I’m super excited to introduce you to a friend and fellow vegan blogger, Brooke from How to Vegan. You may recognize this name if you follow my Facebook page, since I recently posted a picture of her vegan mac and cheese (which is INCREDIBLE, btw). How to Vegan is a place to find recipes, answers to your FAQ vegan questions, and just some serious inspiration. I especially gravitate towards the vegan clothing/accessory posts because I’m trying to be better about this, myself.
I asked her a few questions so that we could all get to know her inspiring story better – and keep a lookout, because next week she’ll be sharing a guest post with us. It’s titled “How Committing to Cruelty Free Living Saved my Mental Health,” and it’s definitely something I think each one of us can relate to on some level!
Onto the interview ;)
I had been vegetarian for a couple of years when I stumbled upon the organization Farm Sanctuary. I had been looking for volunteering or fundraising opportunities to keep my mind busy while I was searching for employment, and I learned about the Walk for Farm Animals which is an annual walk that takes place in numerous cities across the country to raise funds for Farm Sanctuary. I started clicking around on their website, watching videos of their animals, and when I began to gather that this was an explicitly vegan organization, I was honestly surprised (which seems ridiculous to me now, by the way). I just had so little experience with the entire idea of being vegan that I never imagined that there were this many people in our country who cared so deeply about this cause that this annual event could be so successful. On top of that, I related to these people. They felt about animals in exactly the way that I did. And they were really smart, and really informed. Farm Sanctuary was what got the entire ball rolling for me, and everything that I read or watched or listened to after that point only validated their message for me. I am vegan for the animals, 100%. Since then I have visited Farm Sanctuary and had the pleasure of meeting their shelter director, Susie Coston. These people, and animals, are my inspiration for my way of life and also the way that I approach veganism with others.
What’s your favorite recipe?
My favorite recipe has got to be one of my most simple recipes. I’ve posted photos but not the actual recipe of my black bean tacos before, and this is a staple in my house. I stew black beans in vegetable broth with garlic and onions and serve it on a corn tortilla with fresh guacamole, shredded cabbage, homemade habanero sauce (which my husband makes in big batches every week after being inspired on a trip to Belize), and a cashew-lime crema. It is easy, fast, pretty healthy, and just feeds my soul. I could also talk about that trip to Belize all day, but I will just tell you that if you enjoy hot sauce but have never had Belizean style hot sauce, you truly must change that. Marie Sharp’s Prickly Pear Habanero Sauce really just might change your life. I had it for the first time in the middle of the jungle on rice and beans, but surprisingly it tastes just as good in North America ordered through Amazon.
Any advice you can share with someone looking to transition their closet to vegan products only?
My best piece of advice is to get good at reading labels, and get use to doing it all the time. You will be very surprised when you begin reading labels just how many options you have. Familiarize yourself with where the labels are normally located , learn what the symbols mean (especially the symbol for leather, as shoes are the most common goods that are labeled with symbols), and just get use to always checking labels before you buy. You can keep shopping at the places you love if you are consistently double checking the materials first.
What is the #1 piece of advice you have for someone who is thinking about going vegan?
My number one piece of advice if you are thinking about going vegan is to just not take it too seriously. Keep your motivations in mind, internalize them and commit to them, but don’t let mistakes derail you. If you take it too seriously and are concerned with perfection and purity, you are setting yourself up for disappointment and will become easily discouraged. Becoming a perfect vegan overnight is overwhelming and not easy to manage. Don’t put that kind of pressure on yourself.