Being Vegan, Vegan Being: Megan Pope – Co-owner of Raw Eatery and Market – Calgary.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am Megan Pope and I a co-owner of a vegan business in Calgary, Raw Eatery and Market, with my friend Ali Magee. Raw Eatery serves all-vegan healthy dishes such as vegan sushi, lasagna, and tacos!

What lead you to veganism? How long ago?

Both Ali and I had always been interested in vegan foods and were primarily vegan for years before we committed to veganism about 4 years ago. We thought about the health of ourselves, the environment, and the animals and it all just made sense!

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

It was overnight for us; it helped that we were constantly surrounded by vegan food while starting our business.

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?

Neither of us have children and luckily we are the main chefs in our households, so our boyfriends eat vegan most of the time by default!

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

I do believe it’s important to bear witness and to highlight the realities of the food system to our children. I believe it is the parents’ choice in how this wish to do this.

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?

We choose to take a very non-judgmental approach and choose to spread the vegan word through positivity, and letting our friends, family, and customers know that we are a non-threatening resource for them where they can ask questions and learn without feeling judged.

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

I don’t believe so. Each to their own! I feel if we each do our part, and lead by example, we will induce a strong ripple effect and be able to impact change in this way!

How compassionate or empathetic are you towards non-vegans?

Very! I used to be one myself! My family is, most of my friends are. I don’t believe it’s effective to judge (I have taken this approach in the past and it hasn’t always resulted in a positive outcome). Everyone has their own journey.

Any recommended Vegan books?

I personally enjoy podcasts and blogs. Some good vegan podcasts include The Rich Roll Podcast, Plant Proof, and Nutrition Rounds.

Any recommended social sites, blogs or pages?

I enjoy browsing vegan food blogs and would recommend: Hot for Food, Avant Garde Vegan, and The Full Helping.

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

Check out Erin Ireland’s Instagram page! She has tons of vegan resources and recommendations saved to her highlights.

What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?

I would of course have to first say my own! But in Calgary we have some great vegan places including but not limited to: Vegan Street Eats, Hearts Choices, Tamarind, and the Dandelion.

Please share your favorite vegan recipe?

I love these black bean brownies from Chocolate Covered Katie. They are always a hit at parties.

Some encouraging words for new Vegans?

Like anything, new skills and habits take time to develop. But once they’ve become routine, you will wonder how you ever found it challenging in the first place!

What is the vegan scene like in your city?

The vegan scene is constantly growing and becoming stronger. There is a festival in the summer called VegFest, which saw 15,000 people attend last year!

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

Check out local Facebook groups- there are many made for vegan resources, vegan potlucks, etc. And follow vegan restaurants/businesses on social media so you can always see what they are up to!

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

Totally, I think how we treat others is a reflection of our character. It’s nice to be nice .

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

We have a shop called The Grinning Goat, here in Calgary, and they sell a lot of cool non-food vegan related products.

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

I don’t think we struggle too much to find vegan items!

Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?

I wouldn’t say it’s been a struggle because we’ve always been confident with our choice, knowing it was the right thing to do. So, I think when you believe in your cause, it’s easy to feel assured and to not let others opinions get to you. Any struggle we encounter is usually based off someone opposing the vegan lifestyle, to which we will either engage in friendly conversation with and provide resources, or simply ignore.

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