My story of going vegan is one of purpose, passion and power. I stopped eating animals in 1990 but becoming vegan five years ago has led to many unexpected lifestyle changes and benefits. While I went vegetarian for health and athletic performance reasons, I became vegan for the animals.
My light switch moment came when my dear friend and client, Olympic silver medal-winning cyclist Dotsie Bausch, delivered her TEDx talk, “Olympic Level Compassion.” That same day, I visited a website WhatCodySaw.com that revealed the true horrors of animal agriculture. Once I learned in explicit detail about the abuse and suffering these sentient animal beings are forced to experience, I was done with dairy and eggs, too.
Ethically, I could no longer support or enable (with my dollars) food industries that are literally built on the foundation of speciesism practiced in the forms of animal cruelty, slavery, rape, torture and murder. It’s completely unnecessary when we can get everything that we need by eating plant-based foods. Plus, factory farming creates so many problems (like spreading deadly viruses such as COVID-19) and does massive damage to our climate and the earth’s dwindling resources.
As I chronicled in a recent column, my arthritis went away miraculously when I ditched dairy from my diet. My recovery from the intense training and competing that I do each day as a hockey player has significantly improved since going vegan. In fact, I always credit my whole-foods, plant-based diet as the secret to how I am able to compete day after day as an over-50 athlete who is on the ice daily with elite, college and pro players in their late teens, 20s and 30s.
Being vegan means that my food choices and the products that I use are in alignment with my ethics and core values. And with my conversion came a community, a tribe of compassionate and caring people who, like me, woke up to the truth. That community inspired me to align and inform my work with the message of veganism. It has become my PURPOSE.
While growing up, I was often called a trendsetter who has a keen sense and the confidence and the infectious enthusiasm to lead and influence others. I am grateful that my being a vegan athlete has educated and inspired others on their path to “woke.” Sharing my knowledge and experience to help change and save lives is my PASSION.
Hockey players wear stickers on their helmet indicating which team they represent. I’m proud to wear a vegan sticker on my hockey helmet. I imagine that it gives me POWER.
If you have a vegan or dairy-free anniversary that you want to celebrate, whether it’s one month or ten years, check out the Vibrant Energy shop page to get your NRG chip. You’ve earned it!
Plus, we are donating half the proceeds to Switch4Good. I put my 5-year vegan anniversary sticker on my water bottle.