These lovely "interviews" are with other fellow vegans, to inspire and share their stories and lifestyles and love for all things vegan. Oh, and to prove we don't eat grass and have a ton of kick-ass fun! ;)
Name: Nicole or Nixx :)
Vegan Since: May 2010
Pets? 4 kitties: Boris, Duncan, Sally (aka PeeWee), and Natasha (get it? Boris and Natasha!)
A bit about yourself: I rock. Sometimes I roll. I love food, Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer! I am convinced someone in my family lineage was a vampire hunter.... :)
What did your diet look like pre-vegan? Crap. McDonald's, lots of mac-n-cheese, burgers & chicken, pasta with meatballs, Chinese buffet evilness, eggs, lots of processed crap...I didn't shop in the produce section very much, that's for sure!
What does your diet look like now? Any fun new foods you had no idea existed until becoming vegan? Lots of veggies, grains, beans, nut butters, and veganized versions of my favorites! And cookies. I love cookies. :) Nearly everything now can be veganized, and although it kinda weirds me out if it tastes too close to meat or dairy, I am thankful there are so many options out there now! A few foods that I had never tried or heard of before going vegan that I now love: kale, daikon, quinoa, brown rice pasta, agave, and all the awesome vegan milks and cheeses!
What is your favourite food or meal to eat now? I love roasting veggies, and making yummy casseroles! Also, vegan mac-n-cheese, and vegan pizzas!! I also enjoy a loaded, kickass salad from time to time :)
What made you become vegan? Learning about the horrors of the meat/dairy industries...it's disgusting, cruel, and just makes no sense to me to treat animals the way we do. They are here WITH us, not FOR us. I love animals way too much I guess, and wouldn't eat my cats...so why would I eat a pig? They're no different.
How long was the transition, and were there any slip-ups? I started a vegetarian diet for about a month, then switched over to vegan...I donated stuff in my fridge and freezer to friends who needed it, then restocked with lots of vegan goodness :) There were a few accidental slip-ups, as I learned more about ingredients and realized my Veggie Slices had casein in them (grrr!)...and the time my stepfather made me meatballs out of vegan "meat" but used an egg to bind them together so they wouldn't crumble...The only intentional slip-up I had during my first year was on my wedding anniversary trip to Hersheypark on Halloween, where I spied a decadent chocolate mousse dessert and HAD to have it. (Hello, I was in Chocolate World!!) I fought with myself for a minute then decided to get it anyway. I regretted it. I had been vegan for 5 months at this point, and I got halfway through this chocolate mousse and felt so sick to my stomach. I let my husband finish it, and felt like crap (both physically and emotionally) for the rest of the day. I now bring my own vegan chocolate to Hershey when we go ;)
How do you feel since going vegan? (changes in your health, mood, body, etc.) Awesome! My body feels much lighter (and it is!), cleaner, less bloated, and I have more energy. I don't get breakouts nearly as often as I used to. And I generally feel happier, like I'm doing such a great thing for the world :)
Biggest challenge about making the switch? How did you get through it? Reworking routines & researching restaurants before going, creating more time in my day for preparing meals to make sure I get all the good stuff I need to stay healthy. I got through it (and still do) by telling myself I have no choice! :) The animals are counting on me.
Do you have any other vegans in your life? (family, significant other, friends, roommates, etc.) How do they handle your veganism and how do you handle them? My husband is vegetarian, so that's helpful. A co-worker went vegan for a little while after I did, and we had fun bringing each other goodies for lunch ;) My other vegan friends are far away, sadly. But my Mom is now using soy milk instead of cow's milk, so that's a start! :) My family is pretty understanding and are used to it by now. Co-workers can be hard to deal with sometimes, but others are usually pretty eager to try the things I make. I am working on not being pushy about being vegan, and that helps people want to explore it further.
How do you deal with ignorant/annoying/difficult people and questions about your decision? I usually just try to be as informative as possible without being pushy...sometimes it's hard though. Sometimes I want to shake people and give them a smack to wake them up. I almost always include inserts of pigs being no different than dogs, and how wonderful it is to have the choice to change your life for the better.
Favourite Vegan product? (whether it's food, beauty, clothing, etc.) Food: Daiya cheeze!!! Good lordy, I love pizza. And So Delicious ice creams! YUM. Bath/Body: Deep Steep lotions & body wash, and Lush shampoo bars.
Favourite part about being vegan? Feeling like I am helping the whole world!! (as well as myself!) Trying vegan restaurants when I travel.
Any tips for others thinking of going vegan? Jump right in! You CAN do it, as you can anything, you're just choosing not to. Find the one thing that makes you want to switch the most, whether it be health, animals, the world...and use that as your focus point to keep you grounded. Research! Find out what is in the food you're using to fuel your body now...you probably won't like what you find. Find others who enjoy being vegan, and share information. "Be the change you want to see in the world."
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