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”
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!
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.
Whilst I was on holiday, the lovely Millie from The Little Country Girl nominated me to take part in the Liebster Award and this week the gorgeous girls of The Friendly Fig nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award – how sweet are they all?! I have been following Millie’s blog for a while and love how her kind personality shines through her posts so it was so lovely to hear that she enjoys reading JGV too. I have only recently discovered The Friendly Fig but it is quickly becoming one of my favourite vegan blogs as they have so many great posts ranging from recipes, to style, to useful tips.
As both of the awards are a fun way of sharing your favourite bloggers with your readers and getting to know a little bit more about them, I thought I’d mix things up a little and combine them into one post. Is that allowed? I hope so!
7 FACTS ABOUT ME
- I have 4 beautiful dogs who are my world, they even have their own blog here
- I am majorly into binge watching TV shows, my current fave is Pretty Little Liars – who the hell is A?!
- My mum is my best friend
- I love to sing and play the guitar
- I speak french & would love to live in France some day
- When I was 11, I was genuinely disappointed that I didn’t receive my Hogwarts letter and had to go to muggle school
- My dream is to open an animal sanctuary
RESPONSES TO MY QUESTIONS FROM MILLIE
Q: When did food start becoming more than just food, and start becoming something you were excited about so much you wanted to rant and rave about it?
A: Since going from vegetarian to vegan a few months ago, I’ve become increasingly aware how daunting it can be to be a vegan in a non-vegan world. This inspired me to start my blog in order to show how easy and enjoyable it is to live a cruelty-free lifestyle.
Q: If in an alternative universe you were a child raised by animals, which type of animal would you want to grow up with and learn from?
A: Dogs, hands (or paws) down. They are the kindest, most loving animals and are the only species I have come across who give you unconditional love, wanting nothing in return. If I could be half as good a person as my dogs, I’d be a happy girl! I wrote a post a while back on 10 things I admire about my dogs on their blog (yes, they have their own blog!) If you’d like, you can check that out here.
What is your favourite quote?
This Ghandi quote is my all time favourite as it perfectly sums up why I’m vegan.
Q: Favoutite kind of potato…sweet or white? Baked, mashed, fried, boiled, roasted, chips, fries, curly, crinkled, waffles, hash browns…?
A: Oooh, now this is a tough question as I love potatoes… can I pick three? I’m going for it: mashed, curly fries & waffles. Now I’m feeling hungry!
Q: Have you ever gone out to a restaurant and only eaten dessert?!
A: I don’t think I have but after eating these zeppolis (dough balls covered in sugar, cinnamon & chocolate sauce) in Vegas, going out for just dessert is definitely something I’d be up for trying!!
Q: Did you have any pets when you were growing up? If so then what were their names?
A: I’ve been lucky enough to always have had animals to share my life with so CAUTION – long list alert!
When I was younger: Ollie – springer spaniel; Ruby – hamster; Sparkle & Glitter – guinea pigs; Harvey & Honey – rabbits; Lou-Lou – british bulldog
Currently: Poppy, Panda, Teddy & Kitty – cockapoos; Paris & Rome – tortoises
Did someone say crazy pet lady?!
Q: Do you have any food or meals/snacks that you personally associate with certain occasions? (Simple example – mince pies at Christmas).
A: Whenever I eat my mum’s veggie chilli recipe, it always feels like home. I absolutely love that chilli!
Q: What is your favourite time of day? Are you an early birdie or a late night owl?
A; I’m definitely a late night person, I often stay up until the early hours binge watching TV shows/ playing music/ working on the blog. Maybe that’s why getting out of bed is a battle for me every morning!
Q: If you could go back in time and re-live one moment, but only to re-live it, not change it, what moment would that be?
A: Ooh that’s a tough one, there are so many great moments I’d love to re-live. I think I’ll go with one of the many days I spent with my granddad when I was little, playing in the garden with his pet chickens.
Q: What snack food or meal do you wish grew on trees?
A: Vegan chocolate. YUM.
Q: What’s your favourite song to dance to?
A: There are so many but my all time favourite artist is Taylor Swift so anything by her.
BLOGS I LOVE
To conclude the post, I wanted to share with you some of my favourite veggie/ vegan blogs that are definitely worth checking out!
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 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 ▷►▹▸
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 ♥
Hey and welcome to Jade’s Vegan Diary! I have been a vegetarian for the majority of my life and recently decided to become vegan. This decision was not only fueled by my love of animals, but also by the amazing health benefits that this awesome diet offers.
I am lucky that a lot of the people I’m closest to are either vegetarian or pescetarian, so I have never struggled in maintaining this diet. However, I know zero vegans so this lifestyle is completely new to me and has already been a massive learning curve since I started transitioning into it around a month ago.
In such a short space of time, I have already had so many amazing experiences and have learnt so much. On top of that, I am feeling the healthiest and most energised I have ever felt. I am so excited about living all aspects of this lifestyle, so decided to start this blog as a way to share my experiences and connect with like-minded people.
On my blog, you can expect lots of yummy recipes; vegan and mainstream restaurant reviews; exercise and general healthy living posts; vegan beauty product reviews… and really all things vegan! I’m sure I’ll also find a way to work in lots of stories about my amazing dogs, as everyone who knows me knows I always find a way to bring them into the conversation. They even have their own blog here; yep I’m one of those people!
One more thing to note about me, is that prior to becoming vegan my culinary skills were probably less extensive than those of most 5 year olds, so learning to cook and bake all of these yummy vegan foods has been a completely foreign but amazingly exciting experience for me.
I hope you enjoy getting to know me through this blog, and hopefully finding some inspiration is my stories and recipes. I’d love to hear from you so please don’t hesitate to contact me.