How Did This Alberta “MEATatarian” become so vegan-ish?!?

Jillian HarrisFood, Life, My Heart, Vegetarian328 Comments

Cows-in-a-pasture-supported-by-the-life-saving-work-of-Mercy-For-Animals

I have to say I have been (not literally) crapping my pants in anticipation of this blog. Why? Because I’ve learned from being a public personality that when people make big changes, you really can’t win. I try my best “not to care what people think” but to be honest, I read every comment and I take most of it to heart. This topic is extremely controversial and people are very passionate about it either way.

This is only the story of MY journey. I am not asking anyone to become Vegan or Vegetarian … I am only posting this for those interested in my switch. The only thing I DO ask of you is this: PLEASE read this whole blog before commenting and please please keep comments positive and constructive!

I’ve been keeping this kind of secret from you guys for about 6 months now … truthfully I haven’t wanted to share it because it’s the craziest thing I’ve ever done. I’m terrified that after I tell you all that “I don’t eat meat” … that I will fail and you will all call me out for that steak I plan to chow down on in June. But … no one is perfect and I have been SO excited about these changes that even IF I fail it can’t hurt to pour my heart out and maybe encourage others out there too! (although I will TRY my best not to make anyone feel guilty for not making the switch!! LOL)

chopped raw meat

So … HOW did this Alberta “MEATatarian” become so vegan-ish? Well … it started when I got Nacho. I love that little noodle so much and looking at those innocent eyes every day reminded me that he’s not much different than the piggies and the cows I was eating every day.

PS: a little side note / thought here … I used to make fun of Vegans. I used to think that people who didn’t eat bacon were STUPID (that is not a lie, I really thought that) AND I used to say if I could live on ONE thing and one thing only it would be bacon burgers. Now I can’t look at it without feeling a little heart break. SO FRICKEN CRAZZZZY…. I still can’t believe the change. Ok … carrying on….

It started with just being overly conscious. I knew that the meat I was eating likely didn’t have the best life, so I starting ‘trying’ to avoid meat when I ate out … and when I did buy it at home I would try my best to do a little research and get it from local farms and ‘non-factory’ farms. I’ve always LOVED milk so chugging 1/2 a liter a day didn’t change. Cheese consumption continued on … I bought the milk in the glass bottles and cheese from local dairies and that made me feel better. (Still not entirely sure if that IS even a better option for the animals to be honest…)

erin ireland

I followed Erin Ireland on Instagram already and then started following her on Snapchat too (YOU HAVE TO DO THIS!!). Her way of living intrigued me. Maybe because she is so gentle, or has a way with making vegan food look INSANELY delish … but I was girl crushing hard and wanted to be ‘just like her’ … I wanted to have that gentle heart, I wanted to make kind and thoughtful choices too!!!!

So one day, I made the 4 hour drive from Kelowna to Vancouver for work, and my phone was broken … so … I listened to AM radio. CBC radio had this 2 hour long segment about being vegan and I listened intently. And I thought … and I thought … my heart all of a sudden became SO passionate and that’s when I started reading, researching and calling Erin Ireland on the repeat and asking her so many questions….

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What about Dairy Cows? What about family farms? How do you get your protein? Is it hard? What about cheese? So you will never eat bacon again?? All of it seems so daunting but so inspiring … The MAIN reason for her switch was HUMANITY. While research also proves that making the switch is insanely better for your health AND the environment.

I wanted to learn more so I watched 3 documentaries, Cowspiracy, Vegucated, the True Cost and then… I saw the light.

It turns out there aren’t many options to eat animal products in a ‘humane’ way… 90% of the animal products I (and most likely you) am eating come from a factory farm… and while there are CLAIMS that “the animals are on the planet for us to eat” … (which may or may not be correct) … I know for a fact they were not meant to be treated the way that they are at the factory farms.
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It’s not like it was back in our parents day anymore … in the last 30 something years society has become gluttons, we overeat, we waste and don’t ration the meat like they did in the ‘good old days’ (I am generalizing and realize this does not apply to ALL my readers FYI) … The aisles of the grocery store are LINED and packed with so much dairy and meat … now I get sick just thinking about all of the cows that sit there for their whole lives jacked up to a machine, not able to see their young. I always imagined a dairy cow to be the most romantic thing ever, now I realize it’s actually torture. I could go on, but since I am not an expert in this area I will leave the research up to you. (PS: I have found that fish is even a tricky one, not when it comes to humanity as much as what factory fishing is doing to our environment!)

soy

In November, I went totally Vegan. I went for 30 days with NO animal products and actually… it was pretty cool. But I was a savage Vegan … I was bullying everyone at work and at home and shaming them for ordering anything with an animal product. I begged my parents to watch the documentaries and begged them to try my soy coffee creamer (the image above is what I use) … when they didn’t I cried like a 6 year old. LOL. I was a disaster. I wanted EVERYONE to change… I very soon felt the anguish of what most radicals felt … wanting to make a change so bad but realizing the energy it takes to get into everyone’s hearts.

After 30 days of being Vegan, I got asked the same question over and over again … “HOW do you feel”?? Well, I felt like shit because I just ate spaghetti and vegan gummy bears all month! hahaha!! but I wasn’t doing it for me … I was doing it for the animals. But still … I wasn’t healthy. I needed to learn more about what to eat when being vegan and I needed it to fit into my crazy lifestyle … which was hard.

I realized that with all of the traveling and bouncing between two homes, “becoming Vegan” would be really tough for me. I can’t buy in bulk … I often don’t make my own meals because I’m rarely home, eating on the fly means either being REALLY organized (which I am NOT and never will be) or going without food. Eating out was interesting … I’ve realized some of my FAVOURITE restaurants (like Cactus Club) are completely vegan-UNfrienldy… and I started to more research…

vegetables

So this is where I am at TODAY… it’s been 6 months of changing the way I eat, chaining where I buy. definitely wasting less and learning more … I will continue this journey, but for now I will say that I am VEGAN-ish. Here are some tips and ways that have helped me make the transition (PS: these are MY tips and opinions… some vegans might not agree … and some meat loving Albertans might not agree… so please take it easy on me! LOL)

Tip 1: When eating out, I look at the menu FIRST for a vegan item I might like. Failing that, I look for a vegetarian item, then I move to fish. If I still can’t find something I like, I usually become mega stubborn and just won’t eat there … but usually the above method provides some great options! This has also challenged me to eat at establishments that are vegan-friendly. I’ve found that our local Cactus Club is NOT vegan-friendly at all (SO SAD) but Earls and Joeys both have great vegan options! I found some GREAT vegetarian restaurants in Vancouver and when it comes to fast food I’ve found some great junk food joints that have great veggie options (blog to come!!).

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I RARELY eat ANY kind of meat anymore. The exceptions for me?

– Justin’s family buys a cow every year from a family farm that we have visited and know to be “the best conditions” for a cow who will eventually be consumed. We get some of the meat and eat it occasionally or I prepare it for Justin as he hasn’t QUITE made the switch yet (although he is VERY interested in making the switch!)

– For whatever reason, I am ok with eating wild game. The thought that this animal lived in its natural habitat and was hunted in the wild “FOR ME” … seems to make the cut. This also applies to traveling to such places like Emerald Lake Lodge, Tofino, or establishments that source their meat & game in an ethical & sustainable manner. (We recently went to Tofino and I was thrilled to try local mussels!!). The more questions you ask about where your food comes from, the more demand restaurants will have to source ethically and sustainably! It’s ok if people think you’re a hippy. I’ve realized now that hippies are hella fricken smart and so I’m totally cool with that.

– I have REDUCED the amount of dairy I consume to a GREAT extent. I will eat some local cheese but avoid mass produced factory dairy products. I don’t ‘chug’ milk anymore and use SOY NICE for my coffee.

– I still eat eggs but buy only FREE-RUN eggs (I had to do a ton of research on this too because there are MANY different labels that make egg and chicken purchases very tricky, and typical chicken factories are GROSS!)

– I’ve realized the whole ‘protein’ issue is a NON-issue because so much of the foods we eat have SO much protein in them already!!! For example: peas, nuts, nut butters, beans, leafy greens, chia seeds (or any seeds!). I also LOVE the Vega bars and keep them and almonds in my purse and car for those “desperate moments”!

– Lastly, I am… human. I’ve failed at this more than once … strangely enough, the hardest thing for me has been … wait for this… ginger beef??!!! LOL which I have ordered twice in the last 6 months and grilled cheese sandwiches with Kraft slices. Over Christmas, there were beef sliders at the table and I had one. GASP. I had to tell you guys because I’ve been feeling guilty ever since….

But that is why I wanted to write this blog.. because I think the HARDEST part about making this change is having to put a label to ‘what I am’ and worrying about FAILING … if you have a big glass of milk, or order a burger one day … it’s ok. It doesn’t mean you can’t do it … or that you are a bad person. I think the most magical part of this whole journey for me has been learning, reducing and NEVER EVER wasting. When I used to toss a block of moldy cheese out I never gave it a second thought. Now I think of ALL of that animal product as a life, that was sacrificed for ME … and why on earth would I ever waste a morsel of that?

So ya  … oh my God I hope this blog hasn’t been too boring or naggy for you all. I really really wrote this from the heart and want to share my journey along the way! I will continue to update everyone on products I love, recipes I love and even products that I have tried that suck! LOL …

THANK YOU for reading… #MercyForTheAnimals

XO
JILLY

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328 Comments

  • Very thoughtfully written and honest

  • Alison Williams  • 

    Thank you for this Jillian. Like you, I am vegan-ish. I’ve faced a lot of criticism from the vegan community because they embrace it as a lifestyle (all power to them) and they say I can’t be “ish”. So now I’ve started saying “I eat mostly a vegan diet”. I have been on and off vegetarian my entire life, but cowspiracy really did it for me too. I hate that there has to be so many rigid labels and rules because it deters people from trying to eat in a way that is better for themselves, the animals and the planet. Once in a while I’ll have a piece of bacon on a special occasion, and I’ll eat eggs occasionally (but only the ones where I know where they’re from and are free run). Even my husband who is from the mid-west is starting to embrace this way of living (the in-laws, not so much!) and I find it really satisfying to make a vegan dish for meat eaters and having them acknowledge that it was satisfying, delicious and filling. I miss cheese all the time, but I will probably have it from time to time. Keep it up girl! We are in this together!

  • It took me nearly a decade to go fully vegan. It was never my “end game” but the more I learned the more steps I took. The hardest part has been the past two years with beauty products and clothing items. There are some great vegan hand bag companies (i.e. Matt and Nat) but shoes have been tough. We are a farming family so not big city normal but it is worth it. Good luck! Every vegan choice you make, makes a difference.

  • I loved reading this, Jillian! Over the past few months I have tried to make more of an effort to eat more natural foods and know where my food is coming from. (Not only animal products). But it is a really big challenge and I feel silly for “giving it a shot” when I fail. I agree with not putting a label on things, for I don’t think I will ever be able to call myself a vegetarian. (This Alberta girl loves those steaks off the BBQ for dinners at the lake!) But good for you for exploring this lifestyle and can’t wait to hear about everything you learn! Erin Ireland is inspiring, but always girl crushing on you, too!

  • I love this! I love that you are making a change for YOU. I truly hope people don’t rip you apart over this post, because eating meat is like religion to me… Keep it in your kitchen and I will keep it in mine, haha. I also love that you are working hard, but know that failure may or may not come and guess what? If it does, you can pick yourself up and do better tomorrow! Lots of luck!

  • Joanne Grant  • 

    Appreciate your honesty & will follow this journey of yours with interest. Don’t get discouraged if you receive negative comments, as so many of us are thankful for “real” life Jill 🙂

  • Erin Ireland’s Snapchat and Cowspiracy totally changed my life! I do Veganuary every year but this one is going to stick through. Good for you for thinking and being curious about your food choices!

  • Andrea C.  • 

    Thanks for sharing Jill! Love your blog and your transparency. I LOVE Erin too! I have girl crushes on you both 🙂

  • Loved this post. I have become increasingly interested in learning more about where our food comes from and will definitely look into the films you mentioned. Part of me is scared for what I will learn, and how hard it will be to transition our way of eating to be more humane, ethical, healthy, etc. I loved this post, so interesting to read about your journey and I appreciate your honesty 🙂 You’re basically the cutest!

  • Jill St Peter  • 

    Way to go Jilly! While I am an Alberta beef loving girl your comment about Nacho really got me thinking. I love my doggy so much too. Might be time to start thinking about where my meat comes from…. first step lol

  • Holly Pillsbury  • 

    Wow. Your honesty is infectious. It would be only natural for us to extend compassion and mercy to you as you bravely take this step forward in your food journey. Please write more and more about this monumental shift in your life. I have been interested in seeking out the same changes myself and your words helped me understand that there is a humane way to transition. Keep vegucating us!

  • I’m SO SO SO SO happy to read this blog, Jillian! I know how scary it is to want to pour your heart out about your lifestyle change and have it be different than the majority. I’ve been vegan for 2 years and it’s been an amazing & life-changing journey. I also still have those temper tantrums with friends/family who don’t “see the light” hah! It’s fun to see how vegans aren’t those hippy-dippy weirdos that you thought they were – they’re compassionate, cool, hip, and healthy peeps! Good luck with your journey!! xoxo

  • Danielle Connor  • 

    Loved reading this Jill! 🙂 I’ve been trying to be more conscious too of where my food comes from, and what an eye opener it’s been! It was great to read such an honest post, and I’ve been watching your snaps too and seeing how you’ve been changing your lifestyle! It’s fantastic! Looking forward to more of these Vegan-ish and healthy food posts 🙂

  • Good for you!! We are “vegan-ish” too, living in Victoria! LOTS of beautiful places to buy grass fed organic meat/yogurt/cheese on the island! We eat meat 1 or 2 times a week, always from a reputable source! We have watched those documentaries as well & I probably follow all the same bloggers & have the same cookbooks as you. Hubbys parents are vegan (living in Summerland!) – she makes vegan food taste GOOD! I have sooo many of her recipes & we use them every week.
    You can do it – you’ve already done so much to your diet therefore the planet also! No one is perfect, I don’t label myself either – I say I eat healthy & make damn good conscious decisions about my food!
    PS you’re amazing

  • Amy Salikin  • 

    I respect you soooo much more for this article! ! I grew up only a couple hours from kelowna, in a community that had always been conscious ofthe environment and what we surround ourselves with and what we consume. I struggled with the same thing as a child and young teen, having decided I prefer my chickens in our yard rather than on my plate at the age of 4 years old! ! I have started eating meat again, but very little and people always look confused at me if I do, ‘I thought you were vegetarian? ‘ or if I don’t eat it I get questioned again. The struggle is real and I can only imagine being a public figure is harder. Love your blog, and how open you are to sharing your life with us!! Thank you.

  • Anastasia Rezac  • 

    I love this Jillian! I watched Cowspiricy over the holidays and follow Erin religiously and have always loved making vegan food. In January I made the switch to being vegan(ish). I cheat when I’m meeting someone I don’t know too well, and they choose the restaurant and they want to share some plates. I suck it up and have some fish, or some mayo-based sushi. Being vegan has made me realize I love vegetarian sushi more than other sushi, but I still crave clams, and cheese and a good piece of buttered bread. I am doing a 30 day experiment now, and I will totally continue being vegan(ish) after this. Thanks for the inspiring post, and yes, I totally had the same problem where I would eat unhealthy vegan food (like Meet on Main’s grilled cheese! mmm!).

  • Leah Marie Christie  • 

    I love this Jillian! This comes straight from the heart and its nice to hear all about your journey! Last August I traveled to a small town in Sask, to my fiancé’s family reunion. Along the way we passed cow, after cow, after cow. I am a HUGE animal lover, but never really thought about where what I was consuming came from. That trip changed my outlook on things, and I stopped eating red meat from that point on.
    I started educating myself more and more… Now all I can picture is those adorable faces when I think about meat. The biggest gain for me was realizing I didn’t even miss it!

    I know its scary to put yourself out there (especially if you have slips once in a while… like ordering lasagna and not even thinking about the ground beef! Ugh!) but it’s all a learning process.

    I’ve found that the people who really love and care about me are encouraging, and help to support my lifestyle change. So keep posting and congrats on everything you have accomplished so far! PS – earls has an AMAZING veggie burger – you must try!

  • Muckersgirl  • 

    Thanks for sharing your journey & experience! For the past couple of years I have made the choice to only use natural/organic products. I’ve done great with this part of making myself healthier by eliminating all the toxins that I was putting on my skin. Am thinking its time for the next step and to make a change as to how I eat. Thanks again! Looking forward to hearing your progress!

  • Erin Kindrachuk  • 

    I loved this Jillian! I think no matter what, making a concious choice toward more ethical and compassionate decisions is a good thing. This story reminds me a lot of my decision to stop eating meat after reading the book ‘Eating Animals.’ What an eye-opening book that left me feeling shaken. I was pretty strict for 2+ years, but have since adopted more of a “flexitarian” mindset and eat dairy and meat in a more reduced capacity, and trying much harder to make ethical decisions when shopping. Everything we do makes a difference in some small way!

  • Mayoli Weidelich  • 

    Jillian this was SO honest and candid and I absolutely appreciate and love that! I, like you, have been going back and forth on the whole animal cruelty issue, especially after watching Cowspiracy but am SO afraid of putting a label on what type of eater I am. I think your approach is perfect! Just aim to be a educated and responsible human being who loves and respects all life! Thank you so much for being SO brave and sharing your thoughts!

  • It’s so great to read a blog post that says “hey I’m trying” – no one is perfect, I was vegan for 2 years and slowly started to find the perfect diet for me which involves seafood. So great to hear there are other ladies out there that care about animals, the environment and their bodies and that want to make a change but that acknowledge you can make a difference without labelling it “vegan” or being too strict on yourself! Love vegan-ish and I would say I’m part of that!

  • Sue Chalmers Smith  • 

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate all you have to say……..

  • Chanelle Leila Guenette  • 

    Great read.. I am going to do some research and make a change for myself too! Thanks JILL

  • Jillian!

    First off, I have been reading your blog for a long, long time, but this is my first time posting a comment!

    You are absolutely inspiring. I have been toying with the idea of going meat free for years. But like you, I was afraid of putting a label on myself, and then failing. The thought of just starting small, and never wasting, is such a better approach!

    Thank you for being so inspirational, and for sharing your story!

    My one nugget for the day, would be to watch how much soy you are consuming. Soy tends to have a lot of hormones put into it, which makes it unhealthy to consume all of the time on a daily basis. If you can find an almond milk or coconut milk creamer, you will be better off!

    Thanks again for your beautiful post! Keep on changing the world <3

    Victoria

    • Hey Victoria! Great point about the soy. With soy, and especially because it is so widely grown now, it is important to consume, organic, non-GMO soy. It is also important to watch consumptions mostly with small children (boys in particular) because soy is naturally high in estrogen. Just wanted to add that as a side-note 🙂

  • Nicole Nickerson  • 

    I am not one for commenting on peoples post, however, for some reason I feel compiled to say you are very brave to live in the spot light of other peoples judgement s and hold fast to your own convictions. It is very easy to ignore what makes us uncomfortable. I wrestle in my mind about the items I purchase at the store, Living in the NS it is very expensive to buy humane and organic.
    I hope to one day have a garden of my own to eat from.
    I hope all the best for you in your life changing journey!!

  • I think it’s fantastic that you are putting yourself 1st. What is good for you, and what makes YOU happy. I would love to go this route, I am an animal advocate (rescue dogs) and I always thing about it.. It’s really gross if you think about every piece of meat you are eating. Blah! Anyway, as always Jilly, I support you, and I am proud of you for always doing what’s right for you!

  • Chrystal Terhune  • 

    How awesome! While I am not going vegetarian yet, I do make sure my meat is sourced locally and I know the farmers and the practices, much easier when not travelling and living in a place like Colorado but it has always intrigued me to try it out.

    What are your thoughts on leather and such?

