My Vegan Inspiration: Auntie Jae

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Day 18: Honor a human or non-human animal who inspires your veganism.

Truthfully, every non-human animal I meet reinforces my veganism. From the dogs who come to work with me to the rescued animals I meet at every sanctuary I visit, every animal reminds me that we are all alike and all equally deserving of compassion, respect, and humane treatment.


From left to right: 1. Our little adopted Luna, a tiny mutt with megaesophagus. She’s often aloof and enigmatic, and she requires special care, but when she deigns to give us a lick or a nuzzle, our hearts just melt. 2. Rescued piggies at Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary. You can’t not smile when you see how much they enjoy wallowing. 3. My Moria, the sweetest girl in the world.

On the human front, so many people buoy my spirits and keep me going. Steven is, by far, my #1 supporter and my #1 champion. My parents, who are vegan and mostly vegan, make me proud every day. My compassionate friends are forever enthusiastic about vegan food and cute animals and saving the world. There’s a lot of inspiration in my life.

But today I’m thinking especially of my Auntie Jae. She was the first family member to go vegan, years ago, in an effort to address a few health problems. I think she was the first vegan I ever knew! She’d bounced around from diet to diet, but nothing stuck — except veganism. It’s a far cry from Atkins, but veganism has one big difference from all those fad diets: its base in ethics. As my aunt says, once you learn about the horrors of factory farming and what goes on behind closed doors, you can’t go back. And even if you become vegan for health reasons, the ethics behind it keep you going.

My smart, compassionate, lovely aunt.

My aunt is one of my biggest fans. She’s an enthusiastic supporter of my blog and always likes to hint about a future cookbook, which is flattering and charming. When we get together (which is rare, because I’m in Maryland and she’s in Colorado), we chat about veganism and food and politics and all those topics that help you really get to know how someone else thinks and feels and believes. We’re very much on the same wavelength where it matters. I like to think it’s because she babysat me when I was an infant and my mom was wrapping up her last year of teaching — like she passed on her progressive values to my tiny self!

So here’s to you, Auntie Jae! Thank you for showing me that veganism is both simple and incredibly important. I can’t wait to share a meal with you soon!


8 thoughts on “My Vegan Inspiration: Auntie Jae

  1. Kelly, the words you have written about me mean the world to me and brought tears to my eyes.Thank you. I think of you all the time when I make your 3 bean chili or sweet potato lentil soup and love so many of your recipes. I look forward to trying some of your new recipes. My plan is to head east for Thanksgiving.


  2. I love this post so much!! How amazing that so many people in your family are vegans. !!!! I have an aunt Laura who has been vegetarian as long as I can remember, and she was my inspiration for going veg at age 14. Then, (several years later), not long after I went vegan, she also went vegan. In fact, she went vegan on my birthday!!!! Yay for wonderful aunts.


    • Wonderful aunts are the best! And I know; I’m so lucky. My brother is also vegan, and his girlfriend is effectively vegan too. And my sister is raising her two boys as vegetarians. It makes me so happy!


  3. Such cute little pooches! You are so lucky to have vegans in your family! ‘…veganism has one big difference from all those fad diets: its base in ethics.’ I like how you put that, I never thought of it like that :)


  4. That’s such a touching post! I’d like to echo everyone else: you’re really lucky to have so many vegans in your family! My mum and partner are so supportive of my veganism, but I’d like to have someone completely on the same page.


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