{Guest Post: Former Competitive Figure Skater Rebecca Gilbert of Yummy Plants} ~ My Path to Veganism

Howdy friends!

It’s been a busy summer already (even though summer hasn’t quite officially begun). My schedule has been full of travel and fun mixed with work in between and it’s only going to get busier! Look for me on the road between Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle and Boulder, Colorado between now and early fall. It’s going to be a whirlwind, but I hope to catch up with many of you on my travels.

In other news…

Today I welcome my friend, fellow vegan blogger, public speaker, author, YouTuber and former competitive figure skater Rebecca Gilbert to Cowgirls & Collard Greens! Rebecca and I met last year at Natural Products Expo West and even though we live on opposite sides of the country, we have become quick friends. In fact, we’ll be joining forces next month at at the Animal Rights National Conference in Los Angeles July 7-10 (stop by the Yummy Plants booth if you’ll be in attendance!). Rebecca has the amazing gift of helping people transition to a vegan diet, and today she’s sharing her personal story of health and wellness. Thanks for being with us today Rebecca!

xo, Kayle

Expo West 2015
The first time I met Rebecca (pictured below with the hamburger sign) we were taking silly photos together with The Sexy Vegan and Silly Little Vegan at the the Beyond Meat photo booth at Expo West 2015 in Anaheim, CA. Vegans sure know how to have fun!


Hi, I’m Rebecca Gilbert, the Founder of Yummy Plants and the author of It’s Easy to Start Eating Vegan. I’m really excited to partner with the amazing Kayle Martin to share my story for making the shift to veganism.

Like many of us, I grew up eating truly SAD (standard American diet) meals. As a child, I didn’t make the connection that what I was eating had once been alive. Except for one animal: a baby lamb.

When I was six years old, my first grade class went to Amish country to see a working farm. I fell in love with the baby lambs. I petted and cuddled them. These lambs were so sweet!

I came home from the field trip late in the evening. My mother was preparing dinner for the family: lamb chops. I asked my mom, “Is this from a lamb?” My heart sank when she affirmed that it was. My six year old self proclaimed that I would never eat another lamb… and I didn’t.

I share this story because as an adult I understand something I didn’t as a child: Call it what it is.

I believe if hamburger or bacon were called cowburger and pig, more kids would understand what they are eating. Masking the name of the animal that “dinner” comes from creates distance and waters down compassion. Naming the animal provides more of an opportunity for us, as children or adults, to consciously choose whether we want to eat animals or not.

At six, I clearly understood I was eating a lamb. Even my very young mind understood the implications that I was eating what had been a living animal. Interestingly, I didn’t eat chicken as a child either. I’m not sure if I just didn’t like it, or if I realized that it was a chicken… vs. bologna or hamburger or steak, which I didn’t associate with being from an animal.

If hamburger had been called “cow burger,” I believe I would have insisted that I didn’t want to eat it.

I’m embarrassed from this vantage point to share that after that moment with the baby lamb, (which I never ate again), I didn’t think much about what I ate until I had some health challenges in my 20s.

Fast forward through college and grad school. I became vegan in my 20s because a Scandinavian study convinced me that eliminating all animal products from my diet would cure my chronic joint pain. I had been a competitive figure skater, able to do the jumps and spins you see on TV. Severe, constant pain in my knees ended my skating career.

I had never even been vegetarian. I made a game time decision to go vegan. I started immediately. I wasn’t sure what to eat, but I moved forward anyway. (Note: that’s why I wrote the It’s Easy to Start Eating Vegan book a few years ago… it’s what I wish I would have had when I went vegan!)

Within just a few weeks, the cracking in my knees lessened, the stiffness decreased and I could move around more easily. After suffering five years of debilitating knee pain, I healed. Five weeks after I went vegan, I returned to the ice. Going vegan changed my life completely. I am grateful. My life is so much better than I would ever have imagined it could be. This gratitude fuels my work to share my story and help society easily make the switch to plant-based eating.

I founded the Yummy Plants website and Facebook community to help new vegans get started and to connect all of us interested in the vegan movement. No matter where you live, you’re not alone. Even if you don’t know a single other vegan or vegetarian on the planet, you’re not alone. There are millions of people all over the world making the same changes that you are. And I am here to tell you that you can do it! I’ve made the exact same changes that you are making, (or thinking of making, or have made). The Yummy Plants Facebook community is here to support you. I want you to know how easy it is to go vegan, how yummy it can be, and how many options you really have.

The Yummy Plants free website provides information like recipes, health information and travel tips. The Yummy Plants Facebook page features a different vegan packaged food item every single day. There are so many yummy vegan foods out there that are widely distributed. (If you don’t have access at a store near you, there are online options like Vegan Essentials and Amazon.) Today, there is a vegan version of everything: ice cream, cheese, mock meats, caramel. EVERYTHING 🙂 I made some fun vegan product reviews on my YouTube channel.

I started eating vegan for health reasons; I continue for ethical reasons. Once I stopped eating animals, I realized that I didn’t need to eat them. I wish I had come to this realization sooner! Luckily for us, there are cruelty-free options today using vegan leathers for shoes, belts and purses too. It’s a whole new world. A compassionate world. And you can be a part of the change!

Come stop by the Yummy Plants booth at the 2016 Animal Right Conference in LA July 7-10 to visit with me and Kayle! We’ll have the organic cotton v-neck LOVE LIFE. VEGAN. tees and the It’s Easy to Start Eating Vegan books! Plus goodies from So Delicious to share!

rebecca gilbertRebecca Gilbert is a former competitive figure skater whose switch to a vegan diet healed her chronic joint pain. She is the author of It’s Easy to Start Eating Vegan and the founder of the Yummy Plants vegan community with over 50,000 participants around the world.

Rebecca has been a featured speaker at corporations and Vegfests including the World Veg Festival, Paris Vegan Day, and Vegetarian Summerfest. She shares her knowledge on TV and Radio to help people easily make the switch to vegan eating. Contact Rebecca for information about media appearances and speaking engagements.