Skip to Main Content

100 Pounds Later: Emily Nelson Talks to PETA About Going Vegan

Emily Nelson is lucky to be married to a great cook, and she’s inclined to drool at the mention of a perfect day of dining. But the way she’s approached food has changed recently, and it shows. The Tulsa, Oklahoma, resident dropped 100 pounds since switching to a vegan diet a year ago. Wowed by her story, we asked her to chat, and she agreed. Here, she fills us in on her experience—from the perks to the pitfalls—and what inspires her to eat cruelty-free.

Tell us about your decision to go vegan. Was there a pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to give up meat and dairy products? 

A little over two years ago, I started looking at meat as meat! I began thinking about the animals in my freezer or on my plate the same way I thought about the dog on my lap. The final straw was reading Skinny Bitch. Their no-nonsense vegan basic training was just what I needed. At first, I gave up meat, but after a couple of weeks, I realized that dairy products were no better and dropped them, too.

Obviously, weight loss has been one perk of going vegan. What else do you like about the vegan lifestyle?

Who would’ve ever imagined that I could drop 100 pounds in a year? Wow, it still baffles me! I’m super-energized, my moods are more stabilized, my menstrual cycle has regulated, I have higher than ever red blood cells, and I am no longer anemic.

We always love to hear about people’s favorite eats. Can you give us a run-down of what your ideal day of favorite meals would be?

First off, I am super lucky to be married to an amazing cook. Ah … the perfect food day (forgive the drooling). Breakfast: blueberry coconut pancakes with a tofu scramble. Lunch: tempeh bacon, Daiya havarti cheese, avocado, spinach, tomato, Veganaise, Whole Foods Seeduction Bread, and a side of roasted asparagus. Dinner: fried scaloppini “chicken,” roasted sweet potatoes, and cabbage. Snacks: I love juicing, and anytime that is possible, I will opt for that, but when I’m at work or my juicer is not in reach, I love Naked Juice or almonds.

If you could say one thing that all omnivores should pay attention to, what would it be?

I recently attended VegFest in Austin Texas, and I found a company that says it all in one short sentence:

“Eat like you give a damn!”

—Herbivore Clothing Company

What advice do you have for others who are considering going vegan?

Just like anything, it takes some time to get used to—to form a habit. It’s rough at first. It’s a daily struggle, and I would be lying if I said otherwise, but I’ve never felt better about myself or about my outlook on life. There are substitutes for everything, including ranch dressing (thank you, Follow Your Heart!).

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our PETA readers?

I think the greatest thing for me was connecting with other people—finding out which restaurants are vegan-friendly and where the local farmers markets are. My wife and I both went vegan at the same time, and I know that for me, that made the change so much easier. My wife, Alicia (the one pictured with me), has lost 50 pounds and is losing more every day. With Skinny Bitch, The Kind Diet, Eating Animals, Sea Shepherd, and PETA all proving that eating cruelty-free can be done, I feel so confident in my decisions and look forward to the continued work that I can do to help other people and animals.


Inspired by Emily’s story or have your own to share? Let me know in the comments section!

Commenting is closed.
  • anotheryou says:

    Most will agree that the commercial industry of meat and dairy is horrible. But what about the caring and loving organic natural free range farmers who supply meat and dairy? Should I stop eating vegetables because they are picked by under paid and over worked immigrants? Where do we draw the lines in our ethics and morals. If I am buying cheese and other dairy products from a trusted source that I know is not cruel or adding harmful things to animals or products, am I supposed to still feel guilty? Does love for animals mean that we cannot benefit from what they produce? I agree that we should ban commercial farming and have a much more natural and caring way of raising and breeding. I choose to support local and natural farmers in hope to create more demand and awareness so maybe one day it will be regulation for all food to be organic and loved.

  • Jody Biesche says:

    I began my path to being a vegetarian as a youngster on the farm over 50 years ago when I became attached to the cows under my care. I moved away from cow meat first (which my parents were very unhappy about), then gave up chicken, then fish, with some back-sliding along the way. I’ve been a strict vegetarian for almost 30 years now, mostly but not entirely vegan. Your article has inspired me to take the plunge and go all vegan. My message to people is that, no, it’s not easy. You’ll take abuse from people for your choices, it’s difficult to find places to eat out, particularly in rural areas, and often it’s more expensive to have a healthy and ethical diet. But have courage, take the first step and do the best you can. Know that your choices do make a difference. You’re helping to heal a wounded planet and preventing the suffering of hundreds or thousands of animals over your lifetime. Not only will there be health benefits for you, but I believe there are spiritual/karmic benefits, as well, and you will be an inspiration to others to do what we all know, deep down, is the right thing to do. You can go to sleep at night knowing that you are bringing a little more kindness and peace to the world, coming a little bit closer each day to living an authentic, true, compassionate life with no regrets. It’s worth the effort.

  • Dazzle59 says:

    What a fabulous testimonial to the powers of an ethical vegan diet! Thank you, Emily and Alicia, for sharing your story – and congrats on your successful weight loss. You are an inspiration to us all!

  • Gahan Kelley says:

    Good for you, Emily. I, too, am married to a wonderful woman who cares as much as I do about the animals. We’be been vegetarians for 22 years, and now vegan for 3 months. I never thought I could be a vegan…loved my cheese and other dairy. But, after reading “Eating Animals” I was haunted by images of the tortured lives the dairy cows and laying hens live. It’s being easier than I thought, but I still have to have the mindset “one day at a time” until vegan is a totally normal way to eat for me. By the way, my partner and I are both 68….so it is never too late to make this decision to put our love of animals into action.

  • chander kumar soni says:

    i am very happy.