Vow For Girls

Happy International Women’s Day!

Today, I am reflecting on all the incredibly strong women I have in my life. I’m surrounded by women who constantly lift Heather and I up. Not only do they support us, but they encourage us to be our very best selves. Over the past few years, we’ve had the pleasure of meeting countless women who have impacted our lives. Women who support women are everything!

It took me many years to accept myself, but now that I have, I couldn’t be more proud of the woman I’ve become, nor the woman I’m going to marry. Females are powerful, which is why Heather and I decided to decorate our home with art we feel represents that power. Over the last year, we’ve collected a few pieces that can be seen in our most recent at home photo shoot with Sienna plus Josh.

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We also recently announced our partnership with The Knot as one of the Most Influential Couples of 2019, and we are proud today to help The Knot support Vow For Girls in their mission to end child marriage. Every year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18 - even right here in the U.S. We’re lucky to be able to choose when, how, and who we marry, but not all girls have that choice. (To anyone who is engaged and also wants to help support Vow For Girls, simply create a registry with The Knot and select Vow For Girls as your charity of choice. The Knot will then donate $3 from each gift purchased off your registry to VOW.)

-Heather, I cannot wait to be your wife, and I am so unbelievable grateful that I have that freedom. I will never take that, nor you, for granted. I love you.-

Heather and I want to say thank you to all of the women in our lives: Family, Friends, & Followers - We love you all!

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Miami with The Knot

Over the last few days, Heather and I had the pleasure of meeting The Knot fam in Miami Beach, Florida. We are one of 20 couples that have been chosen as The Knot’s Most Influential Couples of 2019. We honestly cannot believe it! After meeting the other Influencers, Heather and I are extremely honored to be a part of such an incredible group of people, representing such a phenomenal company. While we attempted to keep you posted on or trip via Instagram, we also took time to live in the moment. So, now that we have a chance to fill you in on it all, sit back, get comfy, and join us in Miami!

Welcome Dinner by  The Knot  at  Faena  / Photo by  Esther Lee

Welcome Dinner by The Knot at Faena / Photo by Esther Lee

The start to our trip wasn’t all sunsets and seashells. We were supposed to leave Sunday night at 11pm on a red eye flight. This put us getting to Miami by 9am Monday morning so that we’d have time to explore before the festivities began. About an hour before we were going to leave for the airport, we received a message that our fight had been delayed an hour. While it wasn’t a huge deal at first, it did put us getting to Miami later than expected. Within the hour, however, we received another text that our flight was delayed until 10am the following Monday. The only flights available would put us in Miami at midnight, meaning we’d miss the Introduction Dinner and events. After going to the airport and standing in line until 1am, we were able to book flights with a different airline. We then rushed home, got two and a half hours of sleep, and then woke up and went back to the airport. Luckily we were able to sleep on the plane and only arrived to dinner an hour late, making a fashionably late entrance.

The dinner was held outside of our hotel, Faena, in the Mammoth Garden. Yes, it’s an actual gilded mammoth, and it’s absolutely stunning. Everyone was extremely friendly when we arrived, introducing themselves and talking about their wedding plans. We found our place at the table, and were presented our dinners: Squash Steak with Mushrooms and coconut tapioca for dessert. Yay for vegan options!

After dinner, we all went to the penthouse for drinks and photos. I can’t lie, I was freaking out a bit. Beyonce and Jay Z once stayed in the penthouse at Faena, so I was swooning to say the least! There were also numerous books laid out that were being gifted to us, one being City Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert (the author of Eat, Pray, Love) which doesn’t come out until June this year and is one I’ve already preordered. I may or may not have freaked out and accepted all books that were available.

Our photographer was Manolo Doreste , and he was amazing. He was our photographer all week, and made me feel like I was an actual model. I finally learned how to make a fierce face thanks to him. Our photos look like they could be in a magazine!

Once we finally made it to our room, we were amazed. The room was gorgeous! There was a kitchen area, living room area, balcony, king bed, and a giant bathroom complete with a huge tub, raining shower, and bidet. Yes, I pressed the bidet buttons and screamed causing Heather to laugh hysterically from the other room.

