You may have no problem following an animal-free diet, but being vegan goes beyond the food you eat. Veganism encompasses a cruelty-free lifestyle -- avoiding all things that harm living beings. Vegan guru Melisser Elliot, author of the blog, The Urban Housewife, shares her vegan challenges and dishes on her new vegan book The Vegan Girl's Guide To Life: Cruelty-Free Crafts, Recipes, Beauty Secrets and More (Skyhorse Publishing, 2010).
You may have no problem following an animal-free diet, but being vegan goes beyond the food you eat. Veganism encompasses a cruelty-free lifestyle -- avoiding all things that harm living beings. Vegan guru Melisser Elliot, author of the blog, The Urban Housewife, shares her vegan challenges and dishes on her new vegan book The Vegan Girl's Guide To Life: Cruelty-Free Crafts, Recipes, Beauty Secrets and More
(Skyhorse Publishing, 2010).
Q&A with vegan author Melisser Elliot
What inspired you to start following a vegan lifestyle and how has it improved your life?
I became vegan for ethical reasons. I was an ethical vegetarian for many years and when I found out about the horrors of the dairy and egg industries, I knew I could not partake in the cruelty inflicted on these living beings. They have a desire to live, just like any of us. Once I eliminated these products from my life, I did feel better about myself, but the largest improvements for me have been to my social life. Through potlucks and animal rights events, I have made wonderful friends! Many people see vast health improvements too, especially people with heart and cholesterol problems, as well as diabetes.
Vegan challenges and overcoming them
What are the biggest challenges in becoming vegan and what are the best ways to overcome them?
I think the biggest challenge can be the social aspects. Personal cravings come and go and your taste buds will catch up to your ethics, but there will always be little hurdles when dealing with events and explaining your diet to others. Of course, it's as simple as feed yourself before going out when needed and make a decision about whether you want to discuss your personal choice with people, but in the beginning it can feel awkward.
Dealing with vegan naysayers
What are your favorite responses to non-vegans who naysay vegan living?
I try to stay level headed and assess each situation on a case by case basis. Some people are just looking to get a rise out of you and they're not worth your time. Others can be misinformed and, in that case, you have an opportunity to tell them the truth about veganism. Many times, I simplify it and explain that animals have a desire to live, just like humans, and I am not going to pay to have them killed for my own selfish cravings.
Vegan travel food tips
In addition to delish vegan recipes, your book The Vegan Girl's Guide To Life
has a section of your favorite places to travel for vegan grub. Our readers would love to know where they, too, can munch vegan fare when traveling. Please dish!
You can find vegan food just about anywhere in the world- when in doubt, FALAFEL! Some of my favorite cities for vegan food are New York City, Portland, Berlin, London, and San Francisco! HappyCow.com is a great site with listings for most cities. I have also extensively talked travel on TheUrbanHousewife.com
Vegan beauty and attire
Can you share your favorite go-to resources for vegan beauty products and vegan clothing?
Well, I have a site that is a great reference for beauty products called CrueltyFreeFace.com
. For clothing, there are a growing number of vegan fashion blogs out there. Some of my favorites are The Streets I Know, Veggywood, The Discerning Brute, and Vegan Shoe Addict.
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