I teamed up with Jazmyn Smith for giveaway to celebrate the launch of her new website, Raising Vegans! This fantastic prize pack includes the following:
1 – Your choice of a My Eclectic Kitchen iTunes app or eBook
2 – Blood Tight Apparel tote bag of your choice
3 – Vegan Sidekick 1st edition comic book
4 – Best Simpsons pin that ever was!
Super Simple Rules:
1. Repost the giveaway photo
2. Follow and tag @yvonne_deliciously_vegan and @raisingvegans
3. Hashtag #veggengiveaway and #vegan
The winner will be selected randomly via the #veggengiveaway hashtag! The contest runs until Friday, December 12 at 11pm PST. You may enter once a day on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter as well! Get posting and good luck!
My Facebook: My Eclectic Kitchen App & My Eclectic Kitchen
My Twitter: My Eclectic Kitchen
I interviewed Jazmyn the other day, so you can get to know who is behind this giveaway and the new Raising Vegans blog!
Name: Jazmyn Smith
Current city: Brisbane, Queensland
Occupation: During my pregnancy and for the past six months since giving birth to our precious baby boy, I have had time to improve and expand upon my passion for all things food! I’ve been spending time experimenting and crafting unique recipes, not only for our new website but for our ultimate goal of opening our town’s first ever Vegan restaurant. It’s an inspiring time of rapid personal growth, for sure!
Can you describe your lifestyle and food philosophy?
I am still young – I come from a childhood of meat and 3 veg, like most other Australians. It has only really been in the past two or three years that I have started paying attention to the important role food plays, and so my ideas and comfort zones are forever changing. Alas, my food philosophy is also forever shifting, but always toward a more minimalistic and nutritious one – especially stemming from the thought ‘would I feed that to my baby?’. If the answer is no, then it’s probably not such a great option for us either. For example, I used to be pretty flexible with buying generic pastas, breads and rice – whereas now, wholemeal is my go to. That’s a small example, but it sums up that gradual improvement of our family’s diet pretty well.
If it’s not nourishing your body, and if it’s not made with love, enthusiasm, and conciousness, then I don’t believe it’s worth ingesting. A high quality, nutrient dense diet is too important, for all its ripple effects, to shrug off as ‘someone else’s lifestyle’.
Have you always been living this way or what triggered the change?
Absolutely not! Though I had been a vegetarian on and off through primary and high school, I had no solid foundation to grow from. All I knew was that eating animals felt wrong – but it was 100% ‘normal’; even now I don’t know many vegetarian/vegans in my immediate social group or family. As a young kid, all I had was my instincts, and it took time to grow to trust them, as well as to educate myself enough on the farming industry so that my instincts evolved into beliefs and truths. I made the final decision to follow a vegan diet when I had moved out of home when I was almost 16. I had just moved away from my step fathers dairy farm. I have never looked back. My health improved beyond belief and my passion for veganism has only grown with each year that’s passed. I believe that many young children feel this way about consuming meat – that’s why vegetarianism is a ‘phase’ that many of them test. However, without education and support from those around them, they may never reach that final turning point, where the switch just flicks, and one realises, ‘ah, that’s what’s wrong with it all!’
Have you noticed any changes in your life when eating a more plant-based diet?
Within the first year of becoming a vegan, I lost 25kg! I had been obese for my childhood and teenage years up until that point. I also struggled with deep mental health issues, including anxiety, depression and symptoms of schizophrenia – all which I took medication for, and all which I no longer need medication for! I could attribute these improvements to a few lifestyle changes, but none more so than changing to a plant based diet. It only makes sense that if you take care of yourself, your body, mind and spirit will respond accordingly.
Besides health aspects, there are social observations which I think every vegan realises at one point or another. I could write a book about those, but let me sum it up by saying that we have so much capability as a species, but equal amounts of cognitive dissonance! Sometimes it is a very hard truth to live alongside, other times it is a source of encouragement for working that little bit harder to spread the vegan message.
