Browsing Category

Interview

Interview

Interview with the Creator of The Messy Heads

Today we have a very special guest on the blog today. I’m talking with Emma Mercury, the creator of the well established blog and magazine The Messy Heads. It’s all about self-love, female empowerment, veganism, sustainability, and so much more.

IMG_9948

Q: How old are you and where are you from?

I am 20 and I’m unsure where I am from. Munich/Boston/Vegas

Q: So you started this magazine The Messy Heads. Can you tell us a little bit about what TMH entails and how you thought of the idea?

Yeah! I had the blog, The Messy Heads, for about two years now, and we just released our first print issue which is so exciting. My only goal with starting this blog was to be a voice for younger girls telling them they are worth more than their appearance. I had this realization that all of these beautiful girls around me were plagued with self hatred and didn’t value themselves beyond their physical form. I wanted to be the difference, the person that might change a young girls mind to feel that their value lies with their inner worth. The blog focuses on inner beauty the most which is what I love about it. We are not our shell: we are our mind and soul and it’s easy to forget that with all of the current media and publications out there. 

IMG_9944

Q: What was the driving push that caused you to finally go forward with your idea?

Making the mag was kind of a hail mary. I was at University of Washington studying philosophy but so so depressed. I was working on my mag until 2 or 3 in the morning and then would wake up at 8 to go to class and only be half there. I ultimately chose the wrong school for myself and was withering away in this environment. I dropped all my classes one day and was like ok let’s see if we can make this mag thing work. I put everything that I had into it because I had to- I didn’t have anything else and I had to work my ass off to prove to myself and to others that I made the right decision in dropping out of UW. 

Q: Tell us a little bit about your journey to self love

I think that a lot of my inner light and self love comes from my mom. She was extremely anorexic, and didn’t think she would ever be able to even have kids. She always made a point to me that my inner beauty was the most important thing. I remember her telling me over and over as a kid that I will never be perfect, and that really set me free to not be so hard on myself and just experience and explore what I had to offer the world without worrying about living up to an unrealistic standard. I’m very grateful that she raised me conscious of body image issues and self worth issues that so many girls struggle with. Because of those deep roots of believing in myself I feel like I can help other girls love themselves in a world that tells them otherwise. 

IMG_9946

Q: I love that you and other girls on Instagram are always posting about girl power and female empowerment. What does feminism mean to you?

Feminism to me is strength in female energy and female traits. It is extremely strong to be vulnerable, emotional, sympathetic, creative. All of these feminine traits that have negative connotations in our society. Feminism is a movement for all genders to embrace that side of themselves and realize that dominant male energy falls short a lot of the time and doesn’t enable you to be a whole person. It’s fighting for our right to be fully human. 

Q: How long have you been vegan for and what made you decide to go vegan?

I have been vegan for almost two years now! It’s so amazing. As a child I was conscious that what I was eating was an animal and used to start crying if I found a vein in my meat. It got to the point where my parents were concerned I wasn’t getting “protein” because I didn’t eat meat. Then you kind of get brainwashed by the whole ‘meat is a part of a balanced diet’ trope, which has absolutely no truth and actually so many studies show that meat and milk are the most carcinogenic substances. I was actually rereading journal entries as a 12 year old where I was complaining about how gross cheese and meat are and how I didn’t understand how everyone ate them. As soon as I realized that I wasn’t crazy and heard about veganism, I switched. Like, yes, it’s an actual thing that people do! I was stoked! Then I stumbled on this community of people and I realized that veganism is one of the most selfless things you can do. You are helping the animals, planet, minority workers and communities, and your body. I feel like sometimes I look at the world and get so overwhelmed because there is so much I want to change, but veganism is my way to make 3 changes a day with my choice of food. I think that’s fucking powerful. 

IMG_9947

Q: How do you think ideologies from The Messy Heads can be incorporated into people’s everyday lives?

I want people to follow THEIR path and THEIR inner voice. That’s how you can incorporate it into your everyday life: keep questioning your thoughts and actions. Is this me? Or is this my parents, my peers, celebrities I follow? Connecting more with inner purpose and inner path. We are all so different and beautiful but yet all want to fit a certain mold. The messy heads breaks that I think. 

Q: What are three foods you can’t live without?

frozen mangos, dates with peanut butter, and THAI FOOD!!

Q: Celebrity crush?

I literally have crushes on all my girlfriends. I really don’t idolize celebrities, they are all just people man.

IMG_9945

Q: If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?

Byron Bay is where my heart is 

Q: If you could choose a major in life, what would it be? (ex. painting, skating, swimming, writing, etc)

Art

Q: Favourite quote?

What would you do if you knew you could not fail? Now go out and do it. 

IMG_9949

Q: What’s the most important thing to your soul?

Being around people who are rooted in the now and don’t really care about fame is so so important to my soul and to keep me grounded. A lot of my friends are in the industry or have big followings and I know that is where I want to go to to get my message out to people, but they all remind me of my purpose instead of a number by my name. So important to stay true to yourself regardless of praise or backlash. My soul thrives when I let it shine!!!!

xooxo

Emma Mercury // Editor in Chief

themessyheads.com

Instagram // Youtube

 

Interview

Inspiring Interview Series: Emily Von Euw

Today I am chatting with the lovely Emily Von Euw, who is a vegan blogger from Vancouver, Canada.

