vegan dog

Interview with Katarina from Lola’s Cookie Jar

Today I am so happy to share with you all my interview with Katarina, the lovely founder of all natural veggie pet bakery: Lola’s Cookie Jar. Katarina kindly sent some vegan treats for my gang to try out and they were big fans (read more about that in my last post), so I was really excited to get to know more about this awesome little business and how it all got started. I’m sure you’ll love reading Katarina and her gorgeous pup Lola’s story as much as I did ▹▸▹▸

lolas cookie jar treats

Q: I love that your business sells all natural veggie & vegan dog treats as they are so hard to find! Tell us all about Lola’s Cookie Jar and how you became a small business owner. What were your main inspirations and influences?

A: 10 years ago I got Lola from a Windsor Pet Shop that got closed down for selling sick puppy mill puppies. Lola was a half Yorkie half Dachshund puppy that stole my heart with one glance, I looked at her, she looked at me and in that moment I knew she was gonna be my dog and I was gonna be her human. She is truly the best dog a girl could have. We traveled the world together and Lola got to go to Europe 2 times. She spent over 6 months in Europe on the coast of Adriatic Sea before she turned 1 – I seriously took her everywhere. She got to see Cancun Mexico and the Bahamas 2 times and she absolutely loves to travel. When she sees the suitcases she gets so excited that there is no doubt in my head that she knows that we are going somewhere for vacation.

Although we have lots of fun together not all of our 10 years have been fun and games. Lola has had a series of health problems, probably 10 times more problems than an average dog. She is in and out of vet offices and we usually have to have at least 2 surgeries per year. I had to work 2 jobs to pay my vets. Lola has an extra vertebra deformity that pressed on a nerve and caused severe pain in her back legs. She is doing great now but not long ago she was completely on bed rest. I had to carry her out to pee and hold her up in the air, she couldn’t do anything alone for 4 months. I even traveled to see an out of country Neurologist in the US that specializes in these issues to try and help her the best I can. Thank God she is doing great now but for the rest of her life no stairs or running. She has also had issues with Cancer, Liver, Kidneys and that’s what got me into the low protein, holistic, vegetarian food and treats.

Currently Lola is on a Renal Diet and I prepare her food from scratch. Her diet is mostly vegetables and Sol fish and fish oils. She can’t have chicken, beef, pork or lamb. Only a low protein, kidney safe diet. I love the fact that both of our lifestyles include fresh foods. I believe that nature has a solution to every problem if you look hard enough. Nature’s little miracles are not just for humans but for animals too and that is why I use nature’s power food and herbs for our furry kids. Milkthisle has helped my Lola so much, and Chamomile, don’t even get me started on Chamomile, and Turmeric – I love giving her my Heart Healthy Treats.  So to sum it up the cookies were all for her, she is my motivation for everything. What can I say? My love for her brings out the best in me.

katarina and lola

Q: That’s awesome that a predominantly veggie diet has been able to help with Lola’s health problems! Have you got any tips for someone hoping to start up their own small veggie/vegan business?

A: My tip to anyone starting their own business is to make sure you choose something you truly love!!!! Something that comes natural to you, something that you are truly passionate about, and once you start don’t let anything hold you back!!!

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

A: And if I could eat one last meal of food I choose Pomegranate!!!!! Pomegranate is my favorite fruit. I have a tree in the back yard of my Croatia home and I miss that fruit more than anything in the world. Since I was a kid I would clean 4 or 5 of them and eat them all, that’s how much I love it. What can I say? I love my fruit! If you ask any of my girlfriends they will tell you I am fruit crazy lol.

vegan dog

Q: Describe a day in the life of Katarina…

A: My favorite day is a day with my family. We love to go to the beach and lay and feel the sun on our skin… Lola loves to nap on the beach in the shade and go on walks in the park. I am a simple girl who doesn’t need fancy things to make her happy. All I need is my dog Lola, and my mom, Lola’s Granny, feels the same way. Seeing Lola happy is instant joy to both of our hearts. Some people have their kids, we have our Lola.  My family is my everything.

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

A: My inspirational quote of the day is “Believe In The Glory Of Your Dreams”.

Thank you so much Katarina for sharing yours and Lola’s story with us. It’s so inspiring to know how beneficial a holistic, veggie diet can be for our furry friends too. To learn more or to order some yummy dog treats, check out Lola’s Cookie Jar here.

Lola’s Cookie Jar – vegetarian and vegan all natural dog treats

Lola’s Cookie Jar is a cute little pet bakery offering vegetarian and vegan dog treats made with all natural ingredients; meaning no artificial colours, flavours, or preservatives. As I’m sure you all know, I am obsessed with my four beautiful dogs (Poppy, Panda, Teddy & Kitty), so naturally I want to feed them the best and healthiest food to help them live long, happy and healthy lives. This is why I was absolutely thrilled when I came across Lola’s Cookie Jar on instagram, as it can be so hard to find dog treats that are not only vegan but are also made from wholesome, natural ingredients (unlike many of the commercial dog food brands).

Katarina, the lovely founder of Lola’s Cookie Jar, kindly sent me three bags of the vegan treats in her range for my gang to try out. Luckily the treats arrived on the day I left for Australia, so I got to have a little treat tasting session with the dogs (they thought it was all of their birthdays and Christmas rolled into one), and of course, take lots of cute pictures.

lolas cookie jar treats

▹▸▹▸ “Just Relax” Calming Treat

As you can tell from Poppy’s ‘must not look at treats’ face, the dogs found these ones pretty hard to resist. Poppy, who is normally the fussiest eater, absolutely loved them so they must be pretty darn tasty .

vegan dog treats

▹▸▹▸ Lola’s Lucky Charms

After nudging them around a little, the dogs were big fans of the Lucky Charms. I’m not sure if this had something to do with the colour (particularly for Teddy, as he loves all pink anything!) but whatever the reason there wasn’t a pink crumb in sight.

lolas cookie jar vegan treats

 

▹▸▹▸ Carob Bone Truffles Delight

True to their name, the truffles are definitely the most luxurious of the range. They look and smell so good that I was even a little tempted to give them a try, and it is safe to say that the dogs definitely shared my excitement with these ones being their favourite!

vegan dog food

I absolutely love finding and supporting awesome small vegan businesses, so I’m really happy we found Lola’s Cookie Jar and I’m sure we’ll be placing our next order very soon.

To check out Lola’s Cookie Jar’s delicious range of treats, go to lolascookiejar.com

You can also follow Lola’s Cookie Jar on instagram @lolascookiejar and on facebook Lola’s cookies and bits.

I’m also really excited to be able to share with you all my interview with Katarina about the inspiration behind Lola’s Cookie Jar and what it’s like to run a small vegan/vegetarian business, so look out for that later this week.

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 ▷►▹▸

wildgypsycaravan

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.

pineapple

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 ♥