I thought it would be easy - challenging my readers to a free chocolate giveaway and chance to be featured on the blog by writing a one-sentence answer to this question:
What has been the best part of incorporating
veganism into your life?
Who was I kidding? Had I even tried to answer that complex question with one sentence myself? Nope. And yet, forty of you faithful readers did. Beautifully. So beautifully that I was up all night this weekend with my husband desperately trying to narrow these gorgeous, honest, and unique responses down to three final answers. I hadn't prepared myself for how difficult this task would be, because you - yes, you amazing vegan-lovin' folks - have shown me how wonderful you all are. You have given me so many more reasons to smile than what I am able to share today. Please know that thoughtfully answering my question is a victory in and of itself - and whether you have been featured here today or not, continue on your journey knowing that you have already given yourself a reason to smile today.
After hours of a painful narrowing-down process, I made a decision - instead of only featuring three answers in my "Reasons to Smile" post today, I would devote the entire post to you readers, with ten answers featured. And boy, do you deserve the attention! Thank you for inspiring me, for giving me so much joy every morning when I turn my computer on, and for your support, your love, and your courage to set forth and live your best life possible. You are all my heroes today.
And now for today's "Reasons to Smile" - featuring the adorable, sweet, smart, and kind animals rescued and living at the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary (proof that in your vegan living, you are touching more lives than you know):
1. The best part about veganism is the inner peace I feel, each day laying my head down to rest knowing not a single being was harmed so I could sustain that day - total peace. - Renee
2. The glowing feeling I have by nourishing myself and treating animals compassionately, the physical glow I have, and the glowing community of people (KMIV) I have met on this amazing, continuing journey. - Jacquelynn Rankin
3. The best part of incorporating veganism into my life has been the fact that my diabetic little brother followed in my footsteps, and he is now not only happy and healthy, but our love of vegan cooking has made us closer. - Ryel Toby
4. Through our new found veganism, our family (children especially) has been kissed with compassion - compassion for others, the animals, and the earth- it's a beautiful legacy to pass on! - Rachel, mother of two and blogger
5. In the past I've had a difficult time committing to even the best-for-me habits, so the best part of committing to veganism is how it has shown me that when something is really worth committing to, I am strong enough to do it. - Lauren Russo
6. Raising four peaceful, healthy, vegan children. - S. Pearl
7. The best part of incorporating veganism into my life is being able to wake up every morning to look at the world through a compassionate lens that infuses everything with shades of serenity, hues of harmony, tones of truth, and colors of a heightened consciousness. - Angela Colantonio
8. Living with purpose, eating with the kindest intention and apologizing for nothing has made me happier and healthier than I ever knew I could be. -Hilary Detwiller, Plate+Simple
9. Knowing that every single day, I am saving lives. - Molly G
And now, for the winner of the chocolate giveaway, Ms. Mara Conlon:
Veganism has opened my eyes, my tastebuds, my wonder, my sense of exploration, and most importantly, it has opened my heart.
My deepest and most sincere thanks to every single person who entered this contest. If reading these responses has inspired you in any way, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.