About Me

Vegan Huggs

Hello Friends!

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 & 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 food is healthier, doesn’t mean it has to be bland and boring. It also doesn’t mean you’ll be eating kale & tofu everyday. 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!

Vegan beauty

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.

At home

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 ground work, 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!

Welcome to Vegan Huggs, a friendly and inspirational blog about living a healthier and cruelty- free lifestyle. Vegan recipes and cruelty-free beauty. Welcome to Vegan Huggs, a friendly and inspirational blog about living a healthier and cruelty- free lifestyle. Vegan recipes and cruelty-free beauty. Welcome to Vegan Huggs, a friendly and inspirational blog about living a healthier and cruelty- free lifestyle. Vegan recipes and cruelty-free beauty.

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 everyday 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 everyday 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 body 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 animals again…in any way. 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.

Welcome to Vegan Huggs, a friendly and inspirational blog about living a healthier and cruelty- free lifestyle. Vegan recipes and cruelty-free beauty.

This is Cayenne, he’s the sweet soul that rescued me.

 

Blessings,

Melissa
Vegan Huggs
xoxo

 

 

18 Comments

mhuggs November 3, 2015 at 4:25 pm

Thank you so much, Danvy! I really appreciate your friendship & support.

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Nicole January 14, 2016 at 10:22 am

Melissa, this is such an inspiration. Your website is truly lovely…calming…motivating.
I have a question for you, if you could kindly email me at sweetpeapath@hotmail.com when you have a moment,
Thank you so much,
Nicole

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mhuggs January 14, 2016 at 11:43 am

Hi Nicole,
Thank you so much for your kind words. That means the world to me! I notice that you have a blog, too. I would love to check it out. Yes, I will definitely email you. So great to meet you 🙂

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jean March 11, 2016 at 4:38 pm

wow stumbled upon your FB and instagram. Love the recipes(going to try the cherry coconut cheesecake- yours look too pretty to eat!) and the photos. Do you do your photos yourself? Do you use any filters? the colors are so vibrant!
I was a vegan and now vegetarian but I still eat like a vegan most of the time. I love eggs and cheese. I would love to e-chat with you if you could email me @ jeanlee.lil@gmail.com, when you have a moment?
Thank you in advance!

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mhuggs April 16, 2016 at 8:42 pm

Hi Jean, Thank you so much for your kind words. The Cherry-Coconut Cheesecake Bites are delicious! Definitely my favorite dessert. I do take my own photos. I don’t use filters, but I do touch my photos up in Lightroom. If you have any other questions, you can email me at veganhuggs@gmail.com. Take care 🙂

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Amy Katz from Veggies Save The Day May 28, 2016 at 5:37 pm

Hi Melissa! I love your blog so much! I think I have pinned almost all of your posts. 🙂
I didn’t realize we started blogging around the same time. Judging by your work, I would have guessed you have been at it for years. Keep up the wonderful work! I hope we can meeting in person someday soon.
xoxo,
Amy

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mhuggs May 29, 2016 at 10:20 am

Thank you so much, Amy! I absolutely love your blog, too! So much deliciousness on there. 🙂 I’m so happy that we connected. It’s nice to meet newbies, like myself. We can journey together. I hope we can meet someday, too 🙂 Melissa xo

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Tera March 29, 2017 at 8:14 am

I can’t figure out to edit my response. So, for peace of mind, I would like edit the above and resend haha. See below 😉

Hi Melissa, I just want to reach out to you and tell you how wonderful I think you are. Thank you for being an inspiration to me and others. I have been vegetarian (regretfully) but mostly vegan for about 3 months now. I definitely feel the difference and the change in me growing each day… physically and mentally. Now, if I could just be better and cut out the dairy completely! For the past two years, I started my research and journey away from meat. Today, (because of you) I feel like I became a little bit stronger. It is people like you who make a difference in our world. I love you! Thank you for making my day brighter. Alsoooo, I really love to cook. I have yet to experiment with vegan cheese, but I hear/read great things about nutritional yeast. Do you have a suggestion on my first cheesy vegan recipe to try? I was thinking pizza or mozzarella sticks! Can’t wait to taste your recipes. 🙂

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Melissa Huggins March 29, 2017 at 6:26 pm

