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by Sian Atkins October 30, 2022 10 min read
Hi all and welcome to another weekly read!
This journal is especially close to my heart as we celebrate veganism. On Tuesday 1st November it’s officially World Vegan Day and I have been super excited to lay it all out on the table for you, and maybe, just maybe help you delve into the wonderful world of veganism. As we're proud to say that JRH is a Vegan Brand.
But first, let me tell you a story.
Back in 2012, yep 10 years ago, my brother decided he was going to cut out all red meat, trial it, see how it went and I was all ears. We knew at the time that red meat serves no purpose to the human body and actually does us more harm than good, so me, Paul and our son Harry decided we'd also give it ago. We felt less bloated and didn't miss having the red meat in our diet, and believe me, it was easy, even though we had been partial to a good meaty BBQ, famous steak house, and all the restaurants that only really had meat on the menu. But I now despise those places, because of what I know 10 years on about the meat industry.
One year later, we cut out white meat; we decided that it was so easy to give up red meat, so why continue eating other forms of meat! I guess I always knew I was heading towards vegetarianism but I did it in stages; would I have done it in stages thinking back as a vegan now? Definitely not. Because it’s true what many vegans say, our only regret is that we didn't turn vegan sooner. But I didn't educate myself fully at the time, so continued on a pace slower than I’d ever consider now, but still one that eventually got me to where I am now. A place I'm proud of.
So, after giving up all meat, we were then labelled as pescatarians. A pescatarian is someone who only eats fish and seafood; along with fruits and vegetables of course, but no other meat, and we remained like this for just under a year.
But after that year I had recently felt strange, so I had my bloods taken to see what was going on. On the day of that appointment I came out of the doctor’s surgery and started my new lifelong medication for an under-active Thyroid!
I knew it was coming though; as its super hereditary in my family but, I felt a sadness nevertheless, not one I feel today, just that day. I now felt differently. On that day, for a reason I now cannot remember, I came across a video of Sir Paul McCartney explaining how fish have been shown to feel pain. He was saying that they are sentient beings and I cried. It hurt my heart to know that I was contributing to their pain and deaths, and to the horrendous fishing industry. I remember so clearly walking out to Paul and saying 'thats it' Im becoming a vegetarian! I cant be a part of the suffering of any animal kind (little did I know). So, both Paul and Harry were right there alongside me, and carried on the journey with me.
So, we continued being the dedicated vegetarians we were for some time. We stopped buying leather, avoided any foods that contained animals byproducts such as gelatine; which can be found in sweets etc. Our overall health felt so much better, and we felt pretty darn humbled and happy that we were 'NOT' contributing to animal suffering; or so we thought, as in December 2020 everything changed.
I stumbled upon two animal rights campaigners who literally stopped me in my tracks; how had I been so blind to the egg & dairy industry for all these years! I thought we had done so well and yet we had still been paying to have innocent animals tortured, slaughtered, murdered, because we were still consuming animal products. I was in shock, the more I dug deeper and delved into these industries, the more I learnt about their horrendous practices. The more I learnt about the suffering, the impact on our human health, and the impact on the environment and on our Earth.
It was like a sucker punch to my stomach and one I would never have knowingly turned a blind eye too. We are a super compassionate and loving family, and this was just not in line with our moral compass; so, we kept watching and researching veganism and signed up for Veganuary on the 1st January 2021.
We have never looked back.
There are two things I want you to take from my story.
Firstly, I wasn't born or raised vegan. I eat meat, eggs and dairy too once, lots of it, so I can relate with the usual pushbacks and excuses non-vegans make; but education is key, and is so unbelievably important.
Secondly, we are all able to make change for the good. JRH are a living example of this; heck my mum went vegan at the grand age of 69, and our daughter went straight vegan at 8 (she had never been vegetarian), and our son went vegan at 14, both so commendably off their own backs.
It’s all too easy to brush things under the carpet, to say you can’t break habits of a lifetime. But I’m sorry to say, it's all excuses. We can all do anything we put our minds to, we can all stand up and make change for the better, you have just got to want to be that person.
Education is key.
So, now you know a little about our journey on how we got here; let me give you a good library of resources to get you started (hopefully) on your own journey. All these resources have helped shape me, Paul and our two children in some way to the people we are today.
I believe for the good.
Veganism shows the world in a different light. You also become even more compassionate and empathetic towards all kinds as it really opens up your eyes to a better world that lay ahead; if we all stepped up and into the right direction. It's pushed JRH to be who we endeavour to always be; a brand bigger than us, a culture of love, positivity, sustainability and to stand up for what's right.
Future generations wont be so lucky if we don't make change to the world now.
Ed Winters AKA Earthling Ed as he is known.
We thoroughly enjoy Ed's advocacy, and his intelligence and calmness really educates you in a way that is easy to digest and take on board.
You can visit his website here https://earthlinged.org/ or his social platforms @earthlinged
Joey has one hell of a back story and its very inspiring to hear how he turned his life around and became such a dedicated animal activist; his passion is one that shines through and he can definitely teach everyone a thing or two about the true horrors of the animal industry.
