I’m Melissa Huggins, the creator of Vegan Huggs. I started this blog to share my love for deliciously nutritious food, natural living, vegan & non-toxic beauty products, and cruelty-free fashion. I’m living proof, that you can have a completely healthy and enjoyable life, without causing harm to the earth or animals.
Eating healthy is fun!
I absolutely love eating healthy, and I have learned to make it delicious and fun! I believe in consuming foods that will help your body, mind, and soul feel alive. Eating real foods will give your body the nutrition it needs to thrive. Since changing my diet, my skin is clearer, brighter and healthy looking. Also, I rarely ever get a cold and if I do, it’s gone in two days. I feel fantastic!
However, just because the food is healthier, doesn’t mean it has to be bland and boring. It also doesn’t mean you’ll be eating kale and tofu every day. You’ll find lots of scrumptious, full-flavored recipes here at Vegan Huggs. There’s a little something here to please everyone’s taste buds and I’m always open to new suggestions. I’d love to hear what y’all are craving, so feel free to send me a message.
The clothes we wear
While on my journey to veganism, I learned that my clothing was contributing to just as much animal suffering. My whole shoe collection was leather, which in the past, was the most important thing for me to have. Now, I have a new mission….finding comfortable, affordable and stylish vegan shoes. Back then it was tough to find anything stylish. Today, there are so many options out there. I can find shoes, handbags, jackets, belts and other accessories that contain man-made materials and are also fashionable. I have lots of stuff to share! Stay tuned!
When I’m shopping for beauty products, the two most important things I look for are vegan and non-toxic. The skin is your body’s largest organ and it absorbs everything like a sponge. I don’t want all those chemicals going into my body, and they aren’t needed. There are so many non-toxic brands now to choose from.
I buy vegan beauty products now, but I used to just buy cruelty-free, which means they don’t test on animals, but I learned that they can still contain animals products. So now, I look for the vegan label. I don’t believe in animal testing… I think it’s the cruelest, most barbaric and old-school thing to do. Maybe if these companies stop using so many chemicals in their products, they wouldn’t need to test them for safety. Natural is the way to go and everyone benefits from it…animals, humans and the earth. I have tried hundreds of vegan and non-toxic products, and I will be sharing all of my favorites with you. Looking good doesn’t have to be cruel or toxic.
Natural living is also very important to me. I want to live in an environment, that isn’t going to make me ill. Over the years, I have discovered lots of things that were toxic in my home. I’ve made a lot of changes and I feel much better about it. It’s almost impossible to eliminate all chemicals in your home, but you can greatly reduce them.
Also, I realized that some of my home decor was made from animal materials. I slowly bought new stuff and switched them out. I will be sharing my natural & cruelty-free recommendations on furniture, flooring, bedding and more.
Are you ready?
If you’re a newbie to veganism or just want be healthier, you’re in the right place. We all start somewhere, so please don’t be scared off. This isn’t easy to do overnight. I’ve done most of the groundwork, so you don’t have to. I’m here to share all the fun stuff about veganism and help inspire others, to be a happier, healthier and more earth-conscious human being.
The big bonus to eating a healthy plant-based diet, you’ll feel and look wonderful. You’ll lose weight and greatly reduce your risk or cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and many other diseases. You’ll feel alive and vibrant! Sounds good, doesn’t it? So, come along on this journey with me at Vegan Huggs…you won’t regret it!
The long version on why I switched to veganism
I went vegan in 2008. Along with giving birth to my son, going vegan was the best thing I’ve done in my life. My life began to have a purpose and I felt more connected.
It all started with a dog named Cayenne. My then boyfriend, found him running through the busy streets of LA. He caught him and took him to our place. He was a beautiful dog and had a funny little overbite. At first, I thought he was mad and showing his teeth, but he was a complete sweetheart with a unique grin. We weren’t allowed to have dogs in the apartment, so we couldn’t keep him long. We were hoping to reunite him with his family because we thought someone must be looking for him.
This was the first time I had ever been part of this type of rescue (many more were to follow). The best thing to do (if possible) is to go to a local vet and have the pet checked for a chip. We didn’t know any better, so we took him to the local shelter to check for a chip. We didn’t realize that it was a high-kill shelter that was way overcrowded. It was a bad idea because when they scanned him, they told us it was their chip and they needed to hold him until the owners came for him.
We offered to hold him until the owners came forward, but they wouldn’t allow it. They give the family 14 days to respond to their letter. They said they would call the owners too, but I didn’t believe them. I was distraught and in tears, but there was nothing I could do. They took him away and put him in a horrible, scary pen with hundreds of dogs barking around him. He was terrified! He was put in a death prison because of irresponsible humans.
I went to the shelter every day to visit Cayenne. Each day he seemed to disconnect a little more. I was devastated! Also, he started to get extremely sick. After day 10, I completely broke down in the lobby and I begged the staff to let me take him home. I asked them to please call the owner’s number again. They finally called again and someone answered. Apparently, they had given Cayenne away to a friend who no longer wanted him. The original owner came in to release the dog back to the shelter, and I was able to adopt him.
It took almost three weeks to get Cayenne healthy again…mentally and physically. Being at the shelter had changed him, and it also changed me forever. My eyes saw so much pain and sadness there. The door was open and it was never going to shut. I was a completely different person.
While Cayenne was healing, I went to the shelter every day to visit the other animals. I saw a lot of pets being dropped off by their families as if they were garbage. It broke my heart to see this. I gave those people a piece of my mind, which ultimately got me kicked out of the shelter many times. I couldn’t understand how people could be so cruel. Owner surrenders are the first animals to be euthanized in high-kill shelters and these families are made aware of this before they leave.
A few months later, Cayenne was adopted by a wonderful family. They fell in love with him and his cute little quirks. At the time, they didn’t have human children, but today they have two children and they still have Cayenne. Many people give up their beloved pets when they have children (I will never understand this), but Cayenne is still living a happy life with them in sunny California and he deserves it.
After this, I fostered pets, but I wanted to do more. I had an appointment with a local animal rescue to volunteer. During the meeting, the owner asked me if I ate meat. I told him I did and he quickly said to me “so, you’re saving the cats and dogs, but killing the cows and chickens?” Wow, lightbulb moment for me! He was right and I never thought of it that way. I never saw the faces of the animals I was eating, so that’s why I never connected the dots.
So, I went home and watched the documentary, Earthings. SO many tears poured out of my eyes and I felt so much pain. I can’t believe I never realized what I was contributing to. That was it for me… I never consumed animal products again. I felt sad and betrayed, but I was awakened for the first time in my life.
I knew that this was just the beginning for me and I learned so much more about how animals were horribly treated. Various things, like clothing, beauty care, animals testing, entertainment and so much more that kills me to think of. Even though It hurt to realize how much animals suffer for humans, I felt like I was living my life more authentically…with my eyes, ears, and heart, truly open. Helping animals has become a part of my soul and this is what I was destined to do (quite different than my original plans). I feel settled in my life because I have found my purpose for being here.