JGV interview series

Interview with Sarah from Wildgypsycaravan.com

I haven’t shared an interview post with you guys in a while, so today I am extremely excited to share my interview with the beautiful inside and out Sarah from wildgypsycaravan.com.

Sarah and I initially connected on instagram and I immediately knew I had to interview her for the blog as she is such a genuinely kind person with an abundance of plant-based knowledge to share. Sarah is raising a beautiful vegan family and documents their compassionate lifestyle on her blog and instagram in an incredibly authentic and relatable way. Her lovely little family has also embraced a life of minimalism, something which I find so fascinating and inspiring!  I am so glad I got to know Sarah better through this interview; I’m sure you are all going to love her story as much as I do ▷►▹▸

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Q: How did your vegan journey start, what were your main inspirations and influences?
A: As a child I was always strange around meat and was on and off vegetarian all throughout my childhood. When I was in college I watched the documentary Food Inc., and never touched white meat (the only thing I was still consuming) ever again. I was vegetarian for about 7 years and continuously wanted to make the leap to veganism but was having a hard time letting go of the cheese, the only animal product still in my diet. I was always looking for a reason to dislike it. I began to research animal treatment and welfare, as well as health related problems caused by animal products. My first step towards veganism came after I watched “Forks Over Knives.” I was still having trouble letting go of the cheese, mostly because I could never do it for myself (being vegan for health). One day in a small local bookstore in a seaport town I came across a book called “The Lucky Ones” by Jenny Brown who owns Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. It gave me all the reasons I needed and more to swear off dairy for good and turned me into an ethical vegan. When it comes from an ethical place, being vegan is never difficult for me. That was 2 years ago!

Q: It’s so great you’re raising a beautiful vegan daughter, tell us about how you and your partner came to raise a vegan family?
A: My husband (Jim) and I are both vegan, and I am so grateful for that. We’ve both found so much joy and inspiration from being vegan and we wouldn’t change that for the world. We’ve been together since we were 15 years old and have grown together as individuals and as a couple. We both came from non-vegan families, but with each others support we have found and embraced this lifestyle. We lived in San Diego for a time after college and that is where we began our path into veganism. I was already not eating meat and after researching animal products, Jim followed after me and became vegetarian. He immediately began dropping weight and after we both went vegan together, he lost 70lbs and cured his chronic psoriasis which would often overtake parts of his body throughout his teenage years. That’s all the proof we needed to never look back. When we became pregnant we knew that we would never raise our daughter any other way. We want her to grow up being kind and compassionate to all living beings, have the opportunity to be in glowing beautiful health her whole life, and to hopefully inspire others to do the same.

vegan baby

Q: Have you got any tips for someone planning on raising a vegan family?
A: Be certain in your decision to raise your family vegan, regardless of what other family members or society thinks. I know that this is different to a lot of people but I also feel extremely enlightened by veganism. Children are born with a desire to be kind and to love. They do not want to harm living beings. This makes the most sense to us and I only hope to inspire others to leave the animals off their plates and to find a more compassionate way of existing. A lot of people are fearful of their child being different, but I feel in my heart that when a child is raised that way from birth, and have an understanding of right and wrong, they will always do the right thing and encourage others to. Being educated on nutrition and animal welfare is the best thing you can do as a parent so you can radiate confidence in your choices.

Q: I love when you share pictures of your gorgeous little doggy on your insta (crazy dog lady here!) does he follow a veggie diet too?
A: Our fur baby Lavender is 100% vegan and thriving off of it. There are so many back and forths about companion animals being vegan but I fully support one for doggies. We’re totally obsessed with her and want her to have the longest, healthiest life possible. I’ve seen too many people feeding their dogs hamburgers and other animals products, only to have them suffer in the end. She’s so happy and so healthy and when we take her to get her hair cut, we hear nothing but how she has the best, shiniest coat around…yep- it’s all the veggies, fruit and lentils she eats! She eats a more rounded diet than most toddlers (ha!). Lavender loves blueberries, carrots, apples, and oatmeal :).

vegan dog

Q: It’s great that you share your compassionate lifestyle on your blog and instagram in such an authentic and relatable way. Tell us about the inspiration behind your blog and insta.
A: I love connecting with other people who are so passionate about living a healthy, kind lifestyle and I get so much joy from writing my blog, Wild Gypsy Caravan and curating my Instagram. It’s really all too fun! I’ve always had a passion for creating…I feel most in my “zone” when i’m doing something with my hands or making beautiful visuals. I fell into blogging in college for something completely unrelated and since then it has totally evolved. I love sharing my lifestyle so I can inspire others to live wildly authentic, enjoy every moment of their lives, and to do so while being kind to this earth and the beings we share it with. I have met so many wonderful people via my instagram and blog and I hope to continue to as we ride this crazy adventure called life. Wild Gypsy Caravan is quite literally our home, a 200 square foot renovated FEMA trailer. It’s stories and inspiration from inside our home and from wherever we make our home. We’re a traveling family seeking beauty and happiness in the every day.

Q: In addition to being vegan, your family has embraced minimalism, tell us more about this.
A: Our family found minimalism about a year and a half ago. We were drowning in debt and couldn’t figure out why. We both had Master’s degrees, jobs, and we kept upgrading our life along with it. Apartment to condo to BIG house. It seemed like all the right things we “should” be doing. Then we realized, why? Why are we on this endless path to working far too many hours only to retire? We wanted to spend our time together now. As silly as this sounds, Jim and I are madly in love and want to be with each other…all the time (crazy, right?). So we figured out how we could. By having and desiring less, we get more time in return. When our time isn’t spent making money to consume things that only bring temporary enjoyment, we get our lives back. We need less money now to live a fulfilled life and we make that money by doing things we like to do. This is still a process and we hope that in a years time we’ll be able to hit the road and live untethered full time. We want our daughter to experience having both her parents around all the time and us having wild adventures together.

