Hey folks!

Happy Saturday to you!  I hope you all are doing exactly what you want to for this holiday weekend!  I hope some yummy vegan food is included somewhere in the mix! :-)  I will be posting the recap of Vida Vegan Con tomorrow and Monday so be sure you check that out!

Speaking of Vida Vegan Con, I met some of the most amazing people there who I look forward to keeping up with.  One of which is my special guest blogger today-Crissie of RunCrissieRun!  She is so full of life and funny and I had the pleasure of chatting it up with her several times during the conference.  She agreed to do a guest blog for me and I'm so excited to share her story with you as I find it quite inspiring and I know you will too!  Please be sure to check out her bio and get information on how to keep up with her at the bottom of the post as well as some pics! So, without further delay, meet my new friend Crissie!

My Veginnings – Crissie

I’ve had a roller coaster journey with veganism over the years. Most roller coasters are full of twists, turns, and loops, and my voyage to veganism was certainly that way. I was a vegetarian, then not, then again, and then vegan (sound exhausting yet?).

When I was 15, I visited my sister at her University and picked up one of her roommates’ books, A Diet for a New America. I read it and was amazed at the stories of the animals in the book, and decided to become a vegetarian. This was much easier said than done, especially when growing up in the Midwest. My parents were not thrilled. It wasn’t a personal attack on my choices, but we were a spaghetti, lasagna, meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and mac n cheese sort of family. My parents just didn’t know how to feed me in what they felt was a balanced and healthy way without putting meat on my plate.

College and the military was much the same. I stayed a vegetarian, but rather than eating balanced, I ate what everyone else did – just without the meat. I became increasingly unhealthy and miserable, and about a year after I married, decided that I clearly could not be a healthy vegetarian, so I started eating meat again. I always felt an incredible sense of guilt, but just didn’t know what else to do. Like many people, I felt that my diet was lacking something important without meat.

Fast forward several years, and my husband fell ill. He woke up one morning unable to swallow, and we spent over four years bouncing around from specialist to specialist across two states to try and find out what was wrong. We eventually learned that he has Crohn’s disease (and fear not, he’s doing great and very well managed on his medications), but he went through multiple hospitalizations, tests, pain, and scary diagnoses in the mean time.

During one particularly ugly hospitalization as he was lying in his hospital bed sedated on heavy duty pain medications, unable to eat or drink, with tubes running into and out of his body, I had a major crisis of health. Here he is fighting for his life, and I’m eating myself to death. I was nearly 200 lbs at 5’2”, obese, miserable, in my 30’s, and I knew I couldn’t flush away the gift of health I had while watching my husband fight for his own. I became a vegetarian again that day, but vowed I’d do it the right way this time – healthy and balanced.

I immediately bought a ton of cookbooks, research books, and magazines on vegetarianism. I started cooking constantly, and while I’ve always enjoyed it, it was somehow different this time. I was always a “good cook”, but my way of cooking was just like my eating – typical Standard American Fare. I was suddenly opened to a world of food I never knew was even out there (hello tofu!), and spending time in the kitchen became my therapy. When I was stressed or wanted some “alone time”, I cooked. To this day, my kitchen is my sanctuary.

My health started to improve and I started running. I certainly needed the stress relief (which is why I started running in the first place), and while I was feeling pretty good, I still wasn’t feeling great. After a year of vegetarianism, I decided to make the switch to veganism. I gave myself one month (November 2006) to slowly transition away from dairy and eggs. Fittingly enough, on Thanksgiving of 2006 I became a vegan.

In the past four years I’ve lost 70 lbs, run multiple half marathons, one full marathon, and competed in my first triathlon. I cook like CRAZY and eat better than I ever have. I feel amazing, and do not for a single minute regret my decision.

The longer I’m a vegan, the more educated I am becoming on animal activism and the environmental impact of meat and animal product consumption and use, and my choice is constantly reaffirmed by what I learn.

It’s often said that it’s not the destination that matters, but the journey. I would say that without the ride I went on, I never would have found peace as a vegan. And in the end it doesn’t matter why I started (animal rights, then health, then the whole kit and caboodle!) What matters is that I’M happy with the choice I made.

Bio –

I write about my crazy world, awesome food, and athletic attempts at and on Facebook at RunCrissieRun and Twitter at (you guessed it) @runcrissierun. If you’re bored, hop on the rollercoaster with me!

Despite the serious nature of this post (and it needed to be), I’m quite silly and goofy and passionate. I am interested in WAY too many things, and write about my desire to do them all. I have a husband, three kids, a cat, a dog, and a turtle; juggle a demanding (and amazing) career, read blogs obsessively, and overall fully and completely love my life.

Download derek and...JPG (1124.2 KB)
My husband and I in the summer of 2005 at a friend’s wedding.

With my family moments after finishing my first Triathlon in April 2011.

With the awesome Christa at Vida Vegan Con’s conference in August 2011.


  1. Aw, love to see two of my favorite bloggers team up! Great post, Crissie!

  2. Hey JL! Thanks so much! Crissie is awesome! I would love to have you guest post too if you're intersted! ;-)

  3. Thanks guys! I was SO honored. First time for me writing for another blog. You guys are both so damned cute and amazing - hope we all connect again!

  4. I was honored that you wanted to do it! I hope we can connect again soon also!

  5. Hey Christa -- I would love to! And I would like you to guest post for me, too! (I have an idea, based on something you said on the Positive Blogging panel). Email me! jl AT jlgoesvegan DOT com


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