Her very popular blog, This Rawesome Vegan Life, is the winner of The Vegan Woman’s Vegan Food Blog Award and named one of the Top 50 Raw Food Blogs by the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.  She is the author of the best selling cook book, Rawsome Vegan Baking, and 100 Best Smoothies, Juices, and Snacks. She will have her third book published this December.

WEB-emily-Max-Wall1. How long have you been vegan for, and what made you decide to switch?

I am 21 now, I went vegan when I was 16… so nearly a quarter of my life! Being vegan just makes sense, it was a choice for compassion, health and environmental responsibility.

2. When did you start your blog, and what inspired you to do so?

October 2011. My parents finally got me to start my blog after always trying my raw vegan dessert creations. They would usually react, “You NEED to put this on the internet!” 

IMG_11833. What is the best part about being vegan?

The near lack of cognitive dissonance. I say near because being vegan doesn’t mean living 100% cruelty-free; there are all sorts of human rights issues involved in farming (ex. banana farming) and the clothing industry (ex. sweat shops).

4. You not only promote veganism, but you also speak about other social rights movements. Can you tell me a little bit about your passions and why you feel so strongly about them?

I feel strongly about a lot of things and always have. Basically any group working to live in justice and some kind of freedom is one I want to help. Whether their unfair histories are grounded in skin colour, sex, gender expression, animal rights, environmental responsibility, workers rights, international issues, corporate corruption, political corruption… I mean there are serious, systemic issues in nearly every facet of economics, society, culture, industry and politics! So we cannot ignore them. We need to help them move in the right direction (that is, in my opinion, towards social justice for all). I am a highly privileged person and so is lot of my readership as well as the community I have wound up being a part of; we should not ignore our privilege and we should not assume everyone else gets to experience the comfortable lives we do. We need to recognize most of the world is living in a completely different system that often oppresses them for the sake of maintaining OUR privileged lives. We gotta even this shit out.

IMG_27575. Who inspires you the most in your life?

Me, if I am being honest. I don’t like relying others for things. But at the same time, most of the folks Rich Roll interviews on his podcast are really inspiring and make me wanna work even harder. And people who run animal sanctuaries.

6. What are your top five favourite meals?

Oh they are always changing and lately I have been really boring: rice and potatoes with tomato sauce. *smh* But when I want something more colourful: greens with shredded beets and carrots plus a ginger tahini dressing and tomatoes from the garden with corn from the farmers market.

IMG_15737. You don’t eat fully raw anymore (If you ever did, I’m guessing from the name). What made you decide to eat cooked foods again?

Long story short trying to eat all raw developed into multiple eating disorders, deepened my body image issues and worsened my chronic depression. I didn’t eat enough calories even though I was always exercising, and I was convinced all cooked foods were poison. I was 16 at the time and pretty easily influenced by some books which led to this crazy thinking. Eventually I grew a brain and realized, hey, steamed broccoli is NOT bad for me! Over many years I have mostly recovered from these issues and make sure to eat enough everyday. I like eating raw all day ( fruit smoothies ) and then having cooked veg and rice for dinner.

IMG_00858. Top 5 favourite instagrammers to follow?

Erin Ireland (she’s not totally vegan but her photos are lovely and she is vegan-minded)
Our Food Stories (same deal with this couple, stunning photography)
Anniskk (same deal… lots of smoothie bowls)
Tasty as Heck (cute stuff)
Brewing Happiness (ALSO NOT VEGAN, but the pics always look so good, and the feed is like 90% vegan)The Minty Anne (and yet again: I am here for the photos, people)
Oh that was six so I will stop.

9. How many cook books do you have and how did you first get published? Congratulations on your new book that is coming out later this year by the way!

Two are out right now: Rawsome Vegan Baking and 100 Best Juices, Smoothies and Healthy Snacks. My third one is coming out in early December: The Rawsome Vegan Cookbook!! I’m gonna be real: this is my best book yet, and you should go pre-order it right now on Amazon, B&N, The Book Depository, etc. Just SAYING. Kay. Um my publisher found me via my blog and offered me a good book deal which I took, then they offered me another one, then another! Thank you, internet. 2025773_orig10. What is your advice to youths who want to become vegan?

Get educated. Read all the books and docs about the subject (I have a comprehensive list on my blog under the Resources tab) and help educate your fam too. Once you know what’s really up, the only smart move is going vegan. To get the family on board (and romantic partners), set up a dinner and movie night. Find an easy, fool-proof, comfort-food vegan meal recipe and dessert recipe, make them as a family or pair; then sit down together and watch Forks Over Knives. All in one night everyone realizes: vegan food is simple, quick, easy and delicious to make/eat. Oh and hey- it is the also the healthiest way to eat (as long as you eat a whole foods diet) and it’s best for the animals and the planet! HMMM.