You can visit his website here https://www.joeycarbstrong.com/ or his social platforms @joey_carbstrong
Ryuji is a very intelligential animal rights activist, who has dedicated his life to changing the way we as humans view animals. He is a filmmaker raised in France and is behind the documentary 'How Conscious Can A Fish Be? His YouTube videos are really great to watch, they educate you and are really thought provoking.
You can visit his website here https://www.ryujichua.com/ or his social platforms @ryujichua
Oh blimey, we are super geeky book worms here at JRH, and so I love nothing more than reading a new book thats going to broaden my educational output and light my brain up with new facts and insights.
Haha; both Paul and I have book lists that are ever expanding – but that’s for another blog!
I will add all links below/beside each recommendation.
Esther The Wonder Pig
Lets start with the sweet and wonderful story of Esther The Wonder Pig - As Ricky Gervais so wonderfully put it:
"Funny, moving and heartwarming. The greatest love story ever told between two men and their pig"
This was one of my first reads into veganism, I could relate with Steve and Derek because they too were meat eaters; until they realised the love from Esther and couldn't any longer claim to truly love her, or other animals if their morals couldn't align. So, from then they went vegan and opened a rescue farm sanctuary naming it so perfectly after Esther herself.
A truly inspirational journey.
We have read - ‘Esther the Wonder Pig’, ‘Happily Ever Esther’ and bought our daughter the children’s version 'The Adventures of Esther the Wonder Pig'.
You can shop the full collection on this link at the official website:
How To Go Vegan by Veganuary
The ‘Vegan Bible’ is what I call this book as it helped me completely while making our vegan journey much easier.
It has the why, the how and everything in between; it's a must read in my opinion when starting out, and one to dip in and out when needed.
A book that got me thinking. A real insight into the creatures we share our planet with and how truly remarkable they are. A book that can guide you to exciting new tools that are allowing humans to coexist peacefully and avoid using or abusing animals as we once did.
How Not To Die
I read this book over the summer and learnt so much about food, nutrition and the impacts that foods have on our daily lives.
This book is truly a valuable insight into how we can all improve our diet.
It is written by Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, who is a physician, author, and internationally recognised speaker on a number of important public health issues.
His story is one that shouldn't be ignored and you can find out so much on his website and non profit charity. He takes no money for his speaking engagements, and all profits from the sale of his books and DVDs are donated to his charity NutritionFacts.org
Now back to the great Ed Winters who I spoke about earlier; his book was released earlier this year, so he is now a best-selling author.
This Is Vegan Propaganda
This book is so empowering. It’s a book on veganism that everyone; vegan and sceptic alike, needs to read.
A complete favourite of mine, Ed Winters is able to really tell you the truth about the industries and the lies we are constantly fed - I even managed to bag myself a signed author copy, how geeky am I!?
(extract from https://earthlinged.org/thisisveganpropaganda)
This sums it up perfectly:
“Whether you are a vegan already or curious to learn more, this book will show you the other side of the story that has been hidden for far too long. Based on years of research and conversations with slaughterhouse workers and farmers, to animal rights philosophers, environmentalists and everyday consumers, vegan educator and public speaker Ed Winters will give you the knowledge to understand the true scale and enormity of the issues at stake.”
To buy a copy follow this link: https://earthlinged.org/book
I currently have a book on my next to read list. It's called 'Legends of Change' by Rebecca Frith and I just know I'm going to love it!
Here are just some of our recommendations of watchable ways to educate yourself on the animal industry; I warn you though, some are not easy to watch. But that’s the exact point of why I’m trying to raise more vegan awareness – the truth is sometimes hard to stomach.
I hate the world being so sad, so cruel, and so painful. I am so passionate about us all using the empathy and love we have in our hearts for the greater good.
We all deserve to live and we all have that right too. We don’t lose that right if we can’t speak it or stand up for ourselves, and it doesn't mean we deserve it any less.
JRH will always be a voice for the voiceless.
Milk: Make Your Own Mind Up
Hogwood: A Modern Horror Story
Available on Netflix
Eating Our Way To Extinction
Available on YouTube
Available on Netflix
Folks Over Knives
So, let’s pause to think!
There is a reason why so many films and documentaries are constantly being released, constantly shining a light on the horrors that this world faces every day.
The cruelest industry there is; the ones where innocent sentient beings are being killed horrifically against their will, in their millions every year.
The corruption that takes places in welfare charities like the RSPCA!, who are just as corrupt as the government's who support all the farmers that kill, slaughter and leave animals in evil conditions all for their own monetary gain.
So there you have it; the back story of how we became vegans, and our resources and recommendations on how you can too.
But let me leave you with a fun fact! JRH has always been a vegan brand; even before we were personally vegan ourselves, as our clothing and printing has always been vegan approved.
I really hope you have enjoyed this journal entry, have found it insightful and have maybe even given you a nudge, or intrigued you to educate yourself more on the beautiful world that is veganism; and what better time to start than World Vegan Day which is only two short days away!
But, please remember, we are not aliens. We are everyday humans who don't want the suffering of animals to continue. We don't want our children to have to pick up the pieces of a broken world that has been left in our wake behind us. We want this planet to thrive and us all to live healthier, happier lives with less disease.
If you are reading this and are already vegan, that’s amazing, and I hope our recommendations are just a little extra material, and something new we have given you to explore.
Thank you for reading and continually supporting JRH.
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