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Q: All of your recipes look incredibly delicious. If you could eat only one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A: Oh my goodness! This is SO hard. I have a total obsession with mangoes and I could eat boat loads of them. I would probably choose those over most things! As far as a prepared dish it’s a toss up between chocolate peanut butter “nice cream” or the not-so-healthy path of BBQ pulled Jackfruit sandwich with pickles! ::drool:: Oh man…I also LOVE fresh bread and olives. See, this was too hard for me. 😹

Q: Since going vegan I have experienced so many amazing health benefits; what positive effects has adopting the vegan diet had on you?
A: I have struggled with weight my entire life and since becoming vegan I have completely changed my relationship with food. I overeat less often and I have stopped that awful cycle of eat, guilt, eat, guilt. It has redefined what food means to me and I am more grateful and in control of it than I have ever been before. I continue to lose weight (50lbs or so) while eating vegan and by sticking to whole foods from the earth rather than anything processed. I have noticed my skin is always clear and my energy levels are always good, even after a meal. My husband healed his psoriasis and lost a ton of weight (70lbs).

vegan wrap

Q: Describe a day in the life of Sarah & Jim.
A: Wake up, stretch, drink some lemon water, make a big breakfast loaded with fruit. These days we usually run out to our tiny house to work on it (we’re super anxious to move in!). If it’s the weekend we plan some crazy adventure like a day trip somewhere new or have a picnic. Eat a bunch of mangoes for lunch (or sub any fruit!). Have playtime with Stella and Lavender, work on our Etsy shop, make a warm meal for dinner, sit and and sip tea on our porch under our amber lights on the Wild Gypsy Caravan. Snuggle and read Stella a book. Fall asleep talking to each other. Rinse, repeat.

Q: Do you have a favourite inspirational quote to leave us with?
A: “Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson. I created a piece of art to this quote about a year ago and it hangs over our bed. It reminds me to live fearless and with intention and adventure every day. It inspires me to live differently- rather that be veganism, minimalism or to live outside the box.

Thank you so much Sarah for sharing your story. Be sure to check out Sarah’s awesome blog at: wildgypsycaravan.com to follow her family’s beautiful journey ♥