  • WOW! I have never read a blog that I can relate to SO much, it’s like you wrote everything I’ve been thinking! I used to be a total meatatarian and thought I could never not have meat in my life. But then the idea kept seeming to come up and before I knew it I became a vegetarian in October and it really wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. THEN after a few months I watched Cowspiracy and BAMN I couldn’t un-know all of the important and life changing things I learned which helped me to make the decision to never look back although sometimes it is tempting. I’ve been toying with the idea of becoming vegan and it’s been hard for the many reasons you’ve mentioned – not a lot of restaurants have those options, I’m always on the run and you really need time to prepare your meals, going over to peoples houses for dinner – good luck eating something vegan! I find it extra difficult when you’re a busy bee and none of the people around you have the same beliefs. I wanted to show my friends, family, coworkers about cowspiracy – everyone needs to know these facts! I’ve since calmed down but try to talk about it when people allow me too. It’s so frustrating having people criticize others for not eating meat when it’s a PERSONAL CHOICE, we could easily go on and on about others eating meat for the reasons we don’t lol. So, Thank you for posting this because it is important for people to understand the reasons behind vegan and vegetarian decisions – and I like knowing we’re doing it together! WAY TO GO!

  • Emilie Clarke  • 

    Jilly… you did good!
    This was so beautiful to read!
    I’m vegan-ish too and it’s been quite the journey!!

  • Good for you! Radical changes in diets are hard, there are bound to be times when you have no choice (or just want to) eat non-vegan. I’m currently dairy, egg, gluten and corn free due to food sensitivities and have found myself making a lot of vegan recipes, which I am loving. It’s been tough to stick to it, so I can relate, but you have to do what is best for you! If you are in YYC, be sure to try Dirt Belly in the Core Centre. Not 100% vegan, but there are a lot of great vegan options.

  • Noelle McMurray  • 

    What I like about this post (and you in general) is that you don’t take such an extreme stance as to say every person should stop eating all animal products, because it’s more complicated than that. I think the extremity is what can turn people away, and you have found a way to write to us in a relatable, approachable way. Instead of shoving an idea down someone’s throat, you’re simply having a though provoking idea and I love that you are sharing it. I live near a lake, and I have made the effort to make the majority of my meat be only the fish I catch. This post encourages me to continue doing that and I will continue to take BABY steps and think about what I am consuming and where it comes from. You’re the best Jill! Xoxo

  • CelebrityStyleGuide  • 

    This was so beautifully written and so authentic, is it weird that I could hear your Canadian accent coming through as I read it?? It was that genuine to me. I too am cutting back on meat and dairy (God I miss cheese) and I am gently bringing my family along with me. I was the girl that stormed out of a restaurant if they served veil at 8 years old an then scolded my parents for picking the restaurant. I wrote letters to cosmetic companies in grade 5 demanding they stop animal
    testing. Somewhere along the way I grew up and out of what made me so
    passionate about the cause……..about alot of things actually. This year I’m
    going back to the basics and look at my life though my ‘younger self’s’
    eyes. She would want me to start this journey again. I hope to make her
    proud.

    Thanks again and always for your inspiration.
    Xo Heather

  • Brenda Tennant  • 

    Just remember other people’s opinion of you is their business not yours! You are so very inspiring. Keep being YOU!! You may not be perfect but no one else is either. You are doing what makes you happy and comfortable in your own life that you are living. I would love to start making these changes but I know I’m not ready. I’ll start by researching and see where it takes me. Thank you Jillian.

  • Inspiring! Very well written. Keep doing what you’re doing:) ps-if you haven’t seen “forks over knives, I HIGHLY recommend it! Have a wonderful day!

  • ?????? hey, pretty much everywhere has French fries and pasta ?. I am also veganish and applaud you!!!! ❤️❤️❤️

  • Amy Harrison  • 

    Amazing post Jillian. I think your honesty is amazing and I really commend you for putting yourself out there knowing that you will be criticized. I have also been reducing my consumption of meat and animal products (cheese is totally a hard one for me too) and being 1000% more conscious about what I’m consuming. I think you are awesome and every time my husband and I play the “if you could invite 5 people from the W Network to dinner, who would you invite”, you are always on both of our lists.
    Keep up the amazing work!

  • Sarah MacDonald  • 

    Great article Jillian!! I wanted to contribute a positive comment too. I think we all need to be more conscientious about our food choices and something as simple as asking questions at restaurants and choosing vegetarian options when possible is a great place to start. I admire you for making this change, and putting yourself out there (Bachelor pun!) to share with others. I’m all about having a position about something but not being super judge-y about what everyone else is doing. This post exemplifies that.

  • Laura Grant  • 

    Good on you! I’ve been on the same journey since I started researching animal agriculture for an Environmental Studies class. I have always LOVED animals but grew up in a meat eating house, so I just had to “not think about it”. After watching Cowspiracy, I couldn’t deny the facts any more and didn’t want to contribute to this kind of animal treatment. (I was also surprised that eating dairy and eggs isn’t any better than eating meat, in terms of animal treatment!!). I wanted to go vegan overnight but found myself eating nothing but raw cereal for the day…not good. I decided to ‘loosen the reigns’ and just start with vegetarian until I have learned a lot more about being healthy on a vegan diet! It has been a good compromise, I reduce animal products wherever/whenever I can, and plan to be vegan(ish) within the next few years. I am not going to feel guilty if I slip- it’s okay!- and I’m not going to be lecturing anyone. Vegans get such a bad rap! I’m so glad you “came out of the closet” (haha), it makes it that much better for those of us on a similar path 🙂 kudos!

  • Miranda P  • 

    This is awesome Jillian! I’m about to move to a place that has super high food costs but an abundance of local, wild foods. We go to the farmer’s market every week and have literally been to some of the farms that produce our cheese/bacon so I’m good with eating from there but our move to a place that doesn’t have a farmer’s market freaks me out a bit. Thanks for the documentary recommendations!

  • Amazing! Im not a vegan or vegetarian but I respect yours and everyone else’s choice to… well… make their own choices!! Good for you to shedding a light to the inhumane ways animals are treated for their meat. You are so passionate about what you believe, you’ve educated yourself, and most of all you are happy with your change! Keep it up! Love you!

  • Meghann Lopez  • 

    We went to a more vegan/vegetarian diet a few years ago. Loved the way I felt but it messed up my hubby. He developed a ton of allergies he never had before. Was and still is frustrating for him. We eventually added meat to our diet. But we now buy it directly from a ranch and get all our eggs and produce directly from a farm. Everything tastes so much better and we love supporting the local guys. I agree that food production is so crazy now. We have cut out most of the crap food and we feel great. I believe every one has to do what’s best for them. We should educate people where there food comes from. I do like eating meat but knowing the animals were well cared for or were wild makes me feel better. Their life was free and happy. Thanks for sharing. Xo. Meghann

  • stephanie hunter  • 

    Power to you. You basically echoed my (and I think a fast growing number of people’s thoughts). It is scary to share, I was scared but now feel liberated and am slowly getting others to change their ways too. When you have a lot of friends and are respected among many, you have even more of a duty to speak out IMHO. People need to be made aware and seek to make conscious decisions regarding what they eat.
    As Dr Seuss says “be who you are and say what you feel because those who care don’t matter and those who matter don’t care”.. I have found that a lot more don’t care (negatively that is) than I would have thought 🙂

  • Thank you for sharing this!!! I have been vegetarian-ish for a long time and your experience is very motivating to make the jump to vegan-ish.

  • jensdreamdecor  • 

    way to go…just beware that soy is one of the most Genetically modified foods on the planet and its not healthy to eat a lot of this…I know because I was vegetarian for 20 years and became very allergic to soy, dairy and gluten and had to go back to eating fish…try almond or coconut milk in your coffee/tea instead

  • Michelle Jackson  • 

    I am so excited for you and so excited you have shared this. I am a vegan in the Midwest, US, in the middle of cattle country and at first it was extremely difficult. No one understood, no one really listened and I’m sure people think my husband and I are crazy. I think what sucks most about putting a label on how you eat is that if you do slip up or choose to eat an animal product, people love to loudly point the finger and say ‘ha you aren’t perfect’. But in reality they are just trying to feel better about themselves by putting you down. You are doing amazing. Becoming aware of what is really going on and making changes is huge! Even if you aren’t 100% strict, you are still doing an amazing job. It’s hard not to be angry with the world for eating animals and not seeing the truth but you’re making a difference by being open and honest! I recommend watching Forks Over Knives, if you haven’t, because it goes into the effect animal products have on our bodies. My husband has lost 160+lbs, lowered his blood pressure and greatly reduced his chances of diabetes by cutting out animal products. He’s also become a cycling athlete – something he never imagined! We love eating this way and I am just so excited you have made the switch! This just makes me love you even more!

  • Jill Price  • 

    Thank you so much for sharing this!! I’ll be honest, I’ve wanted to watch the documentary “Cowspiracy” for months now. I have been putting it off thinking that if I watch it I won’t want to eat meat anymore. Could I really make the switch?? But hearing you talk about how the process of switching to a meat-less diet is not perfect gives me motivation. Maybe some of us are not able to cut out ALL meat, but even the effort to reduce our consumption of meat and/or being selective in our choices of meat is a great start. That being said, I’m lactose-intolerant so I feel like half the battle is already over. Uh oh… I think I’ve just become a closeted Vegan lol.

  • Eryn Tehan  • 

    Maybe I’m on my way to that…since I was little and could eat meat, I’d never consent to eating lamb or veal. I still won’t as an adult. The idea being, who could eat a poor little baby animal? The issue for most people though, is how much being vegan costs. Nuts and fresh greens are so expensive and I know I spent DOUBLE on food when I went natural, organic, paleo. Also keep in mind where you source your nuts. Nuts and certain oils are tearing down the rain forests. So you’re not always too safe going vegan either. Also be safe with eating too many nuts. You can overdose your omega-6s and get sick. I know from going paleo because I relied too much on nuts for a time for my protein, because the cost of grass fed organic meat was so much, I had to cut a lot of it out. Also remember that the options for deliciously insane vegan bakeries are exploding here in Portland and in Seattle, so you don’t always need to sacrifice those cupcakes or donuts. I wish you luck on your journey Xoxo

  • This was so well-written, and it is amazing how I can relate to your words so much. Being an avid vegetarian for many years now, I recently made the change to stop eating cheese (never was a milk fan). Your post is truly inspiring, and I look forward to your recipes soon! Also Justin being tempted with the lifestyle is motivating for my own partner who is an avid meat-eater. I also notice in your instragrams you are all about the fake-fur… this is inspiring as well in a time of year that Canadians love their fur trimmed jackets. Thanks Jillian!

  • Thank you for this! Excited to see where this journey takes you. I have been a vegetarian for around 10 months now, but never look further into where my organic milk and cheese comes from. Will do the research now, thanks to you! I am also really looking forward to your list of veggie-friendly junk food joints! 🙂 XO

  • Really appreciated this post! I’ve been beef and pork free for as long as I can remember but have struggled to let go of chicken due to convenience and not wanting to be a difficult guest or restaurant goer. As a couple of other readers have commented, I would love your thoughts on leather products. Between shoes, bags, furniture and even car interiors it seems challenging to find things that match in quality and durability.

  • I love this … I have watched all those documentaries and they are very eye opening. I have been vegan-ish for 7 years now. I don’t do any dairy and when I do eat meat I try and get it from our local markets.

    I think more people in the public presence need to do more things like this (not necessarily becoming vegan-ish), share their journeys and experiences because at the end of the day we are all just people going through the same thing. Part of me still eats meat the odd time because i feel it makes it easier for me to do things with other, but that is just something I tell myself because, like you, I worry about their backlash. so thank you for this post 🙂

  • Kristen H  • 

    You are the best! If you can do this with your hectic travel schedule, then I guess I don’t have an excuse not to try. Way to go Jilly!

  • Thank you for sharing! My heart has been pulling me in this direction for awhile…I’ve cut down on my meat consumption, but I’ve continued to eat it for several reasons. First, I suppose I’ve been afraid of what others will think. I was a raised in a very meat-loving family…I honestly feel like they would disown me. Next, my husband cooks most of our meals, and I haven’t wanted to create more work for him. And lastly, convenience. Meat-centric meals are easier to come by when eating out…also, I haven’t wanted to do my homework to figure out what I need to eat to get all of the nutrients I need. Now I see I’m not alone in these feelings…and perhaps I need to do a little more soul searching. My actions/diet are really not lining up with what is in my heart…my values. Thank you.

  • I love the idea of this! When I was a child I rarely ate red meat only chicken. Then when I was pregnant I couldn’t even think about chicken. Now I like red meat over chicken. & it was really confirmed about two weeks ago when I was eating part of a whole chicken we cooked and I swear it just freaked me out! I think wild game is definitely a great way to eat meat and buying a cow from auction is a superb way to get the red meat. It’s all tough and I think as our population grows, items get more expensive and raises aren’t given to make up for it – people will have to buy the cheapest and nastiest items for consumption. Good for you for sticking with it!

  • Good for you!! 🙂 I have been a vegetarian for 10 years and plant based for 3. I have found people sometimes get sensitive with the term “vegan” when it comes to if you still use leather etc. So it tends to not step on as many toes when you tell people your diet is plant based. Also I read where Jared Leto described himself as a “chegan” because he cheats ;0) . What works for my family is when I or my husband is in control of our food we do not consume, cook, or use animal products. But for example when someone else makes cupcakes for my birthday at work and uses an egg, I’m not going to be an a-hole about it. You should check out Rich Rolls podcasts and cookbooks! Also Yum Universe is good too, When traveling, use happy cow app and try and stay near a whole foods! If you see the documentary Earthlings, I am not sure you willl cheat as often! Good Luck On your journey!!! :):)

  • Sara Kivisto  • 

    Thank you for writing this post! It was so inspiring to me. I’ve had thoughts on this subject over the past year but the fear of failing has stopped me from even trying. I love the approach of “vegan-ish”. If I choose a vegan meal over a meaty meal even once a week, it’s a step, (a small one), but still a step in the right direction. We love meat in our house and recently did research to get a cow from a local farm that we see as “good” conditions in comparison to purchasing near from the big chain grocery stores. I am anxious to see your future blog posts on recipes & products you’ve tried and enjoyed! Thank you for this – I needed to hear this perspective! – Sara from Michigan 🙂

  • Megan Baker  • 

    Informative, respectful, passionate, honest and inspiring. I _have_ been thinking about this lately so maybe this is a sign…. thank you, J, you rock!

  • Aww this blog post got me choked up! Love you Jillian Harris! I’ve been thinking about making the switch to vegetarianism for a couple years and this post has inspired me to give it a go. I love cheese so I’m not sure if veganism is for me but I definitely plan to do some research. When I was only a little girl I asked my mom where hamburgers came from and when she told me, with a tear in my eye I asked why we couldn’t just ask the cow for some hamburger rather than kill them. The concept of killing something to eat it has always been really hard for me to stomach, literally. Thanks so much for this post Jillian!

  • Miranda Dendewich  • 

    Thanks for sharing Jillian! It’s so tough to eat out when you have dietary restrictions! I can’t eat gluten, soy or dairy and I do not eat pigs (because I am Jewish and because I LOOOOVE pigs) and I find that it can get to be so tough when you are eating out of the house that you just stop going to ‘typical’ restaurants all together. Thanks for keeping it real as usual. Love reading your blogs!

  • Good for you Jill! You are doing awesome and this is a wonderful switch to be making on all counts. I would also recommend to watch a couple of other very interesting documentaries: Food Matters and Forks over Knives. Knowledge is power and this all these documentaries aim to provide. Knowledge. So that everyone makes an informed decision on their food choices. And a little tip: try almond or cashew or coconut milk with your coffee. (Cashew is amazing because it tastes JUST like regular milk/cream but is guilt free and good for you). The issue with soy is that it really isn’t good for you. It is a GMO. It is high in estrogen and is bad even in moderate amounts. But nut milks are great and just as easily accessible these days as soy, which thank God is being slowly phased out as the only dairy/meat substitute. Even Starbucks has coconut milk as well as soy and most artisan coffee shops have Almond. And almond milk lattes are amazing 🙂
    Enjoy your journey, you will love it!
    Alex

  • Jillyyyyyy!! I’ve been a fan since your bachelor/bachelorette days and I always thought that your kind, loving personality would make for a perfect vegetarian/vegan. I’ve been a vegetarian (mostly vegan) – I hate the label too – for 6 years now and I 100% understand how it feels to have people question your choices when it comes to eating. I was so insecure about it that I didn’t even tell most of my friends until 2 years in when they asked why I was consistently ordering vegetarian dishes. The most important thing to remember is why you are doing this. It’s for you (and our animal friends) and the people who love and support you will respect that. I already very much respected you as a designer and businesswoman, but with this post, I love you even more. So proud of you, keep doing what you’re doing! xoxoxoxo from one vancouverite to another

  • Thank you for sharing your experiences Gillian.
    I’ve been eating meat my whole life. However, three months ago I had the unfortunate experience of seeing a chicken processing plant. It opened my eyes to the inhumane ways we treat animals and I’ve been slowly eliminating meat from my diet ever since.
    I get a lot of flack from my family, but reading about your transition to becoming vegan has inspired me to continue.
    Thanks again!

  • Thank you Jillian for your honesty. I understand you pretty well, Actually I’m just eating chicken and eggs. I think is a long journey and there is no need to be drastic.

  • Good for you! Crazy, isn’t it, the reactions you get from people for going vegan-ish? I stopped eating meat about 2 years ago and have now adopted a full-vegan diet – have never felt better! I agree that eating out can be a challenge but luckily here in Vancouver we have LOTS of great options for vegetarian and vegan restaurants. When it comes to going to certain friends’ homes for dinner I now offer to bring something for everyone that just happens to be vegan (and delicious!) – no one has complained yet. (one too many “oh, but I made salad for you – just pick the bacon out” experiences)

    Last year I launched “Kiki’s Kitchen” – a line of organic, vegan soups made from local ingredients. My favourite reaction is form hard-core carnivores when they try my soups – they LOVE them and can’t believe there is no butter or cream or MEAT and yet they are still delicious – VICTORY!

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • Great blog Jillian!! I eat mostly vegan but do enjoy local organic farm raised meat and some wild game. Growing up on a farm I like to support the local small farmers that raise their animals ethically, being from a smaller community I feel like I have easier access to these small farmers and I know them personally. The factory farms should be banned how do we let this go on, it is so awful so for those that do eat meat my wish is that you find a better source not only will you be supporting a family instead of a factory but you will confident that what you are eating had a good life and is not filled with a bunch of cancer causing junk. If you do happen to be cooking at home The Oh She Glows vegan cookbook is awesome by Angela Liddon (she’s Canadian as well) and I do really enjoy the Thug cookbook as well(it makes me laugh every time). Good luck on your journey.

  • Nicole Davis  • 

    I’m so glad you decided to share this with everyone! I have actually been looking into becoming vegan after watching Cowspiracy. I love reading your blog and can’t wait to see more posts about being vegan! ❤️

  • Janel Bailey  • 

    Hello Jillian! Congratulations and thank you gor sharing your journey to Veganism! I would love to be able to personally chat with you. That image of the fruits and vegetable heart comes from the company I work for, Arbonne International. It is a Vegan, Health and Wellness company build by word of mouth, that carries top quality, antiaging skincare, hair products and makeup, bath and body, baby care products, makeup, fragrance, and nutrition! There are no toxic fillers, petroleum, paba, phalates, etc. Please let me know when would be an appropriate time for you. I live in the Okanagan as well, would love to meet you at a time of your preference!

  • Just be careful with the amount of soy products you consume….vegans usually have a high soy intake and studies are showing that people on a vegan diet have a harder time conceiving.

  • Well, I must admit, I too have jumped on the veganish band wagon. I think if everyone did a little research and just thought about where their food was coming from, it may make a differance in this world. My daughter is 12, and is a full fledged vegetarian – We went to a pig roast when she was 4 and it freaked her out, to see that poor pig being roasted on a spit ( to be honest I couldn’t eat it either). Well since then she will not eat anything with “eyes”. I tell you, it does rub off on you, especially when you are a animal lover. Just of late, we have taken a vegan pledge. Her and I go vegan every Tuesday. It’s a start and we feel we are doing our part for our planet.

  • Katie Bone  • 

    You could not have said that any better! Thanks for giving all of the “ish” people out there some positivity and knowing we aren’t alone when we think we’ve ‘failed’. You are amazing xo

  • Thank you so much for your honesty and concern about how others feel about that honesty. I am, seemingly, in the majority by being a hypocritical meat eater. I love and adore all animals yet I still eat meat. I’ve made a few changes but I still feel guilty whenever I actually allow myself to think about it. You are not preachy or boring in this post, it is well-written and even more, well-intended. I have been a fan of yours for years and your opinions on this topic are one of the reasons I stay a fan. It exposes your heart and that’s a good thing.
    Thank you for sharing your experiences and I look forward to more of the same, especially products and recipes to help someone like myself make better choices. This topic is taboo right now but it’s getting less and less so.
    Now some of my feedback to you, Jillian. I admire how you included so many “disclaimer” type comments in your post but for me, it isn’t necessary. Because you’re in the public eye, it’s understandable that it’s necessary but I think you should know that you are probably (I’d bet money on this) thinking like the high majority of us do.
    You are inspiring and you are helping so many of us change and make this world a much better place. Remember that and keep going with what you’re doing. As long as your heart is passionate about something, this is what matters the most.