Hi Tera, this is the nicest message I’ve ever received. I’m so happy that you were inspired to take the next step. This makes everything I do here worth it. Thank you for sharing your story. You’re making a difference 🙂 I’m going to email you with some recommendations for cheese recipes. I have one going up next week, but I can recommend other blogs to check out, until then. Cheese is the hardest to give up for many people. I was a cheese addict, but trust me…your palette will change. It happened to me, and I just don’t crave dairy cheese anymore (it took a while). Is the email you sent from a good one to contact you? I’m so glad you left a message here. I’m more than happy to help you with your vegan journey 🙂

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Sonia July 27, 2017 at 3:23 am

Melissaaaaa… I really loved reading your ‘about me’… Oh and beautiful Cayenne made me cry. There are just sooo many awful humans out there. Thank you for being you and all that you do! Hugs.. Sonia.

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Melissa Huggins July 28, 2017 at 10:42 pm

Hi Sonia, thank you so much for your kind words. It’s so nice to be in touch with other animal lovers. Together we can all make a difference. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Hugs to you, too 🙂 Melissa xo

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Sonia July 29, 2017 at 4:26 am

Thank Melissa. Wishing you a great weekend also. And together we CAN make a difference xxx

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Kiki August 29, 2017 at 8:52 am

Bless your for rescue work! We have a puppy, 9 months old now, from a high kill shelter, and just love her. She is a pit bull blue heeler cross. She was so tiny when we got her we thought she was something else and going to be smaller. They just misaged her but we love our Juneau.

I don’t know how you got through Earthlings. I just couldn’t make it past the garbage truck scene. It is a brutal movie. But already being vegan I had a good knowlegle of what is going on.

I am a dialysis nurse, which means super long hours when I work, Up at 3:45 am, clock in at 5 am, and work til nearly 7 PM. It has made vegan cooking hard as I have always done healthy gourmet meals that require a lot of prep and chopping, which I love. Lately, I just open a can of chickpeas, put some olive oil and Cavnedish Greek seasoning on it and eat it cold. Lol

I love your site and can’t wait try more of your recipes.

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Melissa Huggins August 29, 2017 at 11:57 pm

I’m so happy you have a rescue pup! I absolutely love Pit Bulls. Aren’t they just the sweetest? Gosh, her name is gorgeous too!

Yeah, Earthlings was really rough to get through and I could never do it again. I feel like it scarred me forever. I tell people to watch with caution now.

Wow, you work such long hours! Being a nurse must be hard and so rewarding at the same time. Thank you for helping so many people. I’m sorry you haven’t had time to eat regular meals. Although, the chickpeas with oil and Greek seasoning is sounding really good right now. Lol!

Thank you for stopping by and sharing your kind words. 🙂

Melissa xo

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PatB September 14, 2017 at 9:24 am

Hi Melissa, Thanks for your blog. Your explanation of why you’re vegan is heart-wrenching.
I would like to use your Vegan Three Bean Chili recipe in a newsletter… may I have your permission? It is for a non-profit organization. Also, where I found the recipe, it doesn’t list a serving size, but I am assuming 1 cup.

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Melissa Huggins September 16, 2017 at 12:48 pm

Hi Pat, thank you for stopping by and reading my story. It was definitely hard to go through, but I’m so thankful it happened the way it did.
I’d love to talk more about your non-profit and the recipe request. Can you email me at veganhuggs@gmail.com?

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Karen September 26, 2017 at 2:42 pm

Thanks, Melissa, for sharing your story. It meant a lot to me to read about your journey! I often feel scared when visiting vegan lifestyle blogs and checking out vegan youtube videos, but you seem very approachable (you answered a comment I wrote on FB recently), and that makes it all a little less scary! Plus, your recipes look awesome!

p.s. this is completely unrelated to veganism, but if you have any interested in DIY/home improvement/learning how to use tools…you should check out my blog! seejanedrill.com Just in the interest of sharing!

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Melissa Huggins September 30, 2017 at 10:17 pm

Hi Karen, thank you for your kind words. I’m happy you stopped by here. Let me know if I can help with recipes or any other questions. I’d be happy to help out.

I will definitely check out your blog. How cool! I love learning how to do home improvements myself. Thank you 🙂

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