Interview with Vegan blogger Ashley from Lipstickandberries.com

Today I am so excited to share my interview with my lovely plant-based blogger friend Ashley. Ashley runs an awesome lifestyle blog Lipstick and Berries and instagram account where she shares everything from plant based recipes, to health and beauty tips with her 182,000 followers. She is such a beautiful person inside and out and has the coolest hair I’ve ever seen (major hair envy over here!) Ashley is working on so many exciting and inspiring projects, including writing a dessert smoothie e-book (okay, YUM!) and developing a new online magazine, so I thought it’d be great for you guys to get to know a little more about her ▷►▹▸
AshGreenSmoothie
Q: How did your vegan journey start? What were your main inspirations and influences?
A: Actually my journey started by accident.  I always had really terrible acne growing up, and I literally tried everything.  I was never overweight, but my weight fluctuated quite often.  Even if you are not overweight, it is still very frustrating to worry about your food.  I felt like there had to be a way that one could eat and be satisfied AND healthy!  I stumbled across information on a plant based diet on the internet, and I thought it seemed pretty cool!  I decided to experiment and work some magic in the kitchen, and VOILA…my health, my skin, my weight…everything balanced out!  No more acne (dairy is the worst thing for acne prone skin), no more weight fluctuation, and I felt pretty damn awesome!
Q: Are any your friends and family vegan too?
A: My husband and my mom eat a plant based diet, and so many of my friends are vegan!  I am very blessed to be in a healthy family and have a great support system!
Q: What would be your top tips for someone who wants to transition into a plant based lifestyle?
A: I would recommend for people to do their research first.  It is very common for people to radically switch to a vegetarian or vegan diet, but they fail because they were not prepared (then they say that their body isn’t capable of surviving only on plants…not true…they failed because they did not do their homework).  I would recommend for people to clean out their pantries of “crap” food, restock with healthy snacks (dried fruit, hummus, low fat crackers, lots of  fruit…).  Also a big thing that people need is Vitamin B12, which cannot be provided on a vegan diet.  Another tip is to tell them to EAT ENOUGH FOOD!!  We are not meant to survive on only lettuce and cherry tomatoes.  A plant based diet is much more than grass, lol!  Lastly, I would tell them that it is natural to feel “less energetic” or lethargic the first couple weeks entering a plant based diet.  People need to remember that meat & dairy are ADDICTING, and their body will go through withdrawal symptoms.  These symptoms will subside relatively soon. 🙂
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Q: I absolutely LOVE your blog lipstick & berries! Tell us about your blogging journey and the inspiration behind it.
A: Thanks Jade!  I had always thought it would be cool to start a blog, although I knew nothing about it.  Years ago, I had thought about starting a Hair blog, but that never came to fruition because I owned a hair salon at the time.  I sold my hair salon in 2012 and shortly after became involved in the plant based lifestyle scene.  Fortunately, at this point in my life, I had the available time to start my blog, and I decided to incorporate al the things I love…health, beauty, style, and wellness.  I am not your typical vegan, so I wanted a blog that wasn’t the typical (or should I say, stereotypical) style.  I love my glam veganism style, and I want to show the world that vegan has no stigma.  If more people start realizing that we can all be uniquely our own, then more & more people will feel comfortable being a part of our plant based world! 🙂
Q: I’m so excited for your new website & upcoming ebook – can you share any more details about these with us?
A: Yay, thanks!! I’m super excited too! 🙂  As I have said, Lipstick and Berries covers a lot of territory, Health, Beauty, Style, Wellness, Nutrition…. it’s a lot for a girl to handle.  I have met so many wonderful people through the plant based world, that i decided to remodel Lipstick and Berries and turn it into a “community effort.”  Im planning for it to be will be a Women’s Healthy Lifestyle Online Magazine! (woohoo!!)  I have a group of contributors that will be writing articles, recipes, and posts for Lipstick and Berries, (as well as myself still).
That being said, I decided to create a brand new website that is only focused on Food & Nutrition!  It will be called, www.AshleyDiana.com (yay, my name).  I became certified as a Plant Based Nutritionist through Cornell University, and I wanted to zone in health skills into one separate website thats all about food.
My upcoming ebook is called “Marvelous Milkshakes!”  It is SOOOO delicious….ok I’m bragging, but it IS totally awesome! 🙂  The book contains 20 recipes for healthy milkshakes inspired by your favorite desserts!  They actually taste like the real thing!!  I’m talking…Red Velvet Cake, Peanut Butter Cup, Carrot Cake….oh my I’m hungry now!
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Q: If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?
A: Hmmm that’s a really tough question!  I would probably eat a huge bowl of 45 Fresh Medjool Dates.  Yep, that would be perfect for me! I’m obsessed with dates; they are nature’s perfect candy!
Q: What is your favourite cruelty-free beauty/hair product?
A: I really love Derm Organic Leave In Oil Treatment!  It is a wonderful product and it smells amazing!  I have used Derm Organic on my hair for years, and this was the top selling hair product in my salon in Dallas, Texas.  It’s perfect for every hair type, and it instantly becomes a favorite!
Q: Going vegan has been an incredibly healthy transition for me, what positive effects has adopting a plant based lifestyle had on you?
A: Oh gosh, so many wonderful things here too!  I always feel refreshed, light, and happy!  I feel like going vegan changed my perception and views on so many other things than just nutrition.  I feel like I am more passionate and I understand my own feelings on a deeper level.  Something about connecting with the earth and people, truly opens your eyes!  There are no downsides to a vegan diet, only positives!
Q: Describe a day in the life of Ashley. 
A: I wake up whenever (although i prefer it to be early).  I make hot tea, drink a huge glass of alkaline water, then I do morning yoga stretches.  Next, I do my social media for about one hour, then I have breakfast.  I usually have a big green smoothie, a bowl of oatmeal, or a huge fruit platter.  I work from home, so the rest of the day I do one of three things: create recipes, photograph food, or work on computer blog/emails all day.  It sounds simple, but let me assure you…I never have enough time haha!  I basically have like 4 full time jobs.  I try to work out 2-3 times a week; I love zumba!  (I used to workout daily, but honestly, there aren’t enough hours in my days now with 2 websites and ebooks and managing it all!)  In the evening, I often go out for dinner – there are some great places for vegan food in Las Vegas where I live.  That’s about it!! I love every part of my day because I’m so happy and passionate about what I do!
Q: Do you have a favourite inspirational quote to leave us with?
A: “Work for a cause not applause. Live life to express not to impress. Don’t strive to make your presence noticed just make your absence felt.”
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Thank you so much Ashley for sharing your story. Be sure to check out Ashley’s awesome blog/soon to be online magazine at: lipstickandberries.com ♥

Interview with Ashley of raeofsunshinelife.com

Today I am extremely excited to welcome to the blog, the gorgeous and amazingly talented Ashley, founder of raeofsunshinelife.com. Ashley uses this platform to share her sunshine life with her thousands of followers, including nutritious vegan recipes and an array of inspiring articles. Ashley is such a great voice for the vegan movement and I am so grateful to have had the chance to get to know her a little better and to be able to share this with all of you  ▼▽▼▽▼
Rae of sunshine life
Q: How did your vegan journey start? What were your main inspirations and influences behind the transition?

A: My vegan journey started in 2009 when a friend of mine started dating a vegan. At the time I was a vegetarian and had been for eleven years but had never considered veganism. This person asked me why I was vegetarian and I said “because I love animals.” He then asked me why I consume dairy and eggs if I love animals. I hadn’t ever given it thought before and started to learn about the dairy and egg industry from that point forward. It took me a few years to fully transition to veganism, but slowly and surely I did. I found it very difficult going vegan on my own and thankfully, I met my husband around that time and he also wanted to go vegan. We acted as each other’s support system and learned how to cook vegan together.

My inspiration definitely came from cold, hard facts that equally broke my heart and motivated me to become a better person and live with mindful compassion.

Q: I absolutely love reading your beautiful blog where you share lots of delicious recipes, meal guides, interviews with other vegans, and inspire people to live a positive, Sunshine life. Tell us more about the inspiration behind RoS and how you got started with blogging.

