ADAM CROOKES: What do you think made you want to become vegan?
BRENDA: I had been planning to become vegan for as long as I can remember. As a kid it just always made sense to me. I couldn’t see why it was necessary to use animals in any way. Culture and family kind of held me back, but as soon as I moved out, I became a vegetarian and later, vegan. Ethics and health had a lot to do with my ‘final switch over’ to veganism. It finally stuck when I realised it was a win-win.
ADAM CROOKES: Why do you think it is growing in popularity?
BRENDA: Activism – one-hundred percent. That and the fact that it’s easy to market. No one actually is comfortable with hurting and killing animals so it’s easy to sell and become trendy fast. It’s also an ecological choice, and we’re all starting to think more about the environmental impact of our consumer choices.
JAMES: Veganism is growing because of how easy it is to access information now. Documentary’s like ‘Cowspiracy’ and ‘What The Health’ on Netflix. ‘Land Of Hope And Glory’ on YouTube. These documentaries and other footage are helping to show the public what the meat, dairy and egg industries have done such a good job at hiding from us in the past. In 2018, there is no longer any need to eat the flesh or drink the breast milk of other animals when there are are so many healthier choices that don’t involve the suffering of these innocent animals that we would usually claim to love or say are cute.
ADAM CROOKES: What are some of the big myths and misconceptions about veganism?
JAMES: That vegans are skinny and nutrition deficient. Some of the top athletes are now vegan – bodybuilding, boxing, tennis and more. They are out performing their rivals and are only eating plants. Protein is in all plant foods. A whole foods plant based diet is the optimal diet for our species. Aiding workout recovery time, reducing inflammation and reversing heart disease.
BRENDA: There are too many [myths]! But the biggest would be that it is some sort of sacrifice – it’s not! Veganism isn’t giving anything up, it’s simply not taking what never belonged to you. I enjoy food and my life just as much as ever, if not more, and it doesn’t take any will power or huge amount of focus to simply read a few ingredients lists or ask waiters a few extra questions. And with all the alternatives we have now, and apps and information available, it’s honestly the easiest choice ever.
NADJA: People think that we can’t live and thrive on a vegan diet. There are so many myths, like that we need calcium from cows milk, or protein from animal flesh, when in fact those products harm your body and you can thrive on a vegan diet, like many vegans and even athletes prove.
ADAM CROOKES: How has it affected your life?
BRENDA: I have become active, which has just opened me up to fighting for justice in so many ways. I’ve learned more about nutrition and the environment. I feel more compassionate than ever and I also have met the most incredible people this past year who are as passionate as I am about animal rights and living in balance with the world. It’s honestly been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
NADJA: It gave my life a lot more value. I live healthier on a plant based diet. Also I’m grateful that I made the connection, for me it’s like waking up. I’m happy that I can help others make the connection too, aligning our core values of love and compassion with our actions.
ADAM CROOKES: Some researchers have found that veganism may not give people a strong amount of nutrition. Do you have any thoughts on that?
BRENDA: There’s this big health debate when it comes to veganism, and although I’m not a doctor or dietitian, I can definitely say that there’s enough evidence to support that humans can survive and thrive on only plants and in fact their health benefits greatly for it. This is anecdotal but I’ve never felt better and I’m coming up on year four of no animal products.
ADAM CROOKES: Is veganism hard?
JAMES: No, it’s so easy. Veganism is only hard when you think of yourself. As soon as you remember there is a victim involved, then it becomes easy. You don’t miss out on anything when you become vegan, you just realise that the animal flesh, skin fur, eggs and milk weren’t yours to take to begin with.
NADJA: It’s so easy! Moving your arm a few centimeters in the supermarket to buy almond or soy milk instead of cows milk is not an inconvenient thing to do. Being vegan is easier than ever in this day and age. Also veganism is just non-participation. You not participate in the crime of eating animals. But being active is the real moral baseline. Actively trying to stop others from harming animals, like educating them about the consequences of their food choices and show them another way.
ADAM CROOKES: What would you say is the most difficult thing about being vegan?
JAMES: The most difficult thing is simply how you now view the world around you. There are animal products everywhere. When you walk down the ‘meat’ isle all I now see is a graveyard. Chopped up body parts that now no longer resemble the innocent animal it once was. But things are changing and this world that was once so cruel and brutal to animals will soon not just be a place that claims to love animals but actually does.
INTERVIEW & STORY: ADAM CROOKES
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