Is there anything you are completely strict about when it comes to your diet and lifestyle?
Firstly, of course, animal products. There are no “what if’s” about it. I can accept that others draw their lines at certain products – eggs or honey for example, but I think it is inevitable that as you grow with your vegan lifestyle, that it should only become more refined, and the difficulty of breaking attachments to certain foods dies away. Lifestyle wise, my strongest belief is to surround yourself with those who enhance your best attributes and who make you feel good. I won’t tolerate people or groups who have a negative affect on myself or my family. Life is too short to waste on those kinds of things – fill every day with love, give and take as much as you can from those who mean the most! Be kind and expect it in return. Etc etc!
Where do you find inspiration and motivation to keep living your healthy lifestyle?
As my healthy lifestyle is greatly linked to my love for cooking, I find that the most part of my inspiration comes from taking a trip to the health food store and finding a new ingredient that I haven’t worked with before. There are some wonderful, strange things tucked away on the highest shelves and the quite dark corners of those places, I tell you! Other times, it’ll be the weather. The weather is a fantastic point of direction for what I feel like eating – it’s Spring here in Australia at the moment, and while I’ve never followed a raw food diet, I’ve never eaten so many creative, colourful, beautiful raw recipes in my life than I have this season! Other sources include different patterns (‘what’s a recipe that would match this fabric?’) or scouting through the many incredible home cooks on Instagram. All of these things invigorate and motivate me to continue with my food journey!
Would you say that your way of eating and living have affected you on your spiritual path? (if so, in what way?)
(Tree hugging vegan alert)
Oh, is there anything better than sitting in the sun with a belly full of fresh fruit and meditating while the breeze rolls around you and nature sings!? (Not many things, I’m sure!) I’d say that in that sense, a plant based diet has shaken up many of my preconceptions about life here on earth. I’ve not been devout to any faith in my life, excluding when I was a child being raised by Anglicans, but I do feel that the deeper my appreciation for wholesome, natural foods grows, my appreciation for the earth it came from grows, too. The earth and it’s nature is where I place my greatest respect and devotion.
How do you handle social situations as being vegan? (Do you find it difficult? Please share your some advice how to handle social situations)
Growing up, I have always been somewhat assertive and vocal in my belief for justice – but only in recent years have I refined those things to work for me, and not against me. My passion for veganism began in high school, and we all had Facebook, which was great for sharing my thoughts on all these new things I was learning (okay, perhaps I have been a little more ‘militant vegan’ in the past), but it was not so well received by peers. I completed high school in a right wing, rural farming community, which I think links to the attitudes and intentional opposition toward my veganism that I received at every turn for a long time. I don’t want to lump everyone who comes from those backgrounds into one basket, as I have certainly seem some of those who most opposed my views transform and do 180 turns on their own views over the years, but I believe that in general it had a lot to do with it. I would post a status with some information on the farming industry and would then have to spend the evening debating with three or four individuals about literally any argument you’ve ever heard against veganism. It was a really trying learning curb for me, as I didn’t have all the answers back then, nor the emotional capacity to not take it all to heart. I find now though, especially since I have found my life partner who is also a passionate vegan, that the more comfortable and confident I am with my reasons for being a vegan, the more others accept it, some even are inspired, and some even have thanked me for being their guide into veganism. Family has been the toughest crowd to have ‘the vegan conversation’ with, though I hear this is quite common. Generally now, I try to avoid meals with my family if I know that there is a lot of non-vegan food involved, and that is not to say that I don’t wish to be spending time with them, for I love them dearly, it is just to avoid the frustration and emotional struggles I encounter when seeing others consume meat based meals. The world is increasingly becoming more comfortable with the ideals of vegans, and I think it will only be easier for each new generation to be accepted for their beliefs on this matter. My only advice to other vegans would be to continue to educate yourself, and when you do find yourself being asked questions by those around you, respond diplomatically and matter of fact-ly. It is an important topic, that’s for sure, but we needn’t start wars over it. Stay peaceful, stay switched on – the world will catch up.