The next morning we had to be up bright and early. We went up to the penthouse where a Glam Squad was waiting to do our hair and makeup. After everyone was ready, we loaded up in Mercedes party vans and headed for the Wynwood District. The Wynwood District has countless graffiti walls, making it the perfect place for a photo shoot. We also had a video shoot while in Wynwood. It was set up like a Vogue 73 questions video, but we answered questions regarding our wedding. I can’t wait to see the video and will share it as soon as it’s available.

After hours of shooting (and everyone becoming extremely hangry) we went for lunch at Michael's Genuine where Heather and I got falafel wraps (mine wrapped in lettuce.) This was the only vegan option, but we enjoyed the bubbly rose.

Once back to the hotel, we immediately had to change for the next photo shoot. We then took pictures at the hotel. The decor is gorgeous. It felt like we were at the Versace mansion, which makes sense being in Miami. After more photos, Heather and I (along with couples Allie and Sam, and Sam and Eric) filmed The Knot Game Show. I’ll also share this as soon as it’s available.

Finally as the sun was going down, we were able to go to the beach for a minute and put our feet in the sand. Once in our room we ordered Postmates, chowed down on some tofu curry, and watched Vanderpump Rules. Even on vacation, we end up doing the same things we do at home.

The next morning we ordered room service for breakfast. When they knocked on the door, we weren’t expecting them to bring in a tiny table and set up an eating area for us. It was so cute, and we enjoyed our berries and coffee with the breeze blowing through our opened balcony door. We then went to the pool where other couples were already enjoying the sun. Brunch was also provided for us (sweet potato hash and fruit for us), again with a fabulous table set up, and we then returned to the pool to hang out with our new friends. Around 3, we had a 50 minute massage at the Faena Spa, which was AMAZING! Then it was off to get ready for dinner at Il Mulino New York - South Beach. Heather and I had grilled veggies and gluten free pasta. After Dinner, many of us went for drinks at one of the hotel bars.

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Heather and I slept in the next morning, but went down to the pool for some sun before heading to the airport. I can honestly say this was a trip that we will forever remember.

The other couples are amazing. We were extremely honored to be picked by The Knot, and we made friends we already believe will be in our lives for years to come. The whole week, we all lifted each other up, shared ideas regarding both wedding planning and social media, and celebrated each others’ happiness and success. Heather and I learned so much from everyone. While some conversations circled around social media and marketing, others went deep into personal stories about our lives. I can honestly say that we miss everyone already, and we are counting down the days until we reunite in The Hamptons.

2019 The Knot’s Influencers

Hunter McGrady (Sports Illustrated Model & Activist )

Keyma Morgan (Blogger - Fashion, Beauty, Travel, Decor)

Micaela Erlanger (Celebrity Stylist & Best Selling Author)

Kira Kazantsev (Host of Golf Advisor Living & Miss America 2015)

Brenna Huckaby (Athlete - Paralympic Medalist, 3x World Champion, 2018 Espy Winner, Public Speaker)

Adaleta Avdic (Public Figure/Blogger - Fashion, Travel, Beauty, Home Decor)

Erik Velasquez & Samuel Anthony (Public Figures/Bloggers - Fashion, Travel, Food, Events)

Franceska Garza (Public Figure/Vlogger)

Curissa De'Leon (Blogger - Lifestyle, Travel, Health, Fashion, Reflection)

Arianna Thomopoulos (Public Figure/Blogger - Lifestyle, Fashion, Beauty, Travel, Relationships)

Allie & Sam (Public Figures, Vloggers, Owners of A & S Social Media Marketing)

Emily Gellis (Blogger & Partner of Poppy -Vegan Skin Care Products)

Madiha Jamil (Blogger - Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel)

Gregory Littley (Public Figure & Content Creator)

Jules Hunt (Blogger - Wellness, Lifestyle, Personal Growth, Beauty, Travel)

JJ Lane (DU Hockey Analyst and Engaged to Kayla Hughes - Former NFL Cheerleader)

Lillian Babaian (Blogger & Vlogger - Fashion)

Olivia Muenter (Senior Fashion & Beauty Editor for Bustle)

Annie Tran (Blogger, High School English Teacher)

Jen Balisi (Indulgent Eats - Food Blogger)

