How I went from one (dreaded) vegan day a week to being fully committed to respecting the lives of sentient beings

Everyday Vegans
A series in which ordinary people talk about living a plant-based life


Having been a committed vegetarian, Talya Lewis went back to eating meat when she was pregnant – but it was through the inspiration of one of her daughters that she ultimately ended up a vegan

Talya LewisThere is an uncanny human phenomenon of promoting the rampant suffering of other sentient beings. Our species considers itself worthier than all the others with widespread abuse not only justified but condoned by the majority of people, and no consideration for the physical and emotional pain of the animals, whom they regard as insignificant.

I entered my teen years before the existence of drones that would catch footage of barbaric animal mistreatment and before the internet where the horrors could be shared for the world to see. It was in that world that I became a vegetarian.

I flitted between strict adherence and lapses into succumbing to the smells that wafted from my mother’s kitchen, settling on my olfactory receptors, then targeting my salivary glands, sparking cravings in to which I would cave. It was in this cycle that I was firmly entrenched until my early twenties when I joined the Anti-Vivisection Society, participated in demonstrations from the 1986 Fur Expo in Madison Square Garden, New York, to Milan, Italy, protesting against animal experimentation, and became exposed to some of the truths that were stealthily camouflaged from public view.

Through my twenties and thirties I remained a devout vegetarian, still blind, however, to the depths of the ruthless and sadistic means to which man could go. I was embedded in the illusion that the meat industry was brutal, but that the dairy industry looked like the cows on the milk cartons and the egg industry housed happy hens clucking about as they joyfully relinquished their offspring by the dozen. I thought I knew it all. I knew nothing.

Time passed; I married and had children. Pregnant for the third time, I experienced cravings I had not encountered in more than 20 years. My hormone-ravaged body screamed out daily words I never thought I would hear my mind utter, “Meat, give me meat!” I resisted and resisted and resisted… until I succumbed.

With shame and guilt as my constant companions, I found my way back to cheeseburgers, steaks, sausages and bacon, of course. The smells that travelled to my nose from my mother’s kitchen now found themselves travelling through my own home to the noses of my two young vegetarian daughters. My four-year-old succumbed. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Navigating a world while raising your kids as vegetarian was frustrating. Nannies in the park wanted to give them pieces of salami and hot dogs. Moms, while in charge of my children on play dates, wanted to take them to McDonald’s where they could rejoice in succulent juices of the dead animals that were neatly chopped and placed between two buns before being topped with cheese, mustard and ketchup.

But the worst came from family, where the expectation of respecting my choices should have been granted without fear of betrayal.

My husband and I were at his company Christmas party, entrusting the care of our veggie kids to my parents, sister and brother-in-law. My then youngest child (my third was yet to come) was just shy of two years old. The family was scarfing down steak while my oldest, then four, was eating whatever non-meat items were available.

My almost two-year-old, as the story goes, was toddling about when she approached my brother-in-law pointing to her mouth. Naturally his assumption (remember what happens when we ass-u-me) Continue reading →

‘We need to avoid having cult figures in the vegan community and to acknowledge the work of women’

Everyday Vegans
An occasional series in which ordinary people
talk about living a plant-based life


The latest contributor to our series is Zack Polanski, 36, a London Assembly candidate for the Green Party whose veganism is closely aligned to his environmental activism

Zack Polanski

How long have you been vegan?
I’ve been vegan for four years and was vegetarian for ten years before that.

What led to the change from vegetarian to vegan?
I was making a documentary for a production company – which they never completed – but whilst I was preparing questions for vegan activists, I realised I already instinctively knew the answers.

Do you see yourself ever going back to being an omnivore?
No.

Are you a ‘healthy’ vegan? Often people assume we’re all fitness-obsessed, when the reality is that we come in many flav­ours and for many pe­ople life is an eter­nal hunt for vegan cake. What makes up your diet?
Not at all. Fast-paced London lifestyle fuelled by Huel, vegan fast food and the occasional cooked vegetable.