What ingredients are must-haves for your fridge and pantry?
Currently, 1kg buckets of hummus (yes, we have them here!), nutritional yeast, cous cous and bananas are staples that we are never without. I feel that hemp seeds and saurkraut are about to make their way on to that list shortly.
How do you keep your energy level high throughout the whole day?
I’ve found that the most effective addition to a nutritous plant based diet for keeping yourself feeling energised through the day is to drink water at every chance you have. I actually have a couple of rules for myself that help to remember to drink enough water: ‘never turn down a glass of water if someone offers it’, and to only ever purchase water as opposed to other beverages when travelling or out shopping etc. Also, find a unique water bottle that you really love – this will make keeping it around more of a priority.
When looking back, could you give three changes you have done in your life that has shifted your life to new levels? (and what it has done to you)
First, and perhaps most importantly, my move from home to independence at a young age. I believe this was the ultimate test of becoming aware of myself, which was necessary to survive back then. As I said before, if you are not surrounded by people who mean the most to you and bring out all the good in you, then you are probably wasting a good part of your life that you will not get back! Find your safe, happy space, and watch how much you flourish. Secondly, my transition to veganism, for all reasons mentioned above! And lastly, my decision to have a son with my incredible partner. Mothering is a natural extension of my compassion, empathy and patience, and it only builds these traits stronger. Plus, how cute are babies?! Especially ours, and I’m pretty sure that’s not even bias.
What are your daily health routines?
As well as nourishing ourselves with good quality foods, my partner and I train weights together most nights. He is far more experienced in this than I am, and has been ridiculously helpful and encouraging with my journey into it. It is an incredible blessing to have someone who knows what they’re talking about there to guide me from the start and through every new level that I reach. Training weights is an incredibly important physical feat, and I am glad to see the outdated attitude that ‘weights are for men, cardio is for women’ is shifting and balancing out. Yoga however is my personal favourite. I only started six months ago after giving birth to Finn, but it has already taught me so much about the importance of physical and mental strength, balance and focus.
Your top 5 tips to stay happy, healthy and beautiful! (and a short description to each)
1. Be honest with yourself – One gift that I have been given from some time in my early years is a fantastic ability to self reflect. I believe that it can be learnt and utilised, but the most important thing in self reflection is being able to be really honest with yourself. Once you can do this, you will make better, healthier choices in all aspects of your life.
2. Be good to others – Do unto others what you would want for yourself. No random act of kindness has ever been worthless. It is amazing what you will discover in some people if you give them the chance to feel loved and appreciated! Plus, it will always make you feel good!
3. Learn more about food – there are libraries full of information about food and what eating it means for your own personal health and wellbeing. This information grows by the day. Pick up a food, google the heck outta it, and there’s your starting point. You’ll find more questions to ask about your food with each new piece of information you come across. So much to know, so much room to improve!
4. Become a food minimalist – by this I mean, reduce the pre-packed, processed stuff! Make your condiments from scratch, buy your produce fresh, and if buying packaged goods always choose the brand with the least additives.
5. Never stop trying new things – there are infinite adventures to be had. You have an unknown number of pages to be filled in your book. Never stop exploring, experimenting and getting out of your comfort zone – don’t leave a half written story!
What kind of advice would you give anyone wanting to become a healthier and happier person but doesn´t know where to start?
Education is key, I will say it a million more times before I die, because a million more people are going to say ‘I want to get healthy, but I have no idea how to!’. The internet, though not always 100% accurate or conclusive, is a great tool for learning, no matter where you’re starting from. I believe that true happiness starts with good health. Focus on a nutrient dense, plant based diet, learn how to cook and then cook what you love, and you will be sewing the seeds for happiness.
If you could go back in time and tell your younger self any wise words, what would you say?
You will have absolutely no use for knowing how to code your myspace profile in 5 years. Please, step away from the computer!
What´s your favorite quote? (and shortly why!)
‘Success is never owned, it is rented, and the rent is due every day’
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