The Knot  Fam - Photo by  Manolo Doreste
Swimsuit Cover & Earrings from  Bette

Swimsuit Cover & Earrings from Bette

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Photo by  Manolo Doreste
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Swimsuit Cover & Earrings from  Bette  / Swim Shorts from  Chubbies

Swimsuit Cover & Earrings from Bette / Swim Shorts from Chubbies

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Photo by  Manolo Doreste
Photo by  Manolo Doreste
Photo by  Jules Hunt

Photo by Jules Hunt

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We're with The Knot!
Photo by  Courtney Hellen

We’re making it rain champagne because we have an announcement! We have been selected as one of The Knot’s Most Influential Couples of 2019! (I’m rereading over that because it doesn’t even seem real! Okay, I’m back.)

You read that correctly, Heather and I will be working with The Knot this year. What does that mean? We will be doing all of our wedding planning exclusively with The Knot. This is literally a dream come true for me. I kid you not, I have created numerous accounts with The Knot since I was in high school. I have been planning my wedding for as long as I can remember, and I can’t believe that we’ve been gifted this opportunity.

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Days after Heather and I got engaged, The Knot reached out to me via Instagram. I thought it was a dream, and I immediately called Heather freaking out. I still continued to think it was too good to be true until further information was sent our way. I think I’m still expecting to hear it’s all been a dream, even as we are currently packing for our first sponsored trip with The Knot.

So far, we have created our wedding website, our registry, and our guest list using The Knot App. We have also used their checklist to make sure we are planning things in a timely manner. It’s also helped me plan for things I wouldn’t have thought about, such as ring insurance and insurance for the wedding.

Our registry is by far one of the greatest gifts The Knot has brought us. Instead of registering for countless items, Heather and I created a Newly Wed Fund. We have decided to register for financial gifts towards our IVF/Adoption fund. As if The Knot hasn’t already made 2019 the best year yet, they also gifted us $500 towards our fund. I simply can’t explain enough how much this company means to us.

Tomorrow we leave for Miami to meet The Knot team and the other 2019 couples. I am so excited and eager to share with you what all 2019 and The Knot brings our way!

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I Said YES to a Dress!

I genuinely had the most amazing experience wedding dress shopping! Heather and I’s bridal party consists of our best friends and family. There is no her side or my side, just our people. Our bridal party consists of Heather’s two sisters and brother, my three best friends from Mississippi, and six of our best friends from Oregon, one who is also marrying us. Unfortunately I was unable to take the entire party with me to try on dresses, but I did take my girls from Oregon. They made it the most memorable experience ever!

I spontaneously made an appointment at BHLDN and asked the girls if they could make it. I had no idea that they’d turn it into such an amazing occasion. We went to BHLDN here in Portland, OR. I went with a few dresses in mind that I knew I wanted to try on. Taylor, the BHLDN consultant, immediately pulled those dresses. She also had me pull a few with a very different style than they one’s I’d originally liked. The girls also pulled their picks.

With a dressing room full of sequins, tulle, and lace, we began trying on dresses. The girls sat outside the dressing room sipping champagne and filling the store with laughter and love. When I stepped out in the first dress, the girls made me feel like a princess! With each dress I tried on, I thought it would be harder and harder to choose “The One.”

The girls were feeling the same way. We had no idea which one I should pick. I seriously loved them all. At one point the girls “hit pause” on me trying on dresses to present me with a gift. Completely shocked, I opened a beautiful “MRS” Kate Spade necklace. I felt truly blessed in that moment.

After trying on around five dresses, Taylor asked me to try on a dress drastically different than the style I was looking at. She said that by trying on a different style, it would either confirm the style I was going for, or open my eyes to something new. She was completely right!

I walked through the dresses, feeling the fabrics, and glancing at the names of each one. I wish I could share the name of the dress I pulled, but I’ll just say it has special meaning to Heather and I. When I stepped into it, Taylor immediately saw something I wasn’t yet able to see. She asked me to turn away from the mirror while she zipped it up and clipped it fit me perfectly. “Wow” is all I heard before turning around and seeing myself. It was the one. I started crying right away, shocked at how much I loved it. I didn’t feel like a princess, I felt like a queen.

Dana (Our Bestie, Bridesmaid, and Wedding Officiant) literally dropping her jaw at the sight of me in my dress.