Do you consciously think about where you get your protein, etc, from?
I used to, but as you get in a groove, I think your body lets you know when it’s time for the healthy option.

For many vegans, the initial realisation of facts that make us turn to a different lifestyle is pretty life-changing and alienating. We view things differently, from the supermarket shopping experience in a meat-eating world to the people around us. How was that change in mindset… the reality of being an outsider in many situations… for you?
That’s absolutely right. Being vegan meant I spent much more time around environmentalists and people who were fighting to save the planet. I went vegan for the animals – and then realised there are so many more other crucial reasons to do it too.

Do you mix with many other vegans – does your lifestyle mean that you come into contact with people of a similar outlook regularly?
A fair few. I’d say a large part of my friendship group is vegan. Including my partner, Richie!

Do you seek out vegan groups and forums online?
I did initially to get grounded in the community and for people to digitally hold my hand. Now I’m more than happy to be involved but schedules a little too busy to actively seek it out.

Do you live in a meat/dairy eating household? And if so, how is that?
I do. I live in a shared building with 18 people; I reckon the veggie/vegan – omnivore split is about 50/50. It’s fine though. We have some really good discussions and slowly people are coming around!

Where do you like to eat out?
I love Black Cat Café, Yorica, Temple of Seitan  and my favourite of all is actually a Chinese vegan restaurant in Archway (Loving Hut).

Do you feel you have more in common with vegans than the majority of other people who don’t believe plant-based is the way forward?
I think there’s a mutual understanding that you potentially both have a love of animals and a desire to save the planet. That’s a good grounding for any friendship I think.

Do you, as most of us have to, eat out with non-vegans often and how do you feel about their eating choices?
A lot. I feel their choices are their choices. I don’t believe in preaching or being angry at people. We all have to come to these decisions in our own time and I’m a great believer in being a demonstrator of your values rather than just talking about them.

Zack PolanskiAre you involved in any form of activism?
Lots. Political obviously. Also regularly go to Critical Mass, which is all about cycling. I’m involved with XR, and was arrested this year during the Spring Rebellion. I’m currently awaiting my court date.

Even more crucially though, I’m a spokesperson for Make Votes Matter (the campaign for Proportional Representation). That might sound like a long stretch from veganism, but actually one of the biggest flaws in society right now is that our rules are made by the current unfair voting system. The Green Party would look to change that to have much healthier and well-balanced debates about everything in our democracy. Undoubtedly within that, animal rights and the environment would get a much better hearing.

How do you feel about the vegan jokes… you know, that vegans can’t go five minut­es without mentioning the fact or they explode?
Next…

Do you believe that the meat and dairy industries have a future?
If they do, ultimately our planet doesn’t. We need to move away to plant based options and make it all considerably easier, cheaper and more accessible – I’m open to whether that includes meat and dairy replacements.

How do you think we best ‘convert’ omnivores to a plant-based lifestyle? And do you actively try to do this?
I wouldn’t necessarily say convert. Educate, inform and persuade. And I do it by not actively doing it – by living a busy, happy, healthy lifestyle and demonstrating that being vegan is the future.

How do you feel about the horror-show videos of the reality of meat? Do you share them? Do you feel they have a positive place in changing people’s understanding of the meat and da­iry industry?
I don’t like them. I think they’ve got their place but I can’t face watching them and in fact I’ve never seen them. I think positive conversation is much more likely to create sustainable change rather than shock factors.

Are you positive about the future of veganism?
Absolutely. The one slight caveat is that I’m cautious about the vegan celebrities that are cropping up on YouTube… (usually white and male). We massively need to avoid having cult figures in the community, and also to acknowledge the work of a lot of women for the past few decades that wasn’t about getting popularity hits but about maintaining a principled and ethical argument for the environment – and for our animals.

