My name is Carl Woodberry. I live in Mildura, Vic, Aus. I work Mon-Fri in administration, I also have a small photography business and I’m trying to get some of my vegan food products onto the market. I recently went through a pretty major life change. I combined my plant based diet with a lap band and managed to officially lose 105kgs (and my guess would be around 135kgs unofficially) over 18 months. Because of this I’m pushing the health benefits of a plant-based diet REALLY hard and using myself as an example. I was big my entire life peaking at around 240kgs when I was 22-23. I also like to use myself as an example of how bad dairy can be for your health. I was vegetarian from the age 12 and I still managed to hit 240kgs. It wasn’t until I ditched dairy and eggs and knuckled down on portion sizes that I finally managed to kick some goals. I genuinely believe cheese is an addiction and it is so hard to kick. I have recently started a social media brand called TofuCarlos there I try to push these benefits in a relatable and humorous way. I’ve started a IG (@tofucarlos), FB page (fb.me/tofucarlos and Youtube channel to share my before and after pictures as well as my videos which I’m hoping to expand beyond humour and go into some serious health advice, cooking videos and even vegan product comparisons etc. This was all sparked by my Gofundme campaign that I’m currently running. After losing 135kgs I desperately am in need of skin reduction surgery which is super expensive. I am trying my hardest to promote my Gofundme campaign any way possible!
What was the moment you realize that you wanted to go vegan?
I had been vegetarian since I was 12 years old after seeing our pet sheep die. I made the connection that day that the meat we get from the supermarket comes from the exact same animals that we had names for, had hand fed from bottles and called our pets for last 10+ years. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be for another 12-13 years that I’d make the connection that essentially the dairy (and egg) industries are just the meat industry in disguise. When I was 24 my sister and mother had recently gone vegan and started telling me the horrors of the dairy and egg industry and I took the info on board and made a life change to reflect my morals.
How long have you been Vegan?
Just over 3 years.
Why is being Vegan important to you?
Originally it was for the animals. I can’t stand the thought of causing any animals intentional harm or suffering. Often I put myself in the place
of these animals and it’s terrifying. Then, after being vegan for a while you start to learn of the catastrophic effects animal agriculture has on the environment as well as the effect animal products have on our health and it all starts to become equally as important. But for me personally, the animals are always the highest priority.
Any recommended Vegan books?
I read “But You Kill Ants” when I was first transitioning and I feel like its a good book for someone who is genuinely interested in becoming vegan to read. It clearly, points out how nonsensical most of the arguments most people have against veganism are.
Any recommended social sites, Facebook Groups or other?
There are so many great Facebook groups but of course, with the good, there are always the bad. The main thing is to not get upset with people who have different opinions on certain topics to you. A lot of people (myself included) join vegan pages assuming everyone will think exactly the same as you and when they don’t it can become frustrating because you’re all fighting for the same cause. I wouldn’t recommend any in particular but joining your local vegan pages is always a good bet as you will get information relevant to you and your area.
Do you have a favorite movie or videos or your own media that you want to share?
Forks over knives, Cowspiracy and Earthlings and ones I usually recommend to others. Those three films cover the ethical, health and environmental issues.
Do you actively promote veganism? How?
I go to animal rights marches and protests as much as I possibly can. I use my weight loss transformation as a great example of the health benefits of veganism. I also use my IG to show pictures of my vegan food that I cook and I often cook for my nonvegan friends and family so they can see that vegan food is delicious and nutritious. I personally feel this is a REALLY good avenue to use when trying to help someone to convert to veganism. The number 1 issue people have with going vegan is that they don’t want to miss out on their favorite foods or meals. So I make them their favorite foods and meals so they can see that they’ll not be missing out on anything. I have converted far more people to veganism this way than any other way I’ve tried.
What is your favorite Vegan meme?
I have a folder of 100s of my favorite vegan memes haha
What is the vegan stereotype you hear the most and how do you respond to it?
I often get two stereotypes, one is that vegans are crazy hippie health nuts and the other is that you can’t be healthy if you don’t eat animal products. I explain to them that those two stereotypes are totally contradictory. I also explain to them how much healthier I am now that I’m vegan than I was before and how much healthier (and tastier) my food is!
What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?
I have so many. Some of my favorites in Melbourne (when I get down there) are Vegiebar, Loving Hut, Madame K, Little River organics, Smith and Daughters and you can’t beat Cornish Arms for some pub grub.
Please share your favorite vegan recipe?
My IG is full of my favorites!
Some encouraging words for new Vegans?
The only thing you’ll regret about going vegan is that you didn’t do it sooner.
What does living cruelty-free mean to you?
It’s not about being perfect or thinking you’re betting than others. Its about going through life leaving everything around you as undisturbed
as possible. Make an impact in a good way, not a bad way. We’re only here for a short time, love your life but let others love theirs too!
What are you favorite Vegan non-food products or companies?
I LOVE clothing from Vegan Alliance but I can’t go past Wibo Vegan art for her apparel and handdrawn designs and Tamara Kenneley. I love a businesses that puts all of their profits back into their own rescue sanctuary and animals.
What is the toughest Vegan item to find that you need?
At first, it was a really good vegan cheese. As times gone on I’ve both grown to love many kinds of vegan cheese on the market, but also I rely far less on cheese than I used to. It’s actually pretty rare that I eat vegan cheese these days.
Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?
I honestly find the hardest part of veganism isn’t about me or my struggles. It’s knowing the truth about what’s happening and waking up every day knowing that that’s still going on while you have to live your life. Its knowing that the majority of people around you just don’t care, or don’t want to know. That’s FAR harder than not being able to eat cheese or eggs.
If you could give pre-vegan you any advice what would it be?
Do your research. Don’t blindly follow what the media and people around you are saying. Everyone else has grown up being told the same story as you and they’re just repeating it. Find out for yourself whats real and whats not.