11. What would you say to parents who don’t approve of veganism?

Take your children to a slaughter house and show them how wonderful not being vegan is. Then you will realize veganism IS actually wonderful and eating meat is a little creepy (living in a more developed country with the food system we have, there is often no need to get our calories by killing others; we can eat vegetables, fruits, rice and beans and THRIVE. Of course this depends on your location, schedule and income because for working families living in a food desert on welfare… it’s gonna be a lot more challenging. This is when veganism intersects with human rights issues). And do your research; all kinds of regional and federal authoritative sources on nutrition advise that eating lots of plants is a great idea, and that a vegan diet is healthy at all ages. I have heard stories of some kids who had chronic skin issues and allergies; their parents took dairy out of the diet followed by other processed animal foods and processed foods in general, the kids got better.

playing-with-chickens-funny-cute-little-pig-pics-photos12. You live in the beautiful Vancouver; what is your favourite part about living there?

The farmers markets, underground music shows, mountains and water, and vegan eateries. 

13. Favourite place to travel to, and if you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?

Portland? Alaska? Japan? I DUNNO AGH. Actually, probably Wells in the interior where Jack’s fam has a little house built in the 40’s. So peaceful.

14. Three tips for food photography?

1. Natural lighting, I like cloudy weather.
2. Don’t try too hard to make the set-up perfect, I like things a little rugged and messy.
3. Get a good editing system (I use Adobe Lightroom and love it).

IMG_916115. To you, what is the most important part of living a healthy lifestyle?

It is the platform for living happily.

16. Favourite quote?

BE HERE NOW.

tat 1
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions with me, Emily! If you want to check out Emily’s fabulous blog, the link is here: http://thisrawsomeveganlife.com/
 
And also you can pre-order her cook book which is coming out this December, here!!!!
Rawsome_ForAU
Interview

Interview with Ellen Fisher on Raw Veganism

Good afternoon everyone! Today I am delighted to share another interview with one of my favourite people: Ellen Fisher. I followed Ellen a while back on Instagram for her bright photos and positive message. She and her family reside in Maui, Hawaii where they live a raw vegan lifestyle full of joy and abundance. When I visited Maui back in July I had the pleasure of meeting up with Ellen and her two (now three) year old son Elvis. She is a wonderful person and I’m so excited to share this interview with you all.

ellens family

1. How long have you been a vegan and what made you initially decide to make the switch?

I initially got into the raw food diet over 8 years ago in order to get my health back. I was dealing with the eating disorder of anorexia and I was ready to focus on a healthy body and mind. It wasn’t until years later that my eyes were opened to the realities of animal cruelty in the meat, egg and dairy industry. A shift took place within myself and my reasons for living a vegan/raw vegan lifestyle expanded quite a bit. A whole foods vegan (and raw vegan) diet does more than just benefit one’s health. There are so many reasons to be vegan: to promote compassion and non violence, for the people, for the planet, for the animals, and for our health. Living a vegan lifestyle practices world peace. It teaches to love and respect all beings’ desire to live in love and avoid pain, regardless of whether they are black, white, Asian, male, female, dog, cat, cow, whale, chicken, fish etc.

photo 12. You live in Maui with your family; what made you choose Maui and how do you like living there?

A while back I made a friend who lived in Maui with her husband and two kids but grew up in California. I asked her, “What’s so special about Maui? Why did you move to Maui?” to which she replied, “What’s there not to love? Sweet tropical fruit, warm sun year round, raising kids in warm and clear ocean water beneath the palm trees, laid back ‘Aloha’ lifestyle etc.” That sparked it for us. She couldn’t have said it better. My husband and I both grew up in Orange County, California, where the rush-hour mentality is non stop and much value is placed upon the material possession one owns. I felt a lot of social pressures growing up to look “perfect” and have really nice things. And we wanted something different for our children. We are SO glad we made this move! It really feels like we are supposed to be here, like God wants us here. Because everything just fell into place and we’ve made some really wonderful friends here on the island. We absolutely love the life we are living in Maui and are grateful for everyday.

23. Elvis thrives on a raw food diet consisting of only fruits and vegetables. What do you think will happen when he gets into his teens regarding food choices? 

To be honest, I’m not sure what will happen as he gets older, but I also don’t really concern myself with it. A friend of mine was raised on a raw vegan lifestyle. She strayed off her vegan diet in high school and college because of peer pressure and temptation, but then came back to the raw vegan diet on her own later. You can check out my YouTube video “Gabriela’s experience being raised as a raw vegan” HERE where she shares her thoughts and experience!

We value letting our children become who they want to be, and loving them just as they are even if they choose as they get older to live differently than we do. 

2015-01-11 002Both my husband and I are passionate about eating a raw vegan diet with an emphasis towards a minimalistic compassionate lifestyle. EVERYONE raises their children upon the passions and lifestyles they value. Some people criticize us, saying we “force” our lifestyle on him. But I could easily say the same thing to every parent out there raising their children they way of their choosing. Just because our lifestyle is not the NORM, does not mean our child is deprived of a happy childhood. In fact he LOVES the foods we feed him and enjoys his food with gusto! He loves the waterfall hikes we go on and adventures we seek. He loves our lazy beach days and raw family dinners, and so do we!

