Being Vegan, Vegan Being: Sara Aviles – Everyone is a Work in Progress, So Who am I to Judge.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I live in Los Angeles, California with my husband and 2 year old son. I have been vegan for 9 years, and my son has been vegan since birth. While my  husband is not vegan he is very supportive of my choice to live a vegan lifestyle and raise our son vegan as well. My husband and I are real estate investors which gives us the freedom to be home more with our son, which has always been my ultimate goal.

What lead you to veganism? How long ago?

I initially  became vegan 9 years ago for health reasons. After being diagnosed with a crippling case of IBS, I had to make some big changes in my life. To keep me on track I started a blog where I challenged myself to be vegan for 101 days. After I completed this challenge I had gotten my IBS under control and was not only vegan for health reasons but also for enviromental, and ethical reasons as well. It was as if a veil had been lifted and there was no going back. I had always thought of myself as an animal lover, but never realized how hypocritical that was before I gave of animal products.

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

I am a big believer in not wasting things, especially if another being gave up their life for it. Most of my non-vegan food went to my non-vegan friends who could use it, and I donated other nonperishable items.

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

I try my best to lead by example, however sometimes I will have a slip up and eat something that has dairy in it by mistake (which my body will later punish me for, as dairy is a big no no for me). Sometimes I need to step back and look at the big picture. My family is 100% vegan at home and my husband is not when we are out of the house. When me son is old enough to realize he is eating different food from his friends it will become more of a challenge, however he will have a right to choose his own path. My ultimate goal is to do the best that I can to lead by example (faults and all), and raise my son with the education and tools he needs to make his own decision when he is old enough.

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

I think children should know where their food comes from, however I will not be showing my child any graphic videos any time soon. It took me awhile to find an age appropriate children’s books for my 2 year old on this topic and right now my two favorites are “We All Love: A Book for Compassionate Little Vegans and Vegetarians” by Julie Hausen and “Not a Nugget” by Stephanie Dreyer.

What does being vegan mean to you?

To me being vegan is all about compassion for all living things and doing our part to make the world a better place. I try to support sustainable vegan friendly companies that help enact change whenever I can and live a clean healthy lifestyle.

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

All vegans are activists whether they mean to be or not. I believe the most powerful thing you can do to enact change is to lead by example and vote with your dollar. Just by leading a vegan lifestyle you are making a huge difference and the people around you take notice. I used to try and push my lifestyle on other people and it almost always ended badly. When I was able to take a step back, and be more open and accepting, people around me started making little changes like switching to soy milk instead or diary, or cutting back on the amount of meat they consume.

How compassionate or empathetic are you towards non-vegans?

Everyone is a work in progress, including myself, so who am I to judge. I used to not be vegan and my husband, who is one of the most amazing people I know, is not vegan. Being vegan is all about being compassionate to all living things, so why should that stop with people with views that differ from ours.

Any recommended Vegan books?

2 of my favorite books for young children:  “We All Love: A Book for Compassionate Little Vegans and Vegetarians” by Julie Hausen and “Not a Nugget” by Stephanie Dreyer.

Any recommended social sites, blogs or pages?

I love the minimalist baker’s  vegan recipes and Rabbit and the Wolves amazing recipes.

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

What the Health” is my favorite right now, and has made the most impact on my non-vegan friends and family

What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?

Souley Vegan in Oakland California, they serve southern vegan food and my absolute favorite dish is vegan chicken and waffles http://souleyvegan.com/

Please share your favorite vegan recipe?

Vegan white bean chicken parmesan

Some encouraging words for new Vegans?

Focus on finding replacements that are as good as, if not better, than your normal go to meals. I used to love tuna fish sandwiches so I learned to make a vegan tuna-less sandwich out of chickpeas. Don’t try to over complicate it, it is a lot easier than you would think.

What is the vegan scene like in your city?

Los Angeles has a great vegan scene with tons of great restaurants that it is often hard to choose. Even if your not at a vegan restaurant almost every restaurant in LA has a vegan dish. We have a vegan food truck festival as well as Veg Fest in balboa park every year. 

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

There are tons of great meetup groups to check out in the area

What does living cruelty-free mean to you?

Living cruelty free makes me consider how my choices affect the big picture. Not only do I look at the food or the item itself but also how it was made. I try not to buy from companies that pollute or exploit their workers. Being a conscious consumer is important to me.

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

Meliora Cleaning Products (cruelty free and zero waste)

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

I lucky enough to have access to every vegan item I need

Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?

When I was pregnant with my son I struggled to stay vegan as I was so nauseous and could barely keep anything down. I had a period of time were all I was eating was raspberries, edamame, and bagels and cream cheese (not vegan) as that was all I could literally keep down. My body rejected almost all food and had a really hard time coming to terms with the fact that I was consuming things that went against me principals. While it was a relatively short period of time, and I was able to get back to my old self it did make me have to ease up on myself and acknowledge that we are not perfect and are just trying to do the best we can.

Tastemaker Supply – 100% Vegan Footwear – Pictured – Women’s Taste Artistry (Red)

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