Stories

Thailand Changed My Life…Why I Went Vegan

 

To be fair, it could have been any country.

Why I went Vegan

Elephant Nature Park in Thailand

 

But it was Thailand. And I could have been volunteering with orangutans, or sloth bears. But elephants are one of my favorite animals, so I chose elephants to spend time with.

I have been an animal lover all of my life, (or perhaps a “some” animal, lover) but  that love grows much more powerful and true when you stop eating them.

How can you truly love them while causing them so much pain and suffering?

Two years ago I stopped eating cows, chickens, and pigs directly after watching Earthlings. I stopped eating fish a few months before going Vegan.

 

Why I went Vegan

Momma Rommie

While at Elephant Nature Park, Cody and I had the honour of spending some of our time with a new born baby Elephant. The rest of our time was spent with several dogs, cats, and people.

We had the chance to take a trip to Nakhon Phnom (border of Thailand and Laos) to help out with over 2000 dogs that were rescued from the illegal dog meat trade.

We made a video about our experience (You can watch that here) and the response was great.

Many people shared the video and made several comments about how disgusting it was that people eat dog meat, and how terribly inhumane the dogs were treated.

This made me wonder why so many of us think it is ok to treat pigs, cows, chickens, etc, so inhumanely (I question it on a daily basis).

Billions of cows, pigs, chickens, and several other animals suffer all of their lives. Why are dogs any different? Because we chose them to be pets and not food? Because they are loving and sweet? Have you ever spent time with a cow, pig, or sheep? I have, and they are beautiful, loving, and gentle animals as well.

They don’t want to die.

 

I made the connection.

 

Why I went Vegan

Kanchanaburi, Thailand

 

 

I am wide awake and fully conscious of what goes into my body, and the products I choose to purchase will never again be made with any or tested on any animals. I only wish I had made the connection sooner. I was not born Vegan, but I am Vegan for life, in more ways than one.

 

When it comes to flesh; a dog, is a cow, is a pig, is a chicken. There is no difference. Remember this when you are condemning another culture for eating dogs and cats.

 

There was a time not too long ago that we treated humans in the same way. Some were worthy of a life of freedom, and some were not.

 

 

My experience with all of the people at Elephant Nature Park who have so much love and care so much for these animals has permanently opened my eyes and changed my life forever. I can’t turn my back on them. I will no longer be responsible for the pain and constant suffering of another living being, and it feels wonderful and freeing. That is why I am Vegan.

 

I also encourage people to use their words wisely as it is not that you “could never quit eating cheese, chicken, or bacon”

It is a CHOICE. I loved cheese as much as the next person, but I chose non violence and peace, as I am well aware of the calf that gets ripped away from it’s screaming mother right after birth only to go straight to slaughter because he is useless. 5 minutes of flavor is NOT worth the tremendous suffering involved. There are alternatives to cheese, milk, eggs, and meat. Everything is an acquired taste.

The meat and dairy industry are not looking out for your health. People are being lied to, people are getting sick, and there is mass suffering going on around the world, not only for animals, but for humans too.

Such little compassion for our fellow beings, and all for taste?

 

They all suffer as much as we do.

 

Why I went Vegan

Beautiful and Gentle Bull in Northern Thailand

This is what changed my life.

Animals are my family. ALL animals. We share this earth with them. There is no picking and choosing. We humans are not more important. The idea of difference is a human conception for man’s own advantage.

The exploiters making money from meat and leather have done an amazing job in separating a cow from a juicy steak or a $700 leather jacket.

It’s quite easy to be desensitized, but that steak did not want to die, and that jacket was once skin that felt the sun, and wind on it.

 

Just think about that. We extinguish life like it is nothing. Billions and billions of precious lives. 

 

Why I went Vegan

Rooster at Elephant Nature Park

People think being Vegan is extreme.

I think shooting a bolt unsuccessfully into a cows skull so it goes down the slaughter line and is sliced in half while still alive is extreme.

Debeaking chickens without anesthesia, injecting them with growth hormone so they grow rapidly, and their legs are not strong enough to support their bodies so they break, or are severely crippled and in constant pain is extreme.