Our outlook is that if something is unhealthy for our child, that we should not give it to him because it is disrespectful to his body. We respect our son. And part of respecting our son is respecting his body. At his little age, it is 100% our duty to take care of and nurture him. It is our responsibility to treat him respectfully. And we respect his body by feeding him the healthiest foods, giving him the healthiest happiest start to his life that we can. He can make the choice to be unhealthy later, if he wants to, and experience life as he chooses. But right now, it is our duty to respect his wholeness- and to us, that includes food and health. That is why we feed him raw vegan foods, because it’s much easier to be happy when you are healthy.

But putting an emphasis on healthy eating is not the only reason we explain to elvis why we eat the way we do. In fact, a much larger emphasis is put upon eating what’s best for the planet (the number one thing destroying this planet is animal agriculture) (http://mindfullybliss.com/why-veganism-is-more-than-just-a-diet/), being kind to the animals (because instinctively children know that animals want to be loved and avoid pain just like us humans do), and to help solve world hunger (many times more land is required to feed a meat eater than a vegan. We could easily feed 10 billion people with the available crop land in America if everyone in America alone went vegan…There are only 7.5 billion people in the world. World hunger is not a scarcity problem, it’s a distribution problem). We hope that bringing this awareness to our children will create a lasting love for being vegan. But we also realize that if their passions differ from ours as they grow, that that is ok and our love for them will not change! And we will be happy with knowing we gave them the healthiest start to their lives, creating as minimal a negative impact as possible on the planet, the people, and the animals in the process of doing so.

2015-01-11 0064. The biggest misconception when it comes to veganism is that we don’t get enough nutrients. (protein, iron, calcium, etc) You are also expecting another child (congratulations). How do you nourish your body to keep both you and the baby healthy?

The misconceptions about nutrition when it comes to veganism is just that, they are mere misconceptions. For example, most people say we need milk for calcium to build strong bones and prevent osteoporosis (because the dairy industry and governmental organizations funded by the dairy industry tells them so). Yet staggering statistics show that the countries who consume the highest amounts of dairy (such as the United States, England and Sweden) are also are the countries who have the highest rates of osteoporosis. This is because all animal protein is highly acidic. So when animal foods are ingested, the human body often leaches calcium-phosphate from our bones to balance the acidity in the body. The phosphate does the job of balancing the acidity, and the calcium is excreted through the urine. We are actually promoting osteoporosis by drinking cow’s milk. We can get all the calcium we need by eating a wide variety of whole plant foods, and as a plus, our body doesn’t need to excrete calcium from our bones when we eat these alkaline plant foods.

I nourish my body by eating a wide variety of organic, tree ripened, local fruits and vegetables. I never restrict my calories and I eat enough to sustain myself and satisfy! As my baby grows, my appetite grows, so I simply eat more. The more calories we eat from fruits and vegetables, the more nutrition we are taking in. I get proper sleep and exercise and put importance on living a low stress lifestyle. Because stress wreaks havoc on our health! I eat the foods I gravitate towards: sweet tropical fruits, fresh citrus juice, tender greens, coconut meat, avocado, hemp seeds, collard greens, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, brown rice pasta, etc. I eat about a whole avocado every day (or coconut meat). And I add 1 tbsp of hemp seed and 1 tbsp of chia seed into my smoothies every other day. Another factor to be aware of when it comes to health, whether one is vegan or not, is that agriculture-based foods are not near as nutritionally dense as they should be and once were, due to early harvesting, over farming, and because the soil is not fertilized with all the nutrients we need. So it is helpful to add a nutritionally rich green powder to the diet to ensure one is covering all their nutritional needs. I add two heaping tbsp of barley grass juice powder to my smoothie every day.

I feel great and I love everything about pregnancy and birth! My vegan, mostly raw foods pregnancy experiences with both Elvis and this new baby in my tummy has been wonderful and I’m thankful for the life growing inside me.

2015-01-11 005

5. Final question: You and your family eat predominantly raw foods; do you find it difficult or restrictive when eating out, traveling, or visiting places with other people?

Actually no not at all. Enjoying healthy food in social situations really is what you make of it. We simply prepare in advance our favorite foods to take to a social gathering so that we are totally satisfied and content. And often we bring a large enough portion to share with others so they can enjoy some delicious salad or fruit with us! For example, I recently went to a pizzera restaurant for a friend’s birthday and Elvis came with me. I brought all of Elvis’ favorite foods (a mound of coconut meat, bell pepper, avocado, dried banana and kale) and I also brought a large avocado for myself. I ordered a double portion of salad on the menu, and requested no dressing, no cheese and no croutons. I also requested a side of lemon and then mashed the avocado I brought over the salad as a “dressing” and squeezed lemon on it. Voila! Makes a delicious and GINORMOUS filling salad. People were actually interested in the giant bowl of brightly colored veggies I was eating, and everyone was amazed at how happy Elvis was eating his fruits and veggies. He didn’t once ask to eat the pizza that surrounded us. I make simple friendly conversation with people and never revolve the conversation around our food. If and when people ask about why we are eating differently, or why Elvis is not begging for the pizza the other kids are eating, I give them friendly simple answers and then direct the conversation in another direction. 