A: Thank you so much!!! I’m so happy you enjoy it! Rae of Sunshine slowly evolved while I was healing from an injury. In 2013, I was cooking onion rings in our kitchen. The oil in the pot caught on fire and the kitchen cupboards instantly went up in flames. I yelled to my husband to catch our cats so we could evacuate but they were running all over the place, terrified. I put on oven mitts and yelled at him to open the door. He didn’t know what I was about to do, but I grabbed the burning pot and ran with it. The fire burnt my face and hair while I was running and the oil spilled down my legs and feet, causing second degree burns all over my lower body. I chose to naturally heal myself with fruits and vegetables and didn’t take any medications (not even a Tylonel) throughout my healing process. The doctor wanted to do skin grafting surgery but because my body healed so well and so quickly by the plants I was consuming, I didn’t need surgery after all.

I spent a long time on the couch, not moving at all, while I was healing and came up with the idea for the blog. It actually only became a real blog in October 2014, where I now post four – five times a week.

Q: I read on your blog how you struggled with discovering the harsh realities of the egg & dairy industry when you first became vegan. This is something I, and I’m sure most other vegans, can definitely identify with. How did you transform this sadness and frustration into something positive and inspiring?

A: To be quite honest, because I realized the way I was channeling my passion was angry, rude and forceful towards the people I love. The more I tried to talk to my friends and family about what I was learning, the more I pushed them away. I know it’s just Facebook, but a lot of people were ‘unfriending’ me because of the graphic content I posted. I started to look at the other vegans I was surrounding myself with a little closer and really ask myself ‘do I want to be like this?’ From the outside looking in, it appeared to me that they were fighting the world rather than working productively to change it. I decided there and then that I needed to re-adjust the way I was getting my message out. I started to focus on the positive aspects of veganism, like the health benefits, and the success stories of animal rescues. I still feel very upset about it from time to time, which only affirms my passion, but do my best to remain positive.

Q: Going vegan has been an incredibly healthy transition for me as it has made me so much more aware of what I’m putting into my body and after a few months of a plant based lifestyle, my anemia and other vitamin deficiencies had completely disappeared. What positive effects has adopting the vegan lifestyle had on you?

A: That’s so amazing for you!! I’m so happy that you’ve had such an amazing experience! I’ve definitely had a lot of great experiences and changes, too. Aside from completely healing myself from the fire (I don’t have ANY scars left), I used to suffer from migraines and they’re gone, I can run faster and further, I can sink into yoga poses waaaaaay deeper than before, I’ve lost over 20 lbs and my skin is perfectly clear all the time. I feel healthy, my hair is longer and my overall sense of being feels balanced and well. We really ARE what we eat 🙂

Q: You recently posted on instagram how you were able to heal yourself through a plant-based diet after an accident – I’m always so amazed by the incredible power of plants – can you tell us a little more about your recovery.

A: Thank you! The recovery itself was difficult, I won’t for a moment say that it wasn’t. Because I made the decision to not take any medications, I felt every single ounce of the burn pain and it was quite awful at times. I used breathing techniques to get through it, but to be quite honest the psychological side of healing was harder than the physical stuff. I love the kitchen, it’s where I marvel at my cooking craft, and after the fire I was terrified to go near the stove. I spoke to a counsellor to deal with the trauma of it all and eventually got better. I allowed myself to sleep as much as I needed to, I drank AT LEAST one litre of green juice a day, I only ate organic, natural, whole food and I did little things for myself like put make up every day or paint my nails….small gestures to myself to allow me to feel good. When I could, I layered my legs in coconut oil, went for walks and runs and of course, came up with Rae of Sunshine!

Q: It can sometimes be tough for other people to understand when you first go vegan, but by far the most rewarding thing for me is when friends/family say they are going vegetarian/vegan or even switching to free-range eggs because of something they’ve learned from me. How did your friends and family react to you going vegan? Have any of them been inspired to make the transition too?

A: Yeah!! I love that part!! My mom is ALMOST vegan now and two of our friends are “vegan before six” which I think is great! I think those in our life are now more mindful of what they eat, whether they are vegan, vegetarian or meat eaters, they’re more educated on where their food comes from. I’ve never forced my beliefs or values onto my family and friends but have offered bits and pieces of education and suggestions for food choices. I’m really happy to see people in my life learning more about food and making the choices that are right for them and their bodies.

Q: You have so many exciting things going on, from writing your blog, to boutique vegan catering, to selling your gorgeous tote bags (I need to order one of these ASAP, they’re gorgeous)! Describe a day in the life of Rae.

A: Oh! Thank you so much!! I do have to tell you that my totes are sold out and discontinued BUT I am coming out with something even better in the new year 🙂

A day in the life of Rae – WELL…I work a full time job, so I wake up around 6:45 am, drink a big glass of water, have a shower, make an almond latte and a green smoothie and get ready for work. I usually work around 8:30 am – 4:30 pm and as soon as I get home I make dinner. In the evening I’ll either go to a yoga class, go for a run, write for Rae of Sunshine, experiment in the kitchen, reply to emails, work on upcoming projects or hang out with my husband or friends. I cater on the weekends from time to time and also take evenings JUST for myself where I don’t do anything but read or watch TV.

 Q: Being a vegan of 4 years, do you have any tips for someone who is considering a vegan lifestyle but isn’t sure where to start?

A: Yes! Start slowly…it took me a few YEARS to fully become vegan, so please don’t punish yourself if it takes you a while as well. Choose one ingredient at a time to cut out, or possibly start being vegan at home and then transition into eating out vegan. Work in steps so that you’re being gentle with yourself while moving forward with your decision. I actually wrote a blog that you can find here, How to Master the Vegan Transition.

Q: You post so many mouth-watering recipes on your blog, if you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?

