Archive for the ‘veg in college’ Category

I’m a thirtysomething from Japan living in Vancouver, Canada. I started listening to “Food For Thought” about a month ago when I seriously began considering going vegan, and you got me hooked! I just can’t stop listening to your podcast. I also visited your website, checked out some of the pictures, and was fascinated by how beautiful you are… a radiant, self-confident true beauty!

I was once a vegetarian for several months when I was a college student in America in 1994. After graduation, though, I moved to Tokyo and became a meat eater again. To be honest, back then I was not really sure why I chose to be a vegetarian or what I was doing to be a vegetarian. Years passed. I got sick from stress and left Tokyo for Vancouver, one of the most health-conscious cities in the world, where
I have met lots of vegetarians & vegans.

So I’ve always been interested in being a vegetarian; however, I never took any action for a long time… until I visited Salt Spring Island, BC in May, where I spent a cellphone-free, ipod-less, no-TV, organic weekend on this peaceful island. I don’t know exactly why, but when I got back from the vacation, I completely stopped “craving” meat. It was bizarre. I started doing more yoga, eating less meat and more veggies, and then came across your Podcast. I started eliminating right away one non-vegan item from my diet every week. This is my 4th week and I’ve been doing pretty good! I am already feeling healthier, lighter and happier. My boyfriend, family, friends and coworkers are surprisingly understanding, asking me intellectual questions about veganism, cooking vegan dinners for me, etc. I feel very blessed and grateful.

Since I moved from Tokyo to Vancouver 6 years ago, my health has improved dramatically. But I always felt something was missing. Now that I am changing to a vegan lifestyle, I know what was missing. It is the sense of deeper happiness that I have now, knowing I am contributing to the world peace in my own way. I promise I’ll spread the information I have learned from you. Thank you, Colleen, for your hard work, passion and commitment.

~ Miwa, Vancouver, British Columbia

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I’d like to take a minute and sincerely thank you for all you do. I became vegetarian only about a month ago (hey, you’ve got to start somewhere, right?). Currently, I am well on my way to turning vegan.

It all started after reading “skinny bitch” for me. My roommate told me “this book sounds like you wrote it.” She said this because I am surrounded by heart disease, diabetes, and cancer in my family and have watched my parents go down the same road as their parents did without making any changes to improve their health. They make almost no effort even though they are well aware of what faces them. This is very frustrating to me. I am 21 years old and a senior in college and I am already making changes to prevent this, why can’t they?

But yes, that is the book that started it for me. It is very hard to ignore what they are saying. I was one of those people who ate mostly organic food, produce, dairy products, and meat and somehow made myself believe that I was doing the right thing because at least they treated their animals ethically, right? After hearing many of your podcasts, I realize now that I believed that because that is what I wanted to believe. This is one of the reasons I am turning completely vegan.

After reading that book, I’ll be honest, I struggled with the idea of becoming vegan for about 2 weeks. I wanted to, I knew it was the right thing, and it coincided with all of my values and beliefs, but I just kept thinking “I’m really never going to eat meat again?” Well after trying to wrap my head around that for a week or two I visited my brother in the D.C. area and that was the turning point. I promised myself that I would only eat organic meat from then on out (to “ease” my guilty conscience), and since that wasn’t possible when dining in a restaurant I ate vegetarian that whole weekend. After that, after seeing how easy it really was, I kept with it. It stuck.

It was about this time that I started to discover your podcast. I feel it has been you’re inspiring words and truth telling that has kept me motivated. I do feel I could have done it on your own but it is very comforting to know I can just flip on my i-pod and hear words of reassurance and that I am doing the right thing. It has also been your podcast that has educated me on many issues that are crucial to a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle, such as health and animal rights. I have always been an animal lover and the harsh reality of what they face is heart-wrenching. But as you say, I am glad to know it, and wouldn’t have it any other way. I do feel much closer to my pets and even just the animals that surround us in life. I can look at pictures of these beautiful beings and no longer feel guilty. With the help of this podcast I have learned so much about my health, my eating habits, and my morals as well as the health and well-being of the non-human animals that surround us. Thank you for all your work, it is truly awe-inspiring.

~ Sarah

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Although I’ve never been a huge meat eater, I decided to officially become a vegetarian this past summer.  My original decision was simply because I was disgusted by both the taste of meat and the thought of eating animals that were once living.  But as I began to search for tips on vegetarian cooking, I came across more and more information that confirmed I made the right choice — for my own health, for the environment and animals, and for the world as a whole. 

I discovered your website this spring, and have been listening to your podcasts for several months.  A year ago, I would never have considered being vegan, and I was definitely one of those “but I love cheese!” people.  But you’ve inspired me to reduce the amount of animal products in my diet.  As a student, I have had to compromise and opt for the vegetarian choices when I eat in the dining hall, but I am proud to say that I have stopped buying dairy products and I’ve even had a few successful attempts at vegan baking!