photo 2When we go to a kid’s birthday party, I often call in advance and ask what type of dessert will be served. This way I can make a raw vegan version of the dessert for Elvis to have (and bring enough to share with others)! Also, crackers and chips are generally served at parties, so I make him special flax crackers before hand to take along which he LOVES. At this age of three, Elvis has truly developed a sense of not wanting to eat animals or anything that comes from an animal. So when he asks about certain foods kids are eating that we don’t eat, our explanation to him of WHY we don’t eat those foods makes sense to him. It’s quite cool! And there is almost always fruit served at parties to enjoy!

To help teach and inspire children to WANT to eat healthy and avoid animal foods, check out Ruby Roth’s children’s books at wedonteatanimals.com! They are amazing and do a very good job at explaining and inspiring kids!

And finally, when it comes to visiting places with other people, we generally do the offering to have people over at OUR house! Because I truly LOVE serving and preparing healthy food for others to enjoy. Our extended family is extremely supportive of our lifestyle and modifies a lot of dishes at holiday dinners to be vegan for us. And I always bring a giant salad for everyone to enjoy. We also have a lot of vegan people in our families (my sister is vegan, my husband’s brother, sister-in-law and kids are vegan), which makes that easier as well! Just be the example. Be love and light to others, and don’t let your differences ruin the fun in social situations. For more ideas and inspiration, check out my friend Kat Green’s awesome YouTube video “Eating Socially on a Low Fat Raw Vegan Diet” HERE.

There is no need to sacrifice your health to have a good time! Check out my YouTube video “Epic raw Vegan Kid Bday Party!” HERE.

2015-01-11 003Thank you so much for taking the time and answer these questions with the depth that you did. You’re a huge inspiration to the Vegan community and we could all learn a lot from you.

To find out more about Ellen and her lifestyle, follow the links below:

WEBSITE: www.mangoislandmamma.com
EBOOK: www.mangoislandmamma.com/shop/
INSTAGRAM: @ellenfisher
YOUTUBE: youtube.com/mangoislandmamma1

2015-01-11 013

 

Advice Article Interview

Interview with Sophie Gray; Keeping a Healthy Mind and Body

The new year has began and I’m sure everyone has some goals set for 2015. Some may want to eat healthier, some may want to lose weight or get fit. Whatever your goal is, I believe that you can achieve them as long as you believe in yourself and are determined.

Today I’m talking with Sophie Gray from WayofGray. Sophie’s an all around happy and active gal who leads a healthy lifestyle to thousands of people everyday.

Interview with Sophie Gray


 Hi Sophie. Thanks so much for agreeing to answer some interview questions with me. The reason I wanted to interview you is because you are so successful with multiple e-books, a very popular website, and nearly 180k followers on Instagram, and you are only 20 years old! So, let’s begin.

1. How old were you when you first became interested in health and nutrition?

I played sports all my life but it wasn’t until my last year in high school that I was introduced to this way of life – so I was 17!

Sophie Gray: Self Love and Exercise

2. How was Way of Gray created?

WayofGray was intended to be my modelling page but quickly took off by forming the right relationships and giving content people wanted! I remember it had a different name then I said to my boyfriend why don’t I call it “RayofGray” as in like a ray of light and he said “WayofGray?!” that sounds great! So the name was just a misunderstanding but it worked perfectly!

3. Explain what you do for a living and what your goal is?

For a living, I help thousands of girls all around the world reach their goals. I run my blog and Instagram page full time. While initially, my goals were to get where I am with my page now, they’re changing at every moment. I am now wanting to establish myself away from Instagram but use it as a backing. I am about to launch a Model Mentor Program which will help aspiring models reach their international modelling dreams – in a healthy way! I am really wanting to focus more on my nutrition career as that is what I’m passionate about most!

img_7823

4. The reason I and many others love your account is because you are so honest and down to earth. You tell it as it is, and if people don’t like what you’re saying, you say they can freely unfollow you. How do you find yourself staying confident when all society does is try to bring us down?

I had a bad habit of focusing on the negative – but it’s something I’m working on myself. I just always remind myself that any hateful comments I receive isn’t about me. People take out their unresolved feelings with themselves on others. By knowing this, I actually pity those who are negative or try to bring me down. It must be so difficult to be at war with yourself like that!

5. Tell us a little about your first ebook that became so popular over Instagram, and why you decided to continue creating more?

