Our Story

Our journey to a vegan lifestyle

Vegan Prints is a direct result of our unexpected journey to a vegan lifestyle.  Our newly-found unwavering quest is to raise awareness about the state of animal agriculture in the world as it relates to animal welfare, animal rights, the effects of animal agriculture on the environment, global famine and our health.

Wearing your social-vegan-activism shirts is one way to effectively plant a seed for compassion and raise awareness without saying a word. They are such a great conversation starter too!

Ali’s Story and Journey to a Vegan Lifestyle

Ali-Journey-Towards-Vegan-Lifestyle-Veganism

One of my favorite shirts I bought after volunteering at Best Friends Animal Society, circa 2013

I was born and raised in a small village in Moldova. While all my life I’ve struggled with the idea of eating meat and the violence behind it, I have always told myself that eating animals was a “necessary evil” and that’s why the “food animals” were put on this Earth. I was always looking for justification. Plus, meat tasted so good! So good, that I have always tried to eat as much of it as I could, at the dinner table, at a party or at home. Anywhere I could. Anytime. Not eating meat felt like I was depriving myself of something critical for my survival.

So why the change?

At the same time, I suddenly started witnessing a lot of cancer around me: friends, friends’ children, my Mom. Most died. My Mom survived. So finally, in my late 30s, now in the US, I came to realize that nutrition was one factor I could control to mitigate this dreadful disease. It may not eliminate my chances of getting this widespread disease, but eating healthier would mean lower risks.

My Start

So, from a very selfish perspective, I slowly started to transition. I first gave up meat. Hmm, not too bad, I thought. I was considering myself a vegetarian for lack of better knowledge; however, I was still eating fish.

During my journey to a vegan lifestyle, I learned more about the horrors of industrial farming. And the more I knew, the harder it was to deny it, the harder it was to make excuses or look for justification. It was like my compassion, locked away for most of my life, was breaking free. It became harder and harder to deny the horrific realities of the dairy industry and I was mortified to learn about the fate of the male chicks in the egg industry. So one day I said to myself, “No more eggs and dairy.”

But I was still eating fish

However, I was still “treating” myself to occasional seafood while out and about. You see, I still had a feeling that I was somehow depriving myself of something good, when in fact, I was treating my body and soul with the most kindness I have ever had. I thought eating fish occasionally was okay, since they lived free in the ocean or fish farms. Ignorance is a bliss indeed.

Fish and more
Animal Sanctuary, Vegan Lifestyle

Cuddling with my new friend at the Kindred Spirits Sanctuary. June 2016

One day I watched “Cowspiracy” and learned about the incredible assault our oceans suffer from our behaviors. In fact, the sea life is under more assault from humans, than our land animals are. Hard to believe, isn’t it? But it is true. Each year, we raise and kill about 60 billions of land animals. Terrible, terrible statistic, along with insurmountable amount of suffering and devastation. When it comes to the ocean life, the number of our victims there is even more hard to believe. Each year, we pull as many as 2.7 trillion animals from our oceans. At this rate, we could see fishless oceans by 2050. Plus, it turns out, farm-raised fish have a terrible life too, nor are they safe to eat. So there went “my” fish! I was done with fish too.

What’s left?

Then one day I found myself looking around in my closet. Leather shoes? Most of them are donated now. Unfortunately, the damage has been done already, but I am honestly not sure if I can wear the several pairs I left behind. One thing is for sure: I will never buy leather again. Not silk. Not honey. And certainly not fur. My soaps, shampoos and other toiletries are cruelty-free too. As we use up the old stuff, we try to replace it with cruelty-free alternatives. I know I still have a long ways to go, as it seems animal products and cruelty is hidden everywhere! But God knows I am doing my best, every single day, to reduce the part I may still play in animal cruelty.

Scrub Jays and Love. Peas. Vegan Lifestyle

Curious scrub jays and my new tank top – giving it a trial run. Aug. 2016

Where do I go from here?

While my heart is forever broken for all the suffering that I have caused, and for all the suffering I can not stop, I am endlessly grateful I followed my heart. I am grateful I am choosing a vegan lifestyle. Yes, often times I am in a dark place, I am overwhelmed, I hurt, but I know, I have to shake it off and move on. Do my best. To plant one seed at a time. To change one heart at a time. No time to feel sorry for myself. Trillions of animals have it much worse. And they need our help. By saving them we will save ourselves and the miracle of life on this beautiful planet.

Rob’s Story and Journey to a Vegan Lifestyle

Rob with a Florida Scrub-Jay. Vegan Lifestyle

Rob with a Florida Scrub-Jay

I’m new on the vegan lifestyle journey.  Several years ago Ali and I started eating less meat.  This change was primarily driven by the desire to eat a healthier diet.  With our love of domesticated pets (five cats and one dog) and the joy of seeing animals in their natural environment, we started leaning towards a vegan lifestyle.  As I learned more about factory farming and the large numbers of animals being killed each year for food, I decided to take action.

Easier than I thought

At first, I thought being vegan was a tough restriction.  In fact, until recently I didn’t know I’d be able to enjoy the flavors and styles of food similar to what I had enjoyed for most of my life.  Some examples include meatless-ruben sandwiches, fishless fish, BBQ jackfruit, and dairy free cheese and ice cream which are so good!  I’ve been able to share these vegan foods with some of my friends and family and many times they’re pleasantly surprised with how they taste.  Not to mention, but I will, vegan food is plant-based and free of animal products.

A Yellowstone National Park Bison grazing. Vegan Lifestyle

A Yellowstone National Park Bison grazing

Photography

One of my hobbies is photography.  Photography has opened my eyes to the environment and to all the wonderful animals that live there.  On a trip to Yellowstone National Park a couple of years ago, we witnessed beautiful herds of Bison and it was an odd thought that we could eat bison that night for dinner. That trip was my pivotal moment. I decided to completely give up animal products and go vegan!

The cruelty involved with animal agriculture and the impact to the eco-system are at the heart of my vegan commitment.  In fact, in my home state of Florida we have very delicate eco-systems which are under stress due to human  impact (agricultural and otherwise).  I’m hopeful that positive change will occur as more people realize the connection with how they interact with the world.

Rob photographing Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach, OR. Vegan Lifestyle

Rob photographing Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach, OR

I hope you enjoyed reading our stories.  We’re excited about this new venture with our original vegan T-shirt designs and activism!

Also, if you like, you can check out more of my photography at Rob Yoder Photography.

 

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