Changing Up to a Vegan Lifestyle
Amber Harper, Administrative Coordinator for Regional Emergency Services and Communications Department shares how she started her journey to veganism.
What inspired you to become a vegan?
I grew up near Augusta, GA, and wasn’t born vegan as most of us were not. After seeing my dog get hit by a car I was devastated and spent that weekend thinking, why do we eat animals anyway and thus began research.
My family was not that supportive in the beginning, but my dad stated to a friend’s family once, that he was initially worried about me not eating, but he saw that when I eat, I eat. In other words, I was not trying to starve myself.
Next, there were a lot of articles coming out about plastic. “Each human has ingested about a credit card of plastic” and I thought to myself. “Well an apple doesn’t have plastic in it.” I also began meditating with a mentor and she helped me undo some of my past conditioning and I changed all the products including cleaning supplies, make-up in my home to vegan and/or cruelty free and eliminate any product that contains cancer causing chemicals. I also watched documentaries about mass production and realized it’s mostly profit over people. Finally, in October of 2019, it was easy for me to make the switch.
How has veganism impacted your life?
I definitely do not go out as much to restaurants. I am constantly changing things up. For me, it is about variety. In 2021, I had a subscription to Greenchef and I had 3 meals for 2 people delivered every week for almost 6 months and that really opened my eyes to how as a vegan I should eat. To me it is not a diet, it is a lifestyle. There are overweight vegans, but we all have one ideal as we are against animal cruelty. This year I obtained a Costco membership, and there are constantly new products coming out. All grocery stores have different items, so when I am in Aldi, Walmart, or Sprouts, etc., they all have options. I just bought a juicer and now I am juicing.
What gives you inspiration? (documentaries, books, websites, cookbooks, etc?)
I follow a lot of people on Instagram including
soflovegans who inform me about new vegan restaurants;
bigboxvegan for what new products are coming out and where;
targetvegan, publixvegan, traderjoesvegan, and most importantly
peta so I can remind myself why I decided to go on this journey.
What is your best advice for those thinking about going Vegan?
I have received a lot of people saying they are interested. You really have to want to do it. It is only you that can make the change so if you want to do it, you will. I started with trying to find products that I normally eat and look for the vegan alternatives. This is also true with recipes. Find your favorite recipe and veganize it. I made a vegan chicken pot pie and it was super delicious, and I was craving a key lime pie, and I found a recipe for that. I usually just Google it.
It is said that people could stop climate change in 50 years or so if everyone became a vegan or vegetarian?
What are your thoughts on this? I believe it would help for sure. I don’t have faith in everyone changing, but I feel we are getting closer everyday. People are starting to open their eyes.