Vegan Like Me aims to profile fellow vegans, from all walks of life from everywhere in the world! We’ve all been beginners and I think its important for folks to hear people’s stories in order to motivate themselves to keep going. This feature is intended to do just that. If you are vegan and would like to participate, get in touch with me and I’ll be sure to send our questionnaire along to you.
Name: Cassandra Meehan
Cassandra, Vegan for 9 years
Where do you live? Melbourne, Australia
How long have you been vegan? About 9 years
What inspired you to take on a plant-based (vegan/vegetarian) diet? I had been vegetarian since I was 13, granted, my vegetarianism started through peer group pressure (my group of new-found friends were veg), but it slowly grew to be a huge part of my life. I became vegetarian purely for ethical reasons – for the animals. For about 2 years (18-20), I was on and off fish, like tuna and salmon, feeling pressure to eat fish for my health, from family, friends, and doctors, but it never sat well with me. I soon gave up fish for good. When I hit my 20′s I tried on and off to become vegan, but would always fail with things like eggs (huge cravings, that would develop into sickness once I had consumed them), and occasionally cheese. I was still wearing animal products, such as leather, wool, silk. Then when I was around 24/25, I’d recently been stuck behind a truck carrying a lot of calves to God knows where. There were so many of them crammed into the trailer, they were on top of each other and every time we stopped at traffic lights, blood seeped onto the road – it was such a bright vibrant red, it didn’t look real. The calves were just looking at me through the grates of the trailer. Anyway, I had to pull over after 20 mins and had a bit of a meltdown. It had a huge impact on me. Then a couple of weeks later, with academic assessments coming out of my ears, tired and run down I watched a PETA video on the Dairy Industry. That toppled me over the edge. I could not stop crying for about 4 hours. I rang my mother and said I’d wiped my hands clean, of anything to do with the animal/meat/dairy eating industry. It was like a switched had been flicked. There was no struggle. I was vegan. I no longer buy clothing such as leather, wool etc.. but there are probably a few items still around in my wardrobe. So, I guess you could say, it was an evolution for me. I always knew where I wanted to be – ie. vegan, it just took me a little while to get there. Since then, I have been a fully committed ethical vegan for 9 years
What do you love most about being vegan? That I can live a healthy and happy life without consciously contributing to the use, abuse, death of another living being. Why wouldn’t I? All lives are precious.
What three items do you always have in your pantry? Brown rice, chilli and avocado.
What is your favorite vegan comfort food? Dark chocolate.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about taking on a plant-based (vegan) diet? Take it slowly. I recommend mostly to vegetarians, because they’re half way there. But no one I know has actually made the transition to vegan. Most of the times it’s, ‘My doctor said I can’t/shouldn’t…’ My sister has done a few 30 day challenges, but has always failed. Haha. Always won over by the cheese and eggs!
But if you allow yourself time.. Surf the web for tips on making the transition. I get a lot of advise and information mostly from the internet and my own research. PETA and their links were a great help. And vegetarian victoria were great too. Cruelty Free website. The Ethical Consumer Guide. Lots of link clicking and internet surfing!
Do you find anything difficult about being vegan? Other people! Say for instance, if I’m tired or run down, people automatically say, “Oh, it’s because you’re vegan – you’re not getting enough of this, or the right kind of nutrients!” Nothing to do with the 3 jobs, 2 assignments and life dramas that may be present at the time.
A lot of people a shocked to discover I’m vegan, they’re always “You look so well/healthy for a vegan” Ha! It’s because I love food and I love to eat. You really need to look after your nutrition being vegan; actually everyone needs to look after their nutrition and eat well. A lot of people don’t see that. Those who have known me a long time, love going out and suggested new veg places to eat or cooking vegan meals, or having me cook vegan meals. They really get in on ‘being vegan for the day/night’ – so they’re totally supportive and curious. It’s mostly new people that I meet, sometimes go on the attack AS SOON as they discover I’m vegan. And that’s when the whole “well, what about the vegetables? How do your morals lie with that?” And “You know I’m not going to stop eating meat around you”. And bringing up the environmental impact of soy etc… And the ol’ classic “I’d like to be a vegetarian, but I could never give up steak” But on a whole – people are more intrigued than anything else. “Can you eat this?” “Can you eat that” “What about this?”
Any other comments you or words of wisdom you would like to add? All lives are precious. Go vegan!
Thanks so much, Cassandra! I, too, consider myself to be an ethical vegan… the health benefits are such a great bonus. Much love to my dear friend down under!