  • Thank you for sharing your vegan story with the world. I’m a true animal/planet friendly person and most of the times I feel pretty alone. I find that most people I meet don’t care much about where the animal products they eat come from and how the animals are treated. It breaks my heart. Those poor animals have no voice. I’m glad to see that you’re using your voice (and scope) to let people know about the reality of it all.
    If you can get people, even if it’s just one person, to change their eating habits and the way they look at our food industry, then you did good, really good! Congrats on having the courage to share this. You are a true inspiration. 🙂

  • A few years ago I decided to do a university paper on Factory Farms. WHY did I do that!!? It was horrifying. I became vegetarian after that and remained so for years. I know the internal struggle that you are writing about so well. I too am a massive animal lover and the thought of those souls suffering as they do was something I could never justify. Fast forward to today, and I am back to eating meat, but do everything I can to ensure that I buy from local butchers who are very transparent about where their products come from and how the animals are treated. To be honest, I think about becoming a vegetarian again a lot. It isn’t “easy” though, at least not at first. Meat has become such a staple on our collective plates, that to omit it leaves a large gap in our meal plans. Good for you for making this change. I don’t think it’s fair to label yourself a failure if you eat meat. You have been raised for 30+ years in one way, a change this drastic doesn’t happen overnight. Be easy on yourself and remember that all the changes you make are contributing GOOD to the animals in factory farms. As you said, the louder the public becomes about demanding ethically sourced food, the more we can positively effect the ways animals are raised for consumption.
    On a side note regarding soy, perhaps it’s worth it for you to investigate the effects soy (GMO soy) has on female hormones. Soy affects our body by increasing estrogen which often wreaks havoc and affects all of our hormones. For me, this has led to severe fertility issues that I’ve been dealing with for 6 years now.
    Anyway, good luck on your journey! You should be proud of yourself!!!

  • Jessica Amaral  • 

    You’re amazing and such an inspiration! I will definitely try and make the switch. It will be hard because I LOVE me some cheese and a good hamburger but love animals more!

    Good luck!!

    Jess

  • Hi! So, I am not vegan… But I respect all of the changes you’ve made and the research you’ve done. I too care GREATLY about where my meat and eggs come from. I wanted to urge you to please please research the effects of SOY further. Not from a vegan stand point, but in general. There are a lot of studies that indicate soy is far from the healthy alternative it is made out to be. Just educate yourself more on this topic, please – for your long term health.

  • Danielle Kettlewell  • 

    Jillian, thank you so much for that wonderful blog. I love that someone is being so honest about the struggles. For the past few years I’ve been decreasing my animal product intake becoming lactose intolerant and not really liking most meat. After watching cowspiracy and Erin-Ireland on snapchat it has really opened my eyes on all the benefits of vegan ism. I am an full time athlete training for the Olympics and I am trying to be conscious in reducing my animal product this year but it is difficult when I train and travel and have no choice over the food that is given to me. Thank you for being real and showing that it isn’t a fine line of you are or you aren’t. I know the best I can do this year is be conscious for my animal product intake and try to reduce whereever I can. Thank you for making me realize that it is different for everyone as long as you try ❤️

    • Hi Danielle, I’ve just been reading through the comments haha and I just thought I’d mention to you – I’m not sure if you’ve heard of it already – but Brandon Brazier’s books are awesome for vegan athletes! He’s the creator of the Vega line of products and his book “The Thrive Diet” is awesome and gives lots of great tips – he is a vegan former professional ironman triathlete and ultra-marathon runner!

  • Umm, she’s not vegan at all. All I kept reading were all these exceptions she makes to accommodate meat. Vegan means you consume NO animal products, not “reducing…to a great extent”. Glad you’re on the path, but geez, get a grip before you write a post.

    • – ish
      adjective suffix
      : almost or approximately

      The dictionary is a wonderful tool.

      • There is no vegan-ish. Only vegan.

        • Brenda Tennant  • 

          Give her a break. She’s not saying she’s vegan. She’s on a journey towards it. If you are vegan, you should applaud her for trying.

          • She’s wrong to use the word vegan, in any sense. I am entitled to my opinion just like everyone else. 🙂

          • Brenda Tennant  • 

            So sorry for offending you in any way. This is a difficult journey and people being hard on her is not fair when she’s educating herself and others. “Vegan” is after all just a word. Makes me wonder why you are so protective of it. Just remember positive feedback is good for the soul. You sound very educated on the subject maybe you could help her on her journey instead of pointing out errors on her use of terminology. Jill seems very open to being educated, as well as us followers. Share your knowledge in a positive way. We are all willing to learn. <3

          • Oh you didn’t offend at all 🙂 I’m only trying to get the point across that vegans will never justify eating meat/dairy. Such as, you will never hear a vegan say “For whatever reason, I am ok with eating wild game. The thought that this animal lived in its natural habitat and was hunted in the wild “FOR ME” … seems to make the cut.” Obviously she has to start somewhere on this “journey”, but she will never be able to live this lifestyle with her current mindset of justifying the consumption of certain meats because they were ‘raised for her’.

        • Ernest Smuga  • 

          As an “official” vegan myself I have to say these kinds of comments are completely UN-veganish. Shame on you both for bashing her like that. The fact that she even made such a compassionate change and is sharing it with so many people is nothing short of extraordinary. We cannot better and change the world through hate and judgemental remarks like this. You are an amazing person Jillian and this post filled my vegan heart with nothing but love! Good luck on your journey?

    • Jillian was flat out honest…..she knows she is not there yet so of course there are exceptions. Changing any every day habit takes time and there will be downfalls and set backs. At least she is trying to do the best she can. We all are human so please do not cast a stone at others when we all know no one is perfect.

      • Yes, she was honest in her journey. However, one is not vegan if you justify eating meat and dairy while at the same time calling yourself vegan.

    • Jennifer L Demaiter  • 

      ‘Veganish’ she never called herself a vegan

      • Exactly the point. There is no vegan-ish. There is only vegan.

        • I think this is exactly the judgement that Jillian was NOT looking for by posting her story. I prefer to consider Vegan “ish” as her journey.. one step at time.

  • Your honesty is heart warming! If only we all could be this honest with ourselves and it’s okay to fail. I woul recommend eating organic soy products as many regular soy is genetically modified! It’s super easy to find!

  • Great post, educational not fanatical, which I personally appreciate greatly!!

  • Lisa Lynne  • 

    Hi Jillian! Interesting blog. You are so thoughtful and compassionate. I appreciate that, really I do. But I also think that you are being way to hard on yourself which I don’t think is necessary. I think when you are transitioning from one thing to another, it is a process. It is not something you just do overnight or on a whim. So take it easy on yourself! No one is going to say, OMG, she just ate a slider or a grilled cheese sandwich. It’s nobody’s business and you shouldn’t feel guilty. And if you eat meat every now and then or go back to eating meat period, you are not failing. It’s all your decision. So with that said, I do eat meat. But I have found that I am eating less and less beef. I do eat chicken, fish, cheese, and eggs. What I would love to know about in the vegan world is what/where is a list of vegan food that is protein? That has always been a question in my mind…what do vegans eat for protein because protein is so important. Good luck with your journey in this and for goodness sake, don’t be so hard on yourself! We are All human beings! Take care of you!

  • Thank you for sharing your story sweet Jillianl!! I just embarked on the same journey myself about 2 months ago. My start was very similar to yours. I come from a family that is very meat and cheese oriented and I am now a puppy momma, which has made me so much more mindful of the animal world around me. Making this change has come with many questions and definitely some sarcastic backlash from family and friends. It is a scary process, especially when it’s one you’re passionate about and one that brings a lot of criticism. If I have even one slip up, I had fears that those criticizers would call me a fraud…but I’ve come to realize who cares?!? I’m trying each and every day and I WILL make mistakes, just as you mentioned, but I’m also making serious strides!! Your post today honestly reinvigorated my own passion and motivations for making this change. I CANNOT wait to keep following your journey and feel like I have a virtual “friend” going through this with me! You inspire me every day with your positivity, fashion and design, just know it will not stop there anymore. 🙂

  • I am inspired by your honesty, I do wish that I could give up bacon, but the truth is, I just don’t want to!! Haha congratulations on your transition, and don’t be hard on yourself if you eat something that’s not vegan.. it’s life, we aren’t perfect all the time! ?

  • This is a wonderful blog and has helped to open my eyes! Long story short my daughter in law and I have many differences! She and my son went vegan almost a year ago, I decided this was a way for her to control my son ( silly I know) but as I have researched and became more aware I am so happy to be following you and have shared Erin Irelands snapchat with my son… I want to thank you for helping me to see the real reason’s for this life style change!!
    Thank you!!!!!!

  • This has inspired me! Thank you for being so real and upfront and HONEST!

  • Heather Miller  • 

    Way to go Jillian! So well written – thank you for sharing your story with us!!

  • An exciting and scary change I’m sure! My views on animals have also changed big time since getting a dog (my first dog) 4 years ago. To loosely quote another first-time dog owner… I used to be a dog-athiest and now I’m a pile of goo! I now have such a huge heart for animals and love the happiness I feel when I see them happy. While I’m not quite ready to transition to full veganism, I do want to develop my own renewed approach to food. I’m from a big Italian family from Kelowna, and spent many years in Calgary, so I can relate. Funny, I did attempt to eat a vegan diet in 1996, after listening to a rancher-turned-vegan speak in university… but I ate rice and pasta for 2 months and my hair started to fall out! As you’ve touched on, for me, it’s scary to put a label on myself… as a “vegan” – then it seems there’s so much explaining to do. So, I plan to educate myself a bit better and start making small changes. I’m lucky to live in San Diego now, where great vegan restaurants are opening, and high quality produce is available year-round. Anyways, thanks for sharing and good luck to you!

  • I can relate 110% to your journey. My switch began after I did my first juice cleanse and became a SPUD ambassador (Erin is one too and she also was a big influence in my change!). A year later I now probably have free range chicken maybe once a week (quite often less). I stick to mostly silk almond milk (carageenan free one!) and eat only free range eggs from what I like to call “happy chickens”. Being an alberta girl myself I’ve been on the receiving end of a lot of questions and judgement especially when I made homemade burgers about a week ago (the first red meat I’d had in months) made from beef from a small local farm. I always say I’ll never be perfect (cheese is a definite weakness) and I’ll never be preachy but I FEEL so much better and hope that maybe the small changes I’m making might influence others too (a few months ago my parents switched to almond milk – success!! haha) Thanks for sharing your journey Jillian! XO <3

  • Good for you! So proud of you girl! I myself have been a vegan for about 6 months and have had numerous conversations with people about my lifestyle changes. I feel that I am at times backed in to a corner and made to defend he changes I made. I never thought it would be so hard to get through to people. I think when you do something that challenges someone’s belief system it makes look at themselves and a lot of people are not comfortable with what that reflects. I can only imagine how hard it would be to do this in the public eye. Good for you for standing by your truth!

  • I’m with everyone else when I say I’m so happy you are sharing this journey! My life changed when I watched Food Inc 7 years ago in an Environmental Studies intro class at UVIC… I’m a fellow Albertan and I sure know the struggle of AAA Beef vs. VEGAN! My sister has been vegan for 4 years and vegetarian for 7, I’ve dabbled a bit in both but I’m definitely vegan-ish… cheese is the hardest to cut for me! Those Daiya shreds (when melted) definitely help. I watched Cowspiracy with my meat-loving boyfriend after you posted about it on snapchat, and it has changed both of us – he has joined me on the almost vegan train! I find it hardest to explain these changes to grandparents, so we usually eat whatever they’re serving up when we have dinners, but we have lived together for almost two years and NEVER bought any meat products which has been a lot easier than either of us thought. It is a controversial subject but I am so glad to be able to read about someone else going through those challenges.. thanks again for sharing and I can’t wait for the next post on this topic! I now follow Erin Ireland too, she’s amazing!

  • Thank you for your story. I too was a vegetarian once; unfortunately, due to a complicated pregnancy that changed, but that’s a long story. Now, we buy our meat all “free-run.” It’s not easy to make those tough lifestyle choices, but if your heart is in the right place you’ll make it work. Also, if you haven’t already, try Heirloom in Vancouver. They’re a great little vegetarian/vegan
    place with to-die-for banana nut French toast that I believe is egg free.

  • Lara Sutherland  • 

    This is awesome!! My husband and I are just starting a vegan-ish lifestyle ourselves and you’re so right when you say the hardest part is what other people will say. This is so ridiculous because it’s a personal choice and one that comes from such a loving place! Why aren’t people impressed/proud?? We debated not telling anyone in case we cheated or “failed” as you put it but then we realized that by putting it out there it will force everyone in our lives to perhaps take a closer look at the decisions their making about what they eat. Perhaps it’s wishful thinking but we wondered if perhaps our passion could possibly INSPIRE others?! We’ll see…!

  • Samantha White  • 

    I have been contemplating starting to make the switch because of my conscious and how I feel toward the animals we share the planet with – very much reflective of what you have written here. Thank you for sharing. Such a coincidence for me to come across this blog at my time of consideration and contemplation.. your snap-chat intrigued me!!! Good for you. 🙂

  • Jennifer L Demaiter  • 

    Good for you! You may feel like you need to be accountable to all of us, but really you only need to be accountable to you. Do what makes you happy and makes you feel good! Rock on! P.s. I would have an incredibly hard time giving up cheese. Although I haven’t had beef or pork in over ten years.

  • Debbie Lynn  • 

    Awesome Awesome Awesome thank you xo

  • My sister is vegan and when we go out to eat she sometimes orders a bunch of veggie side dishes. She always tells the server that she’s vegan and a few times the server comes back and says the chef is happy to put something together for her. Just because the restaurant isn’t vegan friendly doesn’t mean the chef isn’t. Best of luck on your journey and good for you!!

  • Thanks for posting this! I am slowly working my way to vegan-ish. I’m not sure that full blown veganism is for me but I am making an effort to eat fewer animal products. I really like your take on this. I think that it’s healthy to be gentle with yourself and understanding that choosing not to do something to it’s full extent (like still eating eggs) and being honest that you may sometimes need a grilled cheese does not mean that you’re failing. It mean’s you’re taking steps towards something that you’re passionate about. Keep it up, girl! I am excited to follow along and get inspired!

  • Allison Norris  • 

    Love this. Good for you!! I just had a baby and am breastfeeding. he screamed every night in the first few weeks until I cut dairy from my diet. Then he stopped crying. It was so hard at first… But now I feel better, he’s better, and it isn’t so hard! When I tell people I have cut dairy they sometimes go into how people aren’t meant to consume dairy from cows at all and it’s no wonder the babe didn’t feel so hot. Got me thinking! I’ve thought about giving up the little meat we eat, and your post totally inspired me. Thanks!

  • Cindy's Foods  • 

    Woohoo! Jillian. you have an audience and you can and are making a difference. I love your take and your honesty about your journey. I have taken the same one with my daughter and it gets easier and actually not eating flesh can give you peace. I will offer two things.
    1. My family loves @CactusClub – it is hard to eat anything on the menu but I have ordered the portobello mushroom fajitas, hold the sour cream and cheese, add extra guacamole and salsa. No butter use oil. (Lettuce wrap makes it Gluten Free)
    2. Please read “Proteinaholic” written by Dr. Garth Davis, a Bariatric overweight surgeon who went on a similar journey and is now a Vegan triathlete. Its backed by science and medical studies and how we in North America consume more protein in the world and are the most unhealthy.
    #vegan
    Go Jillian!!!

  • Taylor Mcdonald  • 

    Thank you for sharing Jillian. It was an eyeopening read, and i really appreciate your honesty and openness. It has really opened my eyes and intrigues me to research this topic more!

  • Love this! I went through the same exact transition as you 4 years ago. In fact, it feels like I wrote this blog. I couldn’t agree more with everything you said. Plus, good clean organic food is actually healing. 🙂 Thank you for this post and for your honesty ❤️ The world needs more people who think this way.

  • misswrld  • 

    Hi Jillian – first, it’s crazy that you’d stall on this post because of the wrath you’d potentially get from people–and I totally get it. It’s just crazy. I haven’t eaten meat for many years now, but I always used to avoid saying I was a vegetarian because I hated the fact that I suddenly had to defend myself to people who ate meat. I never understood why anyone gave a shit how I ate! When I was a teenager back in the 90’s (side note: best.music.years.ever), the first question people would always ask was ‘but how do you get your proteinnnnn??’. I didn’t feel the need to educate every single dumbfounded person on the many options beyond animals. Now it’s so much more widely popular and accepted, with so many different varieties of diets these days that people are no longer bewildered that I don’t consume meat (but I also don’t live in Alberta). On the flip side, I’ve never preached about it either, because, do what ya gotta do, meat-people.. but I remember a time when I was walking my two dogs and a group of protesters against pig slaughter (with HUGE cartoony pig head signs) started chanting to me, “pigs are smarter than dogs! PIGS ARE SMARTER THAN DOGS!!”, and I was like, “I don’t eat meat anyway people!”, and they all screamed yaaaay and I went on with my day (but also thought, don’t make fun of my dogs RIGHT in front of them jeez man!), point is, I feel like no one needs to be preachy about anything, but everyone should be educated on what they’re consuming. Food Inc. is a REALLY good documentary about where your food is coming from and the effect on the earth. Not preachy, just informative. Bottom line Jillian, good for making healthy and environmentally responsible decisions and GREAT for you for using your voice to help try and help inform others. And also, I saw you with your crew in YVR last time I was there and you look even more ab fab in person. Clearly your new lifestyle change is a glowy, positive thing! xo

  • Teagan B  • 

    Thank you for posting this Jillian! Your story really resonated with me as I too am struggling with the idea of becoming vegetarian/vegan simply because of my love for meat. However the unethical/inhumane reasons with eating meat have really been hitting me hard lately. I appreciate you sharing your journey and being so honest about it!

  • Michelle (sheswanderlust.com)  • 

    I loved this. My husband and I have become vegetarian-ish and we love it. Since we aren’t full blown vegetarians and want to avoid the mockery that can come with vegetarian/vegan status, we don’t make a fuss when we are over at others houses. We occasionally crave a carnivore item once and a while as well (so we forgive you on the slider!). I love the “ish” status you have given yourself and agree 100% that you should do what you want/feel/need and run with it. This inspires me that we can continue being vegetarian-ish and feel content in neither extreme. #allthepowertoyou

    • Michelle (sheswanderlust.com)  • 

      Also – how do you deal with being vegan-ish at a dinner party? Would love to hear your thoughts/experience on this!

  • Valerie Kreps  • 

    Thank you so much for sharing. I have been meaning to start following and reading your blog and this post is the one that got me to it. I really like your honesty about the subject. Veganism has fascinated me. I can’t wait to read more.

  • Enjoyed reading this thank you for your honesty! Wondering about your thoughts on beauty/cosmetics and maybe a blog post on companies that are vegan or animal friendly but also making good quality products? 🙂

  • Amy Hegstrom  • 

    From one Albertan vegan-ish to another, it isn’t so bad! Most people are either very very intrigued and open to talk to, which makes up for the few jerks. There’s also an interesting wild game culture growing here which I think adds to the discussion.

    Also.. Sailin On food truck makes dynamite coconut bacon if you ever are missing it! They are from Edmonton but I think they sell their good in Calgary and some places in BC!

    7 years and counting, I’m always so happy to be vegan-ish! it’s been awesome to see all my family and friends become more plant friendly over that time too!

    Good luck!

  • I chose to stop eating meat because of my dogs too. I’m so glad other people have made the same connection that the animals we eat are not much different from our sweet pets. Good for you for wanting to learn more! I’ve been beef, pork, and poultry free for close to three years now!

