My vegan journey began when I sat in front of a computer, creating an animal welfare presentation and were suddenly exposed to photographs where cows and pigs had their throats slit. Suddenly, I didn’t care about welfare anymore; I wanted to learn about the rights.
Although I am passionate about spreading the message of veganism with compassion and kindness, that’s not what made me go vegan. I needed Gary Yourofsky to scream at me through the computer screen, telling me that I was paying for murder and that I was responsible for baby chicks to be ground up alive.
It was true, I was paying for that and I was responsible, but strangely enough, that is not what helped me stay vegan. Not that I would go back to eating animals, but I was mentally tired from holding all the guilt on my shoulders and it was quite literally killing me.
It wasn’t until I stumbled upon the video of Colleen Patrick-Goudreau and watched her talk about veganism in the most beautiful way possible. She was radiating love and kindness. She became someone that I wanted to be like.
I started to watch her videos on YouTube and listen to the podcast episodes that I found on her YouTube channel. I was absorbing every single thing that she said. And naturally, I wanted more.
I wanted to know more about how I can be compassionate. I wanted to know more about how to talk to people who don’t understand why I don’t eat animals. I wanted to know how to become happy even after I knew the horrors that were occurring in the world.
That’s when I found her podcast Food For Thought.
I don’t think I truly had any idea about what a podcast was. I listened to different episodes on YouTube from Colleen and other vegans, but I never realized they were actual podcasts.
So I downloaded an app where I was able to listen to podcasts and the first show that I wanted to listen to was Food For Thought. I was downloading all the episodes that I could find, only to realize that there were probably hundreds of them and some were older than 10 years!
I was so happy.
Everything I did – cleaning, walking, working out – was while I was listening to Food For Thought Podcast. And not only once, but many, many times.
The things that I have learned from Colleen go deeper than just what to eat and what to wear. They helped me become the person I am today. Not as compassionate and kind as she is, but a much kinder person than I was when I went vegan.
- Colleen taught me to look at people who are not vegan yet as those who are still sleeping. They are not evil and they do not lack compassion in general, they have just not woken up yet.
- Colleen taught me that going vegan is not the end goal. Life is a journey and once you become vegan, you see other things that you want to do and accomplish, so veganism is not something that we reach and then we stop. Veganism is in many ways just a beginning because we now unlocked more compassion and see so much more things that we can improve.
- Colleen taught me to be more open and understanding. If I wouldn’t open my heart and mind to her message, I would probably boycott all vegan companies that were bought by non-vegan companies. But instead, I now see the benefits of that.
- Colleen taught me about going zero-waste. Well, she is still teaching me. I am on a journey to learning more and more about it and trying my best to reduce – yes, I am only reducing at the moment-, and to live as ethically and eco as I can, while still living with a family that doesn’t do that. It’s like going vegan all over again, but harder.
Another reason why I admire Colleen so much is that she represents the person that I wanted to grow into when I was younger. No kids, loving relationship, house in nature, surrounded by deer and cats, travelling and writing.
I want to leave a few of my favourite episodes here, in case you want to listen. And I do encourage you to listen. Colleen opens hearts and minds and unlocks the best that is in us.
- How to talk to hunters (or anyone with whom you disagree).
- 10 habits of highly effective advocates.
- Human critter (aka pest) control. (I cried when she talked about the cockroach, its one of my favorite stories from all the episodes. And one of the most life-changing ones.)
- Vegan dating.
And please leave a comment below, if you are familiar with Colleen and if you are a listener of her podcast. Which episode is your favourite? What message most resonated with you so far? How many times have you cried while listening to her talk about the cruelty animals endure?
p.p.s. – The images belong to Colleen.