A Psychologist’s Journey to Finding Herself Through Veganism

Introduction

From a young age, there was nothing that Angela Crawford did half way. Shy and introverted by nature, she had an insatiable curiosity about the world and her place in it.

A voracious reader, Angela spent an idyllic childhood in Midwestern farm country, watching cows peacefully grazing in open fields and rafting in a nearby lake. She loved animals, especially her pet cat and the family of stuffed toys that she took with her everywhere.

Angela could never bear to see any animal or insect suffer. In fact, she had once rescued a poor grasshopper struggling in the lake and brought it to the shore in her raft!
But later in life, something would happen to make Angela question everything she knew about compassion, and veer her down a path that would change her life.
Angela Crawford bonding with a friendly goat during a visit to a local farm sanctuary
Early Adulthood
Growing up, Angela didn’t immediately know what she wanted to do with her life, but she knew she wanted to make a difference in the world in her own, quiet way.
Initially dabbling in journalism, she realized that while she loved writing, news reporting didn’t suit her reserved nature. She discovered it was psychology that had always fascinated her and that she was naturally gifted in the art of listening with compassion.
Keeping true to her nature of going all in, Angela changed majors in the middle of her junior year in college and went on to complete her doctorate in clinical psychology.
All was great in her life for the first few decades, but then an unrest settled in.
The Awakening
Angela realized that while she still loved psychotherapy, something major was missing in her life. She felt unfulfilled and increasingly restless, as if she could sense that there had always been a bigger plan for her.
The awakening began in December 2006, a few weeks after her 40th birthday. She was watching a program on PBS which had a segment featuring workers in a meat processing plant. These employees endured difficult working conditions and frequent occupational injuries. They were coerced not to report their injuries but rather to continue working or face the threat of losing their jobs and income.
The program did not show any gory details of “meat processing,” but Angela was deeply unsettled. Her thoughts slowly drifted from the plight of the workers to those of the animals.

“It was disturbing,” she once said in an interview. “I realized that if I didn’t like how the workers were treated, I would be appalled if I saw the slaughter process or how the animals were treated. For the first time in my life, I began to consider the systems that produced my food.”

Experiments with Cooking
The very next day, Angela went to a Barnes and Noble, and bought her first vegetarian cookbook.
She had never been into cooking, and often veered towards quick, easy-to-prepare packaged meals at home. But true to her nature, when Angela fixed her heart on something, there was no holding back.

Angela Crawford prepares a nutritious vegan meal, showcasing her passion for healthy, plant-based cooking

The first recipe she picked out was a roasted red pepper and artichoke lasagna, mid-way through which, she had to drive to K-mart to buy the appropriate pots and pans.

The lasagna turned out to be delicious, full of vibrant colors and sumptuous flavors, that got her rave reviews from her boyfriend’s family. “Wow, who knew I could cook?!” Angela reminisced with a soft chuckle.
Becoming Vegetarian
Angela went on to read every book in her local library about vegetarianism. She also read about plant-based nutrition, to make sure she was covering all of her nutritional bases. Her research lead her to discover the ethical and environmental impact of animal agriculture.
“I found myself captivated, and at times horrified, by what I was learning,” Angela recounted.
At first, she still ate meat when it was served at social gatherings. However, at home she was eating vegetarian, and discovering that, for the first time in her life, she really enjoyed cooking.
She began going to the health food store and buying spices and condiments she had never used before. Her experiments expanded her food palette and she found new freedom, joy, and creativity.
Angela also realized she had never liked handling meat. She had just thought that it was necessary for her health and well-being. As a young girl, she had enjoyed the meals her mother had cooked, which generally involved some sort of meat, potatoes, and vegetables in a cheese or butter sauce.

As her childhood conditioning unravelled, Angela continued reading about vegetarian ethics and lifestyle. Gradually, she absorbed that despite what her upbringing and culture had taught her, she did not need meat to thrive physically.

She also learned that whole food plant-based diets have been shown to reverse heart disease, diabetes, and many forms of cancer and auto-immune disease. But what impacted her the most were the stories about how the animals are bred, raised, and slaughtered, and the cruelty and pain inherent in every step of the process.

“At that point, I knew I needed to speak my truth,” Angela said. “I’m no longer eating meat.”

A Deeper Commitment
Over a period of time, Angela understood that all forms of animal products involve pain and cruelty, and began to veer away from dairy products. Surprisingly, her chronic seasonal allergies disappeared too, making her realise that veganism was the next step in her journey.
Despite her resolution, Angela found it much harder than expected to become vegan. “Despite my desire to embrace veganism, at times a kind of hypnosis took over, where I felt myself pulled back into eating what was familiar,” Angela admitted. “And since dairy and eggs are often “invisible” components of baked goods and other foods, I found it hard to explain my decision to not partake in these foods at social gatherings.”

So, she once again turned to books. The 30 Day Vegan Challenge and Main Street Vegan helped her with many practical skills for living a vegan lifestyle. She also learned skills for communicating with others about my choices.

Through her research, Angela took in the reality that the living conditions for dairy cows and egg-laying hens are as cruel as those endured by animals raised for meat, and that at the end of their relatively short lives, they go through the same slaughter process.

Gradually, Angela whittled through the deep layers of emotional disconnection and social conditioning. At that point, there was no going back.
Advocacy & Impact
Today, Angela is a Vegan Transformation Coach and Educator, empowering people to shift toward a plant-powered lifestyle for better health and emotional well-being.
Angela Crawford celebrating the completion of my book manuscript (due out in 2025)

She also mentors vegans and compassionate advocates to flourish emotionally, find their authentic voice, and express their unique gifts toward creating a healthier and more compassionate world.

Veganism also helped Angela explore her dream of writing. She recently researched and wrote a book on the transformational impact of a vegan lifestyle for mind, body, and spirit (to be published by Lantern Publishing & Media in 2025).

Conclusion: Finding Her Voice

Angela Crawford’s journey from an introverted, compassionate child to a vegan transformation coach and author highlights the profound impact of living true to our deepest values.

Her story showcases the power of unveiling the deeper layers of our conditioning and the ripple effects it can create within communities and beyond. Angela’s transition from a Standard American Diet to veganism wasn't just about changing her diet; it was about realigning her entire lifestyle to reflect her deepest values of compassion and non-violence.
This evolution shows us that change, though challenging, is deeply rewarding and integral to personal growth and societal progress.

As Angela herself has shown, each step towards a more ethical life is a step towards greater health, awareness, and fulfillment—encouraging us all to consider the legacies we wish to leave behind.

Resources
  • Interested in the whole food plant-based diet? Learn more here.
  • Follow updates about Angela’s work and her book through her newsletter.
  • Check out Main Street Vegan Academy for courses to become a certified vegan
    coach.

Together! Lets show the world the power of a plant-based lifestyle

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