What does being vegan mean to you?
Ultimately it can only mean love!

‘It is possible to live a life where you do not hire people to abuse and kill animals (after all, we are animals, too)’

Everyday Vegans
An occasional series in which ordinary people
talk about living a plant-based life


Our latest contributor, a blogger who writes as ‘M’ known as Butterflies Katz, 61, from Florida in the US, became a vegan at a time when even vegetarians were few and far between. It’s been a long journey

‘M’ known as Butterflies KatzI have been an unwavering strict vegan for 40 years. I was a vegetarian for 10 years prior to that, because I didn’t realise back then (before the internet) that the least stance we can take not to participate in animal exploitation is veganism, not vegetarianism.

I was 12 years of age when my brother told me that ‘meat’ was a dead animal, and that was the last time a morsel of meat entered my mouth, even disguised. (I never did get the mind-set that eating a corpse is delicious!). Early on I started preparing my own food, as my family was not vegan or vegetarian.

When I was 21, a clerk at a health shop handed me a magazine published by the American Vegan Society. I was specifically moved by the information that humans steal new-born calves away from their bellowing mothers so they can steal their milk. The name of the magazine was Ahimsa, which means nonviolence in Sanskrit.

I immediately rid my closet of leather, and became a staunch vegan, for the animals, and for nonviolence, as per the literal definition of veganism.

Veganism extends beyond diet to all products and practices, and is a way of life that seeks non-participation with animal exploitation – for any purpose – as much as is reasonably possible. While there may be rewards or benefits of vegan living for personal or planetary health, the actual reason/definition pertains to not exploiting animals.

I am, so far, a healthy vegan. I am not a super athlete, but I don’t have any diseases, take no meds, don’t go to doctors. At age 61, I have plenty of energy to propel me through the days. Of course I will never go back to being an omnivore: once you ‘get it, there’s no going back.

I eat what I want, though I choose to eat healthier ingredients and foods that contain the nutrients that vegans may lack. I have chosen my food choices scientifically. For example, I would include tempeh in my diet because it is the highest vegan food source of L-carnitine. I drink carrot juice because it’s the best source of beta carotene, which converts to Vitamin A. I eat salads with baby kale, as opposed to lettuce, as there is much more nutrition in the kale. Greens are a staple food and I avoid greens with oxalic acid. I drink coffee, so to combat the acidity, I eat a lot of watermelon; medicinally. I use food as my medicine. Because pharmaceuticals are tested on animals, I have rarely taken them.

I should also mention that I eat plenty of junk food. But I try to lean towards the healthier ingredient junk food, as in whole spelt flour instead of wheat flour, organic canola oil, organic sugar and no white refined sugar. When I lived in northern New Zealand for 17 years, I could not get vegan junk foods, and rarely ate processed vegan foods/junk food. I was not able to enjoy So Delicious cashew ice cream, Vegenaise, or vegan cheese – but I did enjoy being 20 pounds thinner!

I don’t worry about protein. Never have. It’s in many foods and I eat foods that contain complete protein such as buckwheat, quinoa, and hemp seeds. I also eat tofu, tempeh, beans, lentils… not a lot, but I fit it into my diet to be sure that I am receiving ample protein.

I went vegan at a time when basically no one was vegan. I was very alone; I never heard of or met another vegan (or even vegetarian in those years). Obviously, I walk this path not caring if I’m different. I’m different in a good way. I am exemplifying to the human race that we can live a vegan life and not hire people to abuse and kill animals (after all, we are animals, too).

