My name is Melissa Navarro, I am 19 years old (Instagram @plantbasedtaco). I live in San Jacinto, California which is quite a very small town. I have 2 dogs who mean the world to me. I am currently in college studying psychology and wish to work with teens in the future who are struggling with eating disorders. I do play the piano and absolutely enjoy working out. Of course, I really love food and get over excited when I go to vegan restaurants!
What was the moment you realize that you wanted to go vegan?
The moment I realized I wanted to go vegan, was actually when I had created an animal abuse awareness Instagram account and ended up finding many vegetarian/vegan accounts that spoke to me. I was against animal abuse, but never really thought about the abuse in factory farms. I began doing further research on my own and watching documentaries. I was aware of the abuse and torment these animals go through, and I could no longer support such a cruel industry. I also live by many small dairy farms, so I have personally seen baby calves being dragged from their mothers and my heart truly breaks.
How long have you been Vegan?
I have been vegan for 4 years, and have never felt better. I was vegetarian for 2 years before going vegan.
Why is being Vegan important to you?
Being vegan is important because I love animals and have a passion for them. Going vegan has impacted the person I am today. I have really opened my eyes to so much. I feel at peace knowing that I am no longer contributing to the suffering of thousands of animals. Honestly, I truly regret not going vegan sooner, it has definitely been the best decision I have ever made.
Any recommended social sites, Facebook Groups or other?
I personally love the Anonymous for the Voiceless group, mercy for animals organization, and the animal liberation front. I love @biancataylorm, as she is proving the idea that you can still gain muscle with a vegan lifestyle. My favorite YouTubers would probably be @stella.rae and @sonia.elsie, I have been watching their videos for quite a while now and really enjoy their content!
Do you have a favorite movie or videos or your own media that you want to share?
As for a vegan film, I definitely recommend watching the documentary “Earthlings”. The first time I saw it, it was really hard to go through the entire thing. But it is so powerful and touching in so many ways. Other than that, I love all Marvel movies, they never disappoint.
Do you actively promote veganism? How? Please share any stories you would like.
I do post a lot of vegan food on my personal Instagram account, so I am promoting a vegan lifestyle and trying to show others that there are so many options out there. Also, I have an animal rights Instagram account which is @end_animal_abuse_now. I am also currently apart of an anonymous for the voiceless group near me and participate in peaceful activism.
What is your favorite Vegan meme?
What is the vegan stereotype you hear the most and how do you respond to it?
Probably that vegans are weak and do not get enough protein. I respond by showing them vegan bodybuilders or even personally explaining how going vegan made me feel so much more energetic than I ever did. There are also so many vegan foods that contain just enough protein, such as tofu, spinach, nuts, nut butter, tempeh, and so much more!
What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?
That is a hard one, as I really love anything vegan! But I would probably go with Native Foods Cafe!
Please share your favorite vegan recipe?
My favorite vegan recipe would probably have to be cauliflower ceviche. I just cut up one head of cauliflower, dice up some onions, tomatoes, cucumber, chile serranos, and cilantro. Then I add garlic salt, pepper, Tabasco, a bit of ketchup and lime juice! After that, you mix everything together and I store it in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes then enjoy it with some tortilla chips!
Some encouraging words for new Vegans?
People will probably judge you and try to convince you that you are wrong, but do not let that get in the way of what you truly believe in. If living a vegan lifestyle is something you really want and desire, then go for it. Despite what anyone says. I can definitely assure you that you will not regret it one bit.
What does living cruelty-free mean to you?
To me, cruelty-free living means to do your absolute best to not contribute to animal suffering. To not use them for human purposes simply because we do not need to. In our abilities to feel pain, love, and joy we are the same, and that is a good enough reason to not harm them.
What are you favorite Vegan non-food products or companies?
I love using this natural lotion, cream and body butter from a vegan company called Natural Beauty. Instagram is @nabeauty_usa or shop at nabeauty.com. Their lotion makes my skin feel soft and I absolutely recommend it. One of my favorite vegan clothing brands is Apparel, and their Instagram is @iapparel, I love the fact that their shirts send out a great vegan message!
Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?
When I first went vegan, it was quite rough for me because my family did not really agree with me and did not really understand my choices. It was hard to try and talk to them about it. Going out was a struggle because they would be annoyed when I could not eat at certain places. I showed them documentaries, kept talking about it and eventually they began to slowly become aware of it themselves. They are more open to veganism now.