Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi! My name is Lindsey Motley. I am a 39-year old mother of 4 children – Cassidy (21), Kenzie (17), Jacob (16), Kailey (17-months), and am currently 4-months pregnant with our 5th child (Chloe). I am very happily married to my best friend, Tyler, in Arizona. I am employed full-time in Corporate America administering national pricing for a large food distribution company, however, my passion is running. I have been running since 2016 and have completed 2 marathons so far with another scheduled in San Diego 2021, after I have our baby.
What lead you to veganism? How long ago?
What led to my veganism initially had nothing to do with the treatment of animals or the environmental damage. What initially made me want to go vegan was my health. Several years ago when I first started my fitness and running journey, I was very dedicated to eating with the Paleo diet as my foundation. For those unfamiliar with what Paleo is, it’s a very meat-heavy lifestyle. Even though dairy isn’t usually a part of Paleo, I did add things such as large amounts of cheese and yogurt to the routine. Each and every day I was consuming at least half a dozen eggs and literally pounds of meat. I thought I was healthy because I was losing weight and inches, but I realized after doing that for over a year I was completely wrong. I may have “looked” healthy on the outside but my insides were far from it. After I received blood work back, it showed that I was one point away from heart-attack range. I was an athlete in my mid-30s. I had no idea how that was possible. I honestly didn’t even put two and two together. You are raised that things such as milk and eggs and chicken are GOOD for you. It wasn’t until almost 2 years ago that I started researching veganism and realizing what things like meat, eggs, and dairy actually do to the body.
I was shocked to say the least, but it finally made sense WHY my blood work came back so badly before. In addition, I had just found out I was pregnant with our now 17-month old. The fact I had this tiny human in my body that was depending on me to provide it with the best nutrients possible and it was depending on me to make it healthy, there was no way I could continue eating the way I was after knowing everything I did. You can’t unsee it. Obviously, once you open your eyes to one thing, your eyes become open to it all. The animal cruelty and the destruction of the environment caused by animal agriculture and factory farming are heartbreaking. It truly makes my soul sad that I supported it for so long. Fast forward to today and my health and blood work are at optimal levels and my athletic performance is through the roof. Even pregnant, I was able to run a half marathon with ease. I always thought that you needed meat if you worked out. But what I have found is that I am stronger and my endurance is greater on a vegan diet than it EVER was when I ate meat.
When you first went vegan how did you phase out your non-vegan food, clothing and other items?
My husband very lovingly teases me about my passion all the time. Once I set my mind to something, it’s done. I’ve never been one to test waters. I very enthusiastically dive head first into those things close to my heart. It’s less than a week away from 2-years as a vegan for me, but the change was immediate. I stopped eating everything right away, but I did end up basically living off bean burritos for the first week while I tried to figure out exactly HOW to be a vegan. Even though I was an avid cook, vegetables were always considered sides, I had never cooked with tofu or meat substitutes, and I mentally over-complicated the change. It took my husband and I months to learn how to say “seitan” correctly. Thank goodness for websites filled with delicious vegan recipes I was able to look at and learn from. Now I look back and giggle at myself and how lost I was when being vegan is actually VERY easy once you get the hang of it.
Do you make any exceptions for yourself or if you are married with kids – your family, when it comes to veganism?
When I first decided to go vegan, the whole family changed their eating habits. My husband went vegan with me for a few months. My middle daughter went vegan for about a year. My son only ate meat when he ate outside the home. And I actually meal-prepped vegan meals for my adult daughter who lives on her own for almost a year while she was working and going to college. Now I am the only 100% vegan in the family, but I commend and appreciate each one of them for trying. While they don’t eat vegan all of the time like in their lunches and with breakfast, I still prepare vegan meals for dinner during the week so at least one of their meals is completely meat, dairy, and egg-free. In regards to my 17-month old, as much as I wanted to raise her vegan, she is more of a vegetarian as both sets of grandparents are kind enough to watch her while my husband and I work and sometimes give her things like macaroni and cheese. But while I am more lenient on the occasional dairy while with the grandparents, I am adamant about her not consuming eggs or meat. They do try very hard, though, and always have vegan products in the house like almond milk to give her. My mom especially had the hardest time understanding the difference between what a vegetarian and vegan are. I am most proud of her accepting the change because she was the one most against it in the beginning. Both parents also have become much better at making sure to have vegan-friendly food at family functions so I don’t have to go hungry as I don’t have exceptions for myself. I either bring myself food or go and pick up something to eat if something wasn’t available. That rarely ever happens, though, because I am thankfully supported by amazing family and friends that may not be vegan, but are very respectful of my decision. My husband is the most encouraging and actually LOVES going to vegan restaurants with me. He may not be a vegan, but he absolutely understands why I am and is very proud of me for sticking up to my beliefs and those issues that are important to me.