A: Oh wow, I have no idea!!! Anything with avocado or rice noodles or coconut milk! I think if I had to eat one thing for the rest of my life, it would be a Japanese Sunomono Salad with avocado slices for an appetizer and then Aloo Gobi for the main course and a raw coconut cheesecake for dessert…..that’s three dishes for one meal? Does that count?? 🙂

Q: Do you have a favourite inspirational quote to leave us with?

A: “Live less out of habit and more out of intent”

A huge thank you to Ashley for sharing her vegan story with us; for lots of vegan inspiration check out Ashley’s beautiful blog here  ♥

Interview with Maggie Schmitt on being vegan in college

Today, I am so happy to be able to share a chat I had with the lovely Maggie of hummusexualvegan with all of you. Maggie’s instagram account is one of the first accounts I followed when I founded JGV as a new vegan. Maggie uses her instagram as a platform to speak out for animal rights to her 1.4k followers, whilst also sharing lots of pictures of her adorable pets and mouth-watering vegan meals. I absolutely love browsing through Maggie’s instagram as you can tell everything she writes comes from the heart. I hope you all enjoy getting to know a little more about Maggie as much as I did.

Maggie Schmitt

Q: How did your vegan journey start? What were your main inspirations and influences?

A: The journey all began in December 2013 when I sat down and watched the documentary “Vegucated”. My life and point of view finally began to see what the lifestyle was all about and why anyone would ever actually want to go vegan. When I was little, my family would say that vegans are vegetarians ON CRACK! And that anyone living a lifestyle like that was crazy. So, it still took a while to make the full switch… For the majority of my life, I had a vegetarian friend who always tended to shove these ideas down people’s throats. Telling everyone that MEAT IS MURDER, insulting people, and posting about it on her Facebook 24/7, gave me a negative look on the lifestyle, and even pushed my friends and I to go against her beliefs and not hear her out. But now that I had seen a documentary and got “vegucated”, I was absolutely horrified at the industry, how meat/dairy is linked to cancer/heart disease, etc etc that I knew needed to make a change. In fear of being judged by everyone and in fear of being hated by people, I was mostly vegan for about 6 months. Meaning when I was alone I ate vegan, but with my friends I would just eat whatever. It was the day after the 4th of July that I became full vegan. Keeping this passion a secret from my friends was killing me inside, and although the ice cream I ate on the 4th of July was delicious, I knew it came from a cruel world. I hated myself for not being me, for contributing to cruelty, and it finally clicked that I couldn’t keep it a secret anymore. I then watched the documentary called Earthlings… One I had been avoiding. Only 15 minutes into it, I looked at my pool of tears and said out loud, I’M DOING IT. Ever since then I’ve watched more documentaries and lectures to justify that veganism is the only way. I watched Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret also, only a couple weeks into going vegan, and I’ve never felt better about making this life decision.

Q: Are any of your friends and family vegan too?

A: My mom went full vegan after watching the documentary Cowspiracy. She was by my side at every documentary (except Earthlings) and knew that she had to do it. She knew too much to NOT go vegan… I’m so proud of her though. My mother is the almighty lover of cheese and she hasn’t had a bite in months. I forced my Dad to sit down and watch Vegucated and Cowspiracy. Both opened up his eyes and made him more aware… But he could never fully switch. The most he’s done is switch to soy milk for his cereal. Which is okay!!! Baby steps right?!

Q: You’ve recently moved away to College, how are you finding being vegan there? Do you have any tips for someone wanting to maintain a vegan diet at college?

A: Being vegan in college is one of the easiest things in the world. I do have to say, I am blessed that I go to a college in Oregon where the vegan/vegetarian population is more prevalent. I’d probably fall over and die trying to eat Vegan on a college campus in the south… But the choices at my college are amazing!! Build your own calzones/sandwiches, tofu scrambles, bagels with nut butters, vegan pho, vegan soups, vegan desserts! I’m also a good 5 minute walk from Cafe Yumm, Chipotle, Qdoba, etc where I can always eat vegan. Honestly, you can do anything if you set your mind to it and make the best of it! I’m lucky to have the support of my family who also sends me vegan snacks to keep in my dorm room (fresh fruit, lara bars, popcorn). To anyone wanting to go vegan in college, be prepared for what you want to eat each day, (of course) remind yourself WHY you are vegan and WHY you don’t want to slip up!!! And although it seems hard on the outside, you’ll end up realizing how easy it is, and you get to impress people on the side! I get so many people in awe that I’m a vegan college girl. Living cruelty free is possible anywhere. Also, remember that even though being vegan in college attracts some strange attention, sticking with your beliefs and being yourself will have more people respecting you. I used to be so afraid to tell people about my lifestyle, but life’s too short to not be you.

Q: You have over 1,000 followers on your awesome instagram account. Tell us more about the inspiration behind it.

A: It honestly is MIND BLOWING that I’ve struck 1,000 followers… I’m still in shock. I’ll never forget when I first made the account. It was a summer night and I was laying in bed at 2am unable to sleep. I was scrolling through my Instagram (maggers111) and looking through the many vegan accounts I followed for my own vegan-spiration. I had recently gone vegan, I was passionate about the subject, and since I wasn’t one to preach about it to my own friends, I simply wanted to talk about it and share my journey with people who cared! I also knew that creating my own vegan account would motivate me more than ever. So it took me a good 5 minutes and on impulse I came up with the name Hummusexual! I heard the word from a joke I saw on Twitter several months ago and I knew it worked perfectly. I then made it… and prayed for even 50 followers. From then on out, I simply was myself! I posted my favorite foods, (sounds cheesy but..) wrote captions from my heart, and shared my journey as much as I could. I was always excited to post and I stayed positive no matter how many likes/followers I had. The only thing I did to get my name out there was look at other pictures by hashtags and like/comment on other pictures about veganism. I got so lucky and I’m so blessed to see such awesome feedback from all these people. I feel a part of a community and it’s an amazing feeling.