Listening to your podcast, however, I’ve realized that veganism is a profound belief, rather than just a special diet.  The vegan choices I’ve made thus far have been surprisingly easy, but I feel that if veganism is something I wholeheartedly believe in, I should be willing to make sacrifices.  So I’ve decided to go completely vegan this summer (when I’m home and away from college food).  I’m really excited about this decision, but it is a place I never would have arrived at without your podcasts.

Since I only know a couple vegetarians and zero vegans, listening to your podcasts feels like talking to a friend.  When I get sick of telling my friends where I get my protein from, or after watching them consume hamburgers at a barbeque, I come back to my room and listen to your friendly and wise words, and I am reminded that I am not the only “crazy vegan” in the world.  So thank you, a million times, for the work you do. 

Thank you for being such an inspiring person!

Carynne M.

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I wanted to share yet another story of how your podcast has helped another person become vegan.  I am a university student and when I was extensively researching veganism last year, I ran across your podcast and was immediately impressed by the information you offered. 

I grew up very omnivorous; my favourite foods growing up were cheese, milk, and sourdough bread.  My family did eat fairly healthfully but not vegetarian.  None of my friends were vegetarian (as far as I know), but one of my friends was a committed vegan.  I knew her in high school; she was vegan for ethical reasons and most people, myself included, thought she was a wonderful person but somewhat crazy and “extreme.”  Like most Americans, I was firmly committed to my eating habits and never imagined I could become vegetarian, let alone vegan.

My biology class last semester focused on microbes and human disease.  In conjunction with the spinach crisis, the class touched on treatment of livestock and the routine feeding of antibiotics and growth hormones.  I had never thought about or learned about these issues.  When I spoke to my professor, she did note that one could buy hormone-free or organic meat.  Nevertheless, I knew my university dining hall was not spending the extra money on these special meats. 

Concerned about the creation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and hormones, I investigated animal agriculture for the first time in my life and was shocked by what I found.  Going vegetarian was quite easy; all I did was request “no chicken” in my stir-fry and indulged in extra ice cream, feeling happy that I wasn’t eating a caged, tortured bird.  The dining hall labeled all dishes that were vegetarian (often cheesy lasagna or potatoes) with a “v” so it was easy to find things to eat.  I enjoyed surprising people when they found out I was vegetarian.

Despite the pleasing surge of complacency, I still felt uneasy with my (rather high) dairy consumption.  I investigated matters and found out that some of the veggie burgers I’d enjoyed in the college café had cheese as a binder.  I stopped eating the veggie burgers.  I put soymilk in my coffee.  I avoided the obviously cheesy casseroles and pasta dishes.  My diet had become mostly animal-product-free; however, there was one area where I strayed: dessert.  Puddings, cookies, cakes, and (plentiful) non-vegan chocolate still tempted me.  I could buy vegan cookies from a local health food store, but that put a strain on my budget.  I kept eating the non-vegan treats and labeled myself vegetarian and thought of myself as an aspiring vegan. 

Now, thanks to the influence of your podcast, amazing recipes for delicious cookies that I’ve found in VegNews and Vegetarian Times, and a resolve to stop being hypocritical, I’ve made a commitment to veganism.  Instead of gorging myself on Hershey’s Kisses (which don’t taste all that great anyway), I enjoy a small square of Green & Black Mint Dark Chocolate.  Rather than eating a dish and wondering whether there is any butter or cheese in it, I ask or eat something that I know is vegan, like brown rice and beans—a new favourite. 

Thanks again for everything you do.  Please know that you are making an impact in people’s lives and I truly appreciate your work.

 ~Caroline in Davidson, NC

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I first off really want to thank you for all the great work that you do.  I just listened to your newest podcast and it really struck home for me.  I’m 21 and have been vegetarian for a little over a year and I can say that this has been one of the greatest things I have ever done.  I had my eyes opened by my girlfriend who did a presentation on vegetarianism and made the transformation right away.  I remember when she first told me, the first thing I said was “But you like sandwiches!” 

I was fairly skeptical because I think I had desensitized myself to what actually goes into making animal products.  After I myself did a persuasive speech in a class on vegetarianism and read John Robbins wonderful book The Food Revolution, I too became vegetarian.  I quickly realized that what I loved most about food was not actually the meat itself but the toppings or things you make with it.  As a kid I could never really eat at KFC, it just grossed me out too much and I never was a big steak person, so I realized that meat was an unnecessary filler in my diet. 

However, vegetarianism has been a tough sell domestically.  To this day it is something that my parents rarely talk about.  The ironic part is that around the same time that I became vegetarian, my parents discovered that my 16 year old brother had started smoking.  While this was met with great disappointment, it was easily excepted, because my father smokes.  Despite the fact that he is underage, having the cigarettes bought for him or buying them illegally, and is headed down a long road of respiratory diseases, cancer, and all the other horrible things that smoking causes. 

I never imagined that choosing to show compassion towards animals would be met with such hostility, while making such a destructive choice toward your future would be met with such acceptance.  However listening to your podcast really boosts my spirit and reaffirms that I am…WE are doing the right thing for the animals.  So I thought I would send you this note and tell you my story and also thank you for all the wonderful things you do.  You are truly an inspirational person.  Thank you very much for your time!

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