I grew up in a small country town in NSW, Australia and moved to Sydney when I was 18. I’m currently working for the State Government as an Admin Assistant but I love photography and aspire to one day quit my job and become a full-time photographer, so I have just recently started up an Instagram account: @erin_hana I’m also a huge nature lover and love going camping and hiking and kayaking. I also have a three-legged cat named Saki. Here he is!
What was the moment you realize that you wanted to go vegan?
I was vegetarian on and off for years but struggled to really commit to it, then when I started up my Instagram account I came across an account by a girl called Jade Higgins, all the food she posted up looked so amazing I thought, “I want to eat like that!” That got the ball rolling I think and I started doing research about veganism and decided it was definitely something I wanted to do.
How long have you been Vegan?
I’ve been vegan for 7 months now and I can’t wait till the day I can say I’ve been vegan for 10 years.
Why is being Vegan important to you?
I’m a really big animal lover and ever since I was little my main aspiration in life has been to protect them and make the world a better place for them; I think being vegan is the best way I can do this.
Any recommended social sites, Facebook Groups or other?
I have an Instagram account which is based around vegan food and lifestyle: @erin_hana All the photos are taken and edited by me.
I would also recommend Jade Higgin’s Instagram account: @theadventuresofjade She takes amazing food photos and is just a really lovely person all round.
I also love Cornelia Grimsmo’s youtube channel: @grimcorn She does a lot of great videos on veganism.
Do you have a favorite movie or videos or your own media that you want to share?
My 2 favorite vegan documentaries are Cowspiracy and forks over knives, they really opened my eyes.
Do you actively promote veganism? How? Please share any stories you would like.
I try to actively promote veganism through my Instagram account and through conversations with friends and family. I believe the most effect way to promote veganism is through positive promotion and gentle encouragement, there’s still a lot of stigma about veganism but I think social media accounts that promote veganism in a positive way and show that vegans are just like everyone else are helping to dispel this and once veganism becomes a normal part of society I think we’ll start to see some change.
I try to promote veganism in my own way by posting up photos of delicious vegan food, sharing recipes and sharing photos of my everyday life so that people can see my life is just a normal as theirs.
After I went vegan one of my close friends became very interested in animal welfare and vegetarianism and we would have long conversations and swap stories that we had read. I would tell her all the things I ate in a day and what to use instead of eggs or milk and through this encouragement she decided to become a pescatarian. While it’s not complete vegan I still think it’s a great step in the right direction. She also started donating to animal charities and talking to her friends and family about animal welfare, which is how we spread the word.
Here’s some of the food photo’s I like to post up on my Instagram.
Do you miss any non-Vegan foods?
I thought I would miss cheese when I became vegan but I don’t haha. I did have a craving for donuts the other day but there are places that make vegan donuts so we have that covered!
What is your favorite Vegan meme?
What is your common Vegan stereotype you hear?
I think the most common response I get when people find out I’m vegan is “that must be hard?” I usually reply with “I use to think that too before I went vegan, but it’s a lot easier than people think and you can vegan-ize anything”
What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?
There’s a café near my house called Inkalesh living foods, they have amazing raw vegan cakes and do awesome almond milk Chais.
What’s your favorite recipe? Please share it.
I found this recipe for vegan Tzatziki a little while ago and it was a godsend because Tzatziki used to be my everything. I have confirmation from my sister that this is actually better that regular Tzatziki too.
1 cup cashews soaked for 2-4 hours (or overnight is best)
4 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp tahini
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp hemp seeds
7 tbsp of water (give or take)
1 cucumber, diced
1 tbsp dill
1 tbsp parsley
1/2 tbsp mint (optional)
salt/pepper to taste
In a processor or blender place cashews, lemon juice, tahini, garlic cloves, hemp seeds, water, salt/pepper, and run until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides as necessary.
Remove from processor or blender and place mixture in a large mixing bowl.
Add all other ingredients, diced cucumbers, dill, parsley, mint (optional), and more salt/pepper to taste.
If you leave out the cucumber, parsley, and mint it also makes a really delicious cashew cheese sauce which I use as a sour cream and creamy pasta sauce substitute.
What is the one big stereotype you hear about Vegans that you want to dispel?
I think the worst stereotype that needs to be dispelled is that veganism is unnatural and unhealthy, people think that we are designed to eat meat and dairy, we aren’t, we are designed to eat vegetation and fruit and it’s quite scary that everyone thinks this way because it is causing so many health problems not to mention all the animal suffering and environmental damage that it’s causing as well.
Some encouraging words for new Vegans?
Make sure you do your research on what you need to eat and how much you need to eat so that you are getting enough calories each day as plants contain fewer calories than animal products.
Stay motivated by connecting with other vegans online, watch vegan youtube videos, follow vegan Instagram and Facebook accounts and if find that you are really struggling or you want to be vegan but are holding back because you can’t give up chocolate or cheese or your favourite non-vegan mascara then that’s ok, just be vegan in rest of your diet or lifestyle, you don’t have to be the perfect vegan to make a difference and you can always phase those things out later on when you’re ready.
Are you a cruelty-Free vegan?
I try my best (which is all we can do) to buy vegan and cruelty free products, there isn’t much transparency on animal testing etc and information about which companies that do animal and don’t can be hard to find and misleading, so I know sometimes I might accidentally buy something that isn’t cruelty free but as long as I’m doing my best to avoid those products then I know I’m still making a difference.
What are you favorite Vegan non-food products or companies?
Peace love and vegetables – Cashew Dill Cheese. It is so addictive, I put it on everything!
What is the toughest Vegan item to find that you need?
Vegan mascara made from all natural ingredients, it’s hard to find a good quality one.
Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?
I haven’t struggled with wanting to give up veganism, it’s still the best decision I ever made, but I did struggle a little with my family excepting it, they weren’t all that supportive and keep telling me it was unnatural and that I would become vitamin deficient etc. I think this is where research comes in really handy, I did a lot of research on plants and nutrition and I downloaded an app called chronometer which tracks your calories and vitamin intake each day, so I had proof and facts that I could present to them to show them that veganism is a much healthier way to live and that I wasn’t being deprived of any vitamins.
What is one question you would ask other Vegans? Please answer it.
I think I would probably just ask other vegans for recommendations on products that they like as I am still trying to work out which vegan substitutes are the best ones to buy. If you’re in Australia I can recommend Coyo coconut yogurt (the vanilla one is really good) Cocobella choc Almond smoothie (it taste like a Moove chocolate milk) and Funky Pies in Bondi (you can find their pies in a lot of health food stores as well)