Inspirational Vegan Parents: Ann & Tadej – Have an Open Mind and Be Ready for Constant Change

Tell us a little about yourself.

Hi, we are Ann from Canada, Tadej from Slovenia, our son Elias and our adopted dog Julio from Portugal.  We recently moved back to Squamish, BC, but spent the last 10 years moving around a lot between Canada, Slovenia, and Portugal. We work online, Ann as an admin, Tadej as an affiliate marketer. You can find us on @theflipsidefamily, Tadej’s personal @fruitarian_ish or youtube.com/theflipsidefamily where we are inconsistently active.

What lead you to veganism? How long ago?

Tadej: Ann was vegetarian most of her life because she didn’t like the texture/smell/taste of meat and other animal products. I was a passionate omnivore up until 8 years ago, in 2011. We came across the documentary Earthlings and right after watched Gary Yourfsky’s “The best speech you will ever hear” on YouTube. It was mind/heart-opening and we both went vegan from that moment.

Ann: I was already looking into a plant-based diet, raw food, fruits, and veggies, etc.… And a friend posted the movie Earthlings on her FB feed. I asked Tadej if he wanted to watch it with me… I was upset for the next 2 weeks…. Anyways, it was a no brainer and was happy when Tadej said that he wanted to go vegan that same day.

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

We gave away or threw away all the non-vegan food. We didn’t eat any of that from the next morning on. We still wore some of the clothing that contained animal skin. Like hiking boots etc. I didn’t feel like buying new stuff would do any better for the planet at that moment. So, we just wore a couple of things out and humbly sent gratitude to the animals we were “wearing”.

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

Tadej: We make no exceptions for us. And up until now, we haven’t made any exceptions for Elias (just turned 4) either. He is at home (not going to child care) so we can avoid a lot of those situations. We go to family/friend gatherings and there is other food but we don’t touch it and explain to Elias why if we have to.

Ann: Now that we are living in our “own” place, I do not allow animal products (food) in the house! People are ALWAYS welcome in our home but I refuse to betray myself in order to make other people feel “comfortable”. This is my boundary. I want the energy in our home to be of love and compassion, not hurt and fear. If they want to eat animal products, they are welcome to go to a restaurant or have a picnic outside lol!

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

Tadej: I don’t think so. This footage is traumatizing. You don’t show kids how humans are killed by killers or soldiers to teach them that killing is not right. Maybe later in life if necessary. But for sure adults should see it. The ones, who, after hearing about the facts, are still choosing to ignore it. But as gruesome as these processes are, some will not be affected by it even after watching it, hello dissociation!

What does being vegan mean to you? Cruelty-Free? Do these extend to all beings?

Tadej: Yes, of course, it extends to all living beings and things. You just get more aware of everything. We know veganism is not about being 100% so there will be accidental stepping on bugs or killed animals in the process of creating other food and stuff. But it’s just to not do it on purpose if not necessary. We taught Elias from the beginning to not pick flowers but rather observe and smell them and even talk to them. To rather tell Ann that he saw a beautiful flower and thought of her, instead of picking it for her, etc. Small acts of compassion.

Ann: To add to Tadej, when we are being “attacked” we would/will protect ourselves, so if a mosquito is biting, I will defend myself or if a wild animal would be attacking me, I would do the same. But these are “extremes”.  But let say there is a spider in the house we bring it outside and tell it, “Thank You” for visiting! We would do the same if there was a mouse or any other animals in the house. I have a friend who relocates animals that come into people’s houses. I have a lot of respect for what he does.  His name is Ryan and you can find him at www.awesomepossum.ca. 100% humane, 100% Pesticide free, 100% non-trapping, 100% stress free etc.

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

Tadej: I think just being vegan is activism on its own. You vote with your dollar. You are actively not supporting the meat and dairy industry. I admire everyone who takes her/his time to go out and speak in the name of animals. Sometimes we feel like doing it through our social media channels, sometimes less.

Ann: It is everyone’s duty to be compassionate! I would say that we do more of a “silent” type of activism so to speak.  We just live it and we hope to inspire people and to plant seeds.  We received many messages saying that we have inspired people to become vegan or at least that we have opened their eyes/hearts.

How compassionate or empathetic are you towards non-vegans?

Tadej: Depends. Mostly I try to be as much as possible, knowing I was once thinking the same way. But you can have only so much patience with someone, explaining the same things over and over again. You just learn to let it go and move on.

