I am a plant-based health coach living in Calgary Alberta (http://plantbased-vitality.com/) One of my greatest joys is creating new healthy vegan recipes from old favorites like mac and cheese, pizza, and sushi. I believe that you don’t have to sacrifice anything you used to love as a non-vegan; instead, you get to enjoy it without incurring any harm on others. I also run a pro-vegan clothing company with my twin sister and our business partner, called Talk Vegan To Me Clothing. Our goal with the company is to encourage people to take back their pride of being vegan, and to get people talking, engaging, and inspiring the awesome vegan lifestyle! Finally, I am on the board running Calgary’s first Vegfest! It is entirely volunteer-run and scheduled to go on spring/summer of this year.
What was the moment you realize that you wanted to go vegan?
Since I was a child, I have always wanted to have a pet pig. One day, I decided that if I owned one as a pet, I probably shouldn’t eat them around him. It was then that I realized I wouldn’t want any animal to go through the pain of seeing their own kind being killed and butchered for food, and I couldn’t stomach the thought of killing or causing any harm to any living animal.
I have always had a weak tolerance for pain and suffering- wincing at bloody scenes in movies, or feeling sad when driving by a dead animal on the road. If my bodily instincts were not to stop my car and pick at the carcass for leftover flesh, how on earth can I call myself a meat-eater? After much research, I realized that a plant-based diet is one of the healthiest diets on the planet, and I haven’t looked back since.
How long have you been Vegan?
February 18th will be my 4-year Veganniversary.
Why is being Vegan important to you?
Being vegan is important to me because I want to leave this world in a better state than the one I entered. Vegan is the only way to dramatically reduce our carbon footprint on the environment, stop unnecessary deaths due to diet-related diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and most cancers, and I hope it is the answer to why there is so much violence in this world. We have lost touch with the natural harmony of the earth because we treat beings like commodities and commodities like beings. Making the connection and choosing to be kind in every action you take may be the answer (this may sound cheesy) for world peace.
Do you have a blog or favorite vegan blog you read?
My favorite vegan blog is definitely Minimalist baker– her recipes are simple, timeless, and freaking delicious. Her black bean brownies have become renowned with my family and friends for years now.
Any recommended Vegan books?
One of my favorites to give my friends to convert them to vegan is “Skinny Bitch” but The Kind Diet is a good one, and How Not To Die is incredible if you have anyone in your family suffering from diseases of affluence.
Any recommended social sites, Facebook Groups or other?
Talk Vegan To Me Clothing
Plant Based Vitality
Do you have a favorite movie or videos or your own media that you want to share?
Favorite movie for vegans: Cowspiracy
Do you actively promote veganism? How? Please share any stories you would like.
With Vegfest, we have hosted a candle-lit vigil for farmed animals, and we try to make it to any protests or save movements going on in the city- although there are less in Calgary that we wish there were. For the most part, we promote veganism through our company- getting people to wear our shirts, and in doing so, engaging others in conversation and inspiring them to go vegan.
Do you miss any non-Vegan foods?
No- I have found a substitute for almost everything I used to miss that is even better than the non-vegan version! Cauliflower wings, creamy alfredo, you name it!
What is your favorite Vegan meme?
What is your favorite Vegan stereotype?
Vegans not getting enough protein… Where do you think the Ox’s, elephants, or horses get their protein?
What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?
Raw Eatery and Market for sure! Their linguini with chickpea meatballs is INSANE.
Also The Coup – their Bun-mi sandwich with crusted eggplant, Kim chi, and avocado aioli is out of this world.
What’s your favorite recipe? Please share it.
By far it would be satay bowl with rice vermicelli, tofu, steamed broccoli and carrots (or any veg you like), peanuts, and green onions. But the sauce…. the sauce is the real winner!
1 cup homemade almond milk
2 tsp garlic chili paste (or as spicy as you like it)
2 large or 3 small cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp soy sauce
3-4 tbsp peanut or almond butter- depending on how creamy you like it
small piece root ginger – about 2 cm
juice 1/2 lime
1tbsp maple syrup
Blend and pour over top of steamed veggies and noodles, or use as a dip with homemade salad rolls.
What is the one big stereotype you hear about Vegans that you want to dispel?
“One person going vegan will simply not change anything that’s wrong with the world.” I would argue, 1 person, maybe not, but you have to first be that 1 person to make up the thousands and millions that can and will.
Some encouraging words for new Vegans?
PINTEREST. Pinterest is your new best friend. Any recipe you want to make- just type VEGAN in front of it. It will seem tough adjusting to new flavors and recipes, but after the first few months it will be second nature and you’ll wonder why you didn’t go vegan sooner.
Are you a cruelty-Free vegan?
I still have some pieces of leather from before I went vegan, but wherever and whenever I have a cruelty-free option, I choose that one.
What are you favorite Vegan non-food products or companies?
Labante London (bags)
Jennifer Joan face oil (@jenniferjoanskincare)
What is the toughest Vegan item to find that you need? Toothpaste, Deo, glue, etc..
WINE… or nice vegan shoes
Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?
I struggled when going to a distant relatives’ house for thanksgiving and feeling so strange about seeing the people in my life that I love and care about eating the carcass of a once-alive being, and knowing that not only was it not good for their health, but that I wasn’t ok with their practices any more. It was hard to take in.
How do you cope with friends or family members that are so resistant to going vegan and you can’t stand it because it fundamentally goes against your moral beliefs?
I have personally distanced myself from those people or just don’t bring it up anymore because I can’t handle the disappointment.