Being Vegan, Vegan Being: Karie DeLalla – Once You’re Truly Vegan, You’ll Want to Be an Activist

Tell us a little about yourself.

Hi there, My name is Karie DeLalla (@socalveganmom) and I’ve been vegan over 10 years. I recently became certified as a Raw Food Nutrition Educator and work as a Vegan Lifestyle Coach. I founded a non-profit WhyBeVegan.org (@whybevegan_org) in 2017 to highlight the many benefits of a plant-based diet.  After going to a 2018 Cowspiracy event in San Francisco designed to promote activism, and learning from some amazing people like James Aspey, Earthling Ed, and Capt. Paul Watson, I was inspired to up my game! I wanted to start in my community by making vegan information accessible so this past summer I organized my non-profit’s first Vegfest, the Vegucation Fair (@vegucationfair), in Glendora, CA. We had a fun, interactive event with fantastic guest speakers, vegan merchandise vendors and a ton of delicious food!  We’ve recently started planning our second annual event.

What led you to veganism? How long ago?

I became vegetarian when I was 18 years old because I didn’t want to contribute to animal suffering (I didn’t know about the dairy industry then). Soon after that, the mother of a good friend was diagnosed with cancer, and I watched as she changed her diet to include more whole foods. I’m sure she included chicken and fish but nonetheless this is what led me to learn about eating for health. I’ve spent a lot of time since then researching the role food plays in living a healthy life. I went back and forth from vegetarian to vegan a few times and I became strictly vegan immediately after reading “A Diet for a New America” by John Robbins in 2008.

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

For the most part, the only non-vegan food I was eating at the time was ice cream. That was a challenge for me to give up because I LOVE ice cream 😊 and at the time vegan ice cream was not great. ☹ Thankfully today there are SO many choices for delicious ice cream that often you can’t even tell the difference. These days I usually just whip up a yummy banana ice cream in the food processor. My favorite right now is equal parts froze banana and pineapple, just enough soy milk to blend and a dash of agave.😊

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

Though I did have a vegetarian household for a significant part of my kid’s lives, they and my husband did not go vegan for several years after me. Even with all the vegan info, I shared it took them all the time to find their own reasons to switch. For example, my husband came across Gary Yourofsky on YouTube one day and sat for at least 3 hours watching his videos. When had finished the last one, he turned to me and said “That’s it? I’m vegan!”

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

I do believe that children should know what happens to the animals to make the food that is put on their plates. I’m not sure that they would need to see the whole process, but it can be explained to them. I feel confident that no child would make the choice to kill an animal.

What does being vegan mean to you?

Being vegan means so much to me! It has become so much a part of who I am and what I spend my time doing. It’s enabled me to look at the world in a completely different way and to feel the connection to everything. I’ve learned so much since becoming vegan, met some amazing people, and pushed myself past my comfort zone to accomplish things I would have never imagined.

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

I don’t think it’s every vegan’s duty necessarily, but I do think that once you’re truly vegan you just can’t help yourself. 😊

How compassionate or empathetic are you towards non-vegans?

I do show compassion and empathy to non-vegans because I don’t think you can come across as angry toward people or they will just ignore what you have to say. I realize that everyone is starting from somewhere and that many people just don’t know the truth. We’ve been taught that eating animals is the only way to be healthy from a very young age and it’s a very tightly held belief. It can take people a while to look at things from a different perspective and to want to make a change.

Any recommended vegan books?

I would recommend Comfortably Unaware by Dr. Richard Oppenlander, The China Study & Whole by T. Colin Campbell, Proteinaholic by Dr. Garth Davis, and absolutely the Vegan 8 cookbook by Brandi Doming.  Every recipe I’ve made has been delicious!!

Any recommended social sites or pages?

@earthlinged because he is amazing. @animalalliancenetwork if you’re interested in becoming more active.

What’s your favorite vegan restaurant?

Little Pine in Silverlake hands down. No joke, I lick the plates!

Some encouraging words for new vegans?

It will be the best choice you’ll ever make and it will change you in ways you can’t imagine.

What is the vegan scene like in your city?

Not much of a vegan scene in my city. Although there are a few good vegan restaurants popping up in the neighboring cities, and we only live about 30 mins from LA.

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

I’ve made many vegan friends from social media and from going to vegan events.

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

Lotion! A really good vegan lotion!

Talk about when you struggled with your veganism?

I have never struggled with being vegan. Once you know the reasons why you really can make no other choice. What I do struggle with every day is the number of people that fight tooth and nail against veganism, seeing the astronomical amount of animal suffering and the damage that it causes to the planet and to people’s health, and feeling overwhelmed and helpless at times because I can’t do enough. The way veganism is becoming so mainstream nowadays and seeing so many people working hard to make a change gives me hope though, and I know I will continue working to promote veganism every day.

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