I lived in a vegan community for 35 years – most of my adult life – so I had plenty of like-minded friends. I was a volunteer who taught the public about the lifestyle. I grew large vegan organic gardens, Continue reading →

‘People are naturally kind – we just need to show that animal agriculture doesn’t align with this’

Everyday Vegans
A series in which ordinary people talk about living a plant-based life


Our latest contributor is Ekaterina, a Russian physics student who believes that veganism is a cornerstone of sustainable living

Everyday Vegan EkaterinaTell us a little about yourself…
I’m 24 and currently finishing my master’s degree in physics in Moscow, Russia. I moved away from home two years ago and now I live with my boyfriend. In my free time I like to volunteer at various events, mostly focused on being more sustainable; my favourite is helping out with recycling at a vegan market every month. I also really enjoy vegan activism and recently I tried drawing chalk messages, which I’ll keep doing from time to time.

You’re vegan now; were you vegetarian before?
No, but I guess I was a flexitarian for a few months. What I mean is I knew I was going vegan, that it was the right thing to do, but I needed some time to adjust and learn to stand up for my decisions. During that time I never bought anything non-vegan myself, but I ate animal products at parties and other people’s places a few times. I tried to justify it by telling myself that I wasn’t creating demand in these situations, but I stopped doing that as soon as I realised how messed up what we do to animals is. I can’t consume products of violence, it doesn’t matter who paid for them.

What led to that?
I’ve been trying to live as sustainably as I can for about four years now. I seek out new eco-friendly habits, and look at what I can improve in my lifestyle, and this was how I came across the zero-waste movement. I started watching some videos about it and one of the vloggers kept mentioning that she was vegan because she cared about the environment, and that you couldn’t be zero-waste if you consumed animal products. I looked up how bad animal agriculture was in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, water and land use, and energy consumption, and felt I couldn’t consciously contribute to something so terrible.

I knew that the end goal for me was being vegan, but, sadly, I couldn’t switch overnight. During that time the environmental arguments were the most important to me and I didn’t really think about ethics.When I finally let the ethical side of things sink in, I couldn’t possibly delay going vegan any longer. If you only care about the environment, an occasional piece of non-vegan cake is not that big a deal I think, but when you know of all the suffering that went into making it, you can’t possibly eat it.

How long have you been vegan?
It will be a year soon! About nine months at this point.

Do you see yourself ever going back to being an omnivore?
No, absolutely not. I cannot imagine what would have to happen to make me stop caring. How could I consume animal products being aware what it means? How could I consciously choose to contribute to animal abuse?

Are you a ‘healthy’ vegan? Often people assume we’re all fitness-obsessed, when the reality is that we come in many flavours and for many people life is an eternal hunt for vegan cake. What makes up your diet?
It depends. When I’m not too lazy and cook for myself at home, it’s usually very healthy. I never liked using a lot of oil, and, because I strive to live without producing any waste, I cook mostly wholefoods – that’s all you can buy without packaging. But when I go out to eat I don’t really care how healthy it is. I like an occasional greasy vegan burger or some vegan cake.

Where do you shop?
I go to regular shops for bulk fruits and vegetables, and vegan junk food once in a while. I buy my grains and legumes at a zero-waste shop, sometimes I get spices there, too. And when I want something special like vegan cheese or yoghurt I have to go to a vegan shop – regular supermarkets either don’t carry them over here, or they are ridiculously overpriced.

Do you consciously think about where you get your protein, etc, from?
Not really. I used to track what I eat in Cronometer, but after I was sure my diet is balanced enough I stopped doing it. Now I only check it maybe once a month, just for fun.

For many vegans, the initial realisation of facts that make us turn to a different lifestyle is pretty life-changing and alienating. We view things differently, from the supermarket shopping experience in a meat-eating world to the people around us. How was that change in mindset – the reality of being an outsider in many situations – for you?
Yes, it was shocking. Sometimes it feels surreal when I accidentally go into the meat aisle in a supermarket – there are literally corpses lying in the fridges and people are buying them. That’s just so weird. And there are live fish right next to the produce section in one shop I sometimes go to – it makes me feel so bad. It’s frustrating that they are still alive but I can’t help them. I’m used to being an outsider – Continue reading →