My first eBook was a Do It Yourself if there ever was one. I had my boyfriend’s best friend film the videos in some gym that was really yellow for some reasons so all of the videos are yellow. I had a boy I met at my local cafe make the book and we both had no idea what would happen. After releasing it, I quit my job and went on vacation for a month. After coming back, I realized it was something I could do full time so I haven’t worked since. I remember testing out the workouts and going to my old high school gym where my best friend/mentor worked and being so impressed with myself that I could make a workout that hard. After that, I started seeing Instagram as more of a business, but one I could put my personal spin on and it took off. I decided to make more because I wanted to help more people and knew it was the next step in my journey! Over time and over eBooks, I have finally found my style and am really proud of how they look now!

img_7820

6. What does being healthy mean to you?

My definition of healthy has drastically changed over the time I have had Instagram. It wasn’t until 9/10 months ago that I finally can say I know what MY healthy is and am finally thriving. To me, healthy is a mindset. It isn’t how often you go to the gym or eat well – it also isn’t the way you look either. I’m the heaviest I have ever weighted, I workout the least and eat the worst (still fine though) but I’m the happiest and healthiest I’ve ever been. Healthy is a balance and that balance is different for everyone!

7. I know a lot of girls that follow you are either looking to lose weight, or become self-confident because of eating disorders.  What are some words of advice you have for these young girls?

There is more to life and you are going to die one day. To me, that’s not advice as much as it is the blatant obvious – but it’s really important for girls, and everyone to let that sink in. Life is literally passing people by and it’s not something we get another chance at (well in this body at least) and are you really going to spend that precious time at war with yourself? Also, I would ask those girls to think about what they truly think will happen when they feature their body goals? Most likely, they’ll think they’ll finally be happy but being happy is something you can be right now, regardless of the way you look. Again, to me it’s all mindset and my advice is looking on improving your mindset as much as your body.

img_7825

8. This is a big question I and many others get often: what do you think about “cheat meals” and treating yourself?

I don’t think about cheat meals. I eat acai berry bowls some days and toblerone bars the other day. MY diet doesn’t define me enough for me to consider some meals as any different than others. I’m living a life and if I want a cookie today, I’ll have one but I’ll make sure to drink a lot of water and eat an apple. Cheat meals are just a mindset and if you give them so much power that they have a designated name, you’ll feel guilty every time you have one. I treat myself on the regular but I also take care of myself every day as well.

9. What are four tips you have for someone who wants to lose weight and begin living a healthier lifestyle?

One… Drink water, all day. Two.. Food isn’t the enemy and you need to eat stuff, just make sure it’s the right foods. Three.. Take probiotics  and Four… Always eat breakfast

img_7824

10. What is something you tell yourself to get your through a tough day?

Hmm.. I tell myself to get over it and that’s it’s not as bad as I’m making it out to be. You have a roof over your head but are beating yourself up about eating a cookie? Re-prioritize

11. Last question: if you could only eat five foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?

Cacao, avocados, acai berry bowls, raspberries and toblerone 😉

img_7819

Thanks so much Sophie! You can find Sophie on Instagram here, or visit her amazing website: http://wayofgray.com/

Advice Article Interview Vegan

Interview with Jaimee Stoczko; Parents and Veganism

 Today I am talking with Jaimee Stoczko from PlvntStrong.

Hi Jaimee. Thanks so much for answering some questions with me. I wanted to interview you because after watching your latest Youtube video, it made me realize that many young teenagers like yourself want to go vegan, but simply can’t because of their families. In your video you make it clear that your family does not promote this lifestyle, or even accept it, but you still manage to live this lifestyle and thrive. Let’s begin.

Q: How old are you and how long have you been a vegan for?

I’m 17 and have been vegan since February 13, 2014! 

What made you decide to go vegan?

Well I had been a vegetarian since August 2013, and I had made that transition purely for health reasons. I remember seeing a lot of posts on Instagram talking about the bad health effects of meat, so I decided to just cut it out to get closer to what I used to think was health. This still involved a lot of yogurt and generally food items that were high protein, low carb. In February I was inspired by Essena O’Neill’s rapid transition to veganism. She was posting a lot about documentaries and speeches that everyone should watch, and that was the first time I had heard of the documentary Earthlings. I had no idea what it was about, just that a lot of people claimed it was graphic. So, having no idea what to expect, I watched it. All I remember is that I was in my family room, home alone, with the lights off and each of my two puppies in my arms. I sobbed and sobbed and clutched on to them, wondering why this was the first time I was being made aware of all the suffering I had been taking part in. The day after, when I was trying to convince myself to just make the change to veganism, my parents came home from the grocery store. Holding my then-favorite ice cream by Ben & Jerry’s in her hand, my mom said, “Guess what we got you!” I didn’t want to eat it, but I was weak. I faced an inner-debate and finally settled on eating it. As I sat at my kitchen table struggling to take each bite, it finally hit me. This was my life. This was my decision. And I wasn’t going to let a stupid pint of dairy-filled sugar keep me from living with peace between my body and mind. So I cut off my crying, threw away the ice cream and made the switch. I haven’t once gone back, or even thought about it, since.

