This week’s Meet a Vegan feature is Bonnie Earley, zoology student and wife whose passionate about animals.
We asked her a few questions about her vegan journey and what inspired her to make the lifestyle change.
Tell me about yourself.
I’m 24 years old. I’m a wife, a dog and cat mom and a student working my way towards a degree in zoology. I’m so passionate about animals and dream to one day have a career dedicated to creating a better world for all living beings. I’ve been vegan for just over a year now and grow to love it more every day.
What’s one thing you wished people told you about becoming vegan?
Although I had heard this before, I didn’t believe how easy it would be to live a vegan lifestyle. I spent 8 years eating a vegetarian diet making excuses about why I couldn’t commit to being vegan. When I finally took the plunge I was kicking myself for not doing it sooner. It’s true that when you’re thinking about the animals, and not about your appetite or convenience, it’s the easiest thing to commit to.
How has becoming vegan changed how you approach cooking and eating out?
Eating vegan has been so great for me! I had pretty unhealthy eating habits my entire life prior to going vegan. I ate a ton of processed sugar and junk food. At first, it was a bummer to give up some of my favorite treats, but now I get more creative in the kitchen and enjoy eating real food. I eat a lot cleaner, I cook a lot more and I try new things more often. I don’t feel like I’m missing out at all because there are so many great recipes and tricks you learn as you go. My palate really has changed since going vegan. Now that I’m eating more real food instead of junk food and processed things, I enjoy healthy foods as opposed to before, when I would eat them because I was supposed to. It’s similar when I’m eating out somewhere, I usually check the menu online beforehand and actually think about what I’m going to eat and put in my body. That’s not to say I don’t make a meal out of french fries once in a while when that’s the only vegan menu item. It’s all about balance. Only now, I eat good plant food the majority of the time and enjoy my junk as a treat.
What’s your favorite thing about being vegan?
I love being vegan. I love what it has done for my diet, I love how I feel, I love that it’s good for the planet. Most importantly I love knowing that I’m no longer contributing to animal suffering. I feel good about the fact that my lifestyle doesn’t cause pain and suffering to living beings. The animals who are spared because of my choices are the reason I’ll never look back.
What advice would you give to vegans just starting out?
Take care of yourself! Adapting to a vegan lifestyle is a huge change for most people. You need to create something that will be sustainable for you long-term, otherwise one day you’re going to find yourself with unmet dietary needs and wanting to go back to using/eating animal products. Do your research, take your supplements (if that’s what you need), and eat a balanced diet. Veganism doesn’t have to look the same for everybody. You don’t have to eat a raw diet or cut out processed foods entirely if that’s not what is realistic for you. You’re going to be learning a lot as you go, so you should take the time to build a realistic lifestyle that meets your specific needs! Also, the internet and social media can be great tools to learn about the vegan lifestyle and connect with other like-minded people, so use it! Most importantly don’t forget why you started.