This is a part of my life I am really proud of. If you’ve not yet heard my story before, I will make it quick for you.
I ate animal products 3–6 times a day for more than 30 years. Everything you can imagine. I’d never ever stop eating meat, I told myself time and time again. I love it. I need it. I can’t live without it. And I believed that.
And then in May of 2018, I visited an animal sanctuary in Northern California where I spent the day playing with a handful of goats. I saw their unique personalities and how much love they gave me. I saw them care for each other. The next day, I returned to New York City, went to the East Village for an Indian meal with my friend Charlie, and opened the menu. Then I saw it. “Goat Curry.” It was the first time in my life I connected the love I felt the day before 3,000 miles away with the meal I was considering eating less than 24 hours later.
“I’m not going to eat meat,” I told Charlie.
“Like, tonight?” he asked.
“No, not just tonight. I don’t want to eat animals anymore.”
And I stopped. That night. That was more than 2 years ago.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. It was one of the best decisions of my life.
Last year, I wrote a long post about why, and all the reasons are still true. These lessons sounded something like: It’s never too late to do something you didn’t think you could, you make a real difference every day, you feel more at peace, you feel just as, if not more vibrant, you use your dollar for good, you get to explore thousands of food combinations and flavors you never before considered.
But something else happened this year. I found a global tribe. A community of people around the world that are connected through a common purpose of compassion, a new normal.
When I first moved to San Francisco, and then to New York, one of my favorite things was being surrounded by people that looked, thought, and acted nothing like me. I learned from them and watched them do things I’d never thought about. The same has happened to me with my “Vegan tribe.”
Some serve vegan meals to families and children in the streets of NYC. Some share recipes of vegan versions of all of our favorite foods. Some save and shelter animals who would otherwise be slaughtered. Some create workout plans to build strength and supplement protein. Some show us how to build a garden. Some share medical guidance on how to get proper nutrition. Some show us what the meat and dairy industry do to the animals in order to make them available for consumption. Some lead meditations. Some hold signs. Some lobby politicians. Some share meals. Some open restaurants. Some open Instagram accounts. Some bring water and kindness to animals in their final breaths of a death they didn’t choose.
Something. Everyone is doing something. And their something inspires me to do something.
This picture was taken a few weeks ago in Uruguay with a beautiful and kind family who runs a Vegan product line. The name of their business is Etosha, and they prepare plant based alternatives to all of the famous Uruguayan meat products for the famous South American barbecue.
We did a video for them to bring exposure and awareness around their noble cause (coming soon).
They have dedicated the last 10 years to do something about offering all the things we most love about culture; food. They have also dedicated the last 10 years to showing us that just because things have “always been done a certain way,” does not mean we have to keep doing it.
And I think that’s the lesson I’ve most learned.
When “the way it’s always been” has always been pain and suffering for another living being, then it’s time for a change.
I am proud to be a part of this change.
Because in this case, unlike almost every other decision we make on a daily basis,
Doing something is the difference between saving a life and ending one.
I make a lot of mistakes, but for the last 750 days, I have one certainty.
I wake up knowing that today, I will do,