Tell us a little about yourself.
What lead you to veganism? How long ago?
I’ve been a vegetarian since I was twelve, but like a lot of people, I didn’t realize I was still contributing to animal cruelty. I transitioned into veganism in 2015 after watching Cowspiracy.
When you first went vegan how did you phase out your non-vegan food, clothing and other items?
In terms of food, I had it fairly easy because I’m lactose intolerant! I’ve always had to watch my dairy intake, so it went from being very minimal to nonexistent. I also believe in sustainability, so I didn’t just throw out all my non-vegan clothes right away. However, I feel guilty every time I wear wool or leather, so I’ve started phasing them out. I’ve since donated some and handed the rest off to friends and family.
Do you believe we should show children the process of how animals are turned into meats?
Older children, definitely. When they’re young and impressionable, I wouldn’t support showing them anything too graphic. I would explain it to them instead. Again, I don’t have kids, so I’m not the person to ask.
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?
Veganism, to me, means compassion for all life, which includes people who annoy me. I try to be patient with everyone, but I’m only human! We all get frustrated. I am 100% against not killing bees! Bees are vital to our ecosystem, and they’re so cute. I try not to kill anything if it can be helped. That being said, if a murder hornet comes after me, I might change my mind! In terms of vegan companies with non-vegan parent companies, I believe in communicating in their language — the almighty dollar. By supporting the vegan companies only, the non-vegan parent companies will get the message. It worked with Covergirl.
Is it every vegan’s duty to become an activist?
I’ve always thought of veganism as its own form of activism. Some people — like me — are inherently shy and introverted, but we can still speak up for what we believe in. Sign petitions. Wear pins and patches.
How compassionate or empathetic are you towards non-vegans?
I’ve had much more success being patient and compassionate toward non-vegans than I have with aggression. I may not support their lifestyle, but I’m not going to get in anyone’s face and scream at them. I will cook them a delicious meal and show them how easy it can be to adopt a vegan lifestyle.
Any recommended Vegan books?
I love cookbooks! My favorites are The Kind Diet, and The Homemade Vegan Pantry.
Any recommended social sites, blogs or pages?
VegNews, Billion Vegans, and Vegan Essentials are great resources. I also love Immaculate Vegan.
Do you have a favorite movie or videos or your own media that you want to share?
Everyone should watch Forks Over Knives, Cowspiracy, and What The Health!
What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?
Seed on Prytania Street in New Orleans. The decor is lovely, too.
Please share your favorite vegan recipe?
I’m going to be sharing a lot of recipes soon, but my all-time favorite is my spicy Brussels sprouts!
Some encouraging words for new Vegans?
You will feel alone. You will feel like you aren’t making a difference because so many people around you refuse to change. You are not alone, and you do make a difference. Every single year you’re vegan, you save 198 animals, and that’s amazing. I may not know you, but I love you, and I’m proud of you.
What is the vegan scene like in your city?
Virtually nonexistent. New Orleans is a foodie’s paradise, but there aren’t a ton of options for vegans… yet. I see more vegan options every day, which is amazing.
What personal recommendations can you make for people to meet other vegans?
Go online! You can look for meetups in your area if you’re in a large enough city, but Instagram has a vibrant vegan community, and I’ve met a lot of great people there.
What does living cruelty-free mean to you? Does it extend to the way you as a vegan treats other humans too?
It means exactly what it says — cruelty-free. It impacts everything I do, and it definitely extends to other humans. It can be frustrating when I’m only trying to help save animals, but I try to help by being kind. That’s why I’m the unscary vegan; I don’t want to make anyone feel ostracized or attacked.
What are you favorite Vegan non-food products or companies?
Angela Roi, Aether Beauty, and Pai for skincare are my go-tos. Amazing, amazing products all around.
What is the toughest Vegan item to find that you need?
Good vegan cheese. It’s never in stock in my area. Fortunately, I can order online.
Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?
Family gatherings, definitely. Being the only vegan in my family is a tricky thing, and sometimes I end up eating a basic salad with olive oil and lemon juice because it’s the only option. I carry snacks in my purse for that very reason.