Tell us a little about yourself. Where you live, what you do for a living. Please feel to share and promote anything you want here, business, social or websites.
I’m Mary-Anne and I own and run Heavenly Organics Skin Care – a fully vegan, natural and organic skincare company.
What lead you to veganism? How long ago?
I have been vegan for 11 years now and was vegetarian for about 18 years before that. My aunt had turned vegan about a year before and wanted to meet up before we moved to Wales. She suggested we meet at the Viva Roadshow. I attended a talk on nutrition and realized that my diet was probably causing my IBS like symptoms. I then spoke to a lady from The Vegan Society about it more. That was it. I had the information. I couldn’t unlearn what I’d just learned and that was the start of my vegan journey.
When you first went vegan how did you phase out your non-vegan food, clothing and other items?
I’m an all or nothing kinda girl! So I did everything immediately, or so I recall. I totally understand how some people choose to keep items such as leather shoes until they’re worn out though.
Do you make any exceptions for yourself or if you are married with kids – your family, when it comes to veganism? For example, how strict are you with your children’s veganism at school or at family gatherings?
I don’t have children but my husband turned vegan just over 2 years ago. I did get to a point before he went vegan where he might ask me to buy a cake for him if I was out shopping and I had to say that I couldn’t do it as it was against my beliefs and if he wanted it, he’d have to buy it himself. Thankfully he understood and it didn’t cause us any problems.
Do you believe we should show children the process of how animals are turned into meats?
Absolutely. I do believe it can be done in such a way that doesn’t give children nightmares. But equally, the truth is that it is a horrific industry. I witness so many parents lying to their children about where meat comes from and even what it is. This is where the brainwashing and conditioning begin (along with general advertising). I believe parents are trying to ‘protect’ their children from the reality that they themselves don’t want to face – the abuse and murder of another parent’s child. I honestly believe that if children knew from the outset how animals were turned into meats, they would not want to participate in it and the world would be a far more compassionate place to live in. Children are our future after all.
What does being vegan mean to you? For example, does it extend to not killing bugs and bees? Does it include not patronizing vegan companies owned by non-vegan parent companies? Does it affect the way you treat other humans?
For me veganism is compassion to all being, including other humans. I am not personally keen on supporting non-vegan conglomerates who own smaller vegan businesses but I also understand that if larger companies are producing vegan products, then they see the demand and demand will only increase if people buy from them. It’s a controversial one! I see both sides of the argument.
Is it every vegan’s duty to become an activist?
I think that just by being vegan there is activism already there. Activism doesn’t have to be about demonstrating, protesting or handing out leaflets; it can be a simple conversation and that can be extremely powerful and life-changing.
How compassionate or empathetic are you towards non-vegans?
I’m getting better at it as time goes on. I think we have to remind ourselves that most of us weren’t born vegan. By lacking in compassion or empathy towards non-vegans will certainly not do anything to help the cause.
Any recommended Vegan books?
15 Minute Vegan & 15 Minute Vegan – Comfort Food by Katy Beskow
Any recommended social sites, blogs or pages?
I don’t regularly visit particular sites or blogs but it’d be inept of me not to give a shout out to #veganhour on Twitter, being as it’s my baby!
Do you have a favorite movie or videos or your own media that you want to share?
What The Health, Cowspiracy, Earthlings, Vegucated are all documentaries that I rate highly. There are several more that I haven’t watched yet though that are very popular.
What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?
Vanilla Black in London, owned by the delightful Andrew and Donna. It’s veggie/vegan.
I also recently visited New York and had the most incredible crepe at Delice & Sarrasin. Their whole menu looked incredible.
Please share your favorite vegan recipe?
Lemon Drizzle Cake – this goes down well with everyone and is so easy to make.
Some encouraging words for new Vegans?
Veganism is now mainstream and it’s now easier than it’s ever been to be vegan and the world is changing! It has changed dramatically in the past 3 years so I can’t wait to see what the next 3 years have in store!
What is the vegan scene like in your city?
A green city with cafes, restaurants, and shops that are all plastic free and environmentally friendly with lots of fundraising for vegan charities!
What personal recommendations can you make for people to meet other vegans?
Social media is great for first meeting other vegans online via various local vegan groups. Many often have meetups. Of course, there are so many vegan fairs and festivals happening every weekend all over the country where you can chat with lots of like-minded people.
What does living cruelty-free mean to you? Does it extend to the way you as a vegan treats other humans too?
To me, cruelty-free means living a lifestyle where no being (including humans) is subjected to abuse of any kind or death. My mantra is one of Gandhi’s “be the change you wish to see in the world”. I remind myself of this when it comes to interacting with other humans. I do not want words to come out of my mouth that would reflect a world that I do not want to be part of. I am always learning and growing though, as are we all. And of course, I sometimes get things wrong!
What are you favorite Vegan non-food products or companies?
The Raw Chocolate Company do amazing vegan chocolate that is free from refined sugar
What is the toughest Vegan item to find that you need?
I recently realized that I’d love to see a Double Decker veganised (without palm oil please!)
Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?
I’ve never struggled with it to a point where I’ve thought I can’t do it anymore but I have had times where I’ve struggled with the fact that we live in a non-vegan world and that I have friends and loved ones who I love dearly but who consume animals. I have to remind myself again that I was once not vegan.