Q: You post lots of yummy looking food photography on your instagram, if you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?

A: Only one thing for the rest of my life?! Oh goodness. Honestly I would eat burritos. All day every day. Nothing better than rice, beans, tofu, vegan cheese, guacamole, and salsa wrapped up in a warm and chewy tortilla. Heaven on earth!

Q: What is your favourite cruelty-free beauty/ hair product?

A: I actually just recently started doing research on cruelty free beauty products. I felt almost stupid when I realized that the shampoo I use is tested on animals. How hypocritical of me, right? Got to using Lush hair products and I love it!! So awesome. I also use Boots No. 7 brand for my makeup. None of it is too expensive and works great!

Q: Describe a day in the life of Maggie.

A: A day in the life of Maggie! Well I’m going to describe a weekend because it’s pretty much the exact same except for weekdays I have class! But I normally am a morning person so I get up early, and make sure I find a hearty breakfast to eat. My breakfast and my soy latte kick starts my day, then I may or may not study and I fit in a work out. LOVE cycle classes and yoga! I run too! But let’s be honest… Running sucks. After that I will go over to my sorority house (Alpha Chi Omega) and hang with my sisters or grab a bite to eat with friends. I’m addicted to napping so afternoon naps are a must, and after I will chill in bed and watch Netflix or a movie! When it gets to nighttime, I may be a morning person, but I love going out! Meeting new people and partying is awesome but I also love staying in for a night of me time.

Q: Do you have a favourite inspirational quote to leave us with?

A: For a vegan quote my favorite is “You can never ‘win’ an argument with a vegan, because the argument is never with the vegan, it is with your conscience” And for a Non-vegan quote, my Mama always said “You have to keep laughing to keep from throwing up”

Thank you so much to Maggie for sharing her vegan journey with us! For lots of vegan inspiration, I highly recommend you follow her on instagram here ♥

Interview with Valentina of My Vegan Valentine

I recently got the chance to have a chat with the awesome Valentina from My Vegan Valentine and I am so excited to share this interview with you all. Valentina is an animal rights activist, volunteers at her local animal shelter, and promotes a healthy and kind vegan lifestyle on her blog. What’s absolutely insane is that she does all of this, and she’s still in school! How freaking incredible is that? Watch out world, I predict big things from this girl!

myvv

Q: How did your vegan journey start? What were your main inspirations and influences?

A: I have always loved nonhuman animals. I’ve never met an animal I didn’t like – I just have a special connection with them. That’s why when I heard about how animals were treated to produce meat and other products I couldn’t stand to be part of that culture. All animals have the right to live without being exploited, and us cramming them into giant factory farms, denying them attention and love, and slaughtering them for food is a violation of that right.

Q: Are any your friends and family vegan too?

Unfortunately, I don’t have a whole ton of vegan friends and family. That’s why I was so ecstatic when I began diving into the world of vegan blogging! Through the internet, I am able to connect with vegans around the globe and share my experiences with them.

Q: What would your top tips be for someone in school who wants to go vegan?

Explore your options! A lot of people think that all vegans eat are salads and tofu all day, every day. That couldn’t be further from the truth. There are vegan versions of most of your favorite foods, including pizza, jerky, and ice cream. Really expand your horizons beyond tofu. Also, remember to never let peer pressure affect you. If your friends are giving you a hard time, think of it as an opportunity to educate them about the horrors of the animal product industry.

Q: You have an awesome blog where you share a variety of food & animal posts. It’s amazing to see someone so young speaking out for animal rights in such an insightful way. Tell us about your blogging journey and the inspiration behind My Vegan Valentine.

First, thank you so much for your kind words! Well, around the same time I decided to adopt a cruelty-free and vegan lifestyle, I started researching it on sites like PETA2 and the Humane Society. I soon became passionate about a plethora of other animal-rights-related causes. My heart swelled with compassion for these underprivileged animals, and I knew I just had to get the word out. I started writing about animal rights and veganism for my school newspaper, making posters for my local library, and educating my friends and family. Soon, I wanted to expand my audience base and got into blogging. This way, I can educate people all over the world. For example, just today my blog got five views all the way from Hong Kong! My inspiration behind My Vegan Valentine is that no living being is “better” than another, and that nonhuman animals should have rights too. I’m so grateful to be on this blogging journey, and so grateful for everyone who reads my message and takes it to heart. 🙂

Q: On your blog you talk about volunteering for an animal shelter; that’s such an incredible thing to do, tell us more about that.

A: The first animal rights cause I became passionate about was pet overpopulation and animal rescues. It began when I adopted my own dog, Tika, from an animal shelter. As soon as I locked eyes on the poor animals at the shelter, I wanted to take them all home with me. I suggested this to my parents, who for some reason weren’t fans of the idea. 😉  The next best thing, in my opinion, was to volunteer at the shelter. I had this idea in my head of Super Volunteering Valentina who would find perfect homes for all of those animals. I waited for years to implement this plan, and this year I am finally old enough! I’ve finished my first training, which was incredible, and I am enjoying working for these deserving animals. As soon as possible, I will start documenting my journey at the animal shelter on my blog, so be sure to stay tuned. I plan to get my first post on this subject out on November 1st or 2nd.

