What inspired you to become Vegan and why was it important to you?
I never liked meat, it often made me physically sick. As soon as I found out what it was, I did NOT want to consume it. I’ve always been such an animal lover. I remember being mortified when I found out what veal was. I was around ten years old when I went on a school trip to “The Royal Winter Fair”. A farmer brought around a cow he was getting ready to take to slaughter in a metal cage. She was uncomfortable and winced. He backhanded her in the face in front of the entire class. I saw a tear stream down her face and that was it for me. It literally broke my heart that I could not save her. I knew I would never contribute to animal suffering. I immediately went vegetarian. It wasn’t until about eight years ago, when my older son Sam, came across some harsh truths about the dairy industry. He came to my younger son and me and stated, “We are all going vegan”, and we did.
What are some of your favorite vegan dishes that you recommend others to also try?
I really love going to great vegan restaurants, where I know the entire menu is safe. In Toronto it’s PLANTA, and in LA, it’s CROSSROADS. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by fantastic vegan restaurants around the world, even in small towns. The app “Happy Cow” is extremely reliable and handy. I love when vegan chefs are creative and make things extra yummy without excessive oils. I’m pretty crazy for all kinds of mushrooms, so a salad with some truffle pasta and wild mushrooms sounds pretty awesome. I also have a deep, crazy love for cereal with oat milk. I could eat that for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
How did going vegan impact your health? What were some of the biggest adjustments you had to personally make to maintain a good level of protein?
I’m quite sure going vegan improved my overall health. I rarely get sick and I feel so good and clean that I did not consume any animals or animal by-products. I didn’t make many adjustments, there’s plenty of protein in vegetables. I eat the same things as everyone else except they’re the vegan versions.
What is one message you the public to take from you?
I despise when people say, “It’s how it’s always been!”, or “They were put here for us to consume”. It’s so absurd. We don’t say that about horses and buggies, or other technologies. We don’t say that about human injustices, we strive to do better, be better, or at least we should. The fact is, millions of animals are abused and slaughtered every single day for human consumption. There are endless cruelty-free things to eat that are better for you, that don’t contain pesticides, hormones and chemicals. Most animals never see sunlight. They are cramped in tiny spaces, brutally abused, and then forced to watch their friends brutally murdered moments before their own death. When you consume this, you consume sadness, torture, and fear. Those who deny that simply do not want to see truths. Watch “Dairy is Scary” watch any factory farming video catching abusive behaviour. There is no excuse to torture innocent creatures. Dogs, cows, and pigs are all so similar. You cannot call yourself an animal lover and then pay for their torture. People are furious about the dog meat trade, factory farming is just as cruel. In a world where you can choose kindness and compassion, do it! I have a website called tryvegantoday.com to help anyone get started. The internet is full of wonderful resources.
Do you have any advice to those people who are on the fence in terms of going vegan?
It isn’t a diet, it isn’t an opinion, it is your responsibility as a caring human on this planet to end their suffering, you should want that. Animals have feelings, friends, intelligence, relationships, languages, they are sentient. It should not be up to you to take that away from them simply because they don’t speak or build skyscrapers. Once you go vegan, you will feel so much better. You are saving yourself and the planet.