  • Hey Jill! I totally feel where you are coming from… More than you know!!! I think about the meat/ food products and feel just terrible… I was vegetarian for 9 months before I became preggo with my son and ALL I WANTED was MEAT!!! Then I felt guilty for ‘giving in’… Your words have re-inspired me to give this some more thought! I look forward to you (hopefully) sharing more tips and recipes please!! Xx Nik

  • prairiegirlitc  • 

    Thank you for sharing this! I too have been making changes {slowly and bit by bit} to the way I eat and what I buy. Being married to an Italian I doubt we’ll be going completely vegetarian anytime soon, but cutting back and buying better has been something we’re getting better at. Love all the info and love that you shared your “fails” too. We’re only human and need to just do the best we can. xo

  • I’ve been in your position for most of my life! I have always naturally gravitated towards a meat free diet as that is when I feel the best. The exception being that my husband hunts. He fills our freezer with wonderful venison every November and it is the prime source of protein in our household. I know this animal had a natural existence in the wild and not one square inch of it goes to waste – the scraps we use to feed our dog, the bones for our dog to chew and the skull & antlers displayed proudly in our home. It was a little shell shocking when my husband first started to hunt and you see a dead animal before you. What it taught me was respect. The reason we are so wasteful and feel nothing about what we buy is that we don’t see the source. Once you actually educate yourself and do some research it really opens your eyes.

    Great post!!

  • The best part of all of this is that it’s your body and you can eat whatever you want. If once a year you want to have a burger then so be it, or maybe once a month you have that grilled cheese sandwich -you don’t need to answer to anyone. At least you’re doing your part in your own way and trying to give advice or information to people who might not know. I’m not a vegetarian or a vegan but I’ve always been very conscious of the animals I eat and I usually opt for veggie meals to the extent that most of my friends and family think I’m a vegetarian. I think there’s a huge disconnect between what we have on our plates and where it came from and that applies to everything from vegetables to eggs to fish. I find it so hard to trust what’s produced for us and unless you live in an environment that is warm all year then it’s really hard to eat local organic during the winter.

  • Marcela Barraza  • 

    Congratulations on this change!!
    I stopped eating red meat (aka cow) over 17 years ago and I just did it over night. The hardest part for me was to explain people the reason why I didn’t eat red meat. Really the truth was because I had this “thing” for cows and I just couldn’t conceive eating this beautiful animal. Sometimes I would make up an answer for fear of being judged. Most people didn’t understand.
    About two years ago I quit chicken and now I want to stop with Turkey and fish which is the only two things I eat. Why I haven’t stopped on those yet? In full honesty, because I’m a terrible cook and just the idea of trying to prepare something more complicated drives me nuts! Lol!!
    I now feel proud saying the truth: I don’t eat cow because I LOVE cows!! And my love for animals just grew after getting my baby boy Nacho (yes, I have a dog called Nacho too ?)
    Congratulations and best wishes for you on this journey!!

  • Brooke Butler  • 

    Hey Jillian. I think i remember you saying once that you feed Nacho RAW. I am a RAW feeder of my boxer as well. What are your views on this type of feeding now that you are “vegan’ish”?

  • WTG Jillian 🙂

    Years a go I cut back on my meat consumption, my eggs are bought from farms, where I can see the hens are in a paddock made just for them… It is a hard job to eat with consideration to where your food comes from, shopping locally, from local farms can be a challenge. Albeit a satisfying one once you find a good supplier.

    Good luck on becoming a more aware omnivore 😀 cause you’ll want a burger once in a while.

  • visualheart  • 

    Wonderful inspiring post! I too find Erin very inspiring. I went to highschool with her and have watched her evolve. So very inspiring! You should follow “this rawesome vegan life” Emily is also so amazing!!

  • I loved this blog post so much. I agree the hardest part having to label yourself as something and then worrying about failing at it. I myself am doing a lot more research on this and feel like the hardest part would be adressing that “i am” something, like vegan or a vegetarian and labelling it as something. Congratulations on your change, I hope to continue on that path as well <3

  • Tylar Wagner  • 

    Congratulations! It is so refreshing to see a post about a plant-based diet in a positive, non-judgmental, and balanced light! I began my journey about a year ago and your post reminds me so much of my own experience! Today the majority of my diet is vegan, however I think I will always leave 5% open for balance – usually dairy or seafood. I am excited to check out Erin Ireland. Angela Liddon and Chloe Coscarelli (her italian cookbook is AMAZING) were my vegan idols 🙂

  • I’m thinking of going vegan myself. With six dogs, i don’t plan on changing their diet. Raw is already their natural diet.

    And Jillian, way to go. You were not just speaking from your heart, but mine as well. I could have written this!! I say congratulations to you. I’m not aiming for perfection, but I’m going to do the best I can, as I wish for you. Well done, sister. And I love Erin Ireland, too!! She’s great!

  • It’s a personal journey and eliminating various animal projects from your diet makes a difference! Every shift has an impact and effects the mass consumerism that is animal agriculture so carry on as you can – be kind to yourself in the process.

    I’ve been a vegetarian for over ten years now and I will continue on my path, but improvements can always be made and knowledge has to be gained.

    Judgement is cast no matter what the details of one’s life change – take the criticism in stride because you are doing your part to become more educated and aware!

    Best of luck….

  • Love your honesty. You are a great human. 🙂

    I too have been trying to eat less meat. Difficult since we raise free range chickens and turkeys. On the upside they do not live in a cage and are allowed to eat grass and bugs. I also raise happy chickens for eggs.

    My thought is even if it is just being a partial vegan/vegetarian it helps. Someday I may get my meatatarian husband to eat less meat. Shopping local and knowing where your food comes from is equally important.

    You are at least conscious of your meals. There are many out there that think meat comes from the store. LOL

    Have a great day.

  • I can completely relate to everything you’re saying. I don’t eat meat at all however I find it difficult to switch to vegan although I’m trying. The reason I made the switch was because I feel sorry for animals and I don’t believe animals are on this earth for humans to consume. After doing research on dairy farming, I wanted to make the switch to vegan as well. What I don’t understand is why u feel it’s ok to eat animals that have been hunted down and murdered? Where’s the logic here?

  • Danielle Steffler  • 

    Love this!! I always feel bad for the poor animals that I eat and really want to make the change. Every time I step into a grocery store I tell myself to stop buying these items where I don’t know the life story. But it’s just easier to grab them, ?. I’ve said that if I could hire a personal chef that cooks vegan food for me (like Ellen Degenerous) I’ll be vegan in a second! But until then…
    It’s a big change to make so I’ve slowly started cutting certain things out and I’ve found myself reading more labels, hoping that I’m choosing the meats/eggs that had a good life. I know I need to do more, and reading your blog is very inspiring, after all I too am an Albertan girl with a big heart for those innocent animals!
    XoXo

  • Hey Jillian, I really appreciate your take on vegan-ish-ism. As a fellow lover of animals and someone very involved in agriculture, I just wanted to mention the vast majority of the photos you posted portray farms that actually take very good care of their animals. For instance the photo of the dairy cows; these cows are in whats called a rotary milker which only takes a few minutes to pump all of their milk before they can return to their barn. If these cows are not milked out they can become very sick 🙁 Furthermore, pigs are some of the cleanest mammals, they like to have their own space and when they become overwhelmed they become anxious. In a lot of cases this is where cannibalism becomes evident. This is why separated stalls are necessary opposed to an open barn. Just a little food for thought, I love your posts, I just wanted to provide some context for the photos for those that may not be aware 🙂

  • My sister and father are vegan so I am very used to the vegan lifestyle and would consider myself a ‘limited meat eater’ if I need to give myself a title. My sister went vegan one time and switched back to vegetarian because she didn’t feel she had enough nutritional information to do it properly and then a few years later tried it again when she was better informed (and has now been vegan for probably close to a decade). They are so many amazing vegan products out there. The only downside I have found with vegan eating is that it is so easy to accidently start consuming way to many processed foods in lieu of meat and dairy. Some days I realized I was basically having soy in one form or another at every meal. And in response to people thinking you are limiting your choices, I find many meat eaters miss out on great things like quinoa, hemp, millet, etc.

  • Being vegan is a journey… I’ve been one for four years. It’s starts with eliminating one thing then another.. Then learning to make a few awesome meals and where the good restaurants are hiding. The point is you’ve woken up and are now conscious about what goes in your body. Keep up the wonderful work and being a great example !!

  • Trisha Marie  • 

    I love this Jillian ♡♡♡ I have began leaning heavily toward vegetarian over the past few years. This is partly because I lovvveee veggies, but also because I personally feel better when I eat this way, and I’m rather grossed out by some meat practices.

    I’m so excited to see some new recipes from you! Embrace it!!!

    Xo

  • Patricia Christie  • 

    Jillian…we LOVE you, just the way you are!
    Nobody has to apologize or justify their choices that are based on careful thought…I applaud you!

  • Hi Jillian, I am not a vegetarian or a vegan – I love meat, cheese, dairy – and have tried a LOT of animals. This does not mean that I am arrogant, ignorant, or that I don’t have care and compassion to animals. All this being said – I LOVED reading your blog. I love the passion that you have, and that instead of preaching, you try to educate and encourage your readers to seek out information and educate themselves. Thank you for your blog, thank you for your opinion, and thank you for being respectful to all. I appreciate you!

  • Kaith Palmaria  • 

    Ah Jillian! I am an Albertan that loves beef… But after watching a quick 5 minute video on the dairy business I had such an internal struggle with eating what I wanted. I hope that one day I am as brave as you are and that I can make the change. You are such an awesome human being :).

  • Hi Jilly! I’m Japanese and I was taught growing up that everything has a spirit, whether it be a plant or an animal. We should never let things go to waste, no matter the source. I am also trying to reduce my meat/animal intake but don’t feel the need to label myself as anything. If I do eat meat, it’ll be something that you just can’t substitute. Like a steak. Or bacon. I also think that if you’re going to eat meat, you shouldn’t just go for the “prime cuts.” One should be willing to at least TRY the “gross parts.” I eat chicken because I’ll eat the skin, cartilage, gizzards, heart, or feet when provided with the opportunity. I try to stay away from beef because I’m less willing to explore things like tripe. Anyways, good luck with your journey! Don’t feel like you need to define yourself. Do what feels right to you and embrace it! Don’t let other people’s choices or their desire to categorize you get you down. (From Reiko, your former neighbor.)

  • I’m an AB girl who will eat a burger .. but good for you for doing something that is right for you and standing up to say so. Way to go !!.. and don’t think about failing.. this is your journey, we are all behind you, encouraging and thinking your the greatest..xo

  • Seriously, love this. I became a vegitarian 5 years ago. I can’t fully commit to going fully vegan. It’s so sad how these animals are treated. My parents live in a town where there is a tyson chicken plant and the trucks crammed full of chickens just makes me so sad and sickened that we haven’t refined the processing of animals. Thank you for sharing this and educating.

  • Jillian, I think your blog was very genuine and honest, and I feel the same way about meat. I really have a hard time eating it too. I am not a vegan or a vegetarian, but I do try to limit the amount of meat I consume. I might eventually go vegetarian, but for now I am content with the limited quantity I eat. Good luck on your journey to a healthier lifestyle full of humane food choices. That is certainly not easy, and your passion for your newly founded way of thinking / eating definitely shines through!

  • This is AMAZING. I consider myself vegan-ish as well 😉 cheating only on cheese and farm eggs. It makes my heart so happy to see more and more people making an effort. If you are looking for an awesome cookbook, check out The Kind Diet by my beautiful aunt Alicia Silverstone. It talks about the meat and dairy industries and it has tons of yummy recipes! Best of luck to you.

  • JILLIAN! I am absolutely beyond thrilled that you’re taking interest in the vegan lifestyle. The fact that you’re willing to do your research and learn about the conditions that these animals are in simply for our satisfaction of eating them is something you should be proud of – not everyone wants to know the truth behind what’s on their plate. That being said, don’t beat yourself up for slipping up here and there, or deciding that it’s not the right lifestyle for you. You have to be ready to make the change and only YOU can decide that. For two years I had cut out beef and veal, and then one (drunken) night, started eating it again. Then in 2014 I chose to go vegan over night. I had been watching some documentaries and decided that I was ready. My mentality when I made the switch was I was going to start cooking all my meals vegan, one by one, and see how it works out…. I haven’t turned back. BUT I have treated myself every now and then to something non-vegan, such as mom’s home made cookies or a piece of non-vegan chocolate. Am I a horrible person for doing that? Absolutely not. I’m human. Every day is a new day and I try my absolute best to continue being vegan in everything I eat. I love this lifestyle and I think you will too! I’ve also decided to slow start making changes in my beauty products… but that’s a whole new world lol. Start slow, take your time, do what feels right! Eat lots of fresh veggies!!! Smoothies, salads, etc. Being vegan does not mean your food will be boring. It definitely takes some effort, but it’s a journey and you’ll be learning new things every day. Being in the spotlight is definitely tough and I’m sure you get negative feedback for anything you do – everyone will always have something negative to say about anything you, or even I, do. But it’s YOUR life and your body, so they can all stfu 🙂

  • Joanne Griffiths  • 

    I have been a vegetarian for 25 years. I am so happy that finally it is becoming more mainstream. We are only as good as how we treat the beings that can’t help themselves…

  • Hi Jillian,
    Good for you for doing what you believe is right. I have a hard time with “what everyone else thinks” too, so I totally get that.
    My husband and I are dairy farmers. We live an hour or so out of Vancouver and have 71 cows. We have “robots” (you read that right) that milk our cows. We switched over from traditional milking 7 years ago when our family was young. One of the main reasons we chose this route was cow comfort. All the things my husband does in the barn is for the comfort of our cows. We have a pasture beside our barn that the cows get to chillax on. Our 7 year old son is already a eager helper in the barn (as well as entertainment for the cows as he plays hockey in the barn too).
    The cows are our family of 4’s livelihood. Therefore, they are treated pretty well. Please remember this, that it is not ALL factory farms out there, sometimes it’s just a family making a life with what God has given us. It’s not easy but it’s ours.
    I too cringe when I see how some of the “factory farms” are run. But I also cry when I see humans being treated in an equally horrible way. Both happen in the world and its sad. We each do what we think is right for helping the cause close to our hearts, but sometimes when big names, such as yourself, decide what is good or not, people jump on, without doing their own research and the ones who suffer are the small people, like us. Please remember it’s not ALL bad out there.

  • Robin Shipway  • 

    Woo hoo! Congratulations Jillian! This is undoubtedly going to be one of the easiest and most rewarding life changes you could make. I love your honesty and your story so than you for sharing it! I grew up eating meat willy nilly, and about 8 years I watched ‘Meet Your Meat’ with my ‘meat and potatos’ boyfriend and we were both so heartbroken over the treatment of these animals that we havent looked back since. We just couldn’t justify eating meet ever again. It is so inspiring to hear that more and more people are now really curious about their food and where it comes from and most of all, discovering a deep compassion that was in them all along. ❤I am so happy for you and for the impact you alone will have on the people in your life and the animals you care for. ?

  • I feel like I’ve been taking the journey with you. I remember when you watched COWspiracy and snapchatted about it, I had watched it a couple weeks before and was in the process of going vegetarian/vegan as well. I have been following Erin as well and find all her posts VERY helpful! She has also posted Cookbooks from other Vegans which I have started to follow now as well. It’s a journey, and I’m enjoying it. I grew up thinking vegetarians were stupid as well, thinking, “they’ll regret it when they’re malnourished”. It takes more work, but you get all the same nutrients just from a different source. Someone else commented about making sure you don’t start eating too much processed foods, and they’re right, it’s easy to fall to that when you see the vegan label on something. Keep enjoying your journey! 🙂 I love following you on snap! 🙂
    Camille

  • Katelyn Nicks  • 

    Very inspiring Jillian! My husband is a hunter so unsure whether I’d be able to entirely make the switch but having more knowledge and asking questions certainly encourages me to think more closely about the choices I make when it comes to the food I consume. Also, more veggies didn’t hurt anybody!! xox love from Nova Scotia!

  • Erin Clegg  • 

    Good for you and quit apologizing for your decisions, don’t worry about what others options are so much and focus on what you feel is the right thing to do!! I hear you about the Alberta thing;) I grew up in a small Alberta town and know the Ranch & Farm life and respect how much they love their animals. The fact is, we do better when we know better and many of us are learning how the earth CANNOT sustain the amount of meat, dairy and fish produced or killed…your right, times have changed and people have to change their habits too because we can’t continue to consume so much meat & dairy!! I write this as I am cooking a meatloaf for my family!?! I know what I have to do but I don’t know how to do it with two kids who are extremely picky (I had to sneak puréed spinach and yams in the meatloaf so they would get enough veggies;( I think what your doing is awesome and I’m glad you shared it with us. Vegans get a bad wrap but I think more and more people are learning and realizing what this next generation needs to do to get our environment healthy again. Love Erin Ireland too!!? Don’t be so hard on yourself and don’t take any crap from anybody!! Love you;)
    Erin Clegg
    Red Deer, AB

  • Erika Erskine  • 

    Jillian, it’s like you are in my head and in my heart. Wow, how cheesy am I?! But honestly, I have the biggest soft spot for animals, like you I could cry (and have!!) thinking about animals lives, from dogs to whales and everything in between. For me eating meat has always been difficult and now with so much research it’s become a really hard thing to swallow, literally. I haven’t eaten chicken or turkey in years, really I am down to beef once in a while. I have really been thinking about the vegan train for a while and have started to follow some great Instagram account (check out wholesome slice). It’s tricky because the dairy seems like an expensive change but more vegetables is never bad. You sound educated, informed, and like you are doing this for YOU, no one else. Congratulations on using your platform to help get across your message…speak for those who have no voice! Thanks Jill!!!

  • ammauceri  • 

    Love this! Thanks for being honest and compassionate and speaking for the animals. So awesome.

  • Sarah Swensrude  • 

    Hi Jillian! Honestly this is the first time I’ve commented on anyone’s blog post including all famous people! But after reading I just had to. I’m 8 months in myself on being vegetarian. Being from alberta too. I’ve gotten many odd comments and even family has been harsh at times, also being introvert doesn’t help either. Almost like being in a “meat free closet” finally I’m coming out to more coworkers and people in my life but it’s tough so I applaud you so much for writing this and being honest about who you are and what your life choice is!! Being from a smaller town there’s not alot of resources here for us meat free folk so being able to follow you and Erin Ireland has sure helped out. Keeps you on the right path and remember why you’ve made this choice in the first place. I’m going to come clean to you I’ve had some salmon in the last 8 months not much but have felt guilt too over it. We need to not be so hard on ourselves so it’s nice to hear you’ve struggled as well. Many won’t admit to it! Also I’m married and the hubby is a typical alberta meat eater he’s supportive but it’s been a interesting transition for my family (him and my son) my choice is my choice but it’s not their choice and I don’t want to force them. It’s hard on a relationship though when you marry someone who eats meat and then changes I’m curious to hear if and how it’s affected your relationship at all? Maybe a future blog post?:) sorry for my novel comment. Just nice to see someone be so open and free and not afraid it’s been inspiring for me to read in not being afraid to let me know the real me! Thanks so much an thanks for coming out of the closet! Lol

  • Paula Thompson Collins  • 

    We just watched the documentary “Forks over Knives” last weekend. The health statistics were unbelievable! It’s making me really think about moving toward vegan-ish! Congrats on your lifestyle change.

  • Stephanie  • 

    Hi Jillian, thanks for sharing. Although I have not personally made the switch I do enjoy eating vegetarian and vegan! I really liked when you said “ALL of that animal product as a life, that was sacrificed for ME … and why on earth would I ever waste a morsel of that?” Because more recently I had gone through my cupboards, fridge & freezer and threw away so much food I was ashamed! I am hoping to try my best from now on to be mindful of my food choices and to be sure I consume what I buy so I do not end up wasting it. Good luck with your continued switch-to-vegan journey and thanks for being brave to be real with us.

  • Michelle Hutchinson  • 

    This is seriously the BEST blog post and you couldn’t have said or expressed it better! It actually made me a little teary because you could feel the passion that you have for animals and that’s so admirable!

    I have been doing the same thing (because of humane reasons) and it is tough at first but not so bad about a month in. I’ve been 5 years without red meat and about 3-4 mo on the same veganish plan you are doing. I feel better and honestly it’s made me even more passionate about both animal activism and nutrition.

    Thanks again, you are a cool human!

    Xoxo

  • Thank you so much for sharing this with us! As an Albertan who still eats some meat, this was such an interesting read and certainly gives me a lot to think about. I have been looking into cosmetic, skin care and hair lines that are cruelty-free over the past month. I was so disappointed to learn that some of my favourite companies, such as Bobbi Brown and Clinique, still test on animals. Any chance you have been looking into this as well? If so, I would love to know what brands you love. <3

  • Erin Campbell Armstrong  • 

    Go Jillian! Great blog! I can’t wait to hear more about your journey. My vegan guru is Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. She has a great podcast and many yummy cookbooks. Check her out!
    Keep up the good work!

