Interview with a Vegan: a Chat with Amanda Arebalo

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A fair amount of my readers have expressed interest in veganism, especially as it relates to makeup and beauty. I met Amanda when I came across her Instagram and started trying out her recipes. Here she shares more about herself and her personal values! Keep an eye out for a guest post from her in the future. 😉

How long have you been vegan?

I have been vegan since September, 2016. So about 9 1/2 months. I have sincerely loved every minute of it!

How did it begin?

The first attempt at being a vegan happened back in 2012. I had watched the documentary Forks Over Knives on Netflix, and I was intrigued mostly by the effects of giving up animal products simply for health reasons. I had not yet encountered any animal abuse videos.

So, being intrigued, I first gave vegetarianism a try for 3 months, then I attempted veganism, which I was successful at for another 3 months. Unfortunately my new husband was a gigantic meat-eater. He would eat some type of meat or eggs for every meal, and would often have snacks of both as well. (Hard boiled eggs, or beef jerky.) Unfortunately, I was less than seasoned in the kitchen, so absolutely I dreaded cooking. Even being in the kitchen made me uncomfortable. Making two meals per meal time for us, when one was difficult enough for me, just didn’t work. I ended up quitting.

Fast forward to September 2016, I was online and unintentionally clicked on a slaughterhouse video. I could only watch about 6 seconds before I screamed out, and my husband came running. It broke my heart into a million pieces. From there I cried and watched a few more as I followed my husband around the house announcing that we were never eating milk, eggs, cheese, chicken, beef, or fish ever again. He thought I was being dramatic.

I then came across this amazing, amazing man on YouTube. His name is James Aspey. James is the main reason my husband is now a vegan. I recommend everyone watch his video on YouTube called, “This speech is your wake up call”.  It is worth the time invested (About 40 minutes) your whole outlook on veganism will change and ladies, he is very easy on the eyes!

Why is it so important to you?

I know most people are against animal abuse. Very few of us would ever be able to kill an animal such as a piglet, fox, a baby chick, or a cow, on our own.  We would always choose a watermelon as a snack, over a live chicken for some nuggets. What does it being dead have to do with it being ok? It is that choice, every meal we consume, is choosing if an animal lives or dies. There is a disconnect along the way. The only difference is, instead of doing it ourselves, we are paying companies to do it for us. In doing so, we don’t see the harm and suffering they are enduring every single day.

I feel that it is important to educate and spread the knowledge I’ve learned over the past 9 months, In order to try to make as many people aware of this horrible abuse and unnecessary torture. We are paying for it, and don’t even realize what happens. We are not bad people, but we are taught that it is normal. It is not normal. What is happening to each and every single one of these animals we use for products, I assure you, is not at all normal. We need to become more aware of the impact our actions have.

For those who don’t feel that they’re ready to commit, do you have any advice on how they can still make a difference?

In my opinion, you have to be all-in, if you want to truly make a difference. Go hard or go home. You can be a vegetarian, but honestly, that isn’t good enough. If you believe there is no difference between a baby pig playing with a toy and a puppy playing with a toy, then you must choose veganism. Baby cows are stolen from the mothers, and denied milk, so that the grocery stores can have it instead. After that, the boys are sent to become veal. While the girls get raised into a life of forced pregnancy and heartbreak as each baby born is also taken from her. As bad as these sound, this is just for milk and cheese. Vegetarians eat cheese and drink milk, vegans do not.

There are so many vegan options in stores today to ensure the greatest success with this. From vegan hotdogs, to vegan eggs and delicious vegan ice cream. Anything you can think of, has a vegan option to choose instead. So there is no excuse, to not choose cruelty-free.

My husband going vegan was the best support I could have ever asked for. All it took was a couple of videos, some studies on health and animal products, and me making simple, yet delicious real food meals. He doesn’t miss the meat a single bit. I would have never imagined he would be happy about not eating meat! But he is.

Do you have any favorite charities or organizations?

