Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi! My name is Mark and I am from Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Canada. I currently work at a national supplement store but also have a Bachelor of Science with a major in Psychology. I have a twin brother Michael who has the same background in education works at the same supplement store as myself and is vegan as well! He and I are in a band together, as well as both promote the vegan lifestyle through our social media sites!
What lead you to veganism? How long ago?
Fittingly enough, I was introduced to veganism through my work at the supplement store! About 15 months ago a customer whom I had a great conversation with about health and healthy living suggested I watch the “What The Health” documentary. I watched it that night and it changed my life forever. I was so ignorant of the cruelty and practices of the animal agriculture industry. I had been vegetarian for most of my life but had vegan eating chicken and eggs over the past couple years because I believed I needed it to build muscle (which was what I wasn’t trying to do when I started working at the supplement store). But after I watched this documentary, followed by a few others, and did some more research in the area, I went vegan then and there.
When you first went vegan how did you phase out your non-vegan food, clothing and other items?
I did phase out most of my non-vegan food almost instantaneously, except for some dairy products and whey protein I had left over from before. I cleaned out what I had in my house and from then on never bought any more animal products.
Do you believe we should show children the process of how animals are turned into products?
Yes, I do believe we should show children the process of how animals are turned into products. I believe EVERYONE should know where their “food” comes from and how it is made. But I think that if children learn early the horrors of the animal agriculture industry, they will be far less inclined to participate in the purchasing or consumption of animal-based products and be able to reap the benefits of a more plant-based diet from an early age.
What does being vegan mean to you?
Being vegan to me means showing as much kindness and compassion towards all sentient beings as well as to our planet. There is no excuse to kill something or someone that does not want to die and this extends to all reaches of life, including bugs and insects. It also means not supporting any company that uses/exploits animals and/or their byproducts, or does any form of testing on them. We all deserve a free and happy life.
Is it every vegan’s duty to become an activist?
I do believe it is every vegan’s duty to take part in some sort of activism. It doesn’t necessarily have to mean going to animal rights rallies or picketing outside of slaughterhouses, but I do feel like we as vegans have the duty to inform others, as much as possible, about the truths of animal agriculture as well as the benefit and of a vegan lifestyle. For me, I have yet to take part in a rally (as there are none whatsoever in my area) but I do have an Instagram account specifically designated to promoting veganism and showing the truths of the animal agriculture industry. Also, working in a health and supplement store I make it my duty to inform every customer I can about the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle and do my best to convert them to plant-based supplements.
Please share your favorite vegan recipe?
Blueberry Smoothie Bowl:
2 frozen bananas
1 cup blueberries
1 handful of greens
1 scoop vegan protein powder
1 tbsp flax seed
1/2 cup almond milk or water
1/4 tsp turmeric, and a pinch of black pepper (for absorption)
Blend until ice-cream texture is achieved.
Some encouraging words for new Vegans?
Do what you can with what you have. No one is going to be perfect, especially when first starting out. Just do your best to be as compassionate as possible and always choose the most cruelty-free options.
What personal recommendations can you make for people to meet other vegans?
Social media is the best way! Instagram has so many inspirational vegans and you can easily connect with them, as well as find countless like-minded people in their followers. Facebook also has many vegan groups, and many cities have their own vegan pages.
What does living cruelty-free mean to you?
Living cruelty-free means abstaining, as much as practically possible, from using any animal products in your day to day life. It means being kind and compassionate towards all others.
Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?
When I first began my vegan journey I did struggle at times. I would skip up and have a dairy product or whey protein bar/shake. But I told myself it was okay because I knew the journey I was on, and where I was headed. And every journey has its bumps and roadblocks.