Dana (Our Bestie, Bridesmaid, and Wedding Officiant) literally dropping her jaw at the sight of me in my dress.

When I walked out, the girls’ jaws dropped. The fact that they knew it was the one confirmed what I was filling. After minutes of staring at it in admiration, the girls circled around me and prayed over me. Talk about waterworks!

Not having my mom be a part of the wedding planning is hard. What’s even harder is knowing my dad won’t be able to be there for the wedding, although I know he will have the best seat in the house. Before he passed, he would always talk about Heather and I getting married. He was even more excited to be a grandpa. I know he is with me, but in moments like this one, the realization that he’s gone hits.

With all the emotions filling the room, I said YES to the dress! I Facetimed Heather’s mom so she could see the dress, and she agreed it was the one! My bridesmaids from home and Heather’s sisters also agreed! I spent at least 45 more minutes in the dress just celebrating with the girls. They tried on bridesmaid’s dresses and we drank rose. When Taylor went to ring up the dress, she called me over to the screen. There was only ONE more of my dress available anywhere and it was in my size! How perfect is that?!

The whole time we were there the girls were sending Heather messages and teasing her. Heather met up with us afterwards for dinner, and I got to read all the messages and see all the teasing photos. I know that when she goes to get her suit, they will do the same to me, and I can’t wait!

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J.K. Rowling Congratulated Us!

Yep! You read the title correctly. After posting a picture from our engagement, J.K. Rowling herself actually saw it and tweeted Heather and I! We honestly didn’t think she would actually see our tweet.

The Monday morning after Heather proposed, I woke up to get ready for work. As I was checking my notifications, I noticed that someone with a blue check (a verified social media account) retweeted our engagement. I was so excited that someone “famous” had seen our picture. I woke Heather up with the exciting news and she immediately began checking her own notifications. While on Instagram, she saw a message from a follower stating “Your life must be made since J.K. Rowling saw your tweet.” We paused, went to Twitter, and clicked on J.K. Rowling’s profile. We were both frozen as we scrolled her page. When we came across her tweet, “CONGRATULATIONS!”, we started screaming! The author of Harry Potter TWEETED us! So yes, our life has been made!

It’s been three weeks since we got engaged, yet the excitement continues. Even before J.K. Rowling tweeted us, The Knot reached out to us regarding the proposal. I have been a fan of The Knot since I was in high school. I had every intention of using The Knot for all of our wedding planning, but the fact that they reached out to us confirmed my desire to use their planning tools. The Knot, however, had more in mind for us in regards to a partnership with them. The details of this are still in the works, but I promise to share all of the excitement with you as soon as we know more.

On top of J.K. Rowling and The Knot, our story was picked up by news channels, bloggers, and online magazines all over the world. While at work that same Monday morning, a parent of one of my students emailed me saying that Heather and I were on the MSN homepage. Within hours, our engagement pictures and videos were flooding the internet.

Click the title to see the article:

How They Asked

Inside Edition

MSN News

Yahoo! News

AOL News

Best Life Online

Jungle VT

George Takei (Star Trek IMDB)

The Advocate

PinkNews

Equally Wed

Her Campus

These are a few of the articles we have found so far. We are even seeing articles about our proposal in languages we cannot read. The week after the engagement, we had the pleasure of being interviewed on Tonight With Cassidy on KGW News. Basically, this has all been a dream. We honestly cannot grasp everything that has happened! While we are unbelievably humbled by the amount of media attention, love, and support we have been receiving, we are ultimately most excited to start this new chapter of our lives!

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How She Asked

When Heather and I first started dating, we quickly connected over our love for Harry Potter and the fact that, according to Pottermore, we are both Slytherins. On our first dating anniversary, we went to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida. For our third anniversary, this past August, we went to the Los Angeles location. While we were at Harry Potter World in LA, we started discussing having a Halloween party this year. Heather decided to be Draco Malfoy, and I decided to be Astoria Greengrass, his future wife. Little did I know, in February Heather had purchased our favorite book Harry Potter book, The Goblet of Fire, and had it designed to spell out “Marry Me” in the pages. She’d been holding onto the book and ring not yet knowing when or how she wanted to propose. With the book, our costumes, and an upcoming Halloween party with all of our friends, Heather decided it was the perfect time. Within the week of us announcing the party date, Heather booked plane tickets for all of my best friends from Mississippi to make sure they would be here for the proposal.