I don’t believe many charities out there give back to organizations properly as they should. That being said I do believe in Farm Sanctuary. They house and rescue animals from all over, and give them the best possible life. For my 30th birthday I asked my husband if he would consider “adopting” an animal from Farm Sanctuary. I thought he was humoring me when he said he would consider it.

2 weeks later I received a package in the mail. My sweet husband had adopted a chicken for me! Her name is May. She was rescued from being shipped to someone in a cardboard box for over 72 hours. Bless her sweet little heart. She lives at the Northern California Farm Sanctuary not far from where I live, and we can visit her any time. They are a truly wonderful organization that proves their money is going to the right place.

Unfortunately there are many out there, that are scams. So you must be cautious. I donated money to a fraudulent farm rescue once, they tricked a lot of people. It is very sad that people can tell such an elaborate lie in the name of saving animals.

What effect on one’s health and even outside self can result from it?

This is a good one! I can tell you, not only will you feel less weighed down, you actually will be! I will get to that in a moment.

All my life I’ve had some degree of ADD along with brain fog most of the time. I just thought it was normal for me. Let me tell you, that is now a thing of the past! I’m clearer headed, less forgetful, more aware in general and I have a better capacity for learning. Just to name a few. Also, I am a lot more compassionate now. Go figure!

My skin is better than ever, my cellulite is completely gone, and I just feel great! I know that is so cliché, so here is the fun part: I never considered myself overweight. Actually most of the time I was told I was “thick” and that it worked for me. I haven’t told anyone how much weight I’ve lost since I’ve been vegan, but I’ll say it here.

Drum roll please…..I have lost 45 lbs! I am a size XS and a size 3 in pants now. I don’t work out either. I do some ballet toning, and that is all.  Which let me say, I am absolutely loving!! I barely recognize even myself in old photos, which I find so shocking. I don’t starve myself either, actually just the opposite.

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I’m always munching on fruits and veggies. I try to eat as raw as possible, with “raw bowls” being my favorite go-to. Which consists of raw fruits and or veggies, cut into small pieces and mixed together with a drizzle of avocado oil and tossed with salt and pepper. It’s incredibly filling, refreshing and delicious! If I can do it without even a hiccup, or craving for cheese, anyone can! I promise. Cheese cravings are gone within days!

Not to mention the plethora of other health benefits to veganism. Lowering cholesterol (which is only found in animal products), lowering body weight, preventing and reversing diabetes and obesity, getting rid of depression**, mental fog as well as skin problems. There are many, many other benefits as well that I didn’t even expect. It’s a fun surprise!

Favorite vegan beauty products/brands?

Unfortunately some of the biggest names in beauty, also animal test. A lot don’t, but most do. It was something I never thought too much about to be honest. I thought it wasn’t too bad. I will tell you it is much worse than we all thought. It is very, very sad the lives these animals are forced to live. In doing my vegan version swaps, I’ve thrown out a ton of products. MAC was the most saddening for me. I used to be a makeup artist, and that was always my favorite brand. However, now knowing that my eyeshadow had to be “tested” by some poor bunny, having its eyes become infected all just so I could use it. Made me sick. I couldn’t throw it out fast enough.

I absolutely adore the company Radha Organics. They are vegan and cruelty free, offer the best line of shampoo and conditioners I’ve ever used, and they all smell fantastic! The rose water, and eye cream works wonders too! My top picks for makeup, would have to be Kat Von D’s everlasting liquid lipsticks. They stay put, all day long! I wear it every single day. It is also vegan, of course.

There are vegan subscription beauty boxes as well as a few vegan meal and snack boxes too. The Purple Carrot box is perfect for food beginners and I would recommend the beauty box from petite four for only $15 a month! There are a lot of really fantastic vegan products out there. I just love them.

Thanks to Amanda for sharing her experiences! Be sure to follow her on Instagram: @gingysnapps

**If you feel seriously depressed, please speak with a professional, whether a doctor or a therapist. As a mental health advocate, and someone with bipolar disorder, I have to emphasize that healthy lifestyle changes should be an accompaniment to a plan of treatment/therapy with a professional. For more, check out this list of helpful websites.

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