You have probably seen her on television shows like Sex and the City, Cold Case, NYPD Blue, Criminal Minds and many more.
Lisa Tharps is a busy actress in theatre, television, and film who has embraced the importance of sustaining a vegan and environmentally aware lifestyle.
How and why did you go vegan?
The simple answer is I support life and I choose not to destroy it unnecessarily.
Have you encountered any difficulties in going vegan? If so what were they and how have you dealt with them?
The easiest part was not eating or drinking animal products. The difficult part is dealing with people who do not care about animals, and explaining to them why I choose to be a vegan. There are people who are completely disconnected from what is on their plate, how their food got there from the slaughterhouse, and who are just not open to even thinking about veganism. It’s difficult being around folks who say they care about animals but still eat them.
Performing in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'
I ran into a woman today who is an animal rights person but still eats fish. Her reason is that she does not believe that fish are considered animals. I was at an audition and tried to explain that when eating fish, you are supporting the killing of not only the fish (who are of course animals), but also the destruction of the ocean and the environment, and the other forms of ocean life that die as part of the fishing industry. I have to steel myself because after viewing documentaries and reading articles on animal slaughter, It has become increasingly painful to see death on someone’s plate just because they’ve got to have that tasty meal.
I am a pretty good actress, I am able to access a deep well of emotion that makes me good at my job. It also means that my responses to people’s questions about veganism can bring out my volatile side. I still have loads to learn about discussing being vegan so that people will engage and eventually reconsider their relationship with animals and the environment. My challenge is finding a way to tame the dragon within, if you will, when I see the disconnection around me in action.
How have your family and friends reacted to your veganism?
Lisa Tharps as Marvel superhero Nightside
Most of my family and friends give me their full support, especially after seeing the effects on my physique! They admire the changes I have made and the fact I am sticking with it. Unfortunately they think it is a really hard thing to do. But it’s not, all you really have to do is actually SEE what happens to animals and what is happening to our environment, then learn about the many, delicious, food options that are available to vegans.
How do you feel switching to veganism has impacted your health?
Well, to start with, I lost 60 pounds. Through a conscious effort in making better food choices, changing my relationship with food, and through exercise, I am closer to my weight in college, I am not completely there yet, but am very close. I feel like my senses have been heightened. I feel and touch in a different way. It’s subtle, but it’s there, and I like it. It changes you, all for good, inside and out.
What are some of your favourite meals, takeaway or home cooked?
For take out I like Pad Thai with Seitan and Jamaican Jerk dish. At Home some of the foods I like include raw avocado, spinach and potato burrito, and raw kale, onion and garlic tofurkey stir fried in almond sauce. I also like fruits such as mangoes and blueberries. The Whole Foods vegan deli section, the one in the valley, ROCKS!!
Is there anyone who has particularly inspired or helped you?
Yes a dear friend Synthian Sharp helped show me the way. Before him there were books that I read on the subject of eating clean, not necessarily vegan but eating healthier. Then when I met Synthian he had a mouthful of knowledge and documentaries to share and I took the reigns for myself from there. Also, Melanie Joy has some super great books out there looking at why we love some animals and eat others. I attended her panel discussion at a recent Animal Rights Conference – it was brilliant. These are some of the many people who have fueled my development as a vegan for animal rights and human rights reasons.
How do you think we can get people to think more about veganism?
I think getting away from propaganda and the media is a good step, turn off the tv and turn on a kindle (the new book), read more and learn about the issues, communicate with people, and get some conversations started about why veganism is a good idea.