Being Vegan, Vegan Being: Jaq & Karly – Hail Snail PDx – Soon You Will Feel Things You Have Never Felt Before

Tell us a little about yourself.

We are a QPOC family living in good ol’ Portland, Or. Karly moved here from Texas about 7 years ago and Jaq moved from the Bay area around the same time. Avey is our spunky 3 years old who completes our world. We own Hail Snail, a handcrafted vegan cinnamon roll shop located in North Portland. @hailsnailpdx fb.com/hailsnailpdx hailsnailpdx.com

What lead you to veganism? How long ago?

Karly – I went vegan after exploring VegFest in 2012 and viewing the Vegucated doc. It was an immediate impact and I felt as if the stars had finally aligned with the emotions and connection I have always felt with animals.

Jaq – I went vegan in 2011 after stumbling upon a vegan documentary and I continued down the rabbit hole of research coming out on the other end feeling like my eyes had been opened to the truth of the world.

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

Karly – I went home and gave all my non-vegan food to my roommates and I put my leather shoes in a free pile. It was easy for me to let go of these materialist items because when I looked at them I just saw the trail of trauma that lead to it. Not only did the animal suffer but the workers at the facility where they bleach the skin and also the low income families that are forced to breathe the chemicals fuming from these places.

Jaq – I pretty much did the same thing. I was so disgusted by my new knowledge and so appalled that I didn’t figure it out sooner that I wanted everything gone immediately.

Do you make any exceptions for yourself or if you are married with kids – your family, when it comes to veganism? For example, how strict are you with your children’s veganism at school or at family gatherings?

I hate to use the work “strict” because the decision to live with out harming other beings is not a hard choice. We don’t feel like we are depriving ourselves of anything nor do we miss eating meat. But we are very vegan haha. We are teaching Avey the full truth about the meat and dairy industry. Children are naturally extremely empathetic and loving when it comes to animals. Avey goes to a vegan pre-school so it makes it very easy for us to not have to worry about what she is eating at school. For the most part, our families are supportive even though they might not fully understand. Karly lead their mom to veganism about 3 years ago and is now currently working on dad. Both of Jaq’s sisters went vegan the same time they did. We would never make an exception to our veganism for the sake of making family or friends less comfortable.

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

Absolutely. Of course, there is a certain age where this would be appropriate. In every aspect of raising a child you always teach them to be truthful and honest. Kids will not be kids forever. They will grow up and teach their kids what they know based off of their experiences. If where they are getting their food and “nutrients” is ugly and horrifying to watch then maybe the system needs to be redefined. Show a child a veggie farm as well. Let them decide what feels right.

What does being vegan mean to you? For example, does it extend to not killing bugs and bees? Does it include not patronizing vegan companies owned by non-vegan parent companies? Does it affect the way you treat other humans?

Veganism encompasses our whole life. From saving spiders in the house to trying our best to have empathy for others. We do our very best to support our fellow small vegan owned businesses but we also enjoy the convenience of fast food vegan options. As vegans, we know we aren’t perfect and we never will be. We are just doing the best we can and advocating for others to do the same. We have immense amounts of respect and love for small businesses and we know that the only way to fight capitalism is to spend our dollars there.

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

Honestly, I don’t think every vegan is cut out for it. It is our duty to be proud of it and to do things in your daily life that will positively impact others. If there is an issue that speaks to you, small or large, even writing a letter or speaking up about it can make change. Avey doesn’t like the fish tank at OMSI in the kids area so she insisted that we write a letter to them saying that they should be set free. Did this change their minds? No. But someone read it. And someone was forced to think about those little lives trapped in a tank. Sometimes the best activism is simple conversation in your everyday life.

How compassionate or empathetic are you towards non-vegans?

We were all not vegan at some point and it’s important to us to be kind to others especially because it really is the best way to turn someone vegan. We have non-vegan friends and we just make sure to bring the most delicious food to our get togethers!

Any recommended Vegan books?

Kids’ books – V is for Vegans, Vegan is love, T-veg Reg. Adult books – Eating Animals and all the Isa cookbooks!

What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?

Oh gosh…. Baby Blue pizza, Loving Hut, Ditto, anything at Food Fight! and Souley Vegan (in Oakland).

Please share your favorite vegan recipe?

Our family favorite is baby bok-choy with soy sauce and garlic, white rice with sesame seeds, and tofu cooked to perfection (either in a sweet sauce or just spiced with salt, pepper, and garlic powder). With crispy wontons!!!!!

Some encouraging words for new Vegans?

Hang in there. The first couple of months can seem confusing and tough but soon the anger will set it. Soon you will feel things you have never felt before and see animals in a completely different light. Find community! Join an online group if you don’t live near many vegans. At the year mark you will ask yourself why you didn’t find veganism earlier.

What is the vegan scene like in your city?

Poppin’!

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

Check out potlucks, protests, or other meet ups. Or just frequent a vegan restaurant near you.

What does living cruelty-free mean to you? Does it extend to the way you as a vegan treats other humans too?

Living cruelty free has opened our eyes to other social justice issues as well as animal welfare. We thrive to be advocates for many groups. It’s counterproductive to be a single issue vegan.

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

Booda Butter, Compassion Co., Keep.

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

We don’t have a hard time finding what we need here in Portland. We are kinda spoiled that way! Perhaps better vegan options on airplanes?

Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?

The toughest thing about veganism is talking to certain families about it. When we get together for the holidays it can be hard to shrug off some of the remarks you hear. Also, having to look at all the souls that are cooked on the table during the “celebration” tends to be a bit gut-wrenching. And not being able to just stand on top of the table, shaking your fist in anger is a hard feeling to fight back.

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