Being Vegan, Vegan Being: Vica Tchinaeva – Being Vegan is Being Aware How My Choices Impact All Live and the Planet.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I currently live in New Jersey and work in the education field. In my free time I am involved in activism- things like Anonymous for the Voiceless, attending vigils to bear witness to animals, handing out leaflets and getting together with other vegans.

What lead you to veganism? How long ago?

I’ve only been vegan for 10 months. However, I stopped eating meat in August of 2016. Social media (instagram) is what led me to veganism because I started following animal rights pages and I saw more and more slaughter videos and it was a video about dairy that did it for me. When I saw the truth about dairy I made the decision right there and then that I had to be vegan.

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

I did feel a little nervous and scared at first because I truthfully wasn’t sure how I was going to be vegan and I didn’t know what to eat. It was like entering a new world and for the first month I basically only ate bread and fruit. I saw a nutritionist and asked about sources of protein and other general questions and it didn’t seem as hard as I thought it would be. The nutritionist told me that things like rice, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds were packed with protein and slowly I started to pick up more of those items that I never had before. With any new change in life, at first its a bumpy road but then it becomes second nature. I didn’t give up though and luckily there are great restaurants by me that have vegan options and if they dont, I ask the server to speak to the manager about having vegan options! In terms of clothing, I no longer buy items made from animals.

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

I am not a parent so I cannot say. However, I do know that children love animals and don’t want them to be harmed. As a society we’ve been conditioned to close our eyes to the suffering of animals and its because those companies hide the truth.

What does being vegan mean to you?

Being vegan is about being mindful and aware of who my choices impact. When I made the decision to be vegan I felt a bunch of emotions and those are the emotions that fueled me to become active and speak up for animals. Yes, it does extend to not killing bugs or bees on purpose. My eyes and my heart opened to every living being and so if the bug or bee was just being, why do I need to kill it? I think being vegan affects the way I treat other people in the fact that I take as many opportunities as I can to plant seeds wherever I go. I know that I wouldn’t want someone screaming at me or shoving their beliefs in my face when I was not vegan and so I put myself in other people shoes who are not vegan. Watching videos from other activists helped me because I learned that its not really anyone’s fault. The truth is that as a society we’ve been conditioned to think eating animals is normal, necessary and natural. Therefore, its best to be calm and rational and use questioning when talking to others to allow them to answer for themselves and to come to their own conclusion that they too are against animal cruelty.

Is it every vegan’s duty to become an activist? What form of activism do you take part in?

I do believe that if every vegan was active, we would achieve animal liberation a lot faster. For me personally, I wanted to find ways to be active immediately. Although I can be shy sometimes and I don’t like confrontation or debating, I still felt like there was such an injustice happening to animals and that I would be one more person at the events or at the vigils and if other people could do it, so could I. The forms of activism I take part in include street activism demos with Anonymous for the Voiceless, I go to vigils sometimes, I use my instagram page to bring awareness, I bring up veganism and animals in conversation, I wear vegan shirts with a message that people can read, I hand out leaflets, attend marches and protests.

Any recommended vegan books, social sites, or blogs?

On Netflix- Cowspiracy & What the Health — on YouTube- Thousand Eyes- The Reality of Australian Animal Agriculture The YouTube video shows what happens in Australia’s factory farms but their legal standard practices are no different than what the norm is for everywhere else in the world.

What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?

Veganized in New Jersey

Please share your favorite vegan recipe?

Honestly, Im not a great cook but something that is simple and delicious would be a soup which is: water, vegetable cube, potatoes, corn, plum tomatoes, garlic, carrots and pasta.

Some encouraging words for new Vegans?

You’ve made the best decision of your life! Choosing a vegan lifestyle and speaking on behalf of animals is such a selfless and compassionate thing to do. When we put the animals first and remember what they’re going through, it will fuel our fire and keep us going.

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

Just get active! Being vegan is not enough. Please join the Anonymous for the Voiceless facebook page and find events in your area and go! You will meet SO many people and then you can become friends with them and attend marches and other events together. You make a whole new group of friends that become like family!

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

I grew up eating bagels with cream cheese and so far I have not found a cream cheese vegan version that I like. But again, I dont NEED it… so its okay.

Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?

I never really “struggled”. Like I mentioned earlier, the first 3 months were a transition to figure out what to cook and buy but nowadays every food store has vegan options and you can find a plant-based alternative to everything you used to eat. It’s great knowing your money isn’t going to the exploitation of animals.

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