I think cutting piglets tails off with no anesthesia, beating pigs, and breaking their backs for fun while still alive and in excruciating pain is extreme.

These are not isolated events. This is insanity and violence on a daily basis.

The world will not change for the better until we begin to treat all sentient beings with love and compassion.

What I share is not opinion. It is fact and truth. The problem is, most of the time people do not like the truth unless it benefits them.

There is so much suffering that we can all so easily end. It really is that simple. It starts by thinking about more than just yourself.

I am being the change I want to  see in the world. Compassionate, ethical, kind, aware.

Cruelty free.

 

 

It has changed my life.

 

For more information on living a compassionate cruelty free vegan lifestyle check out these links!

 

Gary Yourofsky is a Vegan animal rights activist. His speech helped in opening my eyes. How can you argue with him? You can watch his speech here GARY YOUROFSKY

 

Earthlings is a feature length documentary about the speciesism and animal abuse perpetrated by humans for entertainment, companionship, food, clothing, sport, and scientific research. The film is narrated by long time Vegan and academy award nominee, Joaquin Phoenix. You can watch the video here EARTHLINGS

 

 

But for the sake of some little mouthful of flesh, we deprive a soul of the sun and light, and of that proportion of life and time it had been born into the world to enjoy.

~Plutarch~

 

Non violence leads to the highest of ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.

~Thomas Edison~

Flower Vegan blog

“150 years ago, they would have thought you were absurd if you advocated for the end of slavery. 100 years ago, they would have laughed at you for suggesting that women should have the right to vote. 50 years ago, they would have objected to the idea of African Americans receiving equal rights under the law. 25 years ago they would have called you a pervert if you advocated for gay rights. They laugh at us now for suggesting that animal slavery be ended. Some day they won’t be laughing.

~Gary Smith~

 

 

I am not interested to know whether vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn’t…..the pain which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity toward it, and it is to me sufficient justification of the enmity without looking further.

~Mark Twain~

 

Comments To This Entry.
  1. Brittany Smith August 21, 2013 Reply

    Loved reading this! Thanks for sharing guys!

    • Giselle and Cody August 22, 2013 Reply

      Thanks so much for the comment Brittany. We’re glad you enjoyed reading our blog!

  2. Beth Hunt August 21, 2013 Reply

    Beautiful and inspiring piece. Thank you for sharing! Proud of you.

  3. Mindy & Ligeia August 22, 2013 Reply

    Great post, Giselle! Congrats on celebrating your 1st Veganniversary! We just celebrated ours last week 🙂

    • Giselle and Cody August 24, 2013 Reply

      Thanks so much you two!! We will have to go for a celebration dinner when we get up to Chiang Mai 🙂

  4. Shivangi September 2, 2013 Reply

    Thanks so much for this article. I share the same thoughts but could never have penned it down so beautifully!

    • Giselle and Cody September 3, 2013 Reply

      Thank you for the kind words Shivangi. We hope to spread the compassion and kindness. One day everyone will make the connection.

  5. Leila September 2, 2013 Reply

    Thank you for this wonderful piece and the pictures! I’ve been vegetarian for a few years, but recently I’ve been thinking of becoming a vegan – your blog helped me make the final decision.

    • Giselle and Cody September 3, 2013 Reply

      Hi Leila,

      That is so great! We’re glad this blog helped you to finalize your decision. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that you are not contributing to any suffering and cruelty, as well as environmental devastation. Good luck on your journey!!

  6. travelling crone October 5, 2013 Reply

    So well written and powerful, one of the best I have read on the subject. All my life I have been slowly moving toward being a vegan. Not there yet but your post has moved me much closer.
    Thank you.

