Being Vegan, Vegan Being: Tami Sofia – We are Stronger Together.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m Tami. I’m 37. I live in LA.  I’ve been here since I was 2 ½ years old and this city is my home.  I’m a vegan stylist.  My Instagram is a pretty open and honest reflection of me.  If you want to get to know me, that’s probably the best place to go @tami_sofia and my blog is predominantly about fashion, and you can also see some of my styling work www.tamisofia.com

What lead you to veganism?

I had already been vegetarian for about 6 years (with my sister) and I went vegetarian for the animals.  My sister watched Dairy is Scary and told me if we’re doing this for the animals, vegan is the only way.  She cried for about 3 days after watching that video, so I never watched it myself, but I knew she was right, so we went vegan.  That was about 4 ½ years ago. 

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

As I mentioned, I had already been vegetarian, and I already didn’t drink milk, because I thought it was gross.  And I had been using Earth Balance as a butter replacement.  So, It was mostly eggs and cheese.  And I just started trying different vegan cheeses to see what  I liked best.  I did get my fix of certain things from eating at vegan restaurants and kept things pretty simple at home. In terms of household products, and beauty and such I already was working on those things. Since I went vegetarian for the animals, I didn’t think animal testing was ok.  Same with wearing animal skins.  So, I had already committed to not buying those anymore.  I just did lots of research and did my best to buy better products.  For fashion- since that’ s my industry, I was very passionate about that part.  I don’t believe it has to be an overnight move, but more of a process over time. 

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

I’m not married, no kids.  But I, personally, don’t make exceptions with veganism, because it goes against my morals.  But I try not to hold everyone to that standard.  I believe in progress, not perfection.  And if someone is genuinely interested in the vegan lifestyle, I want to encourage them, not discourage them, by making it feel hard or judgmental.  I don’t ever feel like I’m giving anything up, and I try to show that to others.

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

Maybe not show them visually, but we should definitely be honest about it.  Let them make that decision for themselves.  Who are we to force-feed them death and call ourselves “parents”?  I think the biggest disservice we do to our children is lie to them by shielding them from the truth.  And I think that goes for all aspects of life, not just veganism.  

What does being vegan mean to you? For example, does it extend to not killing bugs and bees?

To me, veganism means, I do my best, every day, to cause as little harm and suffering to all life.  And I believe it’s my responsibility to help support vegan businesses, to be active in my community and share a love for all life, all the time. 

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

I don’t want to say “duty”  because if activism doesn’t speak to you, then you’d be doing something out of alignment for yourself and I don’t believe in that.  But I do feel there are different types of activism, and everyone has different strengths.  Some people are active by making a vegan meal and sharing it with others, in turn showing them ideas of what they could be eating.  For some people, it’s marching into a slaughterhouse and taking footage.  For others, it could be sharing information online.  All are forms of activism and I urge every vegan to do what feels best for them.  

How compassionate or empathetic are you towards non-vegans?

Very compassionate. I wasn’t born vegan.  I was introduced to it at a young age because my mom’s cousin was vegan since I was a child, and I still didn’t understand it.  You can’t force people to understand anything.  But I do believe more and more people are understanding the path now.  

Any recommended social sites, blogs or pages?

Instagram @badassvegan is one of my favorites @taradaylami is my sister and she is a very eloquent speaker and writer @bosh.tv has many great recipes @fashionveggie speaks to fashion, household products, being a vegan mom

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

My blog shares only vegan brands and fashion www.tamisofia.com

What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?

Little Pine

Please share your favorite vegan recipe?

I don’t really cook with recipes, but I need to start, so I can share my meals and snacks.  But I do have a food highlight on my Instagram where I share my meals I’ve made at home and I tag vegan brands when I can. 

Some encouraging words for new Vegans?

You’re not alone.  I know this is a scary path sometimes, especially when you see what the animals are going through.  But you are part of the solution now. Always feel free to reach out to me: tamisofia@gmail.com (or on my social media).  We are stronger together. 

What is the vegan scene like in your city?

In Los Angeles, it’s amazing!  I’m so lucky!  Tons of restaurants, pop-ups, events, fashion, protests, marches, vigils, all of it!

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

Get out! Go to the vegan fairs, the protests, the marches, the vigils!  I’ve made so many friends thanks to these events.  And also, social media is a gem for this!  Many people I’ve made friends with on social media, I finally met in person at some of these festivals and marches.  Now we are even better friends.  

What does living cruelty-free mean to you?

Yes! absolutely.  I have become so much softer and more compassionate to all life.  

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

Sun Bum has great products! There are so many fashion brands, but here are just a few Cult of Coquette, Matt and Nat, Aether Beauty, Vegan Power Co., Wear Bare Bones, Yes to,  NYX Cosmetics

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

Candy! There aren’t enough options.  Or at least I haven’t found them.  I’ve always been a candy eater, not chocolate, but more gummy bears, sour belts, jolly ranchers, those types of things.  I know there are options, but I guess not as accessible at stores like other foods and snacks. 

Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?

When I first went vegan, I was working in catering, on the side, while I was growing my styling business.  And I think because veganism was new to me, I wasn’t strong enough in it.  So, when they would offer us food on our breaks, I didn’t stand strong, and a couple of times ate something that had some cheese in it because it was the only option. It took me a couple of months, and I ate cheese maybe 3 times before I said, this is silly. I just have to say no, and be ok with not eating on this break, and I started bringing my own food.  They quickly started making options available to me simply by setting some asides before they mixed the cheese in.  

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