Tell us a little about yourself.
HELLO YOU BEAUTIFUL HUMAN BEING READING THIS My name is Mikayla and I’ve been vegan for 4 years meat-free!), meat-free for 5. You can find me dancing on Instagram @joyful_mikayla And on youtube as Mikayla Aaliyah, here’s a link for your curious self.
I currently live in Upstate New York but started my vegan lifestyle in Texas! Both of which aren’t the easiest places to be vegan, but I know I’m placed everywhere for a reason. 🙂 I currently have a youtube channel that was started with the intention of having positivity based videos my friends could refer back to whenever they were having a hard time or had questions about veganism, but has slowly made its way around the country with me and all the other people I’ve been helping out!
What lead you to veganism? How long ago?
When I was a little girl I’d go in and out of trying to be a vegetarian every time I realized what my pulled pork, hot dog, or eggs were made out of. But I would always fail due to taco bell or my mom’s cooking. Until about 4 years ago, when I was a teenager OBSESSED with dieting. I had tried almost every diet known to man. I was sick and tired of being told I couldn’t have pasta on diets and thought there had to be one where I could eat pasta and not be scolded for it?! SO I hit up google, hungry and missing carbs, there she was, the vegan diet. It actually seemed too good to be true! Not only could I have pasta but I could eat fruit too?! (many diets actually say stay away from or restrict fruit because they think the natural sugar in it is bad sugar…. crazy I know) So this great news along with learning about the environmental impact of a cheeseburger and all that the documentary; forks over knives taught me, I was all for trying veganism out. What I thought would just be a diet quickly became a lifestyle.
When you first went vegan how did you phase out your non-vegan food, clothing and other items?
I chose to take my time instead of going cold turkey because I really wanted to make sure I knew what I was doing and would not end up being a week in to give in to temptations or cravings. I cut out what I ate the least of first then worked my way up to the harder stuff. (Fish, meat, then dairy.) Along the way, id look for vegan alternatives so that if I did crave it id have something to go to. When it came to other things besides food, although I was upset about the injustice and harsh chemicals behind the products being placed on my skin I decided it was a waste to just throw things out. Instead, I used the products until empty (most was makeup) and never purchased it again.
Do you make any exceptions for yourself or if you are married with kids – your family, when it comes to veganism?
I do worry sometimes about what my future kids will eat and if my future husband would always agree with it. However, I do know I won’t be hiding the truth from them and be honest about what’s in their food, I’ll teach them what I know and then leave it up to them on what they’d like to eat. As human beings, they have free will and that’s completely their decision as is for everyone else. However, this little mama will never ever be cooking a non-vegan meal nooooo thank you! I don’t see how people can stomach it and not be in tears? Sometimes it’s hard for me to not speak up about what’s on my families holiday plates but I never want someone to feel attacked for their choices especially if they’re just uninformed. Most people are only taught the information funded by large greedy corporations, which is really just another way to market their products to consumers.
Do you believe we should show children the process of how animals are turned into meats?
Yes, it’s good to know where your food comes from and how it gets to you.
What does being vegan mean to you? For example, does it extend to not killing bugs, first of all, Well, first of all, I’m scared of bugs?
So as long as it’s not bothering me I won’t bother it. Haha. I WISH I wasn’t so afraid of them but that’s something I’m working on because there’s no real reason to be afraid. Being vegan to me means being conscious of what’s going in my body and having a whole new level of compassion for all beings that must have been switched off in all of us at some point. Being vegan is deciding to go for more ethical options over processed foods made by money hungry uncompassionate corporations.
Does it include not patronizing vegan companies owned by non-vegan parent companies? Does it affect the way you treat other humans?
At one point it did. But a few years ago when I realized how small we are I concluded its best for me to be on the inside right now. Everywhere I work I recommend vegan options and use my money to support that as well and it really plants the little seed people need for their minds to open up and realize how wrong things are right now, but there’s better out there, there’s always better. They just aren’t always aware of that.
How compassionate or empathetic are you towards non-vegans?
EXTREMELY. My first year as a vegan I was SO upset about everything that I would always be ready to argue with somebody about why I’m right and you’re wrong. But what good does that do? Nobody likes to be attacked by everything they’ve known and the way they’ve always lived. Whether they feel guilty or upset they put up a defensive wall that you’ll never ever get over. But when you approach people with love and calmness and listen to what they have to say, you open them up to what you’re saying and they won’t dismiss you immediately because they can tell they are being respected as well.
Do you have a favorite movie or videos or your own media that you want to share?
COWSPIRACY, FORKS OVER KNIVES, WHAT THE HEALTH, oh and here’s a video from little ol me.
Please share your favorite vegan recipe?
Banana bread is my go to, if it doesn’t win you over idk what will! Here’s the recipe 😉
Some encouraging words for new Vegans?
You’re literally saving lives, AND your body is thanking you SO much right now. Give yourself some credit you’ve unlearning everything you’ve been taught. 🙂
What is the vegan scene like in your city?
Oh boy. I run into some vegans here and there, but it’s a small city with lots of beautiful wooded areas and wild animals! But, with that comes hunters and people who have no idea what a vegan is so I’m glad to be where I’m at right now.<3
What personal recommendations can you make for people to meet other vegans?
Get vegan tattooed on your forehead. JUST KIDDING haha But with social media, and apps for meeting people it’s never been easier! Keep being you, shamelessly. Like minded people will find you.
What does living cruelty-free mean to you? Does it extend to the way you as a vegan treats other humans too?
Oddly enough, I have noticed I’ve become a kinder human being. In general, I’ve just become more conscious of all my actions through deciding to live cruelty-free which to me means causing as little harm and suffering to everything as possible and living in a state of reaping what I sow. So I decided to sow seeds of love, compassion, and gentleness in all areas.
What are you favorite Vegan non-food products or companies?
Pacifica is by far my favorite skin care line! All their products smell so good and are so pure. I’m also a big fan or Tarte cosmetics!
Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?
When I first went vegan I was eating a ‘high-carb no fat raw” diet because I thought that’s all there was to it. which seems good except I had no idea what I was doing! I was still in a dieting state of mind so I was restricting my calories, not eating nearly enough of these foods that digest through your body very quickly while also working out for insane amounts of time every day. I quickly lost weight, my body went into starvation mode, I lost my period for many months, and my iron levels were extremely low. My mom said it looked like I was disappearing in front of her eyes and worried loved ones told me I should stop being vegan. I almost listened, I almost gave up and went back to eating shredded up sentient beings and stealing the hormone filled milk from a completely different species. But I knew that was wrong and couldn’t go back to my old ways. So I re-assessed myself, did more research and figured out what it was that I did wrong because there was NO WAY I was going to punish someone else for my own mistakes… that’s not how I want to live my life.