Being Vegan, Vegan Being: Kellie Parrish – One of the Best Decisions of My Life

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Kellie and I think the best way to sum up myself is I am a vegan cat lady. I have always loved cats. My mom said since the beginning I have wanted to play with cat toys and any real cat I could snuggle. Currently, I live in Washington State with my husband, Kyle, and our four rescued cats; Cecelia, Amelia, Delilah, and Chloe. I am a social worker and currently working as a Care Coordinator and help individuals stay as healthy and happy as possible. I do always remind them to eat more fruits and veggies J

What lead you to veganism? How long ago?

Ya know, I tell my mom “If only I knew about veganism when I could first talk and walk!” (My mom is now vegan, which is still SO exciting) Deep down, I was always meant to find veganism. I had always considered myself an animal lover. I started this journey as a vegetarian and honestly thought “Oh I am doing so much good and saving animals-yay!” Then, I heard about veganism and was like “Sounds extreme,” but deep down knew it was the right thing to do. After two years of being vegetarian, I watched Vegucated and it was pretty much “YUP I’m going Vegan!” July of this year, will be 6 years without flesh and 4 years without dairy products.

When you first went vegan how did you phase out your non-vegan food, clothing and other items?

Finding replacements was my savior. Gardein, you are the best! Ha! One of the coolest things after I went vegan was how much I experimented and tried different foods I hadn’t even heard of due to my basic diet. I started with Gardein, then kept trying new fruits, veggies, grains, legumes, etc and trying new recipes. It’s been an amazing journey. I felt my body become healthier and felt better overall. Such an amazing process!

With clothing, I wore the shoes until they were worn out. I only had two pairs, so it was not too difficult for me. My thought process was, that animal had died and I did not want to waste that or donate them to show somebody else yeah it’s totally normal to wear animal skin on our feet.

Do you make any exceptions?

I am not a human mother, but if I ever have children, I would raise them vegan and would not want them around a big BBQ or something that normalizes animal abuse. I am strict about food and items that come into my home-it has to be vegan. My home is a safe haven for ALL animals, simple as that J

Do you believe we should show children the process of how animals are turned into meats?

YES! Do I think we should show them slaughterhouse videos? Well, depending on age, maybe. I think it is crucial to teach empathy and lead by example! Introduce them to animals and show them from the start how amazing these beings are.

What does being vegan mean to you?

Being Vegan means causing the least amount of harm possible, for all beings and the environment. My partner has mastered the art of catching and releasing the bugs and spiders and honestly, I am not as scared of bugs now with doing the catch and release. I appreciate them more and let them go about their life, I just don’t want to snuggle them in bed J I do my best to treat humans with love and kindness. There is enough hate and judgement in the world, why do I want to add to it? Nobody wins in that situation.

As for the business part, I support any vegan product. I love to support completely vegan companies as much as I can, but I also will support other vegan products made by non-vegan parent companies. We are showing the world we are here and not giving up-and some companies are listening-how amazing is that?! Why wouldn’t I support that?

Is it every vegan’s duty to become an activist?

Yes, but in the way they feel most comfortable. If that’s going to protests, Cube of Truth, The Save Movement, going to sanctuaries and helping out, cooking vegan food for friends and family, or spreading awareness online-it’s all important and needed! I do however, encourage people to try different forms of activism and go out of their comfort zones.

I do not go to every event and I have taken breaks before to do self-care, and that’s okay! Together we can accomplish a lot! It’s not a competition.

How compassionate or empathetic are you towards non-vegans?

You’re going to get nowhere with being aggressive or getting frustrated at non-vegans. I used to drink at least 3 glasses of cow’s milk a day, so I used to be a part of the problem. I tell people “When you know better, you do better.” As much as it makes me upset when people say comments such as “oh I could never be vegan” or “that is extreme,” I can’t get too upset because I said similar things and thought similar ways! Our society engrains us to think we need to eat and use animals and for a lot of people, it’s hard to think any other way. Plant the seeds and keep fighting the good fight! Use the opportunities to educate others.

Any recommended Vegan books?

How Not to Die by Michael Greger; this book is amazing to learn about what super foods to eat. I have incorporated a lot of tips from this book into my regular meals and can tell a difference!

Any recommended social sites, blogs or pages?

Follow ALL of the Animal Sanctuaries. Not exaggerating, half the pages I follow on Instagram are sanctuaries from around the world. Nothing makes my day better than getting to see the animals who are lucky enough to be saved from slaughter and living their best life. I also think those animals are the best advocates for their friends who were not lucky and were slaughtered.

Also, Earthling Ed. He is the BEST. Meeting him in person was beyond amazing. He is as genuine in person as he is online.

Do you have a favorite movie or videos or your own media that you want to share?

Vegucated changed my life. I always recommend that one to non-vegans because it isn’t super gory, but shows enough footage of animal cruelty, environmental facts, and shows how veganism helped the individuals health improve.

What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?

If you ever find yourself in Anaheim, CA -go to Vegan Pizza. Best pizza ever! Also a big fan of Next Level Burger and Back to Eden.

Please share your favorite vegan recipe?

Some encouraging words for new Vegans?

You CAN do it and it is SO worth it!! One of the best decisions of my life. If you need help, please reach out!

What is the vegan scene like in your city?

I am near Portland, so options are pretty amazing. Very thankful for that! I was born and raised in Northern Michigan and whenever I go back home to visit, I am impressed to see the vegan options are growing there as well!

What personal recommendations can you make for people to meet other vegans?

Go to activism events, sanctuary work parties, or meet up groups. I have met some really great friends from that!

What does living cruelty-free mean to you? Does it extend to the way you as a vegan treats other humans too?

Living cruelty free obviously means no animal products, but it also means finding clothing, beauty and cleaning products that are vegan and cruelty free-No animal testing or animal parts included!

I would say it does extend to the way I treat other humans. I try to keep an open mind and treat others kindly.

What are you favorite Vegan non-food products or companies?

Pacifica, Jäsön, and Plaine Products. I am extremely passionate about finding vegan and cruelty free products! I always tell people if they won’t go vegan yet, at least buy cruelty free products. I am also on the journey of reducing plastic use and Plain Products has been a zero waste company that has not disappointed!

As for cleaning products, I like Dr. Meyers, Seven Generations, and Dropps laundry pods. (They are zero waste)

For wallets and purses I recommend Bungalow 360 or Mat and Nat.

What is the toughest Vegan item to find that you need?

Honestly, I have not had that much of a struggle to find replacements! The future is vegan!

Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?

I struggle with veganism when it comes to the sadness and hopelessness I feel at times. As I go about my day to day life, millions of innocent beings are being slaughtered for no reason at all. I see our world changing and climate change happening-it’s overwhelming at times. I want people to care, so badly. That’s why I will never stay silent and keep fighting. My all-time favorite quote is by Harvey Milk and he said, “Hope will never be silent.”

I would love to do a shout out for people living in Washington State or Oregon.

Herbivore Clothing

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