Vegan private chef/caterer, activist, animal rescuer, geologist and VeganLoves creator.
Nancy is a geologist, private vegan chef/caterer, animal rescuer and creator of VeganLoves. A native of Los Angeles, Nancy will soon be taking her skills as a chef and activist to Boston where the East Coast will offer her new avenues to expand a company’s plant-based organic sector, and further inform her newest endeavor as a cookbook author. Her goal is to inspire omnivores to broaden their palettes and be fulfilled by delicious vegan foods. You can check out her blog at www.veganloves.wordpress.com for thoughts and recipes.
SS: What made you go vegan and why?
NP: My mother said that as a little girl I would watch NatGeo and cry when I saw the lions killing/eating gazelles. I’d ask her why the lions couldn’t just eat grass instead…I suppose this lifestyle was inevitable for me. Being brought up in an asian household I ate lots of meat and dairy. I have to give a lot of credit to my good friend, Sara Cozolino, who introduced me to the term VEGAN. I remember her patiently explaining to me the dynamics of being vegan many years ago and me giving her the “you must be outa your mind!” look. She was always so understanding and kind; never judging me. It wasn’t until I attended my first animal rescue fundraiser with her that the light bulb went off. They served a vegan dinner and I thought to myself “this is really good…I can totally do it!” and this time I would be doing it for the animals. I had tried being vegetarian for a few months earlier that year and relapsed terribly back into a meat-filled diet. After being exposed to what was happening to the moon bears, cats, and dogs in Asia, it was like a domino effect. I just kept exposing myself to more and more truths about the business of animals for food.
SS: Has it been difficult for you? If yes, then what was difficult and did it get easier?
NP: I think that the first month was a bit difficult but once I got over that hump it was cruise control. My switch was a very conscious act. I went to a friend’s birthday dinner at a steakhouse, ordered a prime rib and said that after this I was done. What really helped me was that for the first few months I would tell myself and other people I talked to that if I had a chance to eat something like Kobe beef I would totally do it. I think that made me feel like I wasn’t completely giving it up although I knew I wasn’t going to go out of my way to find it. Giving up dairy was also a conscious, timed decision. I told myself that after the World Cup I would be finished with dairy. I had already stopped milk and eggs but watching the matches at sports bars made it difficult to find food that didn’t contain cheese.
I always loved to cook and the transition to cooking veg was a little difficult. I actually stopped for a few months after and ate out a lot! Especially at this joint called Lotus Vegan in NoHo. But I slowly got back into the grove of cooking again and challenging myself in the kitchen. Now it has become second nature. I made sure to notice the way my body felt after eating certain foods and this helped a great deal. My energy level was actually higher and felt lighter from the inside out.
SS: What are some animal rights related things you participate in?
NP: I consider myself more of an “Animal Rights Activist in Training”. I wish I was more badass! I so admire those who go out there and passionately demonstrate. I just pick up random animals off the streets, from pigeons to squirrels to rabbits to cats to dogs...even a tortoise! I’ve participated in a few demonstrations for dolphins and attend fundraisers when I can. I truly do think that just by being vegan one is having such a huge impact on animal rights. You are speaking for them by not supporting the businesses that cause their suffering.
SS: What are your favorite AR organizations?
NP: Animals Asia Foundation, Elephant Nature Foundation, PETA, ARME, Animal Acres, BunnyLuv...just off the top of my head.
SS: What would you say to encourage someone who is