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:
Amanda plays a very active role on Eco-Vegan Gal, most notably via her wonderful product reviews. She and I have a lot of things in common, from living in Boston, MA to having a passion for the enviornment, animals, holistic living and organic, gluten-free food! Here's more about Amanda and her mission to take care of all species and the planet:
I went vegan in July 2012 after watching Food, Inc. and Earthlings, and doing my own research about the meat industry. I was a vegetarian for a couple of months and thought I would never go vegan. I was that person who said, “I could never give up cheese”, but learning about the dairy industry and chick culling broke my heart. Choosing a compassionate, cruelty free lifestyle is by far the best choice I have made in my life. The added environmental and health benefits are amazing! I was diagnosed with anemia during my adolescence and since going vegan it has been reversed. Removing gluten from my diet and losing twenty-five pounds has helped curve my PCOS symptoms. Overall, I feel healthier, lighter, and happier since going vegan.
I am a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Boston with a BA in women’s studies and psychology. Since college I have been involved with social justice campaigns from women’s rights to LGBTQ rights. Going vegan encompasses my commitment towards ending oppression for all living beings. Being part of the EVG team has inspired me to co-launch The Envi Girls, a site dedicated to eco-vegan living. When I am not interning and working on The Envi Girls, I work for Vegan Cuts and an app. In my free time I enjoy trying out vegan & gluten-free recipes, writing, reading, practicing yoga, and volunteering.
Amanda's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: "Eco-Vegan Gal plays a role in my life as a vegan committed to eco-friendly living. I find Eco-Vegan Gal to be the most informative, well-rounded site out there for eco-veganism. Whitney’s passion and dedication captures my attention, and I know other viewers feel the same. My favorite EVG video is Feel: How Your Emotions Affect Your Health. I love this video because it speaks to how much our emotions affect our overall well being. I know since going vegan my emotional health has improved and I have become a more positive person. Positivity is an amazing emotion that greatly affects our health versus negativity, which brings our health and others around us down. Optimism and positivity keeps me healthy, happy and productive."
Follow Amanda's journey:
Sustainability & Healthy Living Sweeps Chicago with Luke Saunder’s Passion Project, ‘Farmer’s Fridge’
EvG team member Kelly O’Brien met with Farmer’s Fridge creator & owner, Luke Saunders and shared what she learned about the innovative new concept.
As their website indicates, Farmer’s Fridge is a ‘fresh twist on an old concept’ of healthy sustainable salads and snacks….at your finger tips in a kiosk - aka...a vending machine. This kiosk is unlike any you have seen before though! Healthy primarily organic salads and fresh daily made snacks in eco-sustainable packaging is yours with the touch of a screen. The concept is absolutely brilliant and the very first thought to go through my mind was ‘What took you so long’? In Chicago, there is absolutely nothing like it!
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.