Hi, I’m Michaela. I currently live in Bloomington, IN with my husband, 3 dogs and 1 cat. I work at Hopebridge doing one-on-one ABA therapy. My Instagram is @consciously_vegan. You will find tons of vegan tips, recipes and advice!
Being vegan is more than just the food you choose to eat. For me, being a vegan involves living a compassionate lifestyle in all aspects; it includes food, makeup, skincare, clothing, cleaning supplies, home décor and the companies you choose to support.
As a self-proclaimed lover of animals and stray dog rescuer; I never made the connection between the animals I loved and the burgers I ate. Over five years ago I saw a video about “humane” slaughter and realized I couldn’t be an animal lover and still consume animal products. I became a vegan that very day.
My phasing out of nonvegan products was a natural progression I did over time. When I ran out of something, I would do some research and purchase a vegan product to replace it. I didn’t feel the need to throw out all my old clothing or products just to repurchase alternatives. It took me a few months to phase out my beauty routine and I still have a wool sweater in my closet. The only thing I got rid of right away was a leather jacket. It just creeped me out to wear it!
I make no exceptions when it comes to veganism. My husband is vegan and we do not allow non vegan food or non-vegan products in our house, period. It might sound a little intense, but we built our home around love and supporting cruelty to animals doesn’t align with us. We do not plan on having children but would raise them vegan if we did!
Being vegan means showing compassion to the voiceless and the most vulnerable. This applies to all creatures, including humans.
I think there are many forms of activism from sharing veganism on social media, to cooking a vegan meal for friends, to participating in vegan outreach. I think being vegan is a form of activism and I don’t think there should be pressure to “do more.”
My favorite vegan restaurant is Tlaolli in Indianapolis. Carlos makes the most delicious hibiscus vegan tacos that I crave all the time! If you ever visit Indianapolis it’s a MUST stop for vegan tacos.
Most people may think Indianapolis is a sleeper city for the vegan lifestyle, but in the last three years veganism has become a very well-known term. Indianapolis has a few strictly vegan restaurants and tons of restaurants that offer vegan options. In Bloomington there is a vegan bakery that specializes in donuts, cookies, brownies and gooey cinnamon rolls.
My advice for new vegans is to be gentle with yourself. Mistakes happen. Last year I bought salt and vinegar almonds and they had milk in them! I had been vegan for years at that point and I still made a mistake.
When I first went vegan I felt like I was on my own little island. I didn’t know any vegans in real life and felt like I was living on the “fringe” according to my friends and family. The first few years I struggled with finding a connection until Indianapolis held its first ever VegFest. I went with my boyfriend (now husband) and met tons of other like-minded individuals. I had so much fun and made so many great connections I volunteered to help with the following VegFests.
I also found a farm sanctuary in my area and started to volunteer there. I think volunteering is a great opportunity for new vegans to meet other vegans and learn about the lifestyle. Having a community definitely makes the transition easier.
Another plus side of attending vegan festivals is it can help friends and family open their eyes to veganism. My husband, sister, aunt and uncle are now vegan and the rest of my family eats a primarily vegetarian diet.