Heather, being the amazing social media guru that she is, partnered with Sizzle Pie, Portland Cider Co., Portland Gear, and One Hope Wines to make our party epic. I already knew about all of these collaborations, however, I didn’t realize these companies knew they were part of a proposal and not just a grand Halloween party. With that being said, when Heather sent me to go pick up the pizza, I didn’t think anything of it. Since we were being given a ton of pizza, she asked our friends Jenna and Kerwynn to go with me. Instead of Sizzle Pie, Jenna stopped in the middle of a neighborhood and claimed it was the pizza place. I was beyond confused. In front of the house, was a Little Free Library. Heather and I love driving around Portland searching for Little Free Libraries. It’s one of our regular weekend dates. As I stepped out of the truck, still confused, Jenna told me that there was something in the Little Free Library for me. Through the glass door I could see a Harry Potter book. I immediately realized something big was happening.

As I pulled the First Harry Potter book out of the library, I noticed a note sticking out. Distracted by the shock of what was happening, I didn’t even notice my best friend from college, Jordan, walking towards me. It was raining and she was covering her face with an umbrella. I struggle to express the emotions I felt when I heard her voice. Seeing Jordan told me exactly what was about to happen, I was getting engaged! Thoughts began pouring in my mind. I couldn’t believe that Heather was proposing, and I couldn’t fathom that Jordan was going to be present for it. Heather and I moved to Portland, Oregon over a year ago, and this was the first time Jordan was seeing my knew home. How incredibly thoughtful of Heather. I had never felt so loved!

As we got back into the truck, I still though we were going to pick up pizza. My only thoughts were that now Jordan was with us, we were picking up pizza, and then I was getting engaged! Instead of Sizzle Pie, I once more found myself in front of a house with a Little Free Library. This time I jumped out of the truck to reach the second book and letter from Heather. As I walked towards the little library, I heard “Hello Darling”, in a voice I again instantly knew. Although I knew who I heard and who I was seeing, my brain took a second to actually register that my best friend from high school was now present also. Ally was here, and Heather did this!

I then had Jordan and Ally with me, and I forgot about the pizza. As we drove, I searched each driveway for Morgan, my best friend since first grade. The moment I saw her I began screaming and practically jumped out of a moving truck. With Morgan was also the third Harry Potter book and a letter from Heather. I had all of my best friends with me, and they were all in Portland, Oregon to be a part of my engagement.

Photo by  Ivory & Oak

Photo by Ivory & Oak

They then took me back to our apartment where the party was being held and led me to the rooftop. Standing in the rain was Heather, holding the fourth book, and smiling beautifully. I was ugly crying all over the place as I practically ran to her. I said “YES” before she could even ask me. I was literally jumping with joy. She then pulled out a little blue box and dropped down to one knee. I honestly can’t tell you what she said, what I said, or what was said in the minutes afterwards. I didn’t even notice the photographer circling us and talking our pictures. What I do know, however, is that it was the happiest moment of both of our lives!

Also waiting was a room full of all of our closest friends. An added decoration now hung in the room that said “From Muggle to Mrs.” Heather put so many details into this proposal. While she showed me to paper flowers on the tables that had our names on them, someone snapped a picture of us and showed me that Heather had also created a Snapchat filter for us. We then spent the rest of the night celebrating with everyone! It was nothing less than MAGICAL!

We are humbled by the amount of love we are receiving, but most importantly, we are eager to start this next chapter of our lives together. I cannot wait to marry my best friend! Watch the full video below:

Photography: Ivory & Oak

Photos by Ivory & Oak

Photo by  Ivory & Oak

Photo by Ivory & Oak


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How to Save a Life

Ready to make a real difference? 

You’ve probably heard the saying, “If I only knew then what I know now.” This for me is one of those life lessons I wish I would have stumbled on sooner. A bit of a disclaimer, I am no medical professional. This post is merely to tell my story and share my own personal beliefs. However, these personal beliefs will be backed by actual medical professionals, specialists, and medical journals. I am in no way trying to shame anyone. I am in no way perfect—nor do I expect anyone to be—I just simply wish to be informative for those seeking guidance in the matter.