    • Giselle and Cody October 8, 2013 Reply

      Hello, thanks for the kind words. We know what you mean when you say all your life you have been moving toward being a vegan. It is pretty life changing when you reach that point. We wish you the best on your journey, and the sooner the better for the animals, the planet, and you of course 🙂

  7. tom November 2, 2013 Reply

    Great to hear about your decision to go vegan!
    The world is a small place, I stumbled over this post by accident, but recognized you as I have seen you both a few days ago in an South Indian restaurant in Yangon …one of my favorite places here to eat vegan food 🙂

    • Giselle and Cody November 3, 2013 Reply

      Wow, what a really small world it is indeed! We are back in Yangon and went to that dosa place for breakfast and dinner today. Are you living in Yangon?

      • tom January 14, 2014 Reply

        Stumbled over you blog again through facebook today 🙂
        Yes, I am living in Yangon since 2012.

        • Giselle and Cody January 16, 2014

          Hey Tom, it’s to bad we couldn’t have met up while we were in Yangon.
          We really miss that South indian restaurant. The cheap one with 80 cent Masala Dosa.
          Mmmmmmm dosa!!!!

  8. Yara Coelho February 16, 2014 Reply

    Beautiful article guys, I enjoyed every little bit of it 🙂
    I’ve been labelled as an “extreme case” by people in general, since I refused to eat meat since I was tiny. I lived in a farm and understood that meat, were my dead friends. The animals I played with, the ones I named and treated with so much love… till the day my father killed them, skinned them and chopped them to pieces. Although my parents tried everything to force into eating meat “which was the norm in Portugal – still is”, I never, ever allowed that to happen. They bribed me with barbies, forced me into an intense therapy with a psychiatrist and later on, when everything failed, I got seriously beated up… So yes, being vegan IS A CHOICE, even for a small child. Everything in life IS A CHOICE.

    • Giselle and Cody February 21, 2014 Reply

      Hi Yara,

      It’s amazing how intuitive children can be at times. Your story is pretty amazing! Wow, you were forced into therapy with a psychiatrist because you refused to eat meat? That is intense! And it is absolutely a choice. We must remember that it is not always about “me me me”, there are others lives at stake, and they also deserve to live.

  9. Anthony February 16, 2014 Reply

    Guys…I want to thank you so much for this article. I’ve been vegetarian since watching a dog sadly die in Papua New Guinea – then sitting down on the evening to a lamb stew and wondering what is the difference? Lambs are cute too! But it’s not just about cuteness is it? It’s about the right to have a life. To love, to breathe air, to be around your family. To eat food meant for you. To just live a life of being a living being instead of a mere ‘thing’ which serves man.

    And yup….Earthlings finished me off and after 3 months of successful attempts – I’m now vegan 🙂 I would love to speak with you more and get some tips about how to cope with veganism while travelling – as I’m back on the road soon. I missed you guys last time by a matter of days (I’m mates with Ian Ord).

    Thank you so much for this beautiful article. I really couldn’t have put it better myself 🙂

    • Giselle and Cody February 21, 2014 Reply

      Hi Anthony,

      Congrats on going Vegan!! I bet you feel great!! And thank you for the comment.

      We experienced something similar to what you experienced. We had already stopped eating most animals except fish, during our travels, and we spent a very emotionally draining day caring for over two thousand dogs rescued from the dog meat trade in Thailand. They were depressed, injured, and miserable. No different than the billions of cows, chickens, pigs, etc, that are born into suffering only to be slaughtered for a ten minute meal. It woke us up.

      Would love to talk more about being vegan on the road! We’ll give you a shout on Facebook!

  10. Anthony February 16, 2014 Reply

    p.s. Happy veganversary for last August!

  11. Franca February 16, 2014 Reply

    You couldn’t have worded it any better Giselle, I only wished more people would start to think in the same way and make the change. Very Inspiring, thanks for sharing!

