In correlation with Red Radio EP3, today marks the first installation of a new series on my blog: FRESH VEGGIES.
FRESH VEGGIES will feature personal interviews with friends, colleagues and strangers who have recently made the TOTALLY AWESOME choice to go vegan. I’ve come up with a list of questions that each subject will answer with honesty and humility, with intentions of more intimately connecting the vegan community, providing information and resources to new vegans, and showing those still on the fence how easy and empowering the whole process can be.
Enjoy the first interview!
xo Erin Red
FRESH VEGGIES: CARLI
Name: Carli VanVoorhis
Occupation: Hairstylist Assistant
Physical Activity Level: Always on my feet
Vegan Since: January 2, 2011
Important Details about Me: I was raised in north Idaho, among many proud omnivores. I moved to NYC in September of 2010. Now, here I am.
What did your diet look like before you went vegan?
Oh, man. It looked awful? Let’s just say that it looked like I really wanted to be diagnosed with colon cancer in my mid 40s.
Did you have any preconceived notions about veganism before going vegan?
I felt like in the future, people would compare veganism to driving a hybrid car. It’s something that we should have been doing all along. I also remember saying that I could never be vegan, like it wasn’t even humanly possible for me. That whole mindset definitely changed once I moved to the city and removed my head from my ass.
What was your turning point? How did it come about?
After living in the city for about two and a half months, meeting some inspiring, educated vegans, and doing some of my own research; it became so clear. I could do this. All I have to do is want it. I also think it became a matter of “you can’t unknow what you know”. Once I learned of the many horrors of the meat/dairy industry, I couldn’t pretend that I didn’t know what was going on. I decided that as a person who claims to be an animal lover, tree-hugger, and a hater of the U.S. government, I not only wanted to do this, but I felt as if it was my responsibility to do this.
How did you immediately feel emotionally, mentally, physically after going vegan? After one week? After one month?
I was feeling pretty excited, to be honest. I was excited to feel my body be cleansed of all the toxins. After the first week I felt SO GOOD! Mentally, physically, spiritually! I loved the fact that I could look at an animal. A cat, a bird, whatever. I could look that animal in the eye and think yep, no need to fear. I am just another animal.
How did your friends and family react to your lifestyle change?
Like I said, I grew up in Idaho so the parents were like… what? Vaygan? However, they fully support me in my decisions to be vegan and they are very happy for me. I received mixed reactions from friends. The excited ones, obviously the vegans, were very proud of me, ready to support me in the journey. I might’ve told the unenthusiastic friends as they were eating a ham & cheese hot pocket.. idk… whatevs.
Were there any books that motivated you to change, or helped with your transition?
The first book that sparked a vegan lifestyle to me at all was Skinny Bitch. I had read it about a year and a half before actually making the transition. I felt like everything the book explained was so simple and logical. (ex. cow’s milk is for baby cows…)
Did you have any slip-ups? How did you deal with it?
I ate some muffin pastry thing that had milk in it. I didn’t know there was milk in it until I heard my stomach telling me to fuck off. Of course I was disappointed, but you just gotta keep on keepin’ on. Live n’ learn, baby!
How did you deal with your non-vegan items (kept them, replaced them, donated them)?
I just recently found a hat that is definitely NOT vegan in the bottom of my closet. I am waiting for winter time so I can give it to a bum.
Do you miss anything?
All of the rewards that I have reaped, outweigh anything I might miss. To the point that I don’t miss anything at all.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
I have a hard time biting my tongue when I hear stupid people saying stupid things. As an activist, it’s my obligation to speak up, but sometimes I should just take the silent rode.
What has been the greatest reward?
So many rewards! The greatest one, I suppose, is knowing the fact that I am no longer participating in the violence & exploitation of another living being.
What are some new foods, cuisines or products you’ve tried since going vegan?
I have tried many new foods since becoming vegan. All the various ways that tofu can be prepared, many new colorful veggies, coconut milk ice cream, etc.
Is your significant other/roommate/family vegan? Have they become curious?
No. They aren’t curious enough to really make a change.
Do you plan to stay vegan? Why or why not?
Definitely. Because that would just be stupid, Jennifer Goodwin. It’s called evolving. I can’t evolve backwards! Not to mention, I would get so sick. My body would be like NOOOOOO!
What vegan books would you like to read? Vegan movies to see? Vegan locations to visit?
I would like to read The Kind Diet, Eating Animals, and many more. I would love to see Forks Over Knives. I NEED to go to Foodswings, Lula’s Sweet Apothecary, Blossom, Red Bamboo, and the Caravan of Dreams, just to name a few…
Have you encouraged your loved ones to make changes? How? What has been the reaction?
Absolutely! I think education is probably one of my most effective ways of encouragement. But then there are times that I can be a little more ‘in your face’ about it, i’m like DO IT! Stop hurting animals & stop hurting your body! PLEASE! Slowly but surely they are absorbing what I am saying, although I do get brushed off every now & then.
Do you think veganism is a realistic solution for the masses? Why or why not?
For sure! I think it might be one of the only realistic solutions we have. It’s sustainable.