3. What do you think the best part about being a vegan is?

I kind of just touched on it, but by far the best effect of veganism has been the spiritual part. It has nothing to do with religion, a higher deity or God. It’s the peace that you feel between your thoughts and your actions. My whole life I had always loved animals and felt an immense connection to every animal, household or wild, that I encountered, and I considered myself an animal lover. It wasn’t until I was made aware of the torture I had been contributing to that I finally became a true animal lover. And the fact that every day I am living for a cause and doing something for that cause is what keeps me going. I have never felt so confident in myself or my actions, and I have never loved myself so much. If you can’t go vegan for the animals, do it for yourself. Be your own inspiration.

4. What did your parents think of you initially going vegan? How do they react to it currently?

Well initially, I didn’t tell anyone I was going vegan. I think I was half afraid of judgment, but mostly afraid that I would fail in my pursuit of compassion. Being a person who has gone through many phases, I could just envision my family making fun of me two months down the road, saying, “Remember that one time Jaimee tried to go vegan?” I didn’t even tell my friends. It felt like I was doing something taboo, and I was the only one who knew about. Well, about a month after going vegan I was in the kitchen with my mom. We had had discussions months earlier, at sporadic, unplanned times, about veganism and if I were to eventually eat that way. Well, we were having a similar discussion, and she said, “Yeah, I mean, I’m okay with you being vegetarian, but I don’t want you going vegan. It’s too unhealthy, and I don’t think I could allow you to eat that way.” At which point, I replied, “Well…I already have been for a month.” And then, excited, I added the zinger of, “And would you look at that, I’m still standing.” Hey, she couldn’t even argue with that. Later that night she told my father about it, and they both made it very clear that they were unhappy with me. All I kept telling them was, “This is my body, and what I put or don’t put into it has no effect on you.” I had always been extremely independent, so after a week or so they stopped bothering me about it. They would just poke fun at what I was eating when given the chance and act superior, which I used to take so personally. They are much better now, and they often fight in my defense concerning food. A couple weeks ago my brothers and their wives came over to my house to celebrate my birthday, and my parents had told them to get me a vegan dish. They told them exactly where to go and what to order, and they completely ignored it, leaving me with no food. My parents got so upset with my brothers, telling them how disappointed they were in them and how it was disrespectful to my way of living. It was in that moment that I realized their transformation. They still don’t cook, grocery shop or order vegan food for me, but they have come to respect my way of living. And for that I am extremely grateful.

5. Do you have to buy your own groceries?

I do! Before I could drive on my own, my dad would take me to the grocery store every weekend, and he would do his shopping while I did mine. Then we would meet at checkout. But that only lasted a few months, as I’ve been driving on my own since the end of May. They pay for the food, but I shop for it on my own and pay for my own dinners out and randomly purchased, unsanctioned food.

6. Do people ever make fun of you or give you a hard time because of this lifestyle choice?

Absolutely. My friends were very against it at first, mostly because they thought it would change me; they thought I would be less fun to hang out with now since they couldn’t go get a late-night burger and fries with them. Well, let me just say that that is the kind of thing that shows you who your true friends are. The good ones changed and respected my decision, and the ones who gave me nothing but grief for my decision are no longer significant parts of my life. And this is exactly what I mean when I say that veganism brings you closer to yourself. Any other lifestyle change that could cause me to lose friends would be one that I would avoid. However, veganism is something that makes you so confident in yourself that losing friends is just a part of the journey. I am living for something larger than myself, and I love myself for that.

7. Do you find it is difficult to go to public events or restaurants with people?

I used to definitely get anxiety about going out with people, but now I really don’t. If I have any ability to do so, I make sure we’re going to a restaurant where I will be able to get at least one dish. If there is no way I can change the place we are going, I call the restaurant/do internet research to see what they offer. If they have something for me, great. If they don’t, I eat before we go and then just drink water. Depending on who I go with, I may get concerned looks of people thinking I’m starving myself, but I simply explain myself. And once again, I love myself now to not feel offended even if they continue to think I’m starving myself. I know I’m not, and that’s all that matters.

8. What are some words of advice for people going through similar circumstances?

The only piece of advice that I will give to beginner vegans is exactly what I have been saying throughout this entire interview: love yourself enough to have confidence in your decision to live cruelty free. Some people simply do not understand how you can feel so differently than the mainstream, and I feel sorry for them. But just because they can’t wrap their head around it doesn’t mean you should feel insecure. There are about a million people on Instagram and Tumblr who have your back, and you’re most definitely not crazy. Just be kind to those who don’t understand, educate when prompted, and lead by example. You have more power than you think. I cannot tell you how many times my friends have told me in the past month or so that they want to go vegetarian/vegan. My best friend even went vegetarian, and she was a hardcore meat eater before. And this was all ten months after I went vegan! Once people see that you’re living this way and feeling amazing, they will have no reason to argue against you. Be a shining light in a world of people living in the dark, and believe in the power of compassion. You are a part of something so big, and for that you should be proud.

9. Last question: what is your favourite vegan meal?

My favorite vegan meal is stirfry! Mmmmm I get this amazing coconut tofu stirfry from this place called Harvest near me. It’s to die for!

