My name is Rose, and I live in Calabasas with my wife and our combined total of 5 kids. I work as a special education teacher at the school where my children attend, and I also have a private practice in educational therapy (Snowflake Learners).
What was the moment you realize that you wanted to go vegan?
The defining moment for me was watching the film Earthlings. I had been a vegetarian for 20 years prior to going Vegan, and though I had mused with the idea, I often dismissed it as “too extreme” or just something I’d never be able to do. I really thought that I was doing my part by being a vegetarian since I thought that it was an acceptable way to ensure that animals would not suffer.
How long have you been Vegan?
I watched Earthlings the week after my twins were born (in 2011). Prior to that, I was raising a vegetarian toddler, and as soon as I watched the film I realized that not only could I no longer participate in anything that wasn’t Vegan, but that I couldn’t subject my sons to anything that promoted cruelty and in turn had adverse effects on their health.
Why is being Vegan important to you?
I’m not sure how best to answer this since I often struggle with wondering why I do care and others don’t. Being Vegan affects every aspect of my life because it is rooted in kindness and respect for all beings. It simply makes sense to me, and its benefits extend to so many facets of our existence. It’s important to me for my health and the health of those I love, it’s important to remedy the injustice and cruelty to which so many animals are subjected, it’s important for environmental reasons, it’s important for our evolution as a species to become kinder and stand up for each other’s rights.
Any recommended, Vegan books?
I have too many vegan cookbooks to list here, and honestly, for most recipes, I just go online these days. I do, however, recommend You Don’t Need Meat (by Peter Cox)—I read it when it first came out in 2003, and it reassured me that the choices I was making were not only justifiable but the best option for my health. For my friends who say they could never go Vegan because they love cheese too much, I recommend The Cheese Trap (by Dr. Neal Barnard). For kids’ books, I recommend That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals and Vegan is Love (both by Ruby Roth), Steven the Vegan (by Dan Bodenstein), Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White), Santa’s First Vegan Christmas (Robin Raven), and a Thanksgiving book in Spanish: ¿Pavo para la Cena de Gracias? ¡No gracias! (loosely based on Charlotte’s Web).
Any recommended social sites, Facebook Groups or other?
The film Earthlings is available at nationearth.com. I also belong to various Facebook groups such as Mercy for Animals, Los Angeles Animal Save (part of the Save Movement), and Rawkin Health, as well as Meetup.com groups specifically for Vegans and Vegan parenting. My Instagram page is a blend of decorating, vegan foods, vegan activism, and pictures of my children.
Do you have a favorite movie or videos or your own media that you want to share?
The aforementioned Earthlings changed my life. What the Health also affirmed by beliefs that going Vegan is the best option.
Do you actively promote veganism? How? Please share any stories you would like.
I proselytize daily! My boys and I have a gazillion t-shirts, bags, etc. which we wear to promote a cruelty-free lifestyle. I post about vegan products, vigils, and protests on social media, and try to bring awareness to others about the benefits of Veganism.
What is your favorite Vegan meme?
What is the vegan stereotype you hear the most and how do you respond to it?
The stereotype I often get is that Vegans are frail due to their perceived protein deficiencies. I explain to those people that not only am I Vegan and healthy, but my growing boys are as well. This then prompts people to guilt me into thinking that it’s unfair that I have raised them without access to all the proper things a child should have such as cholesterol and carcinogens. It’s amazing to me that people feel I restrict my children, and meanwhile, it’s ok for them to give hot dogs to their own children.
What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?
It depends on the occasion. Lotus Vegan has the best lentil burger around. Crossroads is wonderful for a fancy meal. There are so many others from which to choose! Oh, and Fala Bar. I wish there was one on every corner!
Please share your favorite vegan recipe.
Ok, so this is what we call in my house “Red Bean Soup”. My mother made it for me when I was young, and now my boys love it just as much as I do.
1 package of uncooked kidney beans, soaked overnight
1 green bell pepper
½ bag of baby carrots
2 potatoes, cubed
2 tsp. of crushed or minced garlic
½ bag of chopped frozen spinach
1 small can of tomato sauce
A few dashes of garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and cumin.
The ingredients can either be chopped or all of it pureed at the end of the cooking cycle. I use a pressure cooker, and the average cooking time is about 40 minutes. Finish off with a swirl of olive oil, and serve with garlic toast (any vegan bread, topped with Earth Balance, garlic powder, salt, and nutritional yeast, then toasted in a toaster oven).
Some encouraging words for new Vegans?
Stick with it! I know that it’s not always easy, but little by little times are changing, and more options and greater support will be available! Other than having had my wonderful boys, it is the best decision I have ever made.
What does living cruelty-free mean to you?
It means not contributing to the harm of any being (any animal species, including humans), and being mindful of our planet. This is not only about food consumption, but apparel, accessories, medications, sutures (yes, even certain kinds of stitches are made from the intestines of animals such as cats).
What are you favorite Vegan non-food products or companies?
Hurraw! (I use their coconut lip balm), Garden Botanika (I have been wearing their custom-blended perfume for decades—4 parts coconut to 2 parts vanilla), Schmidt’s deodorants, Naturtint hair dye, Arbonne, plus so many beauty products from Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, Tom’s of Maine toothpaste, The Body Shop coconut body butter, Nature’s Gate shampoo and conditioner, Payless Shoes, Native Shoes (for my kids). Stella McCartney clothing and accessories are my favorites as well.
What is the toughest Vegan item to find that you need?
I live near an Erewhon, a Trader Joe’s, and a Whole Foods Market. If I can’t find something there, I can always try Amazon.
Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?
About a year ago, I went to a Farmer’s Market, and I started talking to one of the vendors there. I had overheard her saying that the chickens she has, and from which she collects eggs to sell, lived good, happy lives. I turned to my son, and asked him if we should try those eggs. He (age 8) looked at me with wide eyes, and said “But then we wouldn’t be vegan anymore”. That’s all it took for me to realize that I will not even consider consuming eggs ever again, and after watching What the Health, I am grateful that neither my kids nor I do.
What is one question you would ask other Vegans? Please answer it.
I would ask other Vegans if there is anything I can do to support that decision. I know that for me, having people reach out and encourage me helped me through my own journey.