Being Vegan, Vegan Being: Mike Leaming – Veganism was a Struggle Until I Looked at What the Animals Were Going Through

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m 33 years old from Orlando, Florida. I grew up in the country where animal exploitation was normal and glorified. I used to hunt, fish and even had animals that we raised and killed, before going vegan.  I was a union pipe fitter for 14 years and now I’m a video editor and videographer. We have a YouTube channel, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts called “That Vegan Activist Family”

What lead you to veganism? How long ago?

I was always very environmentally friendly and once I watched Cowspiracy I knew I had to stop eating meat, dairy and eggs. Then my wife told me to look at it from the animals perspective and I knew I had to be vegan after that. Now my family and I have been vegan for 4 years.

When you first went vegan how did you phase out your non-vegan food, clothing and other items?

We didn’t have much non vegan food because we would buy food as we needed it, so we just bought vegan food next time we went to the store. The only non vegan clothes I had was a pair of leather work boots that I donated.

Do you make any exceptions for yourself or if you are married with kids – your family, when it comes to veganism?

No exceptions are made for me or my family. We are a vegan family so we stay on track. At family gatherings we make the food so it is always vegan. I took the liberation pledge, so I don’t sit at tables with people eating animals or their secretions.

Do you believe we should show children the process of how animals are turned into meats?

I Think that kids should know how animals are turned into meat. I don’t think they need to watch Graphic footage at a young age but they should be told the process.

What does being vegan mean to you?

Being vegan to me means doing your best to not exploit animals, nonhuman and human. I don’t think we should kill bugs and bees because they all have a specific purpose on Earth. I do support non vegan companies with vegan products in their journey to becoming vegan. We will never have animal liberation if the major animal exploiting companies never change. Being vegan has changed the way I treat humans because I used to be very violent towards humans and after looking at animals through their perspective, I now do that for humans.

Is it every vegan’s duty to become an activist?

Being Vegan is a non action, it’s just not participating in the violence, but to not speak up against the violence is condoning it. We have to speak up when we see violence towards anyone.

How compassionate or empathetic are you towards non-vegans?

I Was not always vegan so I have to remember that when I talk to non vegans. This took me awhile to learn, but no one wants to listen to you if you are being mean to them.

Any recommended Vegan books?

How Not to Die, by Michael Greger

Any recommended social sites, blogs or pages?

The Save movement, Direct action Everywhere, Million Dollar Vegan, Animal Hero Kids, bite sized vegan

Do you have a favorite movie or videos or your own media that you want to share

Favorite documentary is Cowspiracy.  My media is on “That Vegan Activist Family”. I also edit videos for The Save Movement, Direct Action Everywhere, Million Dollar Vegan, and  Animal Hero Kids

What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?

Loving Vegan Market and Cuisine

Please share your favorite vegan recipe?

My wife does the cooking but I make great vegan waffles

1 3/4 cups whole-wheat flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Kosher salt

1 1/2 cups unsweetened soy milk (refrigerated, not shelf stable)

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Some encouraging words for new Vegans?

Don’t give up you are on the right side of history.

What is the vegan scene like in your city?

Orlando is awesome for vegans, Good restaurants and great activism

What personal recommendations can you make for people to meet other vegans?

Go To activism events, and vegan meet ups. If there are none where you live, create them and vegans will come.

What does living cruelty-free mean to you?

It means not harm others nonhuman and human.

What are you favorite Vegan non-food products or companies?

Ethics clothing, and Method

What is the toughest Vegan item to find that you need?

Good vegan bacon

Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?

Veganism was a struggle until I look at the animals perspective, then it become extremely easy.

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