Q: If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?

A: My signature Starbucks drink, of course! Vanilla Bean Frappuccino with soy, no whip cream, no caffeine. Perfect!

Q: What is your favourite cruelty-free beauty/hair product?

A: I have a minor obsession – make that major obsession – with beauty products by Pacifica. I love their makeup and skin care because not only is it super vibrant and beautiful, it is really accessible. You can find their products at most common grocery store beauty aisles. My favorite product of theirs is the Stellar Gaze Length and Strength Mineral Mascara. It makes your lashes super-duper-long and doesn’t smudge easily.

Q: Going vegan has been an incredibly healthy transition for me, what positive effects has adopting the vegan lifestyle had on you?

A: Most of the positive effects of eating vegan, for me, are mental. When I was just on the verge of going vegan, I would have mini panic attacks when someone served me chicken. When I eat a vegan meal, my conscience is 100% clear. :-).

Q: Describe a day in the life of Valentina.

A: As a dancer, my daily routine is always changing. My rehearsal schedule is very erratic! Generally, I am at school or at a rehearsal until maybe 3:30 PM. If I am performing that day, I won’t be finished until almost 10:30! After that, I take walks with Tika, write for my school newspaper (I’m the editor), read, draw, volunteer, and create flyers, posters or displays about animal rights to place around town.

Q: Do you have a favourite inspirational quote to leave us with?

A: When it comes to animal rights, Ingrid Newkirk really sums it up in this lovely quote: “When it comes to pain, love, joy, loneliness, and fear, a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.”

A huge thank you to Valentina for sharing her vegan story with us. Be sure to check out her awesome blog here.

Interview with Lindsay of lindsaylivingvegan.com

For the second post in the JGV Interview Series, I am thrilled to welcome Lindsay from lindsaylivingvegan.com to the blog to share her story. I recently connected with Lindsay when she interviewed me for her blog (you can check out that interview here) and it turns out we have a ton in common, including our love for animals being our motivation for going vegetarian at such a young age and more recently making the transition into veganism. Lindsay’s blog has lots of incredibly yummy recipes that are in a great easy to download format, so if you’re looking for food inspiration, you need to check her out! It was so fun for me to find out more about Lindsay’s vegan story and I’m sure you’ll love reading about it as much as I did ▷►▹▸

Lindsay Living Vegan

Q: How did your vegan journey start? What were your main inspirations and influences?

A: I guess you can say that my journey started when I was 4 years old. My step-moms dad has a ton of land in Wisconsin that people go onto for hunting. So when I was little we would drive up there and I would just be surrounded in that atmosphere. I remember that on weekends up there I would be so excited to spend all my time with their dogs that they used for hunting. I have always been the hugest animal lover and being around dead animals that people killed for fun just didn’t make sense to me. Being so young, I was terrified by the idea of eating animals so I refused to eat them and became vegetarian. I was an odd vegetarian because I also didn’t eat eggs or drink cow milk but I was addicted to cheese. About a year ago is when I started getting into nutrition and realizing how horrible the dairy industry is. I did a ton of research because I became obsessed with the subject and I quickly became full on vegan. Reading books and watching documentaries were my main inspirations!

Q: What would your top tips be for someone wanting to go vegan?

A: My top tips for someone wanting to go vegan is to get educated on the food industry and to start off slow to get your body and mind in check with becoming vegan. I don’t think most people really understand how the food industry works, especially here in America. People are addicted to chemicals and ingredients that are put into our food. Cutting out processed food is the best thing that you can do for yourself. I always promise people that once they know the dark side of the food industry, then they will want to cut foods out of their lives. Going slow and listening to your body is number 1.

Q: You have an awesome blog where you share recipes, beauty product reviews and so much more. Tell us about your blogging journey and the inspiration behind LLV.

A: Thanks so much! I have been following blogs for a few years now and I have always loved writing to express my feelings. I spend a lot of my time learning new things and creating recipes so I thought that since I am already doing all the work, I might as well blog about it! Blogging to me has been pretty life changing in the fact that I have finally found something that I love to do. I am now in the process of becoming a health coach and launching my own practice. I want to be able to help people live happier and healthier lives whether they become vegan or not. I have found that connecting with people and helping them with their health is my purpose in life. Oh and saving animals :).

Q: You’ve shared some incredibly yummy looking recipes on your blog. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?

A: This is a super hard question for me. I have an addictive personality so when I get into a food, say zucchini noodles, I will eat it for 2 months straight. I love all types of food and love falling in love with new creations. I would have to say pizza is the one meal that I would choose to eat for the rest of my life. There are a ton of ways to cook it so I would never get bored eating it!

Q: What is your favourite cruelty-free beauty/ hair product?

A: I must confess that I don’t have a favorite just yet. I am still experimenting with brands and finding ones that I love. I am currently using Desert Essence shampoo and conditioner for my hair and the occasional coconut oil as a mask. I am actually going to go makeup shopping this weekend to find some vegan and cruelty-free products so let me know if you have any recommendations :).

Q: Going vegan has been an incredibly healthy transition for me, what positive effects has adopting the vegan lifestyle had on you?

A: Oh my… so much has changed! I have so much more energy that the only caffeine I ever need is a cup of tea in the morning. My skin has cleared up and sometimes I feel like I am glowing. I have lost a little bit of weight but nothing major. Oh and I now feel so much more connected with myself and my body. So much has changed since going vegan that I could go on and on about it.

Q: Describe a day in the life of Lindsay.