  • Michelle brandt  • 

    Thank you for the inspiring words Jillian. I am from Saskatchewan and I find it extremely easy to find local well treated meat and dairy products. My family is traditional menonite and therefore we source alot of our food the old way. My best friends growing up were cows that later became delicious meals. I am ok with that because I helped them be born and would read to them and play with them their whole life’s. Along with the chickens of course. I have a hard time eating at restraints because I grew up consious of what went on my plate. We have an amazing farmers market and lakes everywhere so we are never out of fish. If you are ever near I’d be more than happy to show you how we love our animals and our food.

  • Sheila-Doug Dryden  • 

    Oh dear heart❤I soooo understand where you are coming from. It’s social media that is to blame for making me realize how the meat I eat and the milk I drink is being raised and I just can’t take it. I am such an animal lover. I never had a problem eating elk or moose or deer. My hubby always made a clean kill and I knew that animal had been running around having a good life. Then I learned about pigs and cows and the dreadful farming practices. I have been trying to buy only ethically raised, free range, etc. But … how does that help the other animals and their plight? When celebrities like you have the courage to speak up it can make a difference. I applaud you Jillian ?

  • NYC new Vegan  • 

    Yeah!!! Proud of you. Always remember you will judged no matter what you do so you have to follow your heart. I’m also a recent Vegan & so happy with my decision. You’ll have to come to accept that you might lose friends but you’ll get new ones. Don’t try to convert everyone just lead by example. The state of the planet & Everyone’s health has really shed light on Veganism & more & more restaurants are happy to make you something if there is nothing on the menu. Most people are obsessed with their dogs & cats & just aren’t conscious about how cows & pigs are the same! I worried about missing meat & cheating after I told everyone but once you are aware & have those images of animal cruelty in your brain it’s not difficult at all. If you do fall off the wagon your not terrible you are still saving tons of animals by cutting back & every little bit helps. It’s not a fad diet it’s a lifestyle. When I ate meat I’d eat the same things chicken & it was boring. Now I’m eating a variety of foods that I had never tried before. Definitely tastey & not boring! Please post more vegan fashion: boots, coats, sweaters are especially tough!

  • Jillian!! The portobello fajitas at Cactus club are vegan if you ask for no butter grilled veggies (oil or steamed) and extra guacamole and salsa in place of cheese and sour cream!!

  • Lisa Richards  • 

    Thank you for sharing. You’ve peaked my curiosity, I already eat very little meat however I tend to be a bit picky about my veggies. I am interested in doing a bit more research, my 16yo daughter has talked about eating vegan as well.

  • We went vegan four years ago for the same reason and acted crazy and wanted everyone to see the light. We were super unhealthy vegans too. Oreos anyone? 😉
    Then I got pregnant and was worried about my daughter’s growth so I slid back into cheese and pepperoni. We still don’t keep dairy in the house and don’t buy red meat, but we have realized how lazy we got. Being vegan is a lot of work (to do it right and healthy), and we just didn’t make that effort. I am making the changes again to be (mostly) vegan, and that’s definitely by starting with meat. I’m glad I have something else to love about you that I relate to! Good luck 🙂

  • Ella Nikolayevna Townsend  • 

    This was a great read ! Thank you for sharing your views and experience. You should be very proud of yourself even if you have moments of weakness. We are only human. A lot of people just ignore the issues when it comes to treatment of farm animals and how much of impacts our environment. I am mostly vegan and it’s been a hard journey for me too so I feel your pain. I actually can’t eat red meat anymore since I can not digest it. It literally makes me sick. A few years ago I found out that I couldn’t eat any dairy due to an intolerance. Giving it all up the next day was very hard and I struggled for months until I realized how eating it made me feel. I would really recommend reading Kriss Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet. It’s a wonderful book that makes going vegan and vegetarian easier. She also has a website. Her book helped me transition from a flexitarian to mostly vegan. Thank you for being an inspiration !

  • Ashley Pabst  • 

    Jill,
    You are amazing! Thank you for sharing your amazing journey with the world! I love reading your blog and watching your snapchats. Your courage to do this and share your opinion is absolutely amazing and inspirational! I hope that someday I too will be able to do the samething for the animals! Also Erin Ireland is absolutely amazing love her courage to do what she does and the recipes are delicious and usually do simple!!!

    Love from Wisconsin,
    Ashley

  • Jami Pollitt  • 

    You’re so lovely, Jill – in all that you do. You have the kindest heart. And you are so dang REAL! So refreshing. Follow your heart, always xo

  • Jill, THANK YOU!! I have been transitioning to vegan-ish for months now and feel like a horrible person for craving (and ordering) a cheeseburger every once in a while! It’s awesome to know that someone else has the same problem! Everyone elses opinion freaks me out! I started following Erin Ireland a few months ago after you suggested her on snapchat, and I love watching her make AMAZING, and inspiring dishes- and envying the lifestyle she lives (and her urban cultivator!!) I can’t wait to follow your journey, and hopefully get some inspiration along the way! THANK YOU FOR THIS POST- I’m excited to read more!

  • Thank you for this. I just happened across it in my Facebook news feed and had to read as my husband and I have been making changes in our diet to get away from animal products. We still eat meat and enjoy it but the majority of our meat purchases come from a local farm where they raise the pigs and their neighbour raises the cattle and they are all about animals living a happy and free range lifestyle. They grow organic veggies and have a community share program where we can get a weeks worth of veggies at a time and add free range eggs and meat if we so choose. It is a great deal and means we cook to what is in season. I don’t know what we call ourselves since the world is so into labeling people but I choose to refer to myself as a conscious consumer. If people want to know what that means, I’ll go into it further with them.

  • The fact that you have chosen to not eat dairy because of animal treatment is absolutely ridiculous. Canada as country has to obide by CQM. Guess what? Do you even know what that is? It is absolutely repulsive that you choose not to educate yourself on Canadian dairy producers. If you would like to see how 95% of family operated Canadian dairy farms operate please feel free to contact me.

    • Mother of Dragons  • 

      I’m going to take a wild guess that you are a dairy producer? Relax. The dairy industry isn’t going to collapse anytime soon. Shame on you for using the word repulsive to attack someone’s right to choice, decision and opinion to choose what they ingest into their own body, and how dare you insult anyone on how much they have educated themselves, quite frankly that’s an uneducated assumption isn’t it?

    • It’s absolutely repulsive that you kill the calves in order to get their mother’s milk. I’m guessing you also rape (artificially inseminate) your cattle? And please do tell me what happens when your cows stop producing milk…

      • Melissa Collman  • 

        So do you consider a women who gets artificially inseminated being raped? No. Animals that are bred AI are only bred when they would willingly allow themselves to be bred by a bull. Also, why do you assume the calves are killed as babies or that they don’t also get their mothers milk. Many farms feed the babies their mothers milk at the babies are either raised as beef cattle or stay dairy cattle. I’m not blind and I know what veal is but don’t assume that all farms are run that way. I think you would be surprised at how farmers run their farms. Those videos go to the worst of our industry (yes I’m a dairy farmer. I have an organic dairy in the PNW) Imagine if we went to the worst parts of the USA and the only thing other countries ever saw were clips from there. Imagine what the rest of the world would think of us. I respect people’s right to choose but know there are two sides to every story and don’t assume what you haven’t seen with your own two eyes.

        • Melissa,
          A woman who gets AI does it because she chose to. You cannot compare that to the forced AI you perform on cattle. If you claim that you can “only” AI them when they are willing, then why do you have to tie them down or put them in a pen to perform it? And do you masturbate the bulls or do you allow them to rape the cow of your choosing? I would love to see how your farm is run. Please, tell me what happens to the cows that can no longer produce milk.

          • They go to the cow rehab – you know – those giant farms of free range, old age animals that you see all over the country… Have you ever heard of the circle of life? Perhaps you should step foot on a farm before crying rape and murder. Did you read about the baby who just got scurvy because they were fed almond milk instead of cows milk or breast milk… CIRCLE OF LIFE.

          • I love how you justify cruelty to animals to make a profit by lying to yourself. And I’ve been to many farms. Animal agriculture is neither ethical nor sustainable. Humans are not part of the circle of life because we kill everything that tries to kill us. Our population keeps rising exponentially while most species on this planet is on the decline. Go to school before you speak. Oh, and scurvy is caused by vitamin c deficiency. It is found in fruit. Feeding a baby milk instead of breast milk or formula is not recommended. So why would you think almond milk would suffice?

          • Jillian Harris  • 

            HELLO EVERYONE! PLEASE PLEASE this is NOT the kind of conversation I was hoping to provoke with my blog – please see my FIRST ask at the beginning of the blog. Lets not be sarcastic or mean, rather, kind and compassionate to everyones choice. There are varying opinions on the topic and would like to keep the conversation as positive as possible … PLEASE XOXOO

          • Melissa Collman  • 

            Jillian, you are right and I apologize if I was coming across that way. I would just like to say that I respect your choice and I think we each have to make it for ourselves. I’m glad you did some research but seeing as your biggest concern is the wellbeing of animals I would encourage that you visit a farm/farms yourself. As I said in my comment above it is easy to make any industry look bad if you show the worst of it. I raise my own meet, but I understand that isn’t possible for all, so I respect those who don’t want to risk eating from somehwhere that they can’t see for themselves that the animal was treated with compassion. I even get those people who don’t want to eat anything with a face. What I have a hard time with is people bashing my profession and way of life because of a few movies or hard hitting cases. It’s like seing a video of a mother abusing a child and assuming all mothers do that. I have personally watched a few of the movies that were on your list and I was just as appalled as you and yet I’m 33yrs old and I have been raised on a dairy plus visit many for my profession and can say that what you see in those videos isn’t the norm. There are a few great resources if you want more information from the farmers themselves. Once again I want to say I appreciate your honesty and if you chose to do no further research I will not hold it against you. Just keep in mind farmers are people with feelings too.

          • Melissa Collman  • 

            Auto correct got me a few times but you get the gist

          • Melissa, you are More than welcome to prove your point by installing 24 hour live stream cameras in your farm for all of us to watch. If you contact the humane society, they will most likely provide them to you. You can show us all that raping, torturing, enslaving cows and kidnapping their babies and poisoning humans is ethical only because you make a profit from it.

          • Sorry, I just have a problem with the propaganda that the meat and dairy industry is spreading around to make a profit. Being mean is nothing compared to what goes on in those farms and at the slaughter house.

          • I hope we can all be kind and compassionate towards all animals too one day.

          • Melissa Collman  • 

            You are comparing an animals basic instinct to mate to a humans emotional choice. Almost all animals when they come in heat are more than willing to be bred and will do it on their own even if it’s a son or father. It is NOT rape. You see they are NOT human. I have never seen in all my years a cow tied down to have this performed, so please get your facts straight. A pen, however, yes we do. For our safety and theirs. I’m not sure if you noticed but humans aren’t the same size as a Bull. But I can honestly say that I have no real problem with your view if you don’t push it on others and you are fair across the board. Meaning that you are against dog, hamster, rabbit, cat, horse, etc…breeders? Because they all doing the same thing that dairy farmers do in regards to breeding animals.

            I am not ashamed that I consume animals and am very contentious that we raise them ethically and with compassion. It is a life cycle when she is processed for meat. I see her as still having value even without milk.

          • A quick search on youtube shows a cow being tied to a fence while having an arm shoved down its anus and then having a metal rod inserted into its genitalia. Seems more like a bad alien abduction nightmare.
            There are people out there who have intercourse with their sons, fathers, animals and inanimate objects. Im sure youve heard of a vibrator…
            The fact that you do not consider it “rape” just because they are not human is sick. Ignorance is bliss right? Or is it just stupidity? Do not push your stupidity onto others. And do not try to fool me into thinking that enslaving, raping, abusing and torturing animals only to be sent to the slaughter house to be killed is in any way “ethical” or “compassionate”. Think about what you do and ask yourself if you would want to live and die as one of them. You should consider yourself lucky that you won the life lottery and you werent born a chicken or cow.

          • Melissa Collman  • 

            Once again you are giving an animal more human emotions. I’m don’t consider it rape because she would WILLINGLY do it on her own with a bull. You are the one saying its rape simply because she isn’t human. I’m not in anyway saying cows are emotionless either. If you put a cow out to pasture or scratch it’s neck or feed it then it is happy. They live their lives going off basic needs and care. If you meet those needs and care for them they are happy.

            I’m not sure what you mean by tie down as you said in your first post but if you mean they put a halter on the cow and tied it to a gate? It goes back to safety for the animal and farmer, however, I’ve still never seen it done this way. We are not the size of a bull and we can’t ask her to stay still as we would a women so safety is key for both her and us. I think it’s great you have an example that people sleep with realities because it goes back to humans being intelligent enough to know it is wrong, where as, animals don’t but do it out of basic instinct to become pregnant and propagate.

            Look, I can see that we simply are on two different sides of an argument, however, I KNOW my industry/farm since I have seen it everyday of my life and I can see how happy my cows are. I’m not going to question your intelligence like you did mine. It is obvious that you are intelligent, but I am going to suggest that it is OK to agree to disagree without bashing the each other.

          • Melissa, I question whether you possess any human emotion. Or intelligence.

          • If they are so willing to breed, why are you shoving your arm down their rectum and stuffing their genitals with pipes full of semen while they are confined to a pen? Why are you afraid of getting hurt? Why not let them breed on their own if they are so willing????????? WHY????? Why are you so stupid and stubborn???? Why do you insist on making a profit off the suffering and death of others? Why are you part of an industry that makes people sick, physically and mentally? You must surely know that dairy CAUSES osteoporosis by now. Are you going to deny that just so you can make a buck? How does it feel to consciously poison people while torturing and murdering animals for a living? You want to play these games with me? Please, tell everyone which farm it is you run. Tell us all how proud you are to be such a grotesque excuse for a human that possesses “emotion”.

          • Go ahead and try to bash me. I know you’re afraid of what I know and will say to expose you. Do yourself a favor and educate yourself on the fact that the nations that consume the most dairy have the highest rates of osteoporosis. And I wouldn’t be surprised if these nations were plagued with the highest rates of obesity as well. Perhaps you should try vegetable farming before you go financially bankrupt. God knows you are already MORALLY BANKRUPT.

          • If they are so willing to breed, why are you shoving your arm down their rectum and stuffing their genitals with pipes full of semen while they are confined to a pen? Why are you afraid of getting hurt? Why not let them breed on their own if they are so willing????????? WHY????? Why are you so stupid and stubborn???? Why do you insist on making a profit off the suffering and death of others? Why are you part of an industry that makes people sick, physically and mentally? You must surely know that dairy CAUSES osteoporosis by now. Are you going to deny that just so you can make a buck? How does it feel to consciously poison people while torturing and murdering animals for a living? You want to play these games with me? Please, tell everyone which farm it is you run. Tell us all how proud you are to be such a grotesque excuse for a human that possesses “emotion”.

          • Melissa Collman  • 

            It is obvious you know little about reproduction since a tube of semen is used in almost all AI applications even in humans and that you know little about handling large animals. It is also obvious that you are not capable of having a reasonable discussion with respect, so for that reason and because Jillian asked this type of disrespectful behavior to stop I’m going to step back. If you ever want to actually learn or even just ask questions of an industry you obviously know mostly off of videos you’ve seen on line then there are farmers out there to talk. My experience is people that act so irrational in their care and respect for others even if they disagree is beyond talking to. Jillian I won’t continue this and since this has been fairly unproductive conversation do with it what you want. Once again I apologize for this conversation, Jillian.

          • Melissa. Please grow a brain. Of course I Know a tube of semen is used for AI. I was the one who said it. I know what AI is. I was asking you why you would need to use tubes of semen while stuffing your arm down a cow’s rectum if they are so “willing” to breed on their own? Why not leave it to nature and let them breed NATURALLY? Why can’t you answer any of my questions? I know you’re trying to insult my intelligence as a way to derail the conversation so you don’t have to answer me. Nice try.
            It’s obvious you lack morals considering you make a profit off the suffering and death of animals and also the suffering and death of humans as well. Your refusal to change is disgusting. I know exactly what happens on farms. I’ve been to farms. Never want to see another one again. Male calves ripped away from their mothers and confined in pens alone. They’re so desperate for milk and affection that they suckled on my fingers and metal objects. It was obvious they were depressed. Mothers were dehorned and were in obvious pain. Their milk sucked from machines instead of their own offspring. How come you refuse to install cameras for everyone to see? I would love to see what happens everyday and the look on your face when people around the world become enraged.

          • Apologize for what you do to animals and humans who were tricked into thinking meat and dairy was healthy. You do know beef causes cancer and dairy causes osteoporosis right? Isn’t selling poison to humans “irrational “? Oh wait, more like IMMORAL. Scum like you deserve respect?

    • Someone seems to be a little sore about losing profits off their abused animals

    • Agree! Many of these people have never visited working farms and seen the respect and pride farmers have for their animals. The standards in Canada are extremely high. Shall we just free all these animals into the tall grass to fend for themselves? Now that would ensure widespread suffering and death, especially with Canada’s temperatures. No issues whatsoever with someone choosing to be a vegan. Everyone is entitled their own life choices, but as the joke goes- how can you tell someone is a vegan?….they will tell you!

      • Do you also think all birds should be caged, preventing them from flying to keep them “safe”? What kind of life is worth living if you cannot live your own life free from slavery? You might as well be enslaving blacks with that delusional mentality.

        Animals are capable of taking care of themselves without human ‎
         ‎Interference. There are many animals that have gone feral and are doing quite fine. Domesticated animals were once wild. Many may die if set free, but that only naturally selects them to improve future generations and slowly undo the horrific breeding of inferior genetics by humans. ‎All agriculture  animals are guaranteed to suffer and die under human care. I would think setting them free would give them a better chance of survival. 

  • Susan Oliver  • 

    I was so excited to read this post because I saw you talking about it on snapchat! I also have been trying to eat less meat and animal products. You actually were the one who pushed me to watch cowspiracy. Ever since I watched it I was just glued to my computer and was researching so much about veganism. I can relate with you on how become vegan or vegetarian is so daunting because you have to put on that label. I have come to realization that no one has to have a label. I can try my hardest and eat no meat and dairy products because I truly want to but I don’t feel like you have to label yourself as a vegan necessarily. At the end of the day if you slip up and have one piece of cheese I would still feel amazing for missing out on all those other times that I could have chosen an animal product option. I wish you so much luck on your journey! Know that I am facing the same one and its hard and daunting at times but at the same time its exciting and I feel so much better about myself. Ohh last thing!! I have been having lots more vegetables and plant based foods and I can tell you my skin and my hair has never looked better. My waistline is shrinking and these are just things that happen because we are eating what we are supposed to be eating and that feels great! 🙂 Love you Jill <3

  • Mother of Dragons  • 

    Welcome fellow veganish!! My biggest struggle is the way people give me that look….you know that look, when I tell them I can’t or won’t eat that…its a look that I insinuates I’m high maintenance. Eventually, you get use to that. It took me many you g and stupid years to become some kind of old and wise. Now a days when I get that look of “you’re crazy” wise me knows I’m not responsible for how other peoe feel. I can empathize or been compassionate, but at the end of it I own my choice and good for you for taking ownership too.

  • Alexis Nichols  • 

    Hey Jillian,

    just wanted to let you know I work at cactus club and would hate to see a customer like yourself go. I would say almost half of the servers (at my location atleast) are either GF, celiac, vegetarian or vegan. Cactus prides ourselves on being accommodating and making sure every customer leaves happy. We are more then happy to modify dishes (especially your old favorites) to work in your new dietary restrictions. Hope to see you back someday! 🙂

    • Jillian Harris  • 

      HI Alexis!!! THANK YOU – as you know i’m a huge cactus supporter! Recently i they took their portabelo mushroom fajitas off the menu which was pretty much my last option 🙁 I totally agree with asking the chef, but it is nice to be able to go and look at a menu and be able to select something just like everyone else at the table, without having to make special modifications! I am close with the head office team and would LOVE to challenge the test kitchen to experiment with some options for vegetarians… even a tofu add on would change things exceptionally!!

      • Love the challenge idea! Having a local celeb like you coming out as “plant based” and challenging your favorite restaurants to rise to a challenge will help add “plant based” options to menus.. 2016 is the of the pulses- let’s see if we can challenge a few restaurants to incorporate on their menus!!