‘Not only are you eating rotting flesh, you are also consuming the suffering and pain the animal experienced’

Everyday Vegans
A series in which ordinary people talk about living a plant-based life


Our latest contributor is Tash, an Australian surfer who believes vegans have a moral obligation to bear witness to the cruelty of the meat industry – and speak up

Everyday Vegan Tash

I’m from Perth, Western Australia, and have completed 25 orbits around the sun. I have been a swimming instructor and lifeguard since I finished high school in 2010. I have a bachelor degree in outdoor recreation, which I have not yet used for a career, due to the fact that I have been travelling the world since I finished studying in 2016. I have travelled to 35 countries in the past few years and stay overseas each year for about three to five months at a time. I love to travel alone and explore the world freely doing whatever I wish, whenever I wish.

I grew up in the great outdoors and a majority of my childhood consisted of numerous camping trips in the remote regions of Western Australia, swimming with dolphins, going boating to islands, surfing and many other wild adventures. I am an experienced surfer and have travelled to Indonesia on 13 occasions to surf some of the best waves in the world. I also surfed the world’s longest wave in Peru last year – it was incredible!

From a very young age, I dreamt of being a marine biologist because I was intrigued by the big blue ocean and the animals that coexisted within it. I owned endless amounts of marine science books and I would spend hours reading them and drawing marine animals. I could name just about every dolphin and whale species that existed. I was also a huge environmental advocate – I remember always telling my younger brother off for using too much water or leaving the lights on.

Everyday Vegan TashI became vegan on February 1 2017, and decided to make the change overnight from carnist to vegan. I had watched a documentary called Food Choices on Netflix and it immediately made me want to change my lifestyle. The documentary covered the health benefits of a plant-based diet, the health risks of animal products, animal cruelty in the meat, dairy and egg industries, and the environmental devastation that these industries cause upon the planet.

My mind was completely opened and I knew from that day onwards, I would be vegan for life. I had always been so conscious of my health, loved animals, and cared significantly about the planet. I had just never realised that animal products were so harmful to one’s health, that you can’t love animals and eat them and that animal agriculture was the primary cause of climate change as well as so many other environmental issues.

My diet consists predominantly of whole foods as I love being healthy, energetic and want my life to be the highest quality as possible. Everyday I have a banana, kale and blueberry smoothie and a big fresh quinoa and chickpea salad. I still love indulging in vegan burritos, ice cream and brownies though.

Many people think that you have to be careful about getting enough nutrients on a vegan diet, but I’ve never had to worry thanks to whole plant-based foods. After all, I am eating the only diet on this planet that is known to prevent and even reverse disease.

I have honestly never been healthier in my life; I love the quote “my body is a garden, not a graveyard”, because it is so true. If you consume animal flesh and secretions, you are not only eating rotting flesh and secretions that are not designed to be consumed by humans, but you are also consuming the suffering and pain that an animal experienced throughout its whole life, including its brutal murder.

In a non-vegan world, it is definitely difficult living in everyday life because your eyes are completely opened to the enormous amount of cruelty that our species inflicts upon millions of innocent animals each day. Seeing “meat” on someone’s plate is a dead animal and it is seriously confronting and can take an emotional toll. I am a passionate animal rights activist, so I often bear witness to animals before they are killed at the slaughterhouse, which makes everyday life even more difficult.

But in the end, it is important to stay as positive as possible and remember that the real ones who are suffering are the animals, and vegan activists are the only voice that they have. Spreading awareness is the only thing that is making the vegan movement grow. Yes, of coarse it is fantastic to become vegan and not participate in animal cruelty, but as a vegan, we have a moral obligation to stand up for these animals and make the word realise how unjust it is. As Martin Luther King Junior said, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.