Ann: I think I am more compassionate or empathetic than Tadej in general. I just do my thing and when they are ready, they will make the changes, ask questions, and get inspired.

Any recommended Vegan books?

We used to read a lot of books in the beginning. We were curious about the whole thing. Coming from an athlete’s background, I was not sure how the whole protein thing will work. Duh. The first book was Campbell’s “China study”, then the rest of his books- “Whole” and “The Low Carb Fraud”. Dr. Esselstyne’s “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease”, dr. Neal Barnard’s “Program for reversing diabetes”, dr. McDougall’s “The starch solution”, dr. Douglas Graham’s 80 10 10 diet and so on… Good books to start with.

Any recommended social sites, blogs or pages?

Tadej: Nothing specific no. Same kind of people from the books above. Maybe add dr. Garth Davis’s Instagram or Facebook and Dr. Michael Gregor’s YouTube channel and website nutritionfacts.org

Ann: I really like medical medium books.

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

If we’re talking veganism, I would say Forks over Knives is a good one to show to older demographic. “The game changers” to the younger.

What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?

We love eating vegan sushi at any sushi restaurant. It’s also something that is time-consuming to make at home and results are not the same. And in BC, sushi is very affordable too.

Please share your favorite vegan recipe?

Tadej: The one we make the most at the moment is buckwheat pancakes. You soak 1 cup of raw buckwheat groats overnight. Next day you add them to the blender with 3/4 to 1 cup of water, 3 Medjool dates, 3 tablespoons of hemp seeds, 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds. You can bake them thicker American style pancakes.

Ann: My favorite at the moment is the detox smoothie from the medical medium. 2c. Wild blueberries, 1c. fresh orange juice, 1c. fresh cilantro, 3 bananas, 1tsp spirulina, 1tsp barley juice powder. I crave this thing in the morning I used to hate cilantro and now I love it so much and now I can’t get enough ha-ha!  (the real recipe call for some Atlantic dulse but I still haven’t found it here)

Some encouraging words for new Vegans?

Tadej: Again, from someone who was a passionate meat eater that never even considered vegetarianism, the one day to the next transition was fairly easy. It’s also exciting to learn more about the food you eat. You start reading ingredients in the store and see what you would like in your body and whatnot. And once you get in the groove, it’s very easy. Even when traveling, which we have done quite a lot. It’s worth the effort.  There are 2 sentences that every vegan said. One before veganism: “I could never go vegan!” and one after going vegan “I wish I would go vegan earlier!”. The most important thing is to have an open mind and be ready to change. The rest is easy.

Ann: Just commit to it, then the rest will follow

What is the vegan scene like in your city?

People are very health conscious here. A lot of non-vegans are off dairy these days, knowing milk is meant for calves. Stores are stocked up with milk alternatives, vegan cheeses, meat alternatives. There is a small vegan group on Facebook and they organize vegan potluck here and there. We haven’t met that many vegan families yet, but we are fairly new here.

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

Tadej: Facebook seems to be very practical for meeting like-minded people. Just look for vegan groups and events in your hometown. It helps meeting people in real life and share experiences.

Ann: What we also do is invite people to eat at our home, so we know they will eat vegan for that one meal lol!

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

Tadej: Yes. But it kind of comes naturally. I remember a sentence from Gary Yuorofsky that said something like, “go to the prison, how many vegans will you see there?” If you are compassionate towards animals, you will naturally be compassionate towards humans. Generally.

Ann: Yes, I’ve always lived with the idea of “Living and let Live,” but do no harm. When you realize that we are all connected (not just humans but all beings) and that you do harm to yourself or to others, it affects the whole, ripple effect. The same goes for love and compassion, so let’s choose wisely.

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

Tadej: I can’t think of anything right now.

Ann: It is getting easier and easier to find a vegan alternative for most things

Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?

Tadej: I never struggled in a sense of having problems staying vegan. I was committed since day one. It’s all the judgment, negative comments, ridiculing, ignorance that I keep struggling with. It helps not to think about it all the time.

Ann: For me, I feel like it was always part of me, of who I am. Because I was “born” not liking meat and most animal products, people knew me like this. I’ve never received ANY comments from anyone of my family and friends.  The weirdest part was that when LABELING the way I eat (Vegan) people started doing and saying stupid things.  For example, my brother who all of a sudden started waving a piece of meat in my face… he had never done this before… strange!

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