 

Thanks so much Jaimee! You can find Jaimee on Instagram here, or visit her YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com

Interview Personal

Interview with Carlee Bayes on Being Vegan

Carlee was a vegetarian for 6 months prior to going vegan. She is also an environmentalist studying Environmental Science at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario. She’s super cool, has ginger hairs, and loves polar bears. She is also my rockin roommate where we reside in our current house in Peterborough.

Let’s begin.

Carlee and I

Carlee and I

Q: So November 1st was your one month of going vegan. How do you feel so far?

Um, I don’t really feel that different physically. I have lost a bit of weight; my pants feel a bit looser. I look at other people and I look at what they’re eating and I feel better about what I’m eating in the sense that I am no longer contributing to the murder of animals and no longer increasing my carbon footprint.

Q: What made you initially decide to go vegan?

For a few weeks I had been learning more and more about veganism. I was already a vegetarian for 6 months prior to this, but the final turning point for me is when I watch the documentary Cowspiracy (with Katrina) and learned all about the dangers of animal agriculture/factory farming, how many innocent animals die a year, and how bad it is for our environment.

Why Veganism is more than Just a Diet

Q: What did your family and friends think of your decision to switch?

My parents were really supportive of my decision and even make me my own little separate dinner from theirs. My dad was really concerned about the proper nutrients at first but he said as long as I was happy and healthy then that’s all that mattered. After a month he’s still not 100% beside me on it but in the end it’s my decision and they’re proud of me and support me either way. My mom also sends me little vegan recipes on Facebook; she loves it. Also, both of them are now starting to eat healthier than they did before.

As for friends, they were really surprised at first but very supportive. I still get comments such as “vegan?? Why!?” but although they don’t really understand, they’re still happy for me.

Q: What are some positive outcomes of going vegan?

I don’t have to worry about eating shitty foods and I’m not tempted by them at the grocery store. I know that they’re there and I know that I could eat them, but I also know I’m not going to because I don’t want to harm any living beings. I also feel healthier and more positive.

Q: Any negatives?

Having to answer the question “why are you a vegan” every single time I meet someone or talk to someone. Also, not being able to go get pizza with the girls (that we live with) or being able to eat food with the girls when they get food. And not being able to attend ice-cream sundae parties. But that’s not really a negative because, who even has ice cream sundae parties anymore.

Q: Before this, did you ever think that you would/could go vegan?

A while ago when I was eating turkey, fish and chicken, I thought it would be easy to go vegetarian. But when I thought about veganism.. I thought, no way. I love my eggs and milk and cheese too much. The thought never really even occurred to me when I was a vegetarian until I realized how important it was to cut out all of those things because it may not seem like the animals are being harmed for those things, but in reality, they are and I knew I couldn’t let that happen.

10752051_10152386345716123_1235189532_n

Carlee’s vegan dinner of salad and faux soy chicken.

Q: What kinds of foods do you eat now and how do they differ from the foods you ate before?

I love cereal with almond milk (which is basically the same as before except with almond milk), fake chicken, Tofurky turkey slices, chocolate banana smoothies, fake cheese to make grilled cheese, pasta and tomato sauce, soba noodles, superfood salads, lots of berries, and for sweets I buy vegan chocolate bars and vegan chocolate chips that I eat straight from the bag. (They taste exactly like regular choco chips)

The foods I eat now are basically the same things I ate before except vegan-ified 🙂 Not that hard!

Q: Why do you think other people should give this lifestyle a try?

I think people don’t understand that animals are just like us and that they have feelings and emotions and like to play and do things and people become so disconnected from it. People should attempt to be vegan to save lives that are important. And also to clean out your insides and get rid of all the bad things in your body.

Q: As you know, I support going vegan for health, the animals, and the planet. What was the #1 reason for you going vegan?

I think the main reason behind me going vegan was that I knew I couldn’t be a true environmentalist and save the planet, which is my dream, and change the planet without being a vegan because factory farming is the #1 contributor to Global Warming, Climate Change, and so many other things. I don’t think I could be true to what I believe in without making that change to vegan.

IMG_8865Q: What do you think the biggest misconception about going vegan is?

Um, probably the whole not getting enough protein thing. People don’t understand that chicken is not the only source of protein in the world. And also, the animals you are eating are literally vegan themselves. Cows eat grass and corn, and then YOU eat THEM. So the only reason you’re getting protein from them is because they got protein from plants.

(The same thing works if you were to eat a meat eating human. – Katrina)

protein-intakeQ: Okay, and last question. Do you have anything to say or any advice to anyone out there who wants to go vegan but ‘loves their chicken’ etc?

Honestly, I realized it’s not that big of a change because I can still have ‘chicken’ but it’s not from an animal. And I can have ‘cheese’, but it didn’t come from an animal. And I understand it’s not exactly like the real thing, but it’s pretty darn close and I’m not that picky of a person so it’s good enough for me. If you have faith in yourself and truly want to make a change, then you will realize it’s actually easy and that you can actually do it; that’s what worked for me.

2014-10-31 001 2014-10-31 002

Carlee and I enjoying delicious ice-cream sandwiches made from coconut milk.