I am involved with an amazing vegan community here in Perth. We have really stepped up our game recently and many of our actions have been making it into mainstream media Continue reading →

‘Veganism is critical to the future of the planet, important beyond my personal concerns for animal welfare’

Everyday Vegans
An occasional series in which ordinary people
talk about living a plant-based life


For our latest contributor Tracey, being vegan means that every day she stands for something, every choice a contribution to a cause bigger than herself

Everyday Vegan Tracie

Tell us a little about yourself…
I’m a 54-year-old American woman currently living at my house in Fasano in Puglia, Italy. I moved here three years ago from Los Angeles. I have four rescued dogs and a rescued fish. I worked both in the advertising industry and as a fundraiser in the non-profit sector raising money for higher education and environmental conservation. I am the co-founder and producer of a production company that is developing a new streaming vegan travel/cooking series, launching in a few months. I also help run a business called Skull Pup that sells personalised apparel and accessories that honour our dogs. And we support dog rescue.

You’re vegan now, were you vegetarian before?
I became a vegetarian in 2000 and transitioned to vegan after moving here to Italy. I would say I have been vegan for about two years.

What led to that?
I was driving on a highway near Seattle in the US and passed a truck full of chickens on their way to slaughter. Something clicked that day and I stopped eating meat and fish. It obviously took a while for me to realise the hypocrisy of still eating cheese and eggs, while claiming the importance of animal rights. I am so thankful that today there is so much information available on the dairy and egg industries so we have no illusion about their cruelty.

Do you see yourself ever going back to being an omnivore?
Never. I couldn’t live with myself.

Are you a ‘healthy’ vegan? Often people assume we’re all fitness-obsessed, when the reality is that we come in many flavours and for many people life is an eternal hunt for vegan cake. What makes up your diet?
I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a “junk food” vegan. But I do have a diet full of food that spans the spectrum of healthy. Just like anyone, I try to strive for balance. Living in Italy, we get such amazing produce that it’s not ever a sacrifice to consume fruits and vegetables. But I do mix in some processed meat and dairy substitutes. And snacks like popcorn. I love popcorn!

Where do you shop?
I shop in small bakeries and fruit/vegetable vendors here in Puglia. But also large grocery stores that have an increasingly diverse offering of vegan foods. It’s very cool that we have two shops here in Fasano that specialise in vegan food.

Do you consciously think about where you get your protein, etc, from?
Not so much. Protein intake is not something that concerns me. I seem to be doing just fine. I suffer from lupus, but I am in clinical remission. Yay! I have perfect cholesterol and triglycerides and blood pressure. However, as a 54-year-old woman I am conscious of my diet in terms of bone health, etc. My doctor regularly monitors my vitamin D levels. And I do understand the need for B12.

For many vegans, the initial realisation of facts that make us turn to a different lifestyle is pretty life-changing and alienating. We view things differently, from the supermarket shopping experience in a meat-eating world to the people around us. How was that change in mindset – the reality of being an outsider in many situations – for you?
I would be lying if I were to say that I don’t feel like the “oddball” in many situations. People’s reactions to my diet/lifestyle run the gamut from curious, to admiring, to critical and sarcastic. And I do sometimes tire of going to restaurants where there is ONE menu item that caters to my needs. However, that is rapidly changing. Dining options for vegans are expanding, more people are aware not just of animal cruelty but the impact of animal agriculture on the environment. So they are more receptive to what I am doing. I love going to London, New York, Los Angeles, and doing tours of the ever-growing list of vegan restaurants.

Do you mix with many other vegans – does your lifestyle mean that you come into contact with people of a similar outlook regularly?
I have only a few vegans in my immediate circle of friends and family. But I can see them shifting to more of a “flexitarian” lifestyle. I suppose I am grateful for that. However, especially because of my new vegan production project, I am increasingly connected online to the global vegan community. That gives me hope every day.

Do you live in a meat/dairy eating household? And if so, how is that?
Not really. I live in an adjoining house with my ex-husband (strange, I know). He is about 90 per cent vegan, 10 per cent vegetarian. My own house is vegan, however.

