Steph and Jess live in Calgary, Alberta Canada. They are both in the fitness industry, Steph teaches spin and boot camp classes and Jessica teaches Yoga. They both volunteer at a farm sanctuary called “The Alice Sanctuary” that provides care and healing for farm animals that are rescued, surrendered or abandoned. Owned by a lady named Janine who is an amazing woman dedicating her life to animals, she is also vegan and a huge supporter for veganism. Jessica Teaches yoga at The Alice Sanctuary during the summer months to help raise funds for the sanctuary, such a great way to connect with the animals, people and nature.
Jess and Steph are also huge supporters of “The Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation” In California, Sherman Oaks. A well-known foundation that rescues dogs and cats from Asia’s brutal dog & cat meat trade. Owner and founder of AHWF, Marc Ching, is someone Jess and Steph look up to. He is a role model in so many ways, also vegan and dedicates his life to saving these dogs and cats. Jessica has been flying down every few months for the past year to volunteer her time at the animal hope and wellness foundation, she was part of the huge protest event “end dog meat trade” that was held June 9th downtown LA which turned out to be a huge event!! She has adopted 2 dogs from Marc Ching that he rescued from a dog slaughter house in Korea. Jessica also arranges yoga fundraisers in her city to raise funds to AHWF, first one was in June super successful event and she is currently planning the next one in fall.
What was the moment you realize that you wanted to go vegan?
For my sister and I, we have always loved animals, any animal, and even bugs. LOL In our 20’s we started realizing that meat was something we didn’t really enjoy eating, although it was something we thought we needed in our fitness lives. Steph came across a video of how chickens were raised and what they had to go through before getting on the dinner plate… that was enough for both us to make our way to the vegan path. We did more and more research and educating ourselves about how farm animals and fish are treated in the food industry, we watched the documentary earthlings and knew that veganism is something we would live by for the rest of our lives. As we change our food source to plant based (we were never huge dairy eaters so that was super easy to cut out) we started looking into cruelty-free / vegan makeup or any product that was out there, clothes were easy because we have never purchased fur or leather in the first place. (UGH boots years ago but those were throw out right away) This was a process Steph and I knew we could help and support each other in.
How long have you been Vegan?
Both almost 3 years, Jess was vegan when she was 21 for about a year after reading a book “Skinny Bitch” but that was 9 yrs ago… so there wasn’t a lot of vegan products or vegan support out there at the time, she was literally eating salad and tofu, obviously wasn’t the healthiest way to transition into a proper plant based diet. She wasn’t getting enough nutrients her body needed (from her salad and tofu diet) LOL so her doctor at the time suggested she needed more animal protein in her diet so unfortunately she listened to her doctor and ate fish and chicken throughout her 20’s, not red meat because in the back of her mind she knew it was something she didn’t want and for her it was dreadful to eat fish and white meat again :-/
Why is being Vegan important to you?
Vegan is important to us because it’s about thinking of the innocent animals, sea animals or whatever creature that has a right to live on this planet. Why take away a life of there’s to be raised then killed for food or for entertainment or experimented on or even for fashion?? Even just for the planet veganism is so important.
Any recommended Vegan books?
Skinny Bitch – by far best vegan both ever! Any vegan cook books are awesome too
Any recommended social sites, Facebook Groups or other?
Animal hope and Wellness Foundation, The Alice Sanctuary! They’re both huge into veganism
What is the vegan stereotype you hear the most and how do you respond to it?
“You need animal protein to stay fit” Ugh worst ever to hear all the time, especially in the fitness world. My sister and I both agree that living a plant based lifestyle in the fitness world is not hard at all, what’s hard is peoples comments of course , but knowing that we are both stronger physically, mentally and having energy that last all day for us to teach numerous classes throughout the day is defiantly from our plant based life style!
What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?
We have a restaurant in our city called “Hearts Choices” that we really enjoy, it’s a mix of Thai vegan food and vegan burgers and poutines 😀
Please share your favorite vegan recipe?
Vegan eggplant lasagna
Some encouraging words for new Vegans?
Don’t listen to your doctor if he/she says you need animal protein :-/ lol educate yourself and stay open-minded.
What does living cruelty-free mean to you?
No harm to any animals for food, fashion, any kind of testing or experiments or entertainment of any kind. Animals have the same right to live happy cruelty-free lives.
What are your favorite Vegan food products or companies?
Hilary’s Vegan burgers are amazing! Chao vegan cheese we could live off of lol Any So Delicious dessert product, We love!
Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?
For us, it can always be a struggle, but we are always there for each other! It for sure gets easier and easier, but there are times if you’re out for a friends bday at like a steak house or a sea food place … then it gets tuff, sure we can order greens but we rather not support a place like that, I find we just end up feeling bad for all the animals that are provided for the restaurants! We support a lot of local vegan places in our city and its growing and growing each year, so just when you think times can get tough we always remind ourselves that we’re doing this for the animals, for the planet and for ourselves of course.
What is one question you would ask other Vegans? Please answer it.
What other vegan meals can we create ?! Steph LOVES to cook , so she mostly does the vegan cooking and food prep for us haha we always love to hear other people’s food ideas or meal plans, it’s just a great way to connect and sometimes you’re able to create so much more food ideas just for someone else’s suggestions! 😊