  • Sandee Sanders  • 

    This is beautiful ❤ Thank you Jillian. I’ve been following your changes and cheering you on from the sidelines. You have such a big voice – you will make a difference. I began my veganish journey years ago while driving from Kelowna to Vancouver. I saw a cow, standing at the edge of on a cliff, at a plant. She was alone, and bellowing, and it just broke me. I would like to say that I haven’t eaten beef since, but it has been a process. I don’t eat chicken, beef, or pork now. Occasionally fish, but not much, (my husband is a commercial diver/fisherman). I don’t feel the need to label myself, or fail. I just know that animals don’t need to die for me to be happy, healthy & well fed, and I make that choice daily. Again, thank you so much -❤

  • I just love you that is all? I also follow Erin and she is amazing!! I love her post and the way she uses her Urban Cultivator my husband services them in Calgary and surrounding areas! I am trying to make the transition too. I have 2 young boys and they are not totally on board? Keep up the great work you are amazing and I love what you do!!

  • Shannon Lord  • 

    As a fellow animal lover and conscious consumer I think you are doing an amazing job at educating yourself and others! I was vegetarian for 6 years in my late teens-early twenties. Then did a 180, I gained a bunch of weight and felt horrible. Remembering why I was picky about what I put in my body years before I became a strict vegan for a complete year! This was very hard & brought lots of jokes & snide comments from a lot of people. Knowing I was being true to myself and my own reasons made it ok. I was being more aware & I think that alone is what a lot of people have problem with; “what you don’t know won’t hurt you.” Since last spring I went back to being vegan-ish as well. I make the best choices with what I have. I have not had any meat or fish in 2 years. I know I am only one person trying to make a difference, but I only have one body & one life & I am ok with being an animal loving woman who tries to eat the best she can while making an impact on her environment. You are an amazing woman & I think you are doing amazing things! Give my love to that sweet tail chasing Mr.Nacho too! Sincerely, Shannon Lord ???

  • Jessica Barr  • 

    Hi Jillian

    Thank so you much for writing this!! I just became interested in learning more about going vegan because of you. I watched Cowspiracy tonight and am so much more dedicated to trying my best to be conscious of what I am consuming, what it does to the environment and where I am getting my food. I love the term vegan-ish. Thank you for sharing your journey and not being afraid to put yourself out there. You’ve been a huge inspiration to me to learn even more about this.

  • SO HAPPY to see another vegan join the army. Like you said, you are benefitting your health & the environment in a big way.
    My boyfriend and I have done extensive research on the health benefits of eating a whole foods, plant based diet. This eliminates anything processed and if you choose to follow it, will never leave you feeling “bad”…
    I would challenge you on the “egg” topic. Please google TMAO and I think you’ll gain some more insight. ? (Chicken abortions)
    I would also tell you, don’t be afraid of what people will think. It’s your life, and just by you leading by example…you will be surprised in how people make changes around you very quickly. I’ve been veggie for 10 years, vegan 2 and they are both two of my best decisions I’ve ever made in my life ( first,being my angel ❤️ ? ) as you continue on this journey, your soul will open & you will become a more kind, soft and compassionate person as you are no longer ingesting death…pain. For whether they were raised on a green pasture or not, they didn’t want to die. Just like you or I…as we really are all one.
    I thank you for your post, it’s so inspiring to see you open your life to this and I thank the universe for bringing you to this decision ?? with gratitude,
    Renee xx
    #namaste

  • Hi Jillian,
    Although I commend your efforts and I am in no way trying to discourage you, I just do not think it is correct to call yourself “vegan-ish”. 
    I understand you are transitioning, but anyone who eats meat is still considered an omnivore. ‎Even a vegetarian doesn’t eat meat but still eats dairy/eggs but a vegan is more strict than a vegetarian and does not consume any animal products whatsoever. 
    Eating wild caught meat is not considered vegan as it is still an animal that had to die to be put on your plate. Killing an animal is in no way “humane”, “ethical”, or “sustainable”, regardless of how it was raised or how it lived. That’s like saying it is ethical to murder rich people because they had a privileged life. ‎
    The reason I want to point this out is because I find that so many people these days are jumping on the “vegan” bandwagon because they think it’s the cool new trend or fad diet. I feel that many people out there claim they are “vegan” for superficial reasons. ‎I have met countless people who claim they are “vegan”, yet they still eat eggs, chicken, fish, halal meat, etc…
    There are people out there who think being vegan is removing one animal out of their diet and there are others who think being vegan means they can eat meat on weekends. There are even people who call themselves  “vegans” out there who still eat meat everyday, but they consider themselves “vegan”  because their meat was organic and grass-fed. And then there are the “vegans” who still wear fur and leather. People think that they can just slap a vegan label on themselves without even knowing or caring about what it really takes. 
     It reminds me of the kind of person who claims to be a non-smoker, except they make the excuse that they “only” smoke while drinking, eating, socializing, or when they’re stressed out or happy or because they never buy their own cigarettes because they bum free ones off their friends. ‎So someone who calls themselves a “vegan” or even “vegan-ish” when they still eat meat is sending out the wrong message. 
    Being vegan is ‎choosing to live without harming or taking the life of another animal. Many consider it more of a “lifestyle” rather than just a mere diet. I can understand it is tough. I was a vegetarian for many years before I could fully transition and call myself a vegan. And avoiding hidden animal products is like walking through a mine field sometimes. But making a conscious effort to avoid animal products is an admirable choice. 
    When Erin Ireland was transitioning, I absolutely loved the fact she called herself a “Flexitarian “. I felt that she was not misrepresenting  herself  and had great appreciation of her conscious effort to research ‎what being “Vegan” really was about. Although your goal is to be a vegan, you can be on a “plant-based” diet or a “Flexitarian” in the meantime, with the end goal of becoming a vegan.  And I am in no way tying to undermine your efforts. I applaud your achievements and bringing it to your adoring fans. And because you have such a fan base, I thought you could clarify some misconceptions surrounding being a “vegan” to all those confused and intrigued people out there. I wish you all the very best in your journey. And I thank you for making the choice to take it. 🙂

    • I think you forgot to add, “in my opinion,” after a lot of those sentences, SWC. It is clear that being vegan is a large part of your life doctrine. But I think it’s important to remember that maybe your theology on being vegan means one thing and someone else’s theology means another. I’m pretty sure there’s enough room in the world to practice being vegan in different ways, especially when the well being of living creatures is at the forefront of your intent. There is no copywrite on lifestyle choices 🙂

      • Eating meat and calling yourself a vegan is fundamentally incorrect. I feel that so many people these days have no idea what a vegan really is because there are so many people making bad examples of themselves and little to no research is done into what it takes to be a vegan. Even the dictionary clearly states that a vegan is a strict vegetarian who does not use or consume animal products. Omnivores and meat eaters eat meat. Vegans do not. I don’t know why you would think there is any other theology or way to practice being a vegan.

      • Calling yourself any derivative of “vegan” before you’ve eliminated meat and animal products from your diet is premature and in some cases misguided. You can’t call yourself a doctor when you haven’t even started med school.

    • Robin Shipway  • 

      Very well said. ☺

    • Jillian Harris  • 

      HI SWC! Thanks for sharing… I am only saying Vegan-ish because I am having a hard time labeling myself… but i understand your argument. Thinking a lot abut this argument, perhaps ‘plant-based’ would be more appropriate? thoughts?

      • Hey Jillian!
        Thank you for coming back to this. I understand that is your end goal and it took me more than a decade to go full vegan as it is a long learning process with many mistakes and temptations along the way. So don’t be hard on yourself because I too had to forgive myself for many failures lol. Yes, plant-based is a good start. There are a few different types of vegetarian and people who still eat fish are called “pescetarians”. Pescetarians are still Omnivores. There’s some misconceptions out there that somehow, people think fish is a vegetable and they consider themselves “vegetarian” or “vegan” while eating fish. Funny, because I could never get fish to grow from my garden…
        The less extreme version of vegan is vegetarian and there are 3 different types but even then, there are no fish or any meat whatsoever in these.
        1. Lacto-vegetarian means you eat only plants and dairy products.
        2. Ovo-vegetarian means you eat only plants and eggs.
        3. Lacto-ovo-vegetarians eat both eggs and dairy along with plants.

        And then there is “Vegan” which means no meat, fish meat, eggs or dairy are consumed or used.

        “Plant based” is saying you eat mostly plants but you have meat once in awhile or in small portions and sometimes non at all.
        If you are planning to cut out all animal products then perhaps you can say you are “trying” or “working towards” being a vegan? That’s what I told people while transitioning so they understood that I was not at my goal yet. But I didn’t want to get ahead of myself by calling myself or practising being a “vegan” so I became a “vegetarian” first. Baby steps.
        But once I weaned myself off those evil french macarons and milk chocolate, it was smooth sailing from there. 🙂
        If you have any questions, you can look up the Vegetarian Society website. The Humane Society and even Peta are good websites as well where you can get recipes too. There’s even a Veg Directory where you can look up vegetarian/ vegan restaurants.
        Wishing you all the best Jillian! 🙂

      • Michelle D  • 

        I think “plant-based” would be a great “label”, based on what you’ve described in your very detailed, heartfelt post. I spent all of my university years working in vegetarian restaurants (including Rebar in Victoria and Cafe Mosaics in Edmonton) to support myself, and along the way I met so many people who were committed to so many different kinds of plant-based diets, many for health reasons, and many for ethical reasons. I agree with SWC that “vegan” is a diet where you do not consume or in anyway use animal products; it’s not really something that an “ish” can be added to. Plant-based, however, is so much more open-ended, and doesn’t make it inconsistent or ignorant to say that you also eat meat/wear leather/consume other animal products on occasion. Personally I have a plant-based, primary local food diet. Neither of these things are absolutes in the way that veganism is, and it sounds like this might be the more accurate and descriptive label for what you’re currently engaged in. The issue, in my opinion, is that you are such a well-loved public figure – you have so many thousands of fans who hang on your words and take your recommendations and seek out the things you eat, wear, and do. You’re an incredible role-model, in particular because you send such a clear message about the importance of self-love and confidence; I think “getting it right” in terms of your messaging is important in a different way for you than it may be for others. All of this is really in the service of simply saying that I am so appreciative of the honest and passionate way you’ve described your own journey and food transition – I hope nothing here has come across as being judging or accusatory. You asked SWC for their thoughts, and since I thought what they had to say in their original reply was so dead-on I wanted to try to respond to that as well. All the best!

        • Thank you Michelle! I was thinking the same thing since Jillian is a public figure. Couldn’t have said it better myself. 🙂

      • Kim Sawatsky Krause  • 

        I find your post unsettling, the documentaries you recommend have their own agenda. If you or anyone wants the truth, go to any farm. Cows are not jacked up all day!! What does that mean? A dairy cow spends less then 1/2 hr hooked up to a milking machine per day. Go check this out for yourself, that is the only way you’ll find the truth. They are our livelihood and their health & happiness is our biggest concern. I think healthy living is important but don’t use your position to spread untruths.

  • Sarah Thompson  • 

    Love it, so inspiring. Can’t wait to show my family members so we can try and make the switch!

  • SoylentGroans  • 

    Hello Jillian!

    Complete no cheat ever (literally not ever) vegan here. I see some people are disagreeing with your vegan-ish title. Just wanted to weigh in a bit if you’re reading these. I promise this isn’t negative and I’m totally proud of you.

    I feel, being vegan is a state of mind. A lot of vegetarians have no qualms eating dairy or eggs. If you recognize that the conditions these animals are raised in is awful and are systematically eliminating them slowly, vegan-ish seems fair. Definitely not full vegan by any stretch but as a vegan-leaning occasional pescatarian I feel like you’re on your way enough to warrant an -ish. I’ve found being too militant about labels pushes people away from veganism which is totally silly and clearly defeats the purpose so as long as you’re not claiming full vegan, personal opinion, vegan-ish is fine for someone who travels too much to really have an easy time doing 100% vegan.

    I used to be a hardcore meatatarian (I felt bad for animals but thought vegans were dumb and slowly killing themselves so I was avidly against veganism) and I know it’s difficult. It’s hard to have your perception shaken so profoundly and find yourself on the path of veganism. You’re still learning and not cutting everything out immediately is again, fair.

    I told myself I would go full vegan for a year as kinda an exercise in self control and afterwards would cheat but by the end I found myself so vegan that even the thought of animal products made me feel sick.

    At the end of the day though, everyone’s journey is different and you do you. Vegan-ish is a great step forward and you might help others find their full vegan path. Welcome to the vegan-ish club.

    P.S. If you want to take a step towards totally vegan, if you ever find yourself in Edmonton, you should totally try Café Mosaics’ vegan breakfast dishes one day. They’re magical. Their vegan eggs benedict is stellar and can teach you a lot about how great a tofu scramble can be.

  • Oh JIllian….I’ve loved you from day one. And this post has just made me love you more. I love meat products but reading this makes so much sense. First of all your writing is hilarious and down to earth – which I SO love. And you bring about such great points that I think those of us who don’t have pets or are not around animals a lot easily forget. There will always be internet haters….and there will always be other people who are greatly inspired by your story. You are truly incredible and thank you for being so open and honest. xoxo @ashdonielle

  • Monique Hutchinson  • 

    Jillan, are you feeling the love?!!! I am in awe of your honest approach to life. One of the reasons I started following you (on all social media outlets) and continue too, is your complete and total relateabilty! My girlfriends and I were privileged enough to meet you in the Homes for the Holidays tour and one of them said to me as we were leaving “I’d love to sit and have a drink with that girl” This applies to everything you do, including your post here. I am no where near vegan or even vegetarian, the thought of it scares me-such as a simple thing like where do you start. But it has been you (and you introducing us to Erin-I follow her too now religiously) that has it sitting in the back of my head and I know its only a matter of time when I will put down my meat filled fork- So thanks for sharing your thoughts, and journey! Keep doing what ever your doing, we will love you no matter what Doll.

  • Reading your post is so inspiring. I am on the same journey (the parallels are uncanny) and am experiencing all of the same trials and tribulations of making the switch. It’s like I have a veganish sponsor. Ha! Realizing that I won’t be perfect at this has been the key to keeping it up. And because of you, I started following Erin Ireland about month ago and her extremely yummy looking posts help me get excited everyday about this new way of living. All this to say – thank you for sharing.

  • Helen Siwak  • 

    Welcome! I have decided to start adding more of vegan meals to our blog and they are doing very well next to fashion and lifestyle. Veganisn isn’t so hard and there is a whole sector of society that will start enjoying your wonderful writing ! Helen from @Eco.Lux.Luv

  • Cindy Mathews  • 

    Thanks for the great post Jillian! I’ve recently gone through the same Thing and it’s unbelievably hard to dine out with friends!! Can I ask if you’ve thought about bone china homewares? You must come across them frequently…

  • Jillian!!! Thank you for sharing your journey in such a sincere and genuine manner. I recently watched Cowspiricy and find myself on the same “veganish” journey now that you were on when you first started. I’m both challenged and inspired by your honesty and openness. Keep it up!

  • If you ever come to Halifax, Nova Scotia (which you should!!!) there is a great vegan restaurant called enVie. Check it out! 🙂

  • Madison Hainley  • 

    I think you are amazing!! I have been thinking about going at least vegetarian for a while now since I feel like I’m pretty much there. The only hard part will be to convince my husband! Thanks for sharing this post, as well as every post you ever write 🙂

  • Ashley Brilhante  • 

    Thank you for sharing this with such honesty! We recently watched Cowspiracy and when he referred to milk as “baby cow growth food” I was grossed right out! I decided to cut back on my meat and dairy consumption after watching it. We have a freezer full of meats and I am certainly not going to waste that but we have been cutting way back. I feel we have started a “veganish” journey as well but I know that I will never cut 100% of meat and dairy out.
    Don’t feel guilty for the rare consumption of meat/dairy – you have made such a huge change and being 100% vegan wont happen overnight when you have eaten the opposite way your entire life!
    My biggest fear is life without butter! 😉

    • Jodi Tomlinson  • 

      I encourage you to try a product called Earth Balance. It is a non-dairy butter spread and we have done taste tests with butter and earth balance and I’m telling you, most people preferred the Earth Balance. Even my mom has switched because she prefers the earth balance taste. You can bake with it too. It behaves like butter and tastes soooo good! You’ll find it at health food stores that have grocery items or in the health food aisle of your grocery store. Also try something called Veganaise. Again in taste tests, most people have preferred it to real mayo and it’s dairy free. Many of my family have switched again based purely on taste preference!!

      • Ashley Brilhante  • 

        Thank you Jodi! We are grocery shopping this AM and I will look for it. I know I’ve seen it before but I didn’t realize it was dairy free! I believe the organic mayo I bought at Costco may be dairy free…I know for sure it’s egg free.
        Thanks again for taking the time to respond to my comment with your recommendation 🙂

      • I loveee earth balance, also field roast makes amazing vegan sausages. sounds kind of odd/gross, but they are delicious!

  • Melisa Lalonde  • 

    Wow Jillian. Thank you for attempting this big of a topic. Honestly I have always understood both sides (being a meat lover myself) but never knew how I could change my own ways thinking it would be pointless if I couldn’t commit whole heartedly. In a way this blog has helped me to understand that it’s not a terrible thing if I don’t change 100% right away as long as I try because it is worth a shot.
    You approached this in such a great way that I feel anyone from all sides will understand you and not judge you. So be strong and keep up with your beliefs because it’s worth it for thoae animals who can’t fend for themselves.

    Thank you for writing this enlightening blog in your own personal view.

    A fan who admires you very much <3

  • I admire you for making the change and sharing all of this, Jill! It really is such a drastic change that takes time to ease into.. I’m definitely no where near close to the progress that you’ve made, but have been trying to make small changes where I can. I’m excited to read more about your journey!

  • Lisa Novakowski  • 

    Great post! Big fan here. Thanks for sharing your story. Although I don’t think I will ever become vegan/veganish/vegetarian it wasn’t until I read your thoughts on “not wasting” that I realized how I don’t appreciate my food the way I should. When I thought about what it really means to throw out expired meat for example, how awful is that with respect to these animals. I never ever considered that it was just meat that was expired not an animal that’s life was sacrificed to feed my family. Thank you so much for sharing and I have learned an important lesson! ❤️

  • Julianne Wais  • 

    Hi Jillian. First of all, you are being so brave sharing this vulnerable part of your life! It makes me sad that you have to fear judgement on such a beautiful topic, what does that say about all of us… anyways, your post is inspiring! I am also ‘vegan-ish’… sushi is the one weakness we eat a couple times a year… working on that! You should check out Alicia Silverstone’s book The Kind Diet and watch her google talk on youtube. Looking forward to you sharing more about this in the future!

  • Yvette Hays  • 

    I really enjoyed your post! It’s perfect timing for me, I just started on the vegan journey. I wanted to see how my body would change. I have to say I noticed changes right away.
    Eating out has been the hardest part, I look for vegan dishes, if not then I go toward fish. I know I will at times eat meat, I don’t want to be the person preaching to my friends and family how they should change. I also don’t want to be a nuisance when friends invite me over for dinner, I figured I would just be kind and eat what they serve.
    I hope to hear more about your journey!
    Love seeing your fashion blogs.

  • Hannah Rose Glesener  • 

    Thank you so much for sharing! I’ve thought about what it’s like to be a vegan and thought it sounded terrible. Mainly because you put so much work into changing the way you eat, educate yourself and friends, use self discipline more than normal with food and it seems like there is little reward for all that hard work. I fall into the trap of “one person changing their eating won’t change anything about the food industry, so f*ck it”. It seems like it would be so frustrating to be vegan. Either way, you captured the transition from meat lover to vegan really well in words. I’m putting on “Cowspiracy” now. I wish you the best in your efforts!

  • perpetual flow  • 

    Congratulations
    on your journey Jillian! I’m so happy that you ‘came out’ in such a public
    setting to illuminate your journey to not eating meat! I started on the same
    journey about 6 years ago and have only become more happy, more energetic, and
    more proud of myself for sticking by my decision. It hasn’t been easy, as everyone seems to
    want to try to convince you that you’re not making a good decision or as you
    said, but what about bacon?? I have learned more than ever not just about the
    heath benefits to removing meat and dairy from your diet, but also the
    environmental side of why this decision helps the world as a whole. I have been
    to school to study this and have started my own blog on why this transition is
    necessary for the world for both health and the environment. I went to school
    with Erin and since I only just got started my own blog I haven’t had the
    opportunity yet to meet up with her again. I also just moved to Kelowna from
    Vancouver so if you ever want to talk, ask questions, or learn more about
    anything having to do with eating plants, nutrition, or how to answer the
    question ‘but where do you get your protein’, get a hold of me. Again, congratulations and I look forward to
    hearing more about your journey.

