Robert Grillo Is a Dedicated Advocate of a Plant-Based Lifestyle and Getting To the Core of Truth about Our Food
Robert Grillo makes time every day to report on top news and issues in plant-based eating and the reality of animals raised for food. His website Free from Harm is one of the best sources I’ve found for must-know animal stories that may not make ordinary headlines. Rather watch than read? Free from Harm hosts a collection of dozens of long and short videos on plant-based nutrition and animal issues.
When Robert is not digging through and sharing the news, he shares veganized version of classic American favorite foods on his other site, Hearty Vegan Recipes.
Robert, an independent writer and marketing consultant, has lived in Chicago all his life. I met him on LinkedIn. After marveling at the daily stream of hard hitting information he posted on vegan and vegetarian groups there, I had to contact him to get to know him better.
Robert generously took time from his packed schedule to answer my questions on his journey from growing up omnivore to putting out a daily blog on plant-based diets.
Robert’s Italian-American parents both loved to cook. His father grew up in a very poor immigrant family where meat and cheese were considered a luxury. Robert believes that was why his dad was so insistent that every meal be centered around meat. On the weekends, Robert’s dad would plan elaborate dishes inspired by Julia Child. These meals would take him all day to prepare. His father’s life was taken by cancer at only 49.
Robert transitioned to a vegan diet in 2010. Prior to that he was an “on again-off again vegetarian.” Robert mused that he made no clear connection between his beliefs and food choices. “I just had a vague sense that eating a vegetarian diet most of the time was consistent with my lifestyle,” he told me.
I asked Robert what made him change his diet. “Ultimately, witnessing undercover video investigations, films, and documentation about the atrocities committed against animals in agriculture. Once I made the connection between the animals we say we revere and
love and the ones we eat, I began to identify all animal products as products of unnecessary oppression and suffering. It’s culturally acceptable to eat animal foods only because the dominant culture says so. But logically it is a house of cards that collapses once we examine the issue a bit more carefully,” Robert shared, echoing the message that Free from Harm is founded on.
Robert also has experienced health benefits from moving to a plant-based diet. His energy is up, and his LDL, or “bad” cholesterol fell from 120 to 90 in just months.
Robert let me know he loves his plant-based diet. “My palate has changed immensely and I find myself enjoying a really wide range of plant foods that I never knew existed before. I no longer find it challenging. It’s just habitual and enjoyable. I think developing and maintaining any conscious eating regimen (whatever the motivations are) requires a bit more thought and planning, but the rewards are immeasurable. Ultimately eating right is a small challenge when compared to the stark reality that animals face. Our food choices are literally a matter of life and death for animals. I think it’s important to keep that in perspective.”
Robert’s animal-free eating sets an example. He is always hoping to inspire others. “Making the right food choices means acting on my values, specifically my belief that animals have a value in and of themselves and therefore are not here to be our resources. As Melanie Joy says, when meat eating is not necessary for our health or survival, it is a choice. And choices always stem from beliefs. I sincerely believe that making fully aware food choices is the single most important positive impact we can make in our lives because it impacts the greatest number of animals and has the greatest impact on the planet.”
Robert’s bottom line with Free from Harm is to guide readers to question everything. “We have to be willing to demystify culture and traditions as well so we can get to the core of the truth about our food,” he said. Robert tells me he views himself as an accidental vegan. “The accidental vegan is one who once thought vegans and animal rights people were crazy and never imagined himself “one of those people.” And once you understand, it’s no longer an accident. It becomes a new
awareness of how human and animal and ecological justice are all part of the same continuum.”
I truly admire Robert’s dedication, energy, and consistent focus. Free from Harm is your daily news on what really matters. Check it out.
If you liked this post, you may want to read about the Healthy Librarian, another dedicated plant-based blogger.
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Blog posting by Janice Stanger, Ph.D. Janice authored The Perfect Formula Diet: How to Lose Weight and Get Healthy Now With Six Kinds of Whole Foods. This easy-to-follow eating plan is built on a whole foods, plant-based diet that can prevent, and even reverse, most chronic disease. Janice is humbled to be part of the community of dedicated bloggers teaching the world about whole food, plant-based diets.