    • Giselle and Cody February 21, 2014 Reply

      Hey Franca,

      The shift in consciousness and compassion is happening very slowly. sometimes I have no patience, but I have no choice but to educate,lead by example, and hope for less suffering in time. Glad you guys are on the same page 🙂

  12. Jenessa February 21, 2014 Reply

    Hi!!! YOU!! Amazing! You said it all and you said in a way to get through to people , just like Gary. I have a lot of respect for you and hope soon to be getting out there traveling and helping animals as well. I am interested in talking with people who have the same mindset. I am almost vegan. And I absolutely love it 100 times more than eating meat. I never did like meat much, I liked animals way more. To be truthful, the only thing Im having trouble giving up is pizza. I have cut down considerably. I feel like a addict… which is great insight into what people are actually going through. Food is addicting. After watching earthlings I gave it all up. I however slipped back here and there after feeling soooo strongly about not eating meat.So its insightful We are dealing with addiction as well. And with the internet bringing and sharing so much information… changes are being made quickly and we see it everywhere now. So nice to be able to connect with like minded people. Becoming vegan is a journey. For some its overnight and I respect that so much. I lack sometimes. And its good to have this in mind when dealing with this subject. ITs a lifestyle change when it comes down to it. 🙂 Ive enjoyed every part and it its been the best journey ive been on 🙂 I am learning about how to get through to people so more people stop eating meat and supporting violence.. the opposite of what we preach. We all need to come together to make the suffering end. Thanks for encouraging and inspiring me and giving me words to help me on my journey. 🙂 I would love chat sometime and share thoughts and ideas if you are up for it. Cheers!

    • Giselle and Cody February 26, 2014 Reply

      Hi Jenessa,

      Thank you so much for your comment. You are right, being vegan is a journey, and yes food is addictive, and sometimes difficult to give up because we have been so conditioned into thinking it is food, when in reality it is the by product of a living being. We need to unlearn many things, and start to look at food as something that doesn’t cause pain and suffering. In our minds, food comes from the ground, not from a womb. We can understand your addiction to cheese. It is fatty and salty, and your body quickly gets addicted to it. We eat a vegan cheese called Daiya, have you heard of it? It is quite good. We also really love cheeseless pizza. Try making a thin crust pita pizza at home with tomato or pesto sauce, caramelized onions, and whatever other veggies you like. After eating pizza without cheese you start to discover the real flavours of the pizza and not just salt and fat. We have never enjoyed food so much after going vegan, truly.
      Would love to chat with you more about your journey. We love meeting people who are starting to get it. Peace starts on your plate.

  13. Isobelle February 22, 2014 Reply

    Thank you so much for this article!
    <3

  14. Sarah Crawford April 7, 2014 Reply

    This brings tears. Thank you for this. So beautifully written, and the pictures are moving.

    • Giselle and Cody April 11, 2014 Reply

      Thank you so much Sarah. We hope more people start making the connection. The sooner the better.

  15. Nicole Burch April 16, 2014 Reply

    Love how you mention yourself as being awake and fully conscious. It has been a struggle to explain to family and friends my new vegan lifestyle. I’ve always been an animal lover so to those who know me it’s not that big of a stretch but when it becomes an argument I really like the concept of sharing that it’s about being conscious. So often we do things because that’s how we were raised, etc. I not only question what I eat, but everything now. And I follow my heart in decisions I make. How could that be a bad thing?
    Beautiful blog!
    Cheers,
    Nicole

    • Giselle and Cody April 19, 2014 Reply

      Hi Nicole,

      It is most definitely about being awake, and staying that way. Humans tend to forget that we are not the only ones on this planet who have a desire to live. We question everything, and are always re-examining what we tolerate, and what we have been taught to believe is “right”. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Hi guys, I am so glad I found your blog! (I found you through justinpluslauren.com). I used to be a vegan but due to a variety of poor excuses I allowed myself to become a meat eater again. Then at the start of this year I realised I had to snap out of it and get serious if I really cared for this planet, so I am vegetarian now and am making the transition back to vegan. I get really excited when I find other travellers who are also vegan/vegetarian, because so many people in the blogosphere post often about great food they have found that contains animal products, and I have wondered just how difficult I will find travel once I’m vegan. People like you give me hope.

    • Giselle and Cody June 7, 2014 Reply

      Hey Karyn,

      Thanks for writing. We’re so glad to hear that you are transitioning back to being vegan. We found it very easy to travel and find vegan food. There were times that we were very limited to what we could eat, but the main reason we are vegan is for the animals and so we felt it was ok for us to eat vegetable fried rice and baguette 5 days in a row if it meant not contributing to the pain and suffering of animals. Most of the time we ate like queens and kings, so you don’t have to worry about eating vegan while travelling. You’ll just have to communicate with people sometimes to make sure they know you don’t eat animal products.