If you’ve read about my battle with food, you already know that I chose veganism after being diagnosed with Gastritis and Celiac Disease. The only diet that relieved my stomach pain was a vegan/gluten free diet with proper food combining for optimal digestion. What started for strictly personal reasons, soon turned into a lifestyle that benefited myself and others. Let me also state that Heather and I still own (or sometimes accidentally purchase) a few non-vegan items. We are still learning what is considered vegan and what is not. For instance, I never associated gummy bears with animal products. Gummy bears are in fact NOT vegan because they obtain gelatin which is derived from collagen obtained from various animal body parts. GUMMY BEARS, Y’ALL! We also are in the process of “veganizing” our closets. New shoes and purses will be here soon to replace the ones we currently have. We are also seeking ethically made clothing—the more we learn about how we can make a difference in our world, the more we make those issues a priority in our lives. It's all about choosing to make better decisions. You don't have to throw away all of your non-vegan items today. Simply start choosing ethical purchases as you learn. Now, about our initial switch to veganism:

 As a child, I would question every meal, “Is this a plant or an aminal? Cause I don’t eat aminals.” I might not have known how to say animals, but I knew I didn’t want to eat them. If only I would have kept that mindset. We grew up surrounded by industries and advertisements that led us to believe that we needed meat for protein and milk for calcium. I even had a Britney Spears “Got Milk” poster in my room. However, something just never felt right about it for me. I went back and forth growing up being vegetarian and then not. In my lifetime I have had Salmonella (twice) and E.coli—both can come from meat. I should have listened to my body. I also hated the texture of meat, anddd I’d type more on that but it’s physically making my stomach hurt to even talk about it. Fish and seafood were my only exceptions. When I started having major issues with my stomach, I began playing with my diet and trying to see what helped. I ran across numerous articles on vegan diets and began doing my own research. To be completely honest, I also admired some now fellow vegans on Instagram. By "admired" I mean slightly obsessed over their pages! So… I took the leap. Little did I know, I was drastically improving my health, saving lives, and helping our environment. Side Note: Heather definitely never saw herself being vegan. As an athlete, she believed she needed practically her body’s weight or more of protein a day to make the gains she desired. In fact, she was on the keto diet before she went vegan. She was eating only meats, cheeses, and fats when she switched to a vegan diet OVERNIGHT!

So how exactly do we think we are helping ourselves and others by choosing to be vegan? I hope you are cuddled up in a blanket, wearing comfy clothes, and ready to read! These might be all over the place BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY REASONS! Since I wanted this to be informative yet enjoyable though, I only listed 20 facts. (References are in pink)

Helping Others

Our #1 Reason: Obviously, we are saving animals’ lives. There is absolutely no humane way to kill an innocent animal. I literally start to cry when I think about the fact that this is our society’s “norm”. What makes a pig or a cow any different from the dog or cat that you have safely and lovingly lying at your feet? A vegan saves 198 animals a year. This not only is our reason for remaining vegan in our food choices, but also in our decision to make smarter choices in our clothing and accessories, as well as our makeup, hair products, cleaners, etc. Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment. For that reason, we also choose to not visit aquariums or zoos. A personal choice should never compromise the well-being of an innocent being. (PETA).

2. The pharmaceutical industry sells 80% of all antibiotics made in the United States to animal agriculture (Department of Health & Human Services, 2014). The World Health Organization has stated that we are nearing a post antibiotic era in medicine. All of these antibiotics could be going directly to humans in need, instead they go to animals being bred for our consumption.

3. There is approximately the same number of hogs (being raised for human consumption) in North Carolina as there are people. This is where swine flu originated. These pigs produce the waste equivalent to 100 million humans. All of that waste is being pumped into waste pits that leach into rivers and streams. Unfiltered, it is also sprayed onto nearby fields (Scientific American, 2015, North Carolina Riverkeeper & Waterkeeper Alliance, and more).

4. Raising animals for food produces more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation sector (Food & Agriculture Organization).

5. Raising animals for food consumption is the leading cause of Rainforest destruction, species extinction, ocean dead zones, and fresh water consumption (Stanford Environmental Law Journal, Scientific America, and more).