A: Well right now a typical day during the week for me consists of waking up in the morning, walking my dogs and getting ready for work (I work at an advertising agency). When I get to work I sip on a green smoothie and then have a cup of tea. When it hits lunch time I run home to have lunch, usually a salad, and be with my dogs. After work I sometimes go to a barre class to get a workout in or I go straight home to make dinner, blog and be with my boyfriend. Pretty normal stuff. We are planning on moving to Chicago soon so once we move I will be a health coach and blogger full time as well as being the marketing director for my dads kitchen design company.

Q: Do you have a favourite inspirational quote to leave us with?

A: ” I am going to make everything around me beautiful. That will be my life”.

A huge thank you to Lindsay for sharing her story on JGV. Be sure to check out her lovely blog here: www.lindsaylivingvegan.com ♥

Interview with Sarah Argo of Southernblondevegan.com

Today I am beyond EXCITED to share the first post in the JGV Interview Series where I get a chance to chat to some truly inspiring people and share a little about their beautiful stories with you all. I have never felt healthier and happier than since I adopted a vegan lifestyle almost 6 months ago.  I started my blog to show how easy it can be to live a cruelty-free lifestyle and thought it would be great to share the stories of people who are thriving on a vegan diet and inspiring others along the way. What better way to start than with the gorgeous Sarah Argo of southernblondevegan.com.

sarah argo

Sarah is a beautiful vegan mom who shares her healthy food creations with her 10,000 followers on instagram and recently on her new vegan food blog. Not only are her meal pictures mouth-watering, but her kind soul also shines through in her writing. It was great getting to know her a little better through this interview & I’m so happy to be able to share this with you all ▷►▹▸

sarah argo interview

Q: How did your vegan journey start? What were you main inspirations and influences?

A: My vegan journey started almost three years ago, following the birth of my daughter Maizy. My initial drive was to be the healthiest version of myself possible for her, and as the years went by and I began to do more research I learned just how important a vegan diet/lifestyle is for every living thing. Not just for our health, but for the injustice done to animals by our food industry and the devastating effects our over-consumption of meat is having on the planet we will one day pass on to our children. Although my daughter was a newborn at the time I decided to go vegan, she was my inspiration. She is my inspiration for a lot of things.

Q: It’s so great that you’re a vegan mom raising a beautiful vegan daughter, have you got any tips for someone planning on raising a vegan family?

A: The best advice I can give any parent wanting to raise a vegan family is to get your children involved. Take time to teach them about all the different incredible foods that grow from our earth, let them help make meals, and be patient with their little taste buds. There are certain foods my daughter wouldn’t touch a year ago that she loves now! I think our perception is warped a bit in thinking that healthy vegan foods are complicated and difficult to prepare. One of my daughters favorite foods are bananas – I don’t think it gets much faster, cheaper, or easier than that! Fruit is the ultimate fast food!

Q: You have recently extended your beautiful Instagram into an awesome blog, sharing lots of your yummy vegan recipes. Tell us about your Instagram journey and the inspiration behind your blog.

A: Instagram has been a really fun way to share more of our day-to-day meals, snacks, and tips for thriving in this lifestyle! I was hearing a lot of the same statements from people considering veganism – “I just don’t know what I’d eat.” or “I would get so bored with that food.”, and lots of “Do you just eat salads all day?”, so I wanted to share just how diverse and FUN eating a vegan diet is! I love the platform Instagram provides and how easy it is to use, but as it progressed I decided to start my blog to share more in depth reasoning behind my decision and detailed recipes with everyone.

Q: All of your recipes look so yummy. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?

A: That’s such a hard question, haha! I love food so it would be very difficult for me to choose, but I think a big plate of roasted vegetables would be my number one meal. That may sound a bit boring to some, but it’s definitely the ultimate comfort food for me!

Q: Not only are you beautiful on the inside but also on the outside. What is your favourite cruelty-free beauty product?

A: That’s so nice, thank you! I have many favorites, but right now I’m really loving ELF‘s Mineral Lipstick. It’s extremely affordable, excellent quality, and cruelty-free! The colors are all super vibrant and beautiful!

Q: Since going vegan I have experienced so many amazing health benefits; what positive effects has adopting the vegan diet had on you?

A: The health benefits are truly never ending, and I just keep seeing more positive effects as the years go by! My skin and hair have never been healthier, my energy levels are higher than when I was a teenager, my weight doesn’t fluctuate much although I eat in abundance, my mental clarity is sharper than it’s ever been, I literally never get sick, and I’m a much happier person all around! I could honestly go on and on, it’s changed everything.

Q: Describe a day in the life of Sarah Argo.

A: I’m a stay at home mom, so my days are usually pretty simple! I get woken up by my sweet 3 year old girl, who always says the same thing – “hi mamma, lets play!”, so we get up and have breakfast and play, I walk/jog on the treadmill, we run our errands, make lunch, I catch up on emails and work on the blog, do some yoga, then my husband gets home and we all make dinner and spend time together until bedtime. Our house is extremely family oriented – we typically do things together! Spending the majority of your time investing in the people you love is food for the soul.

Q: Your positive mindset is something that really shines through on your blog/ Instagram; do you have a favourite inspirational quote to leave us with?

A; “Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand.” – Mother Teresa. I think above all else – love, kindness, and compassion should be the goal. If we feed ourselves the best foods and treat our bodies well, it’s all empty without love for every other creature.

Thank you so much Sarah for sharing your story. Be sure to check out Sarah’s awesome blog at: southernblondevegan.com for lots of yummy meal inspiration ♥

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