      Happy Travels!

  17. Wilma July 8, 2014 Reply

    Beautifully written, thank you for sharing this. <3

  18. Giovana Vieira October 28, 2014 Reply

    Loved the post! I’m a veterinarian, animal lover and animal welfare scientist. I’m just getting ready to spend some time in Thailand doing some volunteer work as well. I’m glad I found your blog! Thank you!

    • Giselle and Cody November 2, 2014 Reply

      Giovana, that’s so great to hear. Where are you going to be volunteering at while in Thailand?

      Have a wonderful trip!!

  19. Mischa February 21, 2015 Reply

    you have a very beautiful soul and care so much for the animals.

  20. Adam @StreetFoodWorldTour February 21, 2015 Reply

    Thanks for sharing your story and journey going vegan. Is there anything you really miss?

    • Giselle and Cody February 21, 2015 Reply

      Hey Adam, thanks for taking the time to read our blog. There really isn’t anything we miss as there are amazing substitutes for everything, and we no longer even consider animals or their products to be food. They really gross us out 😉

  21. Kate McBride April 30, 2015 Reply

    Exactly! I have been vegan now for almost 4 months and it is changing my life and how I view the world. My love for animals has only grown throughout my life so I knew it was time to make a change. I am planning a trip to Thailand with my best friend and couldnt be happier that I came across your blog. (I also recognized you from a video on youtube I watched about the Elephant Nature Park) Cant wait!! 🙂 Keep up the amazing and inspiring work!

    • Giselle and Cody April 30, 2015 Reply

      Hey Kate, so glad you found our blog and so glad you decided to go Vegan. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. hope you have a great time in Thailand and if you need any advice don’t hesitate to email us for tips and places to go. 🙂 ENJOY!!!

  22. Sophie July 20, 2015 Reply

    Hey guys! Found this via facebook and I am beyond happy. I will share and share that article forever. Haha what beautiful souls you have.

    I was thinking of volunteering in something similar. Any tips you can give me to start the process? There are so many options and so many (good and bad) reviews that it’s hard to commit.

    Thanks!

    • Giselle and Cody July 21, 2015 Reply

      Hi sophie,

      Thanks so much for the kind words and sharing our post. The more we all share the better! where exactly did you want to volunteer? That would be the first decision to make. Let us know, and maybe we can help you 🙂

  23. Lisa December 6, 2015 Reply

    Great post! Vegetarian for 26yrs but only progressing to vegan this year. I was a bit naive to the dairy trade! Well done and enjoy your travels 🙂

    • Giselle and Cody January 2, 2016 Reply

      Thank yo so much for commenting Lisa.

      So glad to hear that you are progressing to a vegan diet. It always brings us joy when we hear that from people.

  24. Hannah March 10, 2016 Reply

    What a wonderful post. Thank you for writing it. I have been struggling with veganism of late (although have absolutely not swayed from the path) but this reminds me why I am doing this x

    • Giselle and Cody March 17, 2016 Reply

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment Hannah.
      Glad you enjoyed the write-up on why I went Vegan.
      How have you been struggling lately? Hope everything works itself out.

  25. Sam June 3, 2016 Reply

    Lovely, thoughtful post. I also went fully vegan while traveling. I had been living in Spain for a year, and was already vegetarian (99% of meat in Spain is pork, which I never liked), but while I was walking the Camino de Santiago (900 km trek across Spain), I passed by all kinds of farm animals, though mostly cows, every day. When we sat down for dinner each night, there was no way I could bring myself to eat the beautiful animals I had just spent the day walking past. It also helped that I was doing the journey with two vegans, who shared a lot of insights with me along the way. Everyone asked me how I could become vegan while doing such intense physical activity every day, but the reality is that I never felt so healthy and in shape in my life. Now it’s been 2 years since going fully vegan and I feel great! Cheers to your journey, and thanks for sharing.

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