Whenever people find out I’m vegan, I get a few common questions and comments.
Gosh, it must be so hard to be vegan.”
“I could never give up cheese.”
“Do you do it for your health?”
I get it. A vegan (no meat, eggs, and dairy) diet might seem intimidating. I love eating. I spend most of my time reading cookbooks and planning meals. Ask my friends. I love inviting people over for dinner and making them a kick-ass meal so they understand that I don’t just eat grass.
But I eat vegan because I love animals. I just love their kind spirits, gentle eyes, and general goofiness. If I’m ever having a bad day, I can count on my adopted dogs, Buddy and Bessie, to cheer me up.
Whenever I want to remember why I’m vegan, I love to go to a farm sanctuary and pet cows and pigs to reconnect with what I love about all animals—not just the ones who live with me. Brendan and I drove to The Gentle Barn, a beautiful sanctuary about an hour north of Los Angeles.
I had never been to The Gentle Barn before. It was great! When you arrive, co-founder Jay Weiner gives a brief history of the sanctuary. You’re invited to spend time with the cows and horses, join a talk with co-founder Ellie Laks, then head off to pet pigs, goats, chickens, and turkeys. The sanctuary has a lovely picnic area. When we were there, the vegan hot dog stand Frankenstand was on hand and all-natural beauty company Nature’s Gate was handing out samples.
But most importantly, you need to meet the animals!
The sweetest, softest cow I’ve ever met. She loves attention and being brushed. I gave her a hug and she reminded me of my Buddy.Buttercup’s story (taken from GentleBarn.org): Buttercup was rescued from extreme abuse and neglect. She was 8 months pregnant when we saved her and because she had no proper nutrition or clean water and lived with so much stress, her baby was born thin and weak with underdeveloped lungs and did not survive.
This sweet goat became instant best friends with Brendan. She loved a good chin scratch. She stretched her leg over Brendan’s feet to ask him to stay.Bella’s story (taken from GentleBarn.org): Bella was attacked by a dog, left for days with no medical attention and then brought to the pound by her owner. The pound didn’t have resources to care for goats and were going to put her down. We took her to the hospital for emergency treatment and after months of hard work we succeeded in saving her life and her leg. She has permanent tendon damage and walks with a limp, but she is happy and loved here at The Gentle Barn!
Show Me Your Peacock
When we were there, Jewel the peacock, decided to show off his beautiful feathers and strut around. I’ve never seen a peacock before and his coloring is stunning. Make me a nail polish color that matches his luminous deep blue coloring!Jewel’s rescue story (taken from GentleBarn.org): Jewel was found wandering around the neighborhood, homeless. He roosted in our neighbor’s trees at night, but when he found out we fed breakfast at 7 and dinner at 5 he started showing up on time for meals. One day we opened the door and invited him in and he has been here ever since.
We met a bunch more super cute animals. I loved every minute at The Gentle Barn, and can’t wait to go back.