Paula and Alannah
What inspired you to go vegan?
Paula: My sister was already vegetarian for a few years, then decided to go vegan. She had done so much research on veganism and was constantly telling me to try and be vegan as well, for the animals, for the world and for our own health. On Easter Eve 2015 she finally got me to sit down and watch Cowspiracy and it totally changed my mind. The next day was Easter and was the last day I consumed an animal product. I always knew what i was eating was wrong, but growing up eating animal products you kind of disassociate yourself from what your actually eating, and you don’t think that its actually an animal on your plate or you’re eating something that an animal was harmed for.
Alannah: Nothing really inspired me to go vegan, it was kind of just me coming to my senses and realising what I was actually eating. I started out vegetarian for a year or so because the thought of eating flesh and harming animals didn’t sit well with me. Through word of mouth and other research I learnt more about the dairy industry and realised that this was just as bad (or even worse!). I stopped consuming dairy but was still eating eggs until one day I cut into a slimey poached egg and realised – “OMG this is a chicken’s period, this is not ok…” Ever since that day I’ve been vegan and never looked back.
What are some of your favorite vegan restaurants?
P: Hands down Smith and Deli! If I could eat one food for the rest of my life it would be the Foghorn Legless Sandwich. Vegie Bar, Yongs Green Food, Red Sparrow, Smith and Daughters, Monk Bodhi Darma, Handsome Her, Cornish Arms, Urban Projuice are also amazing.
A: Smith & Deli is life. I also really love Smith & Daughters, Simple Seed, Mister Nice Guys Bakeshop and Particle Cinnamon.
What are your favorite vegan dishes to make?
P: We usually have potato every night for dinner, roasted, baked, chips, fritters. But sometimes we make Veggie curries, pasta, crumbed tofu and tempeh, sushi, smoothie bowls, nachos, pizza. My current obsession is roasted chickpeas!
A: Anything with potato and rice. I love making curry because I can’t mess it up. (Paula is the better cook)
What are common misconceptions about being vegan?
P: That you can’t eat anything, and you “eat to live not live to eat” you will always be tired because “only meat has protein”, that its really expensive which is totally untrue! Also I think vegans get a bad reputation for being “preachy” which isn’t the case at all.
A: That being vegan is hard work and it’s difficult to get all the nutrients etc etc. And that vegan food is boring and expensive.
What is the worst part about being vegan?
P: The only bad part of being vegan is the opinions of non vegans. We both don’t preach our beliefs onto others, so when non-vegans try to push their meat-eating beliefs onto us its really unfair especially when people try and tell you that being vegan is “stupid”, “unhealthy”, “animals were put on this earth for us to eat them”, you can’t live forever on a vegan diet and can’t raise your kids being vegan. When I first became vegan I heard this stuff daily by friends and family, and it would put me down quite alot. But as I’ve grown and become more confident with my decision and beliefs, I can now stand up to people and explain my reasoning for being vegan, and if they don’t agree I just walk away and don’t let it upset me anymore.
A: Probably dealing with stupid or ignorant comments (e.g. “But plants have feelings too”) And also dealing with those people who suddenly become ‘nutritionists’ as soon as you mention you’re vegan and try to educate you about health and protein and B12 etc.
What is the best part about being vegan?
P: Not harming any animals with the food you eat, saving so many animals lives, the amazing health benefits of a plant based diet, all the great friends we have made through our Instagram. The bond you have with other people when you find out they’re vegan also. Also educating people on why they should also adapt a vegan lifestyle, and seeing someone reduce the amount of animal products they consume because of what you have told them is an amazing feeling!
A: So many things!! Not contributing to the abuse and slaughter of animals is the main one. But also living a healthier, more positive lifestyle, being more sustainable and helping the environment and meeting other amazing vegans and bonding over delicious food!!
What advice to you have for people who want to become vegan?
P: There is no better time to be vegan than right now. Alot of people know that being vegan is the right thing to do to, they don’t want to harm animals and they know its so much healthier, but they can’t give up cheese or bacon, but food has come such a long way and gone are the days vegans only ate salad. You can buy vegan cheese from almost every supermarket and it tastes amazing. And we have been to so many places that sell vegan bacon, fried chicken, prawns, beef and even fried eggs! There is no excuse anymore! Also, a vegan diet is a lot cheaper than buying meat. Beans, rice, bread, pasta, vegetables and fruit are super cheap. I lived in the USA for 9 months on a $9.00 an hour pay wage and bought SO much food, especially when you buy in bulk and prepare you food for the week.
A: It’s never too late to start and it’s not as hard as you think. After a while it becomes second nature and you’ll think “wow why didn’t I do this sooner?!”And also who likes to see animals suffer??? No one! It’s a matter of making small, selfless changes that can be as simple as picking up soy milk instead of cows milk or trying avocado on toast instead of butter. It’s 2017 and the Cruelty Free Shop and Smith & Deli and all these other wonderful vegan places exist, so there are no excuses!
How has your life changed since you’ve become vegan?
P: I feel so much happier and healthier. I used to get the flu once a month when I was eating meat. Now its October in 2017 and i haven’t been sick once! Everyone at work and at home has been sick and i have managed to not get it, which I put down to being vegan. I also love food so much more now, and get excited to get creative and cook dinner everynight. Me and my sister go to all these vegan restaurants together and its a great chance to spend time together.
A: I also feel happier and healthier! Being vegan has forced me to try sooo many new foods that ‘old me’ would never have touched. I’ve also made heaps of new vegan friends and it’s the best!!
What are the top 3 reasons to go vegan?
Do you have a blog, instagram, or youtube channel?
P: Yep our instagram is @vegansofmelb 🙂
A: @vegansofmelb !!