Do it For Others
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Vegan lifestyle articles that discuss ways of living in peace with humans, animals, and the environment.

FROM Julie Kirkpatrick,
August 2020

If I have any inclination to “cheat,” I remember my vow and the cries of the Mothers. Going vegan for “others” instead of doing it for myself, has, for me, been the key to sticking with it.

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In some ways it was a gradual move, incremental, one step at a time. But when I decided once and for all, that was it! I was vegan for life! (But I’ll tell you that story later!)

Looking Back

While attending the University of Michigan in the late 70s, I watched a film which briefly showed a slaughterhouse scene. Those images horrified me. Until that moment I had never given much thought to how meat (or any other food for that matter) came to be on our plates. Immediately I became vegetarian (I did not yet know about veganism.)

But I swayed. New York City in the 80s, pregnant with my first child, I thought I should eat meat to be “healthier.” Old eating habits resurfaced.

During this time, my brother, David Life, and his partner Sharon Gannon, began teaching yoga and developed the Jivamukti Yoga method. Veganism is a large part of Jivamukti Yoga, as ahimsa is one of the five tenets of Jivamukti. Ahimsa is a Sanskrit word that essentially means “not harm” and is a practice to cause the least amount of harm possible. Ahimsa applies to all of life.

They encouraged me to take yoga classes, which reawoke my sleeping link to spirituality. It was in spending weekends with them in Woodstock, NY, where myself and my two sons gained even more insight into a vegan lifestyle. I started to understand more of why a compassionate person is a vegan person. I learned about the wider issues of the treatment of animals, both the negative (cruelty of factory farms, silk, wool, leather, fur, etc.) and positive (those working to save and enhance the lives of animals). We visited Farm Sanctuary in upstate NY, Catskill Animal Sanctuary in Saugerties, NY, and Woodstock Animal Sanctuary in Woodstock, NY.

And not to be understated, I see now what a big impact experiencing firsthand how David and Sharon lived as vegans had on me. To see how they actually did it was very enlightening (what they ate, cooked, bought). But still I didn’t make the BIG change. I made a little change, and once again stopped eating meat.

But My Family was Still Eating Meat... until they weren't!

My younger son, Alex Febre, came home from an overnight and announced that he was no longer going to eat meat! At the age of 8, he realized that animals were his friends, and he was not going to eat them anymore. A documentary about pigs that he and his friend had watched on Manhattan cable network (and I’m sure, our repeated visits with Uncle David and Aunt Sharon) sealed the deal for him.

My older son, Jules Febre, became vegan first. He strongly encouraged me to become vegan. Isn’t it something when we realize our children are also our teachers?! My decision to take the Jivamukti training in 2003 equally influenced me to become vegan. It would be incongruous to be a Jivamukti teacher and not be vegan.


Throughout all this time there were challenges to my commitment. If at work with no nut milk for coffee, I’d use cow’s milk. Or if there was a birthday party for a coworker I’d eat a piece of cake, knowing it wasn’t vegan.

Vegan For Life!

But finally came the defining moment that clinched my commitment once and for all. It was a clip in a YouTube video. In this clip a newborn (literally, just born) calf is taken away from his mother. The baby is screaming. The Mother cries and cries. I cried and cried when I saw that. As a mother who had breastfed my babies, I could see myself in that mother cow. I vowed to honor the lives of all mothers by being vegan.

Now, if I have any inclination to “cheat,” I remember my vow and the cries of the Mothers. Going vegan for “others” instead of doing it for myself, has, for me, been the key to sticking with it.

Find Julie on FACEBOOK and Instagram: juliefrancine11

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