How and why did you become vegan?
I became vegan a few years after becoming vegetarian. I became vegetarian/vegan for animal welfare issues. The more I learnt about where my food came from, the more difficult it became to justify supporting such horrible and cruel practices. It got to the point where I couldn’t physically digest food knowing about the atrocities and abuse that the animal would have endured in the production of that food. So I became vegan.
Did you encounter any difficulties? If so what were they and how have you dealt with them?
The biggest difficulty in leading a vegan lifestyle is dealing with people’s awkwardness. Generally speaking, people hold a stigma about vegans where they think vegans are thin and pasty extremists… hehe… I have dealt with such people by being honest and friendly. It’s nice to be asked questions about veganism in these situations because it’s an opportunity to show people that being vegan is really just about not tolerating animal cruelty and choosing to lead a healthy and happy life without harming others. How can you argue with that?
How have your family and friends reacted to your veganism? Have you influenced anyone else to go vegan?
My family were a little concerned about my veganism to begin with. But they are now very supportive of it. The main factor driving their support is their realisation that I am able to lead a healthy and happy life with a vegan diet, and they are also very supportive of my reasons for becoming vegan.
I haven’t deliberately influenced anyone in becoming vegan or vegetarian. A few friends, however, have gone vegetarian as a result of hanging out with me and asking questions over the years.
I’d like to think that my involvement in animal cruelty awareness campaigns over the years has influenced people’s choices about their diets.
My mum has stopped eating meat which was rather surprising! This is a result of her being exposed to some of the campaigns that I have been involved in regarding animal cruelty awareness. And I’m very proud of her for that.
How do you feel switching to veganism has impacted your health?
Honestly, I have never felt better. My skin, my weight, and my general level of fitness has improved since becoming vegan.
Many of my friends and my family often question how I keep up with all of my commitments. In particular, I was recently able to complete a law degree in two years while working 25 hours a week and committing approximately 10 hours a week to animal protection campaigns. I feel very energetic and fit, and that has allowed me to achieve a lot in a short space of time.
It’s also a great feeling knowing that I lead a life where I do not bring harm to other beings.
What are some of your favourite meals, takeaway and/or home cooked
My favourite meals are anything and everything vegan on the menu at Vegie Bar (Brunswick Street, Fitzroy), followed closely by Shakahari (Faraday Street, Carlton).
My favourite takeaway has to be the burgers at Lord of the Fries on Flinders Street in Melbourne. Yuuuuum!!!!!!
Have you encountered any absurd stereotypes, comments or negative attitudes?
Unfortunately I have. But again, it’s about showing people that I am in fact “normal”…whatever that means!
What do you think are the most effective ways of helping veganism to become more mainstream?
By somehow removing the blinkers from the eyes of modern society and pulling people out of their comfort zones. People are ignorant to the suffering of production animals and don’t realise what goes on in this industry. The reason for this ignorance is a combination of industry doing a great job of lying to consumers about where their food comes from, and consumers choosing to lay low and not enquire about where their food comes from.
So it’s about education and awareness. I’d like to think that most people, after learning about the atrocities of factory farming (and this includes the dairy industry), would choose to not support such unnecessary cruelty.
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