I’m a New York girl. I never realized how New York I am until I started traveling a lot. I never realized how impatient I am until I went to Nashville. I never realized how healthy I was until I went to Louisville. I never realized how fast I walked until I went to…well I’ve always known how fast I walk!

But being from New York is a pain in the ass if you’re not from NYC, and I’m not. I live about 100 miles north so I constantly have to explain “I’m from New York but not the city”. So I say I’m from “upstate New York” and that always begs the question “Oh, like Syracuse?”. Nope. So perhaps I should say “downstate New York”? I don’t know.

Animals have always been my thing. From dolphins, to raccoons, to sea turtles to ferrets, I love them all. As an empath, I also feel for them which is sometimes a heavy burden.

My vegetarianism sparked from never truly liking meat, having an eating disorder and having options. Both my paternal grandparents emigrated from Germany and settled in New York City. My grandfather was a ship welder and my grandmother a nanny and somehow they met.

My father grew up in NYC and went to school not speaking a word of English. I think that still pisses him off a little, the fact that my grandparents retained so much of their culture while in the US. So it was in this German neighborhood that my grandfather came across a doctor promoting a vegetarian diet. Imagine the internal shift that must’ve taken place to go from wurst’s to fish and vegetables. I’m so thankful for that trajectory in my grandparents lives because it’s part of why I am who I am. My father then grew up eating this way and it became my silver lining.

It took almost 30 years for me to understand the implications and horrific treatment of dairy cows. I thought cheese and yogurt were benign in their origins. I was very wrong. I began working at Catskill Animal Sanctuary, a farmed animal sanctuary, this summer and became vegan within weeks. Understanding the mourning that a cow goes through when they take her calf away so she can then be milked for human consumption, was too much to bear. Understanding that the dairy and meat industry are directly connected as male calves become veal or lesser quality meat, was the final straw. I’m out!

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