Do you believe we should show children the process of how animals are turned into meats?
Honestly, I think we should. We teach children to love and to be kind to animals. We take them to petting zoos and take pictures of them hugging the cows and the goats and the pigs. We tell them to be nice and to be gentle with them. Then they are taken home and fed hamburgers and hot dogs for lunch. So many people are fine with the end result but are unable to watch the process of the animals actually being slaughtered or treated inhumanely in the over-crowded, filthy farms. Most prefer “ignorance is bliss”. But I think if you are proud to eat meat then you should be able to watch the whole process of how your food is made and be okay with showing your children. If you are not comfortable with that, then you should ask yourself why. We make a habit of taking our youngest daughter to a farm animal sanctuary as much as possible because I want her to recognize the animals as living beings, capable of feeling the same emotions we do, not just something that belongs on a plate. I am hopeful that teaching her to TRULY love animals will help her to make the right choices as she gets older to choose compassion over her taste buds.
What does being vegan mean to you?
Being vegan to me is living in such a way to cause the least amount of harm to animals, our health, or our environment as possible. In regards to vegan companies owned by non-vegan parent companies, I am fully aware that some aren’t about sharing the cause but more about making the money and following the trend that best benefits their bank account. However, my thoughts on this is that it is proof that we are making a change. We are causing corporations to create products that they normally wouldn’t have. And if those products could somehow cause even one person to choose that instead of an animal product or make them realize that being vegan is possible, then I am all for it. Obviously, companies completely going vegan is ideal, but we need to appreciate and celebrate the small victories, as well.
Is it every vegan’s duty to become an activist?
I feel like it is every vegan’s duty to live by example and to do it with kindness.
How compassionate or empathetic are you towards non-vegans?
To continue from my comment above, I am very compassionate and empathetic towards non-vegans. I feel like if we are teaching a life of kindness, then it needs to include those around us, not just animals. I wasn’t always vegan and I didn’t always understand what my decisions affected. Instead of being “preachy”, I instead started posting vegan recipes and meals on my Facebook to show just how easy, inexpensive, and delicious veganism can be. What I found was most didn’t know how to eat vegan like I didn’t know in the very beginning. In addition, I started a Facebook group specifically for people that wanted to eat more plant-based. Very few people on the page are actual vegans. Some are vegetarians, but most are just people that want to learn how to eat less meat. And I am VERY supportive of all of them. The fact that they are there and wanting to learn more means the world. And every change, regardless of how small, is a positive step forward. Whether or not they go completely vegan, they care enough to try. Another reason I am compassionate and empathetic is because I have been met with the opposite from others by becoming vegan. Most are kind and try to understand, but there are others that have chosen to ridicule me and my decisions. It doesn’t feel good. I wouldn’t want anyone else to feel that. And I don’t think attacking or demeaning others shines a positive light on veganism or encourages people to learn more about it.
What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?
My favorite vegan restaurants are Vegan House and The Coronado, both in Phoenix. Vegan House has the most AMAZING green curry and The Coronado has cauliflower tacos you will have dreams about. Highly recommend both if you ever visit Arizona. Or whenever we go to California, we always make a point to visit The Kindred and Cafe Gratitude in San Diego. Phenomenal food there, as well.
Please share your favorite vegan recipe?
Being pregnant, I was craving biscuits and gravy. The gravy and biscuit gravy recipes below made my heart and stomach SO happy!
The Best Damn Vegan Biscuits from the Minimalist Baker
Black Pepper Gravy from Explore_Grow_Cook_Plants
Some encouraging words for new Vegans?
This is your journey. Be proud of yourself. And take advantage of the COUNTLESS resources online to learn and grow. What I did when I first started was to find out how to make the vegan versions of my favorite non-vegan foods. It may seem overwhelming at first, but stick with it. Before you know it, you won’t have to think about how to be vegan anymore, you just are. It will be the best decision you’ve ever made.
What is the vegan scene like in your city?
It’s definitely not as good as it is in California, but Arizona is absolutely stepping up and providing amazing options and places to eat. I’m very proud of its ever-growing acceptance of veganism.
My Instagram is – @linzmotley
My plant-based Facebook group is – Bitch, Peas!