The importance of this life lesson cannot be put into words. I am forever grateful to those who played a part in this "ah-ha" moment.
Now, two months into Pure Snickety, I am ready to make the change from vegetarian to vegan. After my first ever surgery this Thursday (Nov 1st), my lifelong dream of becoming a mother is closer than ever. Thanks to the vegan community and starting my business, I am keenly aware of how unhealthy my diet is. Honestly, I would not be happy with myself if I continued to eat the way that I do now while pregnant. I want so much for my potential child, growing up without abuse and health issues are top on that list. If you would like to offer guidance, please, please, please do so! You can find my "I Want To Be Vegan" 1 & 2 posts on my websites blog.
My favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video is a message to Jasmine, and others like her, who feel that they are all alone in being vegan. I do not live in a community where veganism is commonplace. All but my oldest stepson are committed meat and/or dairy eaters and the closest Whole Foods is an hour drive from my home. I can relate to Jasmine and appreciate Whitney taking the time to give encouragement and advice to those who rely on the online vegan community for support."
FAQ: What To Do When No One Else You Know Is Vegan
Eco Vegan Gal Fan $2 Charity Discount: (Code: EVG)
My business is so new that any income I make goes straight back into repaying start-up costs and creating new product. However, I want to bring something positive to the community. It isn't much, but I am donating a dollar for every purchase made with Pure Snickety to the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. As a special thank you to the vegan community and Whitney, I have set up a coupon for Eco-Vegan Gal fans during the month of November that will make that one dollar donation two dollars! The coupon code to receive $2 off which, will be donated to BFAS in December is: EVG
About Best Friends Animal Sanctuary:
At the heart of Best Friends is the Sanctuary, where, at any given time, about 1,700 animals are turning their lives around, receiving the medical help they need, and getting love and acceptance to help them overcome their past. While searching for their forever homes, they live in a scenic, healing environment among human and animal friends.
The Sanctuary lies on 3,700 acres of beautiful western landscape, surrounded by 30,000 additional acres that are leased from the federal government. Nearly 30,000 people visit every year to meet the animals and tour what has become the nation’s largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals. Learn more about the Sanctuary.
Sally & Pure Snickety Online:
Main Site: http://puresnickety.com
Main Shop: http://shop.puresnickety.com
Backup Blog: http://puresnickety.wordpress.com
I first "met" Laeticia while looking for writers to contribute to Greenwala's food channel, where she eventually became a regular contributer of wonderful articles. Some time later she reached out to me when I was looking for a place to stay in Baltimore during Expo East, and I ended up crashing on her cozy coach and finally meeting her in person. I realized then that I had only scratched the surface of how amazing Laeticia was - we instantly sparked a friendship and found so much in common while I was in town. Her commitment to health, veganism, writing, business and family really impressed me, as did her generosity; clearly, she deserved to be a featured viewer!
I'm thrilled to introduce you to all that Laeticia Butler is - her story is one that many will relate to and feel inspired by. It's best shared in her own words:
In 2008 when my son was just one month old, I began having health issues. I couldn’t turn my head to the left, my index finger was swollen like a sausage, and I had to use my hands to lift my left leg to get in and out of bed. Taking care of my son was a constant challenge. The mere graze across my finger caused agonizing pain and I went nearly a year without using it at all.
I had gone to countless doctors without results. Having a professional in the medical community call you a “mystery” is usually not something you want to hear. With all of my test results coming in normal, the best they could come up with was Rheumatoid Arthritis. After surgery to remove inflammation from my finger, the pain had spread into my foot. I could no longer wear closed shoes and was at the end of my pain threshold. I had agreed to start taking medication for arthritis which was to include a self-administered injection once a week for the rest of my life.
I was within two weeks of beginning this new medicated life that I saw Alicia Silverstone appear on Oprah speaking about her vegan lifestyle and her book “The Kind Diet”. A few days later, I read a post on Dr. Mercola’s Facebook page addressing the severe side effects caused my arthritis medications. I responded with concerns stating that I was to begin treatments and was contacted by many people all of whom shared the same advice, “change your diet”. Immediately, I went to the store and purchased Silverstone’s book and read it cover to cover in a few short hours. When I closed the book, I said out loud, “that’s it, I am going vegan”.
I decided to make it official by doing what anyone would do, I announced my new lifestyle on Facebook. Immediately friends started asking me to keep a blog so they could track my progress to see if my newfound diet would really have an impact on my life. I of course accepted. As someone that has always enjoyed writing, this task was one that I was eager to take on.
It was then that I was introduced to Eco Vegan Gal. One woman that was a follower of Dr. Mercola contacted me and told me that she had healed her arthritis naturally and that I should follow Eco Vegan Gal. And so I did….
Not only did I transition to a compassionate diet, I began to incorporate more exercise into my life and it was at a vegan meet up dinner that I was approached with the challenge to run a 5K in the effort to raise money for animals that were cared for at a local animal sanctuary. At this point, I was about seven months into my vegan life. Within three months, my foot pain had reversed and healed completely. My neck healed, my leg healed and I became able to live a life that I had thought was going to be nothing but limited.
Although I was healing gradually, I stilled endured pain and the training was no easy task. My knee was sometimes painful and my hands still on the swollen side. But I was determined to make a change. I had come this far and wasn’t about to give up. After running in grooling weather and working hard to reach my goal, I completed my first 5K in the spring of 2010 and realized quickly that I was hooked. If I could achieve this, what more could I do?
I went on to compete in my first half marathon the winter of 2011 and I am now training for my first full marathon to be completed in November of 2012. It hasn’t been easy, and to be honest, I am nowhere near where I want or need to be. My health still isn’t 100% and I am working on figuring out the kinks of what needs to be corrected, but boy have I come a long way.
Through my constant research, I discovered my complete ignorance to animal cruelty and suffering along with the negative effects that an animal based diet has on our world and our health. I have worked hard to teach my son why we don’t eat animals and I strive to spread the word to anyone that will listen.
Eco Vegan Gal was not only an amazing source of knowledge concerning all things vegan; she was very inspirational in my writing and presented me with my first writing gig which had taken me down a path that I never expected. I had no idea that people were actually listening to what I had to say or that anyone was even reading my posts.
Gradually I was approached by others looking to improve their lives. So many people have contacted me and said that I have been motivational in their decision to start running or eating healthier. Others have asked for fitness advice or solutions to altering their diet even if just for one day a week. My desire to help others evolve has grown magnificently, and for that I make sure to thank the universe often that I was given the gift of illness. Without it, my life would have never changed. I never would have grown as a person or been able to help others. I wouldn’t have begun a writing career which has flourished or met so many amazing people.
Sometimes the things we think are the worst in our lives turn out to be the most amazing gifts we could have received. I am still in the midst of my great journey and welcome anyone that would like to join me for the ride.
Check out my favorite Eco Vegan Gal video for some motivation to make change!
Business Site: Cloud 9 Raw Chocolate
Click here to read about past Featured Viewers - a fantastic group of people, each with their own inspiring stories.