My name is Vanja Grbic. I grew up in former Yugoslavia – a country well known for its agricultural farming, meat consumption and processing of meat/animal by-products. I recall every special event I went to as a child, both happy and sad, would be marked with an animal roasting over an open flame or on a stick. Weddings, birthdays, funerals - no matter the occasion, they all would involve a proud host offering at least 5 different types of meats and cheese. My grandparents had a farm where they raised and slaughtered all of their animals. When you grow up watching death carried out by people you love and care for daily, you accept it as the norm. As you can imagine, there were numerous instances where my pets and animals I knew by name and nurtured since birth, would end up on my dinner plate. One special companion I still recall was my pet rooster… One night not long after I had grown attached to his personality, we all had chicken noodle soup with his flesh, muscles and bones in our bowls. Another was a brilliant sheep that followed me around everywhere, I loved how we did everything and went everywhere together! We chased each other around the yard for hours and she would eat right out of my hand all the time. Her favorite thing was when I would pet her head. She truly was a living, breathing, loving friend. I cried the day I was told she was sold to be a family’s Christmas roast. I was devastated. I have never even thought to question that reality because I was taught, “That’s the way things are”
“We are meant to eat meat!”
“You need the protein/There’s no way around it!”
Does any of this sound familiar?
I moved to the United States as a war refugee in 1997 where my instilled carnivorous diet continued unobstructed. We were taught culturally to believe that eating meat is a sign of prosperity. My parents would often say that if you do not eat meat people would think you are poor or even malnourished.
Then, something amazing happened.
One day my younger sister, on her own, just stopped eating meat. My parents were shocked and thought that she had lost her mind. My mom even took her to the family doctor, hoping he would “talk some sense into her.” We had a family intervention to try to bring her back to what we believed to be “normal.” I listened to the reasons she listed for why she did not want to eat meat any more, and it was at that moment, something finally clicked inside of me. I realized that this reality was not the reality I wanted to accept or project any more. Up until that point, I had lived a cruel life where I was eating animals, my own pets, without even fully understanding the process how my food ended up on my plate. My sister’s brave declaration and willingness to share her reasoning made me realize that animals are satient beings who deserve to be treated with love and respect - and with such a wealth of healthy and nutritious alternatives surrounding us every day, they definitively do not need to be on our plates.
A FORK IN THE ROAD
I knew living a cruelty-free lifestyle wasn’t going to be easy and a change of this magnitude would require setting small milestones and attainable goals to keep me enthused, engaged and committed.
I decided to start by committing to a single week challenge to see how going vegetarian would make me feel. In just 10 days, I was able to lose 10lbs and I felt more energized than ever. I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything, and after a short amount of time I even noticed my pallet also began to evolve. I no longer craved meat and just the smell of it became unpleasant. That was the turning moment in my life and I never looked back. I was able to maintain my vegetarian diet for 8 yrs.
Proud and feeling physically better than ever, I stumbled across a documentary that made me think even further about my food choices. I saw the documentary Forks over Knives, and it had a profound effect on me. My passion to learn more burned bright. I pursued documentary after documentary, absorbing everything I could find related to diets, food production, and animal treatment in commercial plants. I had realized that just cutting meat out of my diet was not good enough. The rampant suffering and untimely deaths taking place in the dairy and egg industries, and the meat processing and packing plants is something so gruesome it probably wouldn’t even make the cut in a gory horror movie. We the people are not even aware or choose to close our eyes to the cruelty of how docile cows are bred, and how their baby calves get taken away just for us to enjoy a glass of milk. I never knew that male chicks are ground up alive because they do not produce eggs (this is not an exaggeration -United Egg Producers finally in 2016 pledged to discontinue this practice by the year 2020). Once my eyes were opened to this animal holocaust my decision to turned vegan was immediate. I could no longer contribute my money in good faith, to fund animal suffering in any way.
MY VOYAGE – HOW YOU CAN JOIN ME
Going vegan 6 years ago has been a remarkable journey and I would love to inspire as many people as possible to join me on this adventure. I have spent years and explored countless methods (some that worked, some that didn’t) to help anyone interested in making a transition. There are numerous meat/cheese/milk/egg substitutes available that make the transition to the vegan lifestyle so much easier.
ONE WEEK IS ALL IT TAKES
The individual meal plans I have designed to get you started, will satisfy all your cravings for taste and are full of flavor. Each meal will also provide your body the full nutritious content you need to stave off hunger, burn clean fuel, and feel energized in a humane, animal loving way.
I have never felt or looked better than I do now, and I owe it all to my healthy vegan lifestyle.
Let me help you take on the challenge of going vegan!! Let’s make sure you reach your goal of having a healthy fit body and a blissful content mind.