Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Ginny Ray Hanson & I’m an actress, comedian, graduate student & vegan coach. I’m earning my Master’s degree in social work.
What lead you to veganism? How long ago?
I’ve always had an aversion to meat but was raised that “I had to have it for protein”. I didn’t become vegan for life until Sept 4, 2017, but I had experimented with vegetarianism & veganism multiple times, up until then.
When you first went vegan how did you phase out your non-vegan food, clothing and other items?
I went full vegan after watching “What the Health” on Netflix, Sept 3, 2017. We immediately gave our next-door neighbors our non-vegan foods. I donated some leather items, feather pillows & wool items. I gave a friend my favorite Ulla leather boots. It really wasn’t hard to part with anything & everyone else was overjoyed to receive them.
Do you make any exceptions for yourself or if you are married with kids – your family?
I make no exceptions. I don’t have kids yet but we plan to raise them 100% vegan.
Do you believe we should show children the process of how animals are turned into meats?
Depending on the age & timing, it may be okay or it may be inappropriate. If there’s one thing I learned earning my BA in psychology is that no one rule applies to us all the same way. Some children are strong enough to see, but for some that could be cruel.
What does being vegan mean to you?
“Vegan” means to me that I avoid inflicting harm at all costs. However, I am not a Jain, meaning my actions of walking & driving probably kill many bugs, despite that my partner & I catch bugs in our home & release them outside. I try to avoid giving money to any non-vegan company but of course, that’s not completely possible. When I learned that the owners of the vegan restaurant chain “Cafe Gratitude” also own a cattle farm so that their “money is diversified”, I refuse to give them any more money. Yet I shop at Target sometimes & they sell beef so I know I am only doing the best I can.
Is it every vegan’s duty to become an activist?
I believe every vegan is an activist whether or not they know. Some vegans are best at protesting at slaughterhouses (hey Leah & crew), some vegans cook to show carnivores that they can eat vegan food without losing any flavors that they love in (me, Holly). Some vegans train their bodies to show carnivore gym goers that they can build muscle without animal flesh (Hey Nimai, Dom, Ryan, and Torre). Some vegans become Doctors so they can give the soundest dietary advice (Dr. Mills, Dr. Belardo & Dr. Gregor), some become bakers so we can all celebrate & eat cake in cruelty-free style (Hi Amy, Heather). Some vegans I khnew growing up never even mentioned it much but I noticed that they were happier, lighter, laughing more & they just glowed and I connected it naturally to their dietary choices. Even subtle vegan “attractivism” is a form of activism! All forms of activism are important & we all have different roles & talents, ultimately we all serve the helpless victimized animals no matter how our activism looks.
How compassionate or empathetic are you towards non-vegans?
I wasn’t born vegan so I approach everyone with the same compassion & empathy no matter who they are. Most people are “non-practicing vegans” deep down, they just literally do not know that their choices are promoting such animal cruelty. It’s sheer ignorance, not a mass character fault. I have a subtle way of sharing veganism with people that includes a non-judgmental attitude. I personally was vegan for 9 months when I was 25, however I had honey in my tea daily, and oblivious that it wasn’t vegan. An animal right activist vegan friend rudely scoffed at me, “you have not been vegan 9 months with that honey in your tea every day!” Instead of educating me that honey is just for bees like cow’s milk is just for baby cows. It made me feel like a failure and I didn’t address veganism again for 5 more years, despite being very interested & ready! Many brash activists do not grasp that self-righteousness and anger are off-putting to the point that they may be doing more harm than good. I know that one judgmental person is enough for someone to dismiss an idea entirely, especially one like veganism. What is happening to the animals is enraging. I understand that. We often feel that bold slaughterhouse statements & rude personal comments about meat eaters need to be made for the animals but trust me, the animals need your actual help. This behavior doesn’t actually help someone learn or change.
Any recommended Vegan books?
Any recommended social sites, blogs or pages?
Honestly, I would be so lost without my vegan Instagram page & all my friends there! They are vital! Yes, I consider them all “friends”, not followers & I hope they feel the same. I listen to the “Main Street Vegan”, “Nutrition Facts”, “V Generation” & “The Chickpeeps” vegan podcasts regularly.
Do you have a favorite movie or videos or your own media that you want to share?
Watch “What the Health”, “Blackfish”, & “Forks Over Knives” on Netflix if you haven’t yet.
What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?
LA: Sage Bistro, Sea Birds & Little Pine. NYC: Nix, Beyond Sushi & PS Kitchen.
Please share your favorite vegan recipe?
When I first went vegan it was my mushroom mock meat recipe then it became balsamic Brussel sprouts. Santa got me a juicer for Christmas though so I’m currently obsessed with juice made of beet, celery, apple & cucumber.
Some encouraging words for new Vegans?
Welcome to compassionate living!
What is the vegan scene like in your city?
I’m spoiled! Not only is Los Angeles a vegan Mecca but I live in Silver Lake, an area which I’m certain has the highest concentration of vegan restaurants in all of LA County.
What personal recommendations can you make for people to meet other vegans?
Attend local veg fests, make a vegan Instagram page, find or create a vegan meetup group. I went vegan with my partner & many of my friends are vegetarian and vegan already so I’m fortunate that way.
What does living cruelty-free mean to you?
Cruelty-free living to me, means voting progressively, buying all cruelty-free items for personal & home supplies as well as sharing what veganism has done for me with those I interact with.
What are you favorite Vegan non-food products or companies?
Going vegan made me have to research all new personal items & home products, which was worth every effort I gave it. I like Lush & Kat Von D brands for beauty & makeup items, Lush has shampoo bars too if anyone else is trying to minimize their plastics. Home items by method brand are cruelty-free & though they come in plastic bottles, they are refillable!
What is the toughest Vegan item to find that you need?
Aquafaba! Chickpea water
Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?
My whole life was a struggle toward veganism, since I was forced to eat the meat on my plate as a child despite begging not to. Since going 100% vegan in 2017, I haven’t had a single struggle. I’ve also gained a greater awareness of the extent of suffering happening on the planet still. What struggle could I even have in light of all the torture farm animals endure daily?