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.
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. :)
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. "
Follow Abby's journey:
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!
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?”
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. "
Follow Stephanie's journey:
Book review written by EvG team member Courtney Rasbach:
Paleo and vegan together! Whoever heard of such a thing? Well, I certainly had not until Paleo Vegan by Ellen Jaffe Jones made its way into my home. Within the pages of her enlightening book, Ellen does a wonderful job at describing precisely what the terms Paleo and vegan mean, explaining the differences and similarities and showing that when combined they can make a strong, satisfying, health-beneficial diet for both the athlete and non-athlete alike.
Product review by EvG team member Courtney Rasbach:
I am a very active lady. Yoga, weight lifting, biking, crossfit, equestrian horse riding, dancing with friends...the list goes on! Needless to say I need a deodorant that can keep up with me. I also want a deodorant that is not full of harsh chemicals or is made by a company that does animal testing. Well I think I have found it everyone…
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:
In April 2012 I received a Facebook message from a guy named Alex. He said he was a fan on my videos (even bought a birthday present because of my recommendation) and offered some advice on getting more views, so he immediately caught my attention (ha!). I was extremely impressed with his YouTube knowledge and thus it was no surprise to discover that he had a very popular channel...actually, channels. We've kept in touch ever since and to this day Alex sends me tips when he feels inspired - I owe a lot of my most successful video features to him! The least I could do to thank him was to feature him here and as you'll see he's a very cool "doctor" (you'll get my reference upon reading further).
I am so honored to be chosen as Eco-Vegan Gal's Viewer of the Month! My name is Alex Charak. I'm an actor/writer/YouTuber in New York City. I produce web content for youtube.com/drcoolsex and youtube.com/chronicgamergirl. I first stumbled across Whitney when I curiously searched Atlas Cafe NYC on YouTube. Even though I lived across the street and ate there everyday, I wondered if there was any video of it online. The first thing I saw was EvG's review. I watched some other videos, subscribed, and now follow closely on Facebook. Eco-Vegan Gal helps me to make smart, environmentally conscious purchases and to discover new, delicious food options.
When I was growing up, I didn't get much exposure to veganism. My parents ate meat and I did as well. Then, when I was sixteen, I saw "Super Size Me" and it changed my life. I cut out the fast food completely. But as I explored healthy eating online, I saw those awful PETA videos of chickens being hammered, cows being sliced open and all those other videos make you want to throw up. Once I saw what was happening, I had to stop eating meat. At eighteen, I went vegetarian, and, at nineteen, vegan. I felt morally at ease and healthier physically.
My parents have slightly high cholesterol genetically and I still do as well. It's something I have to watch and being vegan helps me combat that. Of course being vegan doesn't mean being healthy. I can't eat vegan peanut butter chocolate cake from Atlas everyday and stay fit (even with my five floor walk up apartment). Now that I moved into a building with an elevator, I have to watch my diet even more so. I'm about to bulk up in muscle and drop fat like crazy for a role in a new web series called "Alligator Man" about a superhero who is half alligator and…yes, half man. Thanks to some EvG blog posts, I've seen that it is possible to do in a healthy, vegan way.
For anyone who needs a quick defense of veganism, I like going to this Albert Einstein quote: "Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet." People some times don't understand veganism, but they sure do admire Einstein. Or toss a topical one at them with Abraham Lincoln: "I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being." If it that doesn't get them off your case, try this Mahatma Gandhi: "To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being." They'll get real quiet because no one likes to badmouth Gandhi.
Alex's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: I like a lot of the videos. Especially the vlogs and reviews. My favorite video is the first one I've ever seen. Atlas review:
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.
It's almost that time of year we all dread - bathing suit season. Though we know it's coming, it always seems to creep up on us and suddenly we've run out of time to whip ourselves into shape. You can try intense liquid-based cleanses, diet pills, and 20 minutes on the elliptical each day - or you can find an exercise class that will kick your butt. If you live in Los Angeles and can make it over to Marina Del Ray, I've got just the place for you.
I had an incredible time at the Y.O.G.A. for Youth: Gala Fundraiser, which "I AM THE DREAM" campaign benefitted at-risk children throughout the United States. It was my first time visiting the Marrakesh House, and it was wonderful. The event had a great turnout and was attended by some amazing people; there was such a strong, loving energy there. The night was topped off with some delicious food, samples from various vendors, and several inspiring performances.