Do you feel you have more in common with vegans than the majority of other people who don’t believe plant-based is the way forward?
I suppose being vegan immediately gives you something very fundamental in common. But the vegan community is so diverse, of course I find commonality with some more than others. Admittedly, I am more positively predisposed to someone if the first thing I learn is that he/she is vegan.

Do you, as most of us have to, eat out with non-vegans often and how do you feel about their eating choices?
The majority of people with whom I eat out respect my choices. And many alter their eating when with me, including letting me choose vegan restaurants. There are a few who take pleasure Continue reading →

‘Vegans need a sense of humour. If we act sullen and grumpy all the time, nobody is going to want to be like us’

Everyday Vegans
An occasional series in which ordinary people
talk about living a plant-based life


Our latest contributor is social media campaigner John Oberg, who believes a vegan world is inevitable but requires skilful effort to spread the word

Everyday Vegan John Oberg

Tell us a little about yourself…
I’m a 31-year-old living just outside Washington DC, focusing on making the world a better place for animals by utilising the power of social media.

You’re vegan now; were you vegetarian before?
I have been vegan for nine-and-a-half years. I was vegetarian for 10 months before going vegan. Most vegans transition into veganism, which I think is often the best approach. This way, the change isn’t so sudden and drastic that you just throw in the towel.

What led to that?
I initially had a conversation with someone who said to me, “If you love animals so much, maybe you shouldn’t eat them.” The thought stuck with me, and I went vegetarian on principle. I intended to go vegan, and was easing my way towards it, slowly cutting out dairy and eggs. Then I watched the documentary Earthlings and went vegan immediately.

Do you see yourself ever going back to being an omnivore?
I will never eat meat, dairy, or eggs again. Going vegan was the best choice I’ve ever made. I haven’t second-guessed the decision once in nearly a decade of being vegan.

Do you consciously think about where you get your protein, etc, from?
I track my protein intake because I am a powerlifter and want to make sure I am able to properly build strength. But for most people, tracking your protein intake is not necessary. It’s practically impossible to be protein-deficient. Plants have protein!

Do you mix with many other vegans – does your lifestyle mean that you come into contact with people of a similar outlook regularly?
I try to stay out of the “vegan bubble”. It’s important for vegans to maintain contact with people who don’t think like them. This way, we don’t lose our ability to influence others. If we only associate with other vegans that seems like a huge missed opportunity to reach the general public. It also makes us lose touch in understanding how others think and feel. In order to best influence, we need to know this.

Do you seek out vegan groups and forums online?
When I first went vegan in 2009, I found some local vegan groups in Phoenix, Arizona (where I was living at the time) through the website Meetup. Having a community made my transition into veganism and launch into activism much smoother than it otherwise would have been.

Are you involved in any form of activism?
I use social media as my main form of activism. By utilising the tools at our disposal, we can make a massive difference.

How do you feel about the vegan jokes… you know, that vegans can’t go five minutes without mentioning the fact or they explode?
I think vegans need to have a sense of humour. Even if people are poking fun at us, have fun with it and you’ll find that people will be much more open to our message. If we act sullen and grumpy all the time, nobody is going to want to be like us.

How do you think we best ‘convert’ omnivores to a plant-based lifestyle? And do you actively try to do this?
We can get people to eat more plant-based foods by hitting people with the ‘why’ and then the ‘how’. My specialty is the ‘why’. Why should people stop eating animals? Many others specialise in the ‘how’, with resources like recipes, meal ideas, etc. Some of my favourite websites to direct people to are Veganuary and ChooseVeg.

Are you positive about the future of veganism?
As I’ve said in the past, a vegan world is inevitable. How quickly we get there, however, depends entirely on how effective vegan activists choose to be in their messaging and approach.

If you are interested in sharing your thoughts in our Everyday Vegans slot, please get in touch and we’ll let you know what to do.