6. 40% of the world’s grain is fed to animals being raised for human consumption. If everyone in the US went vegan, we could feed 800 million people just with the grain currently feeding these animals. That’s enough food to feed all of the people in Europe. Think of how many starving children we could be feeding with that grain. (Cornell University)

7. You can save six showers worth of water for every 1lb of meat you DON’T eat. 51% of the world’s water goes to animal agriculture (The Scavenger).

8. Fishing boats kill not only millions of fish a year, but they also are the death to dolphins, sea turtles, whales, sharks, crabs, and other sea life. Side Note: Whales are my favorite animal! (PETA)

Personal Health Reasons

9. The World Health Organization Report has classified bacon and sausage as carcinogenic— directly involved in causing cancer—to humans (World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer). In the US, 1 out of every 4 deaths is from cancer (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017).

10. Diabetes has been found to be caused by meat, dairy, and animal derived fats, NOT carbohydrates and sugar as I too once thought. As little as one serving of processed meat a day increased the risk of diabetes by 51%. (Michael Greger, M.D., Barnard, Neal, et al., The New England Journal of Medicine, and more)

11. Within minutes of eating dead meat bacteria toxins, the body gets a burst of inflammation, stiffening or paralyzing the arteries (Michael Greger, M.D. 2012 & British Journal of Nutrition).

12. The leading source of sodium for adults in America is chicken (Consumers Union).

13. Eating one egg per day is just as bad as smoking five cigarettes a day for life expectancy (Baer, Heather J, et al, Spence, J. David, et al, & Michael Greger, M.D.). In fact, the USDA admitted that eggs cannot legally be labeled as nutritious, low fat, part of a balanced diet, low in calories, healthy, good for you, or safe (Michael Greger, M.D.).

14. The number one source of saturated fat is dairy (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health)

15. Four worries from fish: PCB’s, Mercury, Saturated fat, and Cholesterol (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine). Oh, DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE WHALES!

16. 93% of dioxin exposure comes from animal products (Toxic Substance & Disease Registry)

17. There is a strong link between autoimmune disease and animal products (Journal of Nutritional Science, 2012).

18. Milk is a hormonal fluid. Dairy is LEGALLY allowed to contain, get this.. PUS! That’s freaking gross! (USDA APHIS Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health, 2014)

19. Milk does not build strong bones. Britney, how could you lie to me?! (The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Feb 2003, Vol 77)

20. 70% of deaths and morbidity are largely lifestyle related and preventable (The Center or Disease Control and Prevention).  

As a fitness lover, I cannot justify making my outside appearance seem healthy while neglecting my inside health. Heather and I initially decided to be vegan because of the way it made us feel, but these 20 reasons are reasons we will remain vegan. For ourselves, animals, and for others, we cannot and will not consume nor purchase animal products. It is not “hard” to be vegan. I am not “giving anything up” to be vegan. Again, I am not a perfect vegan, but I do try my best to make ethical decisions in my daily life. I hope that this post is received out of love for you, our earth, and the animals. I in no way want to shame anyone. I simply wish to inform and make a difference where I can.

Some tips for going vegan

EAT ENOUGH!! Although I labeled this a “diet”, I do not mean that in the sense of calorie restriction or aiming for weight loss. Eat ALL the fruits and veggies. Listen to your body. If you are hungry, literally eat plants until you are full. There is no restricting on a plant-based diet.

Take a vitamin B-12 supplement!

Eat raw plants first for proper food digestion. Combining certain fruits can cause stomach aches. My e-book addresses all of these things.

Drink lots of water.

When first going vegan, your body will detox. This can actually cause you to feel bloated, your skin to break out, and can cause you to have a headache for a few days. All of these things are normal and will go away! My skin drastically cleared up once my body detoxed. I also began feeling (and becoming) much leaner!

Watch documentaries! There are some great ones on Netflix. Start with What the Health, Forks Over Knives, Cowspiracy, Vegucated, & The Cove.

Shop in season. Fruits and veggies that are in season will be cheaper. However, never put a price on fueling your body with truly healthy foods. Saving animals, water, grains, the rainforest, and our earth is also pretty priceless!

You can do this! It’s a very simple way that you can make a huge impact on our world. Gain your vegan superpowers today! (Hope I have some fellow super nerd Scott Pilgrim fans out there!)

Make the change. Be the change.

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