  • Jillian, I admire you greatly, in so many aspects of life. I’m really glad you’ve made the switch, because life truly is so much more fulfilling when you know that every day, when you don’t consume animals, or animal products, you really are making a difference. There are many labels when it comes to these kinds of things, and I do know quite a bit about them, as I’ve been a hard core vegetarian for almost ten years now. I do believe that technically your “label”, per say, would be classified as a pescatarian, which is basically a vegetarian who eats locally caught fish as well. Just a thought, if you were worried about labelling yourself as a “vegan”.
    You’re doing great things, keep it up!

  • Stefanie Dixon  • 

    Great post, I applauded you for ‘coming forward’, not easy to do in your position I’m sure.
    Your introduction to a vegan way of life sounds much like my own. I watched all the documentaries, read the books and I too tried to convince all my loved ones that what they were doing was crazy and wrong. I did go ‘hard core vegan’ for a while, but I quickly learnt that it wasn’t always going to be easy to do so. Today I like to think I’m 50% vegan, 25% vegetarian, 15% pescotarian and the remaining 15% is what it is. Because of all that I don’t label myself as one thing or another… You shouldn’t either. Just do what feels right for you 🙂

  • I appreciate the honest post, as I have gotten older I am thinking more and more about the choices (food, beauty products etc…) I make and how they impact me and the world. Change is hard and EVERYONE has an opinion, I can’t imagine what that’s like as a public figure. I like what you said about being human, we all make mistakes and need to respect each others choices and changes. Plus if we all go forward with a little more kindness (for humans and animals) I think the world would be a little better off too. Thanks for sharing your journey.

  • Alli Mulock  • 

    Hi Jillian,
    I have recently thought about making the switch as well and I love your openness and honesty about the challenges! It isn’t easy, and I have experienced this! I know you’re new to this, as am I, but I would love to know your opinion on soy products. From word of mouth as well as a bit of research I have found that soy products are not the best for you or the planet. I would love to see a blog post or even if you wanted to comment on what you think or what you have found! Thanks, you’re such an inspiration, keep it up! 🙂

  • Good for you, Jillian! It’s so wonderful that you made this very thoughtful, honest post. You’re doing wonderfully.
    There is no “fail” – you are coming from a place of sincerity and trying to do the best that you can. For you, for animals, for the planet. Can more be asked?
    If everyone reduced their consumption of animals to the level you are at it would change the world! That’s important to remember. You just keep going. Keep sharing and influencing.

    Peace and love to you, Greg and Georgia
    ps – love that you know realize that hippies are frikken smart ?

  • Not sure if I’d make the switch, (I already don’t eat wheat which feels like a lot of trickiness with my food 🙂 ) but I have a ton of respect for how thoughtfully you wrote this post.
    I’ve thought about the monetary waste when meat goes bad in the fridge but never thought about the waste of the life. Thank you SO much! That is such a valuable point and one that I will definitely implement :]

  • Pauline Ann Perry  • 

    Hi Jilly – well, I really enjoyed reading this article and I often do not have the staying power for this topic but you wrote so well, and so honestly, and I wanted to know more all the time. Congratulations on your endeavour and learning and sharing all that you have discovered. I just want to say that I understand Free Run eggs are absolutely not the same as Free Range eggs. Free RUn eggs are from chickens that are allowed freedom to roam but usually in a building (no sunshine or daylight) and on a concrete floor (for easy hosing down) so no foraging or pecking – a very unnatural life for a chicken. You need to buy only eggs that say Free Range. Good Luck.

  • Good for you! I appreciate your honesty. As a teen I stopped eating meat when I learned that veal was from a sweet baby calf. I cried my eyes out for days. Later in life I started eating wings, fish, etc then right back into bacon. Only recently after dreading my drive to and from work every day I stopped eating meat again. Sitting beside the piggies in front of the slaughter house destroys me. I don’t force my opinions and choices on others..but I feel better..and for that I guess my switch has been easy. Fashion is cooperating too..my trendy black jacket from winners is proudly vegan , as are my winter boots from Sail.
    Keep it up…you are a great spirit ..thank you !

  • Madeleine Wallace Drake  • 

    Hey Jill,
    I’m also a very conscious eating Albertan. And like you I’m also interested in getting to the root of what food I feel good about eating. I’m extremely sustainably minded and that’s why eating well & eating “right” is important to me. It’s just so hard to think about giving up cheese! I mean I like a little meat but giving it up seems realistic. Giving up cheese and dairy would be pretty damn tough. Life’s short so it’s not only about eating well for my body, eating right for my conscience & the planet but it’s also about enjoying wonderful eats with friends and family. Food makes me happy especially around a big table with the people I love. So it’s a pretty tall order. My life, again like you, involves a lot of travel for work & life, and thinking of planning for another thing stresses me out just thinking about it. But I appreciate your personal journey and your approach. You’ve got me thinking that it’s possible for girls like us.
    Ps. I conquer, hippies are rad!
    Best of luck on your journey and thanks for making me think about the very important issues at hand once again. Everyone has a part to play and maybe one day I’ll be writing a blog about my story too.
    Madeleine

  • Totally get it and glad you are lax about it. Follow your body’s cues. Sometimes you might want meat, and you obviously will know where to find the quality over quantity.
    And check out Jerseyland Organics that comes to Kelowna farmer’s markets if you ever try raw organic small-farm dairy products.
    I happen to be a registered holistic nutritionist and eat vegan, veg and meat throughout a given week.
    (I’m shocked I have never seen you around town to date but hey.. it’s just big enough to hide).
    Nicely said. I’m sure you edited the beans out of this one! Ha. xo

  • Andrea Gnys  • 

    Super awesome that you took so much time and thought and put it into this post! I am at a similar stage as you are…. I struggle giving up fish but have significantly reduced my intake as well. It’s amazing that you are making such huge shifts in lifestyle and diet! Vega (is used to work there) is HANDS down the best product on the market in my opinion for Vegan, natural whole food based products 🙂 Good call!

  • Tara Stocco  • 

    I love this! I have also recently gone vegan-ish and it feels great! I used to consider myself a foodie before but I feel even more so now that I don’t eat meat and dairy. There is something immensely satisfying about researching the ingredients in a meal and knowing they are not only good for you but also for the environment, and that no life was harmed in the process.

    I too am worried that people will think I’m a hypocrite if I have a moment of weakness and eat an egg or something with butter, but we are only human trying to live out own truth.

    Thanks for the honest blog post! Knowing that I’m not alone in the struggle to be vegan-ish is helpful to keep going on this journey. (And it’s inspiring to see so many more people who have posted they are or have gone through the same thing 🙂 )

    XOXO
    Tara

  • Sylvie Longstreet  • 

    I’m thrilled to see your flexibility and adaptation on the subject. Discussions surrounding the source of our food come up often in my family. I was raised on a farm where cows were free range, laying hens were our source for fresh eggs and my dad would purchase and raise chicks specifically to feed our family. Unfortunately, our farm is gone and it can be difficult to source fresh food in Northern Ontario. Luckily, my brother started providing organic free range eggs and I live across the street from a farm (which is great since we can see the cows from our front yard). Dairy is a tricky one since I have yet to get to know a local dairy farmer, but I do order whey protein from grass fed Certified Cheerful Cow, which makes me feel good and replaces meat at some meals.

    It’s difficult to be 100% committed, but do your best and forget the rest 😉 Great post Jillian. I hope it inspires others to look a little closer at what they are eating.

  • christina  • 

    amazing Jillian, you should be proud. As a meat eater this did not feel like you were preachy, or negative towards the ones who have yet to make the switch. You should be proud you made that change. I struggle with it often, and even tho I dont eat meat often I do make the extreme effort to eat ethical meat. I have family who to this day farms organic free range rattle for a living and it is sold at Hopcotts in Maple Ridge. This is where I shop. I see these cows on their thousands of acres treated like royalty. I believe one day I will make the switch like you, and i love the inspiration you provide for us all!

  • Sanga Living  • 

    Amazing Girl!!! I’m seriously so proud and excited about your journey. I definitely can identify with some of your story when I first made the switch when I was 18. Most people (especially my family) looked at me like I was crazy, unhealthy, or doing it for egotistic reasons. Some still do, or just don’t get it.

    I used to judge others for their ignorance and uncaring approach to eating animals, but as I got older I realized it is a personal choice on both sides and it needs to be respected.

    There are so many public figures that don’t open up about their views and passions because of fear of being disliked or called out. I truly am proud of you and love that you are making a difference on such a beautiful level towards animal welfare. Even by simply getting people to think.

    It is such a tricky world to navigate (the Ethical treatment of Animals) and you have to find what works for you. Any effort is better than none.

    Wherever this journey takes you it is exactly that – a journey.

    Much Respect

    Jamie Wood

  • Emily Hawthorne  • 

    Thank you so much for sharing. You spoke right to my heart! I’ve been contemplating this for quite a while now. Question for you, what do you feed Nacho? I’ve had this aching in my heart every time I look into my puppies sweet eyes that I am feeding my animals from another animal. It may sound so silly but I feel like why should another animal die to feed mine? It breaks my heart just thinking about it.

  • Shannon Smith  • 

    I loved reading this and thank you so much for sharing exactly how you felt! I have been a vegetarian since I have been 13 years old…. I KNOW!! right? I am not 28 years old so I guess you could say that I am an expert on the subject lol. It must be in my genes as my grandfather was a vegetarian (and that is highly unheard of back then!). I remember growing up as a little kid and asking my parents (who are not vegetarian/vegan by any means) where bacon came from, because like you, bacon was my favorite food! My parents said “it came from a factory” and at that time, I wasn’t quite sure what that meant so I kept on eating.

    Once I was old enough to realize that bacon, as well as other foods that I ate came from animals, I instantly stopped eating it, except for chicken. I literally spent 2-3 years eating nothing but french fries, bread and the occasionally chicken nuggets. Once I turned 12, I knew I had to do something as I felt like complete crap so I gave up the chicken and spent my teenage years researching everything that I SHOULD be eating to maintain a healthy vegetarian diet. I despised going to any extended family dinners, holidays, etc. because the only words that would get spoken to me were “so, what do you eat?”, “how do you get protein?”, “that CAN’T be good for you!”. “I don’t understand.. like, would you eat this or that?”…. I would seriously get asked these questions by the same people every.single.time I saw them. I swear I lived my life just answering people’s questions about my diet because it sounded so crazy to them. Once I turned 20 and the word “vegetarian” and “vegan” started to become more well known, restaurants that were strictly meat free were popping up, franchises started to put meat free options on their menu, health benefit studies were done and more people started voluntarily becoming a vegetarian or vegan is when my life finally started to adapt to a healthier lifestyle. I only get 10% of the questions that I used to get, I can actually eat something vegetarian and healthy at restaurants, I started to literally CRAVE vegetables and I now know what I need to eat to maintain that healthy vegetarian lifestyle.

    In my opinion, I think that you are doing is absolutely fantastic and I don’t think there needs to be a “label” on things like this!! You are living and eating the things you want to eat and what you feel the best eating. If that may be a burger once in a while, so be it! We are not perfect and you certainly seem to truly want to do this for the right reasons so I think that’s all that matters! It’s people like you that make me proud to be a vegetarian and I just hope that this blog inspires others to take the first step into this journey! Sorry for writing you a storybook, not even sure if you will read this, but you are doing an amazing job!!!!!!!

  • Markus Schoen  • 

    Thank you Jillian for sharing your story. Once you go veg, it all makes sense, but I have great compassion for the ‘leap’ in thinking and attitude it takes to realize it’s not that difficult. The Internet has been a great help with all the wonderful recipes and blogging (ERINIRELAND is fantastic). #MercyForTheAnimals

  • So happy for you! It’s not easy to change any life long habit, especially if you have to make choices three or four times a day. But your choices do matter, for your health, for the environment and for the animals. You’ve clearly thought this through so I know you’re going to do great. 🙂

    There are tons of vegan options in Kelowna and Vancouver, you’ll have a lot of fun finding and trying them. Plus the big name restaurants are getting more and more options with so many people going vegan.

  • OMG! I’m glad getting a dog did this to you as well!! I’m 29 from Alberta (parents own a feed lot) never even really been a “pet” person, adopted a dog and WHAM! now I am catching bugs to let them go outside! Life is funny….

  • rita maria  • 

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I, too, have in the past few months changed my eating to more vegetarian based diet. Vegan lifestyle is still a stretch for me but either way it is such a positive change to be more vegetable based, environmentally as well as health-wise. I have never felt better and healthier!!

    I love that social media has made it so easy to find vegan/veggie recipes! It’s not so intimidating to make that change and find helpful information about the topic. I hope you share more about your journey and even some of the things you enjoy eating as a vegan.

  • Brooke McColl  • 

    I LOVE IT (pun intended). My dog was also my starting point. Now I’ve opened my eyes up to being more environmentally friendly and am working on leaving a smaller foot print.
    I’m so glad you decided to share your experiences about this, hopefully you inspire others!

  • Love love love this post!! I am totally on the same page with you… I struggle with eating animal products and sometimes I struggle with NOT eating animal products… it’s a never-ending cycle. I truly believe that people educating themselves on the truth when it comes to what we’re eating and where it’s coming from is SO important, and one by one we’ll all make better choices when we have that education. I could seriously go on and on about this topic, but I won’t :)… but good job for making a decision and doing the best that you can! I would love to hear more about your journey as you go.

    Also, I would HIGHLY recommend reading the book “Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer. It’s game changing for sure.

  • Alison Cole  • 

    Beautifully honest, Jillian. Thank you for sharing. And don’t be afraid EVER to speak your truth!

  • Fire Flies  • 

    Hi Jillian, I loved reading your post. I am now following your blog as well as Erin Ireland whom I had never heard of before.

    Have you heard of Colleen Patrick Goudreau? She is a blogger that goes by the Joyful Vegan. She has some really great podcasts like; The 10 stages of Going Vegan and How to talk to Hunters. These have been a huge help for me on my vegan journey and I highly recommend them.

    Thanks so much!!

  • Kerrie Bowers  • 

    I’m so glad that people with louder voices are sharing their knowledge with the masses. Knowledge will be the catalyst for change! Thank you for being brave enough to share this post. And what’s more magical is all the comments from everyone below! So beautiful to learn how many others love and care for the humanity of animals. No living creature should have to be treated the way animal factory animals do! Thanks Jill and Erin! XO

  • *Warning, this is very long, basically a short story, apologies*

    Thanks for sharing this process Jillian. The process was very similar for me. When we adopted our Coonhound, I only wanted the best food for her, I would read all the ingredients and wanted to know where the meat came from, if was just scraps (all the bad parts), chemicals, and additives in her food. I didn’t know how quickly it was possible to just fall in love with this 4 legged little beauty. I wanted the best for her so she could have the best life. A vegan friend said in my presence while (unnecessarily) justifying her veganism to another person “I wouldn’t eat my dog, or another family pet, so why would I eat that chicken/cow/pig etc. those animals are no less important or aware than my dog, and in fact pigs have been shown to be more or just as intelligent as dogs” – As an animal lover, this was a light-bulb moment for me.

    I didn’t think it was realistic for me to be vegetarian; instead I would focus on the animals life before up to it’s death. I was concerned about how the animals were raised, what were they being fed? Hormones, steroids and antibiotics to make them grow/mature quicker, where did they live? In open pastures, grass-fed, enjoying the outdoors, or were they in small pens, crammed in on top of each other? I started paying attention. I was googling the name of the farm on the package and trying to read up on their standards (yes, groceries, took hours to complete) I wanted to know what exactly “organic” ‘Grain-fed” “free-run/cage-free/nesting” etc. means, how do they obtain this standard? What are the requirements? Then asked the question “if you have to label/promote the food this way, and it’s still not ideal, what the hell is going on with the rest of my food?” When I looked at the source and I realized the quality of life these animals have, it broke my heart, I had no idea what I was eating and how it got from somewhere far away to the store and ended up on my plate.

    When I think about it I have always been uncomfortable with meat. When I first started living away from home I wouldn’t touch the raw meat with my hands, it made me gag, when I saw a living thing and realized it might one day be food, I was very sad, nearly moved to tears looking at it. I remember as a child feeling wrong about it, but being vegetarian was not allowed in my parents house.

    About 9 months ago, I cut out red meat entirely because I didn’t feel well after I ate it. I quickly realized that I didn’t really enjoy chicken, and even though I really enjoyed Pork products (still crave pork once in a while) after looking into their eyes, I just couldn’t do it. I moved to fish only, but quickly it became only wild caught / organic salmon, as I realized how bad talapia, and farmed fish are, for humans, for the health of the Ocean and other marine animals (including the fish), I was horrified, not to mention the wild caught, organic was upwards of $40 CAD a fish!!

    I knew by July that I didn’t want to eat animals any more. I too, was so scared to publicly claim the label, what if I couldn’t do it, what if I failed? What would people think if I went back to eating meat? What would I eat? How would I attend social functions; with a protein bar in my purse? So I kept it a secret for months, only my partner knew. It hasn’t been easy, and I have taken a lot of flack from my parents who don’t seem to know how to feed me any more, but they are learning.

    After looking at the egg and dairy industry more closely, I am ashamed of the way we treat these sentient beings. Forcible pregnancy one-after-the-other, so they continue to produce milk, taking the babies away (males are sold as veal, females are doomed to the life of their mother’s), when they no longer produce babies and/or milk they end up on people’s plates as meat. In my opinion, if I consume dairy, i’m not a vegetarian, I am still contributing to an animals life in a negative way. I have stopped drinking milk entirely, however, cheese has been so difficult, it is in everything I love, and cheese and crackers with a piece of fruit, was such a great easy snack. I have drastically reduced my cheese intake and at home I try not to cook with it at all, but I am adjusting.

    It has been a learning process for everyone involved and I am proud to say that my best friend and her partner, and my mum have both reduced their intake of meats and animal by-products and another friend has stopped eating with the exception of game, I can’t help but silently cheer while they come around to it on their own, in their own way.

    Thanks for being brave and sharing your journey with us. I love the word vegan-ish, it is now part of my vocabulary, thanks for contributing to a kinder, more compassionate world and simply doing the best you can.

  • Thanks for the post! This makes me feel better about myself, I tried for a solid 6 months to be vegetarian and eat less dairy and the outside pressure from friends and family is crazy! (Or at least in my experience) you have inspired me to get back on the wagon 🙂

  • Julia Hawley DuBay  • 

    Way to go!! Cheating here and there still means you are doing a whole lot better than eating carelessly. Do your best and forgive yourself when you cave. Any little switch makes a difference. I work for an organic food company and our customer demand is everything.

  • Jennifer Alguire  • 

    Yay Jilly!!!!! I made the same decision about 7 months ago! There have been ups and downs (poutine….) but I haven’t bought meat or dairy products in my own groceries since the end of June. One vegitarian option on the fly for fast food is the Mediterranean wrap and McD’s. It has feta but honestly, it’s not a lot and it’s a great, fast option! I’m going to watch the documentaries you did – I love to be educated! I would also recommend Forks Over Knives and watch any YouTube videos by Dr. John McDougall!! Good luck! Keep us posted!
    – Vegan in NS

  • I love your view on veganism. It’s about making your best effort.

    Also, I too eat wild game. Although it’s a personal decision, I agree that something that lived humanely in it’s natural habitat is okay to eat. After all, being omnivorous is totally natural, right?!

    Oh, and thanks for not being a harsh extremist! Being digestible convinces more people than shaming.

    #ethicaleating #vegansunite

  • Palm tree  • 

    WELL DONE for your efforts xx

  • I love your blog! This is exactly how I feel. There is nothing wrong with eating meat but that doesn’t mean we should treat them horribly while they are raised! I was a vegetarian for a while (couldn’t give up cheese) but ate game meat for the same reasons as you. But when my life started to hit the road, it went out the door. I get how hard it is to stick to your guns when you’re always traveling. Your blog has inspired me to get back to this. Thank you for that!

    Maria

  • I loved this post because I have recently leaned into a vegan diet, along with my two little boys and hubby (who sounds similar to Justin, interested in the switch, but not 100% there yet!). So many of the same moral issues about animal treatment was what pushed me here too! Then the final straw was reading “The China Study”. Learning the relationship between cancer & animal protein was freightening!!! And having already experienced a cancer health scare with my 30-something husband, we knew we had to make the switch! We are loving it so far! I love finding new awesome recipes! I just bought the cookbook Thug Kitchen, it is hilarious! So many great options & even old favorites like cauliflower hot wings or butternut squash mac & cheese! Can’t wait to hear more about your journey!! It makes me happy that more and more people are turning to this lifestyle, we need to for our planet as much as anything!!
    ?Joni

  • Allison Jane  • 

    So proud of you for taking the steps towards a more humane and healthy lifestyle! It can be extremely difficult to chnge the way you have lived all your life, but keep doing your best and eventually you will become fully vegan. Trust me… I was in the same exact position as you where I went from LOVING steak and chicken sandwiches, having “cheat days” to now being at the point where the smell of a chicken breast cooking is absolutely revolting to me. The more you learn and the more your body adjusts to your new lifestyle, the easier it will become. Labels can be extremely discouraging and difficult to maintain, so keep going at your own pace and enjoy life to the fullest while keeping those compassionate choices in mind. Truly inspirational xo

  • Ellie Bron  • 

    Great to hear you made the switch! I think most people have moments of weakness when they first go vegan, like when you mentioned eating ginger beef. As time goes on it will become a lot easier to not eat these things so try not to feel to guilty. It took me almost 2 years to fully cut everything & I still have those weak moments! Being vegan isn’t about perfection, it’s about reducing animal suffering as must as possible! Keep it up 🙂

    PS if you’re ever in Edmonton AB there is a restaurant called Padmanadi’s which has AMAZING vegan ginger ‘beef’.

  • That is amazing! Thank you so much for writing this post. I’ve been a plant-based eater off an on my entire life, but recently felt down about it when I was diagnosed with dairy, gluten, and egg allergies. I just can’t give up the gluten crutch when I don’t eat meat! But I’m definitely working towards it and consider myself a conscious eater. You’ve inspired me to keep on trying, even when I make mistakes!

  • Alana Connon  • 

    Good on you Jillian! I’ve been vegetarian for a year and it gets easier, trust me. My mind was blown when I found out how barbaric the factory farming industry is, it hit me hard, it hurt my soul! (It sounds cheesy, but that’s EXACTLY how to describe it)
    I don’t eat any meat, but still consume some dairy (just cheese, and heavy cream in certain recipes, 0 milk!)
    and eggs (weekend breakfast, PS…you have to try tofu scramble!!) but I think over time while learning new recipes and as new products are available it will be easier to transition to a more vegan diet. The HARDEST part is definitely incorporating into my overall lifestyle….especially fashion! (Really nice vegan footwear is the hardest to find, that’s available to North Americans anyways) The amount of leather that’s out there is just mind blowing, everything is leather, or wool, or down filled!! (I’m trading my Canada goose in for a Hoodlamb!-check it out) I make more conscious decisions, but that’s the best I can do for now. My diet is 50/50 veggie/vegan and that’s pretty damn good.
    My advise, from my own experience, is to not give in to those little cheats…they’re not worth it! In the beginning, like you, I had my moments. But quickly realized it wasn’t worth it at all. Stay strong, stay focused and soon you won’t crave those things at all.
    And for all those haters you’ll encounter, the ones who don’t want to know the truth or know how the world they live in actually works, they aren’t worth it either. They aren’t worth arguing and debating with, they are usually so hard headed and stuck on their religious beliefs and how they were brought up, that they aren’t worth your breathe! It’s exhausting listening to those people…
    Anywho. Good for you, good luck, and keep fighting the good fight! ✊?✌?️

  • Ha! I can relate to so much of what you have said. I’ve been vegan, vegetarian a few times now! ? Please don’t judge…it’s tough. All of it. I too, went through a tough time where I couldn’t figure out how to be vegan and NOT attack others for their decisions to eat meat. It’s hard to stick up for what you believe and so much of life is revolved around food. i hope to get back to a more ethical diet soon and I’m so thankful to read this. Good luck with your journey. ?

  • Heather Mc  • 

    I understand your dilemma with going vegan. Born and raised in Calgary AB I also have a hard time with consuming less diary and meat products. Either its the lack of options available, the learning curve to make vegan food or compromising with my fiance who’s a avid meat lover.

  • Raegan Wells  • 

    I am just reading this now and it’s definitely making more sense to me…I today just dumped half a jug of milk and threw some cheese away. I now get exactly what you mean. I feel awful for what that cow sacrificed for me. I do try as best as I can being in Okotoks Alberta to buy local and get eggs and beef from local farms but chicken is hard to find. I saw a video the other day on Facebook of a guy pumping up chicken breasts with God knows what and that terrified me. This world has gone too far with being all about the bottom dollar. We have sacrificed quality for quantity and are destroying our earth and human race(and animal race). This article has definitely pushed me to try a lot harder to go vegan/vegetarian. I have friends that do meatless Monday so I think starting one day a week will be really helpful.
    Ps congrats to you and Justin on your sweet baby bump! I’ve been following you since bachelor days and am so proud of you!!! (Feel like I know you)! Enjoy this new milestone and look forward to seeing what your future has to hold.

  • Melanie  • 

    You should check out The China Study. Excellent book on the impact animal products have on our health. Also there is a lot of sad stuff going on in the egg industry. Male chicks are ground alive or suffocated because they are considered useless to the industry. So there is no nice way to buy eggs.

  • Naomi Abel  • 

    In January I stopped eating meat for ethical reasons too. I had pretty much given up bacon/ham, my all time fav, about six months before so it made that step easier. I told friends and family and they were like, why! I found it a little tough going vego all the time and all the explaining I had to do. I craved chinese food so much! My husband was happy to eat vego mainly but he wants a steak occasionally. I was upset by this too, but this is my journey, not his. The fact he agreed to eat much less meat is a leap in itself. Thank you lovely man. I recently found a local ethical hobby farm and I have got the family some meat there. I have to say since Easter I have failed lots, we went on holidays and I wasn’t cooking and it all became hard. So many places don’t even make vego let alone vegan meals. I have started back on the path I want to be on. I will say I don’t think I can go vegan but I have vowed to be a conscientious eater. Small steps lead to bigger ones, right! I applaud you for even trying vego/vegan, for educating yourself and for wanting to evolve as a person. It’s a journey right. I’m trying not to label myself as when you do the haters and food police have a field day. Maybe you should just do your thing and not label it. All the best xx

  • Nadine Coffin  • 

    Please remember this post Jillian. The animals are begging you.

  • Lori Wheeler  • 

    I knew it! I saw this coming with your Instagram posts over the last few months! Good for you! I went vegan cause of the animals too! First vegetarian in 2003 after I heard Bryan Adams say “if you love animals you don’t eat them” and I quit eating all meat, seafood and anything that has animal ingredients like marshmallows (gelatin) and cheese with rennet (lining of sheeps stomach!) then ditched milk, ice cream and yogurt soon afterwards. But yes that damn addiction to cheese! This was before Facebook and I didn’t know a sole that was vegan or even vegetarian except for my cousin in Vancouver and I was living in Ontario at the time. But I cut my cheese consumption way back and was down to about once a month for a long time and had my last morsel over 5 years ago now.
    Wait til you have your baby and are breastfeeding, the whole dairy cruelty connection will really make sense! Are you going to Veg Expo at Canada Place this Sunday? Great speakers! Four of us vegan girls are coming over from Victoria! Dinner at “Meet in Gastown” Sat night! ✌?️❤️?

  • Nicole Eileen  • 

    Hi Jillian! I think is amazing. I have been thinking about trying the change as well actually for health reasons and for the animals. It is a big change and I have learned not everyone understands it. However, I am not sure why it should matter what others think. This is a personal choice for me, YOU or whoever decides to TRY. and really trying is better than not at all AND for those who don’t, that really in the grand scheme of things is okay too! Like you said, it’s about educating yourself and I am inspired by that part of it. I really would like to start diving into researching this more and I appreciate your realness and honesty with your journey. I think it means more than you know. YOU DO YOU 🙂 I think it’s amazing. Thank you for these blogs. I love your snap chat as well! They make my days!!

  • Lauren K  • 

    You’re so rad… love this change and love that you have the courage to tell your readers about it! You radiate positivity with this post!

  • Hi Jillian,
    Fellow vegan here from Toronto…came across this blog post while cruising around online. I went vegan two and a half years ago at the age of 39 and I could relate to so much of your post when I first “came out”. It’s a game changer for sure and I just wanted to say how awesome it is that you took this step and that no matter where your journey takes you, just know that you are being cheered on by many and you will never be alone (even though some days it might feel like it!). All the very best to you.

  • BethRFinch  • 

    Glad to hear all this. I’ve gone vegan-ish and stopped feeling guilty about it. Being vegan is HARD WORK. Being vegetarian is a walk in the park, by comparison. But I wanted to do more than that. So I have my six days a week of being almost 100% vegan (I admit to butter on my toast), and my one day a week when I’m allowed to have cheese or meat. In the end, I’m still having a net positive effect on the lives of animals and on my health. I can live with that.

  • Dannis Thornton  • 

    Your boyfriend’s family “buys a cow”? Oh, Ugh. Just, ugh.
    “Hi Bossie, step right up, someone has “bought” you and we are going to hit you with a retractable bullet and cut you into separate little sections. They want veal too, so little Bessie will be going with you. I am NOT attacking you Jillian. This, is just how I see this. Everyone is different, so I hope I can be different as well. It’s just that way of thinking is otherworldly and bizarre to me.
    Certainly what we do or do not eat is a choice. All you have to do is think of ‘cow’ instead of beef. ‘Pig” instead of pork etc. So, when you reach for the slider (which I’m sure tastes amazing) think start to finish about how the flesh got into that bun. So, yes, I sound so harsh. My choice came a long long time ago after watching a video regarding what happens in an abbitoir.

  • Haute + Healthy  • 

    I’m so happy to hear you are making this transition and wanted to share advice that has helped me. At the start I could be over the top with trying to share what I learned with my loved ones but I think it pushed them away from it more. So instead I started to lead by example and drop tidbits of information for them to know about so they could make their own choices. I am happy to say my mother in law has gone plant based and lost 20lbs and my husband has gone about 90% plant based and happened to lose 12lbs. It took him awhile to really get with why I wasn’t wanting to consume animal products anymore but once he knew he had a hard time going back. Something I highly recommend is the podcast Food Heals, led by two amazing vegan women who talk all about how the food we eat effects our health. It is so inspiring and keeps me in the mindset when I have moments I may want to slip. Hope this helps! xx, Beth

  • Petra Prendergast  • 

    I think it’s awesome. You be gentle with yourself and keep on going on your path. I’m just starting on this jurney myself.
    Thank you for your inspiration.
    Petra

  • That’s awesome! I’ve been Vegan for 3 years and love it. I would like to say though Cactus club is actually veg-friendly. You just have to modify what you get. I believe they have a veggie burger (only had gluten) and you can still get their salads without meat. I’ve also had the jambalaya with extra veggies and no sour cream. Usually you can veganize any menu option, you just have to be one of “those people” i.e. Can I have this without this and add this etc. etc. lol Moxies is a really great one too and original joes – their veggie burgers and salads are phenom and most of their sides can be veg-friendly too.

    Good luck on your journey!

  • Shannon Nering  • 

    Jillian! I love this post of yours. I happened on it checking out Erin I. I am imagining your crew as you “down with meat” at lunch. Too funny. Have you read The China Study? Fascinating. Veganism will protect you from potentially numerous cancers. I’m with you tho, partial, i still need the occasional In’n’Out as a guilty pleasure down South. Also, huge congrats on precious LEO!!!

  • I love this post. I’ve always thought that giving up dairy and eggs completely would be a nightmare for me because I’m already so restricted with what I can eat due to the fact I have coeliac disease. And I LOVE dairy.

    But i recently had my second baby and am breastfeeding her. At 4 weeks old she suddenly started having major digestive troubles, and the doctor told me to give up dairy, eggs, soy, nuts and certain fruits and vegetables (and wheat, but I can’t have that anyway) and because it was for my little girl’s health, I of course did it immediately and it has resolved her problems. The only thing I’m reeeally missing is something to go in my coffee! I really like soy milk, but I can’t have it at the moment.

    Anyway, the point is that I really thought I could never give up dairy and eggs. But here I am, forced into not eating dairy and eggs and not missing them!

    And just like when was diagnosed with coeliac disease, I’m excited about the new foods I’ve never considered before. Coconut yoghurt ftw!

    • Julie Sowa Cardillo  • 

      Coconut milk! The same thing happened with my baby last year and coconut milk saved me. The So Delicious brand also makes coconut milk flavored coffee creamers that you can buy at the grocery store. And most Starbucks stores have coconut milk now!!!

      • Julie Sowa Cardillo  • 

        Another person mentioned butter – if you haven’t figured this out yet, Earth Balance makes a soy-free, nut-free, dairy-free butter alternative that is great on toast and easy to cook with!

        • I LOOOOVE coconut milk, and yes, it is saving me. Coffee creamer is not something I’ve ever seen here (I’m in Australia), so at least it’s not something else I have to miss! I’ve just been using a big spoonfull of coconut cream in my coffee or having it black. I don’t think we have that Earth Balance brand here but I’ve found an olive oil based spread alternative that is soy, nut and dairy free and does a decent impersonation of butter. Thank goodness. I will survive, and will have learned a few things along the way!

  • I love this post. Thank you for sharing Jillian. Your honestly is so refreshing. That’s one thing I have always looked at is how we as a society love to categorize everything and everyone. You said it so wonderfully, ” I think the HARDEST part about making this change is having to put a label to ‘what I am’ and worrying about FAILING …” We shouldn’t have to do that…put a label on ourselves and have to stick to it and follow it. Life is about experiences through living and learning and we are all just trying to figure it out. I always say “you gotta do you” whether that means being a part time vegan and part time something else haha it shouldnt matter as long as you are not hurting anyone 🙂

  • Christie Liew  • 

    Jillian I just love this post so much. And I laughed at some parts because I’m also vegetarian-ish. I eat certified humane chicken or wild caught fish once a week and I’ve tried to cut out dairy where I can. Sometimes I fail too! Thank you so much for sharing all your thoughts and insight and spreading the word about ethical eating, sustainability and how our meat consumption can impact the planet. Keep up the amazing work!

  • Shann Jackson  • 

    Jillian this post is amazing and super inspiring, I have also struggled with making the decision to completely switch to vegan altogether. One tip I have for you that has helped me a lot was reading a book titled “the China study” by Thomas m. Campbell and Collin Campbell, it goes into more depth about the topics covered in the documentaries, mostly about studies these doctors have done on how meat interacts with our bodies. There is also another book they wrote that has great recipes or alternatives and teaches you a proper vegan diet titled “the china study, the solution”. I’m sure with your busy schedule you don’t have a whole lot of time for reading, but this helped me a lot!

  • Shann Jackson  • 

    This is why the internet is so toxic! People like you are out there ripping people down who are trying to make a change and impact on people in a positive way because of the spotlight they are under. Try using the internet as a positive channel in the future, hurting other people is an awful way to live out your life, stop using the internet to bring people down and try and encourage people positively!

  • Bridget Higgins  • 

    Adore this honest, real post. I too have been fan-girling Erin Ireland for some time, and “flirting” with a full-on plant-based diet for the last year. I’ve come to realize that I don’t want to put a label on it, and that intention is more important than perfection. So, I do my best to cook all vegan for myself, but if the mood strikes me to diverge from that, I do, and that’s ok! Love following along xoxox

  • Love this! Good for you 🙂

  • paola zuccaro  • 

    wow too bad I found this blog this late, however it came at the right time. I feel the same way as you do, I am making the change and at the same time failing lol. I have decided to take it one day at time and adding new recipes as I go with the less animal product possible.

    Your words made me feel relatable and real! I am not a very organized person either plus have had an eating disorder forever, therefore any decision made around food it is a tough one for me

    Thank you for writing this!

  • Hi Jillian! I saw how upset you were a few days ago about mean comments. I never usually write comments but I felt inclined to let you know that you really inspire me to eat less meat. I am a college student and an athlete. I told a few of my friend that I am going vegan-ish. And I feel shame every time I “goof-up” or even feel tempted to eat meats. But your article really helped me. Even if you are on your social media break, I do hope you see this. Know that there are people like me, total strangers, who appreciate you. Thanks again! Meghan

  • I haven’t read all the other comments so I’m likely repeating what someone else has said but I wanted to leave one anyway! I completely understand where you are coming from. Like you, my vegan/vegetarian journey started when I read an article about people’s cats being stolen for consumption in China. I had a cat at the time and I loved her with all my heart. I couldn’t imagine someone eating her. From there it was a short leap to “how can I eat all those other animals if I love her so much?” It’s not easy and I still eat fish but have mostly cut out meat and really reduced dairy. My diet is 80% veggie. I also eat free-run eggs from small farms.

    Vegans bother me sometimes with their do-or-die mentality and their insistence that vegan food tastes better. No it doesn’t :P. It can taste very good but meat is also freaking delicious. I’ve given it up for the animals but that doesn’t make it less tasty. I also have trouble with meat eaters who have no compassion and are only interested in making fun of vegans. However, somehow we must all get along together, one day at a time 🙂

    In any case, I wish you the best of luck on your journey. I came to your site through a search for the best restaurants in Vancouver for my upcoming visit and it was a lovely read!

  • I love this post. I feel like I am in the exact same place. I would love to be 100% but we all make changes in a way that’s right for us. It’s us who need to be happy with the decisions we make each day and everything’s a journey. I have encountered some hostility from the vegan community but also some real love and understanding. If everyone started to embrace this way of life, even just a bit, we could help the world in many ways. Good work 🙂 x

  • Hi Jill, Wonderful blog, it made me so happy and so supported. I, too am becoming vegan-ish, and loving it!! I feel so much better, happier, too. Being a vegan is doing something towards making the world a better place. I really am coming to realize that all of us know it is the right thing to do, but, people are just afraid to change. Whether you do it for your health or the animals or the environment or even your purse, it just makes sense. There are still some eggs in the fridge, and a few different cheeses. I will probably eat them rather than throw them out. I might still have the odd turkey-bacon club at Tim’s (even though just admitting that makes me sad), but I am bound and determined to work towards this permanent change. So, I sincerely thank you for making this decision and for sharing it with all of us. All the best, Love, Love It or List It, and really loved sharing your life with you. Christine

  • I absolutely loved this blog post. I’m an Alberta girl who loves her moose meat and I’m thinking of going Vegan-ishhh. I absolutely was worried about what people would think and how I would explain it.. Thank youuu! xox

    • I really enjoyed reading this blog post! I have found that the hardest part about becoming vegan is everybody’s opinions about it. It’s also hard when you realize how blind you have been to the pain so many animals have been going through and still are. We have animal rights for dogs but not for farm animals? I also find transiting to be hard! I bought soy cheese the other day with a tiny bit of milk protein in it and felt so guilty. This is definitely a process and challenging both mentally and emotionally. Thank you for your posts and all your recipes because it is making my transition so much easier! Looking for to the cookbook you are making and I’m Hopi g it’s mostly vegan! Xo

  • Marilyn G  • 

    What helped me the most is your honesty, Jillian. I’m predicting how I’ll be when I decide to go vegan. The question is always on my mind, “How do those of us who live in ALBERTA become vegan? Thank you for sharing!

  • Cool, congrats and thanks in the name of the animals! I grew up vegetarian but made the switch to vegan when I realized that the dairy industry as well as the egg-industry are inextricably intertwined with the meat industry: cows need to be pregnant at least every second year in order to give milk, so the calves, especially the male ones, have to be killed; chickens need to be bred too if you want an ongoing supply of eggs, and since there is as yet no way to determine if the chicken that is going to hatch is male or female, 50% of all born chickens will be male, so again, lots of spares to kill. At any rate, good luck on your journey, stay healthy! 🙂 (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-supplements-for-vegans; https://familydoctor.org/vegan-diet-how-to-get-the-nutrients-you-need/)

  • Thank you for your honesty. I spent almost 12 months transitioning to a vegan diet. It takes time to learn. I also have never enjoyed cooking as much as I do now. I recommend the Oh She Glows cookbooks by Angela Liddon. Her recipes are simple and delicious. Carry on with your journey and thanks for sharing. Oh and one more thing…please watch Earthlings. It’s fully available on YouTube. It will totally affirm your vegan choices and you’ll never look back. 😊