1. What inspired you to go vegan?
I had already been vegetarian for five years, and I’d been reading a lot of books about diet and the planet like Mad Cowboy. Even though I knew going vegan was the right thing to do I was afraid it would be too hard. Then I moved to San Francisco and met a vegan, so having a “buddy” to show me the ropes a little made it much easier.
2. What benefits (health or otherwise) have you derived from adopting a vegan diet?
The benefits for me have been more personal than health-related. It’s changed the way I look at the world in a lot of ways; I question things more. It’s broadened my interests in the environment, animal rights, nutrition, and lots of social issues. More practically speaking, it’s made me more creative in my cooking, more adventurous in eating out. And socially, I’ve gotten to know some awesome vegans in the community here, made some great friends, and met my partner through vegan events.
3. Your Vegaroo event is so much fun and a great way for vegans and like-minded people to meet and connect. Please tell us about Vegaroo and what inspired you to create a monthly vegan drinks event in Sydney.
I started my website vegaroo.com in March 2010, shortly after I’d moved to Sydney. I was looking for a way to connect with vegans in Australia and have a place online where we could share resources. The blogging community isn’t as big here as it was in San Francisco, so I also wanted ways I could connect with people socially. A lot of the social events I went to were dinners, which can be nice, but often you only end up talking to the two people next to you. A lot of cities in the U.S. have vegan drinks nights, and I thought it would be a cool thing to bring to Sydney. Our first night had about 25 people, and we’ve grown each time, to 60 at the last event, so it seems other people were looking for these kinds of casual social events.
4. Can you share with us your favourite vegan recipe?
5. Is it easy being vegan in the 21st century?
It’s all relative I suppose. I won’t lie – it was much easier in San Francisco than it is in Sydney. But I’m sure it’s much easier now in Sydney than it was 5 years ago. It’s easy if you enjoy cooking, but if you expect to eat all your meals out, you’re not going to find as much variety. But with a little bit of research and experimentation, it’s probably much easier than people think.
6. Please share your vision for the world.
Oh boy, that’s a big question! I suppose my grand hippie vision is that people start living in harmony with animals, the planet, and each other. I think I’d settle for just a world where people are more empathetic, and question the status quo.
7. Anything else you would like to add?
I’ve been really inspired that veganism seems to be catching on in mainstream America, with people like Ellen DeGeneres making it accessible for anyone and not just some weird fringe lifestyle. One of my goals is to make veganism easier and more appealing here in Australia too, but it’s a movement we all need to be a part of together. With the internet to connect us, there’s a lot we can do, and I invite anyone to contact me through my website about collaboration ideas.
Or if you’re in Sydney, stop by our next Vegan Drinks night this Friday Jan 28 at The Hive Bar in Erskineville.
For more info about Vegaroo see http://vegaroo.com/