Tell us a little about yourself.
** I am Melissa or Lissa Raimondi of Lissa’s Raw Food Romance. Living a raw vegan lifestyle now since September 12, 2014. I am an author and photographer, I make my living selling my recipe books, doing online raw food coaching and photography for families, newborns, weddings, etc. My e-books are available at http://payhip.com/rawfoodromance and my printed versions can be found on Amazon. I have a YouTube channel where I have over 400 videos sharing how I live this lifestyle and what I have learned over the years.
Anything you want here, business, social or websites.
What was the moment you realize that you wanted to go vegan?
After I watched the movies Cowspiracy, Earthlings, and Forks Over Knives. I knew about the raw food lifestyle since 2004 but never had the vegan connection. After watching those movies I really had no choice in my mind, and I always knew a vegan diet was a raw vegan diet. I had no concept of just eating a regular vegan diet with cooked foods because it was never something I considered. If I was gonna be a vegan, it might as well be raw!
How long have you been Vegan?
As of today, just over 4 years. My anniversary is Sept 12, 2014
Why is being Vegan important to you?
For the animals, the planet and my health. I feel it’s the number one thing we can do to help the planet. We can recycle all we want, take quick showers, turn off the lights, ride a bike to work etc, and all of that is GOOD – but nothing even comes close to the power that your diet has on the earth. I feel that I have so much power in choosing where I put my money and what I believe in. It’s important to me to put my ethics into action, and not just say I love animals, but to actually care for them, and help to protect them by being a good example of a healthy vegan.
Any recommended Vegan books?
Mine!! Haha!! But really I really enjoyed The China Study (Colin Campbell), Proteinaholic (Garth Davis), How Not To Die (Michael Greger), The 80/10/10 Diet (Doug Graham), Mucusless Diet Healing System (Arnold Ehret) and Raw Food Nutrition Handbook (Karin Dina)
Any recommended social sites, Facebook Groups or other?
I would recommend following any raw vegan or vegan that inspires you and unfollow people (you don’t have to unfriend, just unfollow) who share lots of images and recipes of things you don’t want in your life. Flood your social feeds with healthy photos. I run a group called RAW VEGAN MONKEYS and there are countless groups you can join on Facebook.
For activism in Alberta Canada, you can visit www.vaoa.ca to connect with other vegans in Alberta for activism.
Do you have a favorite movie or videos or your own media that you want to share?
Movies… Cowspiracy, Earthlings and Forks Over Knives. I really enjoyed What The Health, What’s Eating You, and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. There are so so so many movies coming out, I haven’t seen Dominion or Unity yet, and I am excited to watch The Game Changers.
Do you actively promote veganism? How? Please share any stories you would like.
Yes, I share actively on my social media and I also attend Anonymous for the Voiceless Cubes of Truth when I am able to.
What is your favorite Vegan meme?
There is one where the gorilla is thinking and it says “I wonder if I got enough protein today?” and underneath it says “Said no gorilla ever.” Another one I like is a couple walking through ads and ads and ads of fast food and meat and dairy and the one says to the other “I hate when vegans shove their views down my throat.”
What is the vegan stereotype you hear the most and how do you respond to it?
Vegans don’t get enough protein/nutrition. When I am asked silly questions, I keep control of the conversation by asking questions back such as, Where did you hear that? Where do you think I get my protein from? Did you know there is a lot of protein in greens? Did you know that you need to eat enough to get enough nutrition? Why do you think vegans are weak? Did you know many Olympic and other athletes are changing to a vegan diet and do it without a problem? Etc. Asking questions forces them to think about the answer themselves. Facilitates critical thinking.
What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?
Please share your favorite vegan recipe?
I have way too many! I have a bunch on my YouTube channel and also in my ebooks, but one that I use almost daily is my simple French dressing, it’s 5 dates, a clove of garlic, a dash of smoked paprika, lemon juice or apple cider vinegar and water 🙂
Some encouraging words for new Vegans?
Keep going. Don’t worry about what other people say. You are going to be different no matter what you try to bend towards to make them happy. They are not happy that you are eating their food, they are happy that they feel justified in eating meat. It has nothing to do with you. You are simply choosing a way to eat, and that shouldn’t be a reason to feel like you don’t belong, even though it can. Focus on one day at a time and don’t be scared about nutrition. Make sure you eat enough and keep it low fat.
What does living cruelty-free mean to you?
Not hurting or exploiting animals. When I found out that dairy and eggs were a direct enslavement and exploitation of the female reproductive system of another species I was shocked. As a woman, I can’t contribute to the exploitation of other women. I also use vegan makeup, I no longer purchase leather, fur or anything like that. I even stopped using my Instax camera because the film isn’t vegan, which made me very sad, but I don’t want to be a part of that either. Cruelty free to me also means not being cruel to myself. Not putting food into my body that stresses it out or makes me feel guilty, isn’t nourishing, just junk etc.
What are you favorite Vegan non-food products or companies?
I like some vegan skin care/makeup products from Algenist, Jane Iredale, Urban Decay and Eminence Organics, even though not all their stuff is vegan. I would love to support fully organic companies, but I don’t mind paying for a clearly vegan item from a non vegan company.
What is the toughest Vegan item to find that you need?
VEGAN INSTAX FILM!!!!!!
Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?
I haven’t struggled with it. I am so solid in it that I will NEVER eat animal products. The only thing that I find difficult is actually watching this planet do what it’s doing. I call them “vegan moments” and I have them sometimes I just cry and hurt for the souls that are tormented and killed, I cry for the planet and I cry for the people I love who don’t get it. That is the hardest part about being vegan. The choice to not eat the food or use the clothes is SO EASY compared to having to stand up to your beliefs and witness everything happening right before your eyes.
What is one question you would ask other Vegans? Please answer it.
One question that I am always curious about is what vegans do with already owned items with leather, etc. Do they throw them away? Do they give them away? Do they continue to use them with more appreciation and connection to them – just never buying them again? It sucks that they exist, but they do still exist and just throwing it away is more disrespect in my mind and I can’t do it. I still own some stuff, never sure what to do with it.