Guest Post by Jessica Fucale
It is hard to remember what meat tastes like. I originally went vegetarian in 2008, a year after graduating from college. I was playing around with the idea of changing my diet, cutting out a thing or two here and there. I was 23 years old, still carrying my "Freshman 15", not physically active and my diet consisted almost entirely of junk food. But what sent me full force ahead into a cruelty-free meatless life was watching PETA’s “Meet your Meat”, a short film that exploits the factory farming industry.
I remember feeling so naïve and betrayed about where my food was coming from. Why hadn’t I thought about this before? I’ve always loved and cared for animals and could no longer support a system that so horribly murdered them. It sent me on an emotional spiral; I would cry whenever Lola (my rescue dog) came into the room. It took me months to get my emotions in check and not burst into tears when the animal abuse commercials came on TV. I haven’t eaten meat since.
This revelation sent me on a mission. I devoured every book and film I could get my hands on. I started discussing veganism with others to learn about their perceptions. I got the same reaction from everyone, even my doctor—“Where will you get your vitamins?” “What will you eat?” and the most popular “How will you get protein?”.
At the time, I couldn’t answer a lot of these questions sincerely. I knew what I had read and learned, but was it really true? Could I really get the protein I needed from beans and greens? Would I have all of the vitamins I needed from fruits and veggies? Does almond milk really have more calcium than dairy milk? I made up my mind and finally said bye-bye to all animal products completely.
It has been more than three years since I made the full switch to vegan. The effects my new lifestyle had on my body was amazing. I dropped weight, my skin cleared up, the bags under my eyes disappeared, my hair grew quickly, I had boundless energy, my nails were stronger, my digestion balanced itself…it was like I was a new person. Going through such an amazing transformation helped me see that it is not just about the physical changes, but mental and emotional as well. I don’t get as easily upset or anxious, nervous or uncomfortable. I am 10 times more compassionate toward everything and everyone now than I was before. I am literally in sync with nature. I look back at myself before and I don’t know that girl anymore.
At around the same time that I was having this “Vega-lution”, I started on my career path. I was hired at the end of 2010 as the Training, Demo and PR coordinator at GreenPan (now known as The Cookware Company) and unknowingly headed off in a direction that was about to completely change my life, again. While I had become a vegan, I was not a great cook, and I’ll be the first to admit that I was boring. I ate the same exact thing everyday. I was one extremely mundane vegan.
But at work, I was all about the culinary creativity. GreenPan is easy to work with, uses healthy ceramic non-stick, and is simple to clean, so I was inspired to develop recipes to educate others via social media and cooking demos about our innovative pans. I researched recipes in every category: vegan, non-vegan, raw, grilled, baked, stir fried…nothing was off limits when it came to food and work. I began getting creative in my own life with food – and with my newfound love of cooking, even my 6 foot, 200 pound, weight-lifting, meat eating boyfriend loved it! The great thing about working for and using GreenPans in my everyday life is that I am able to bring work home with me in a fun way. Cooking is so much easier and I don’t dread going home and trying to figure out what to make for dinner. I’ve figured out how to alter regular recipes and turn them vegan.
My entire value and belief system changed with my lifestyle and it is such a blessing that I am able to work for The Cookware Company because they are mindful of the same things. And while I would never push the vegan lifestyle on anyone, as I truly believe that all people have their own path, I have educated everyone I love on the benefits of healthy cooking and being conscious of the equipment you use to cook your food – vegan or not. You can’t be mindful of what you eat if you aren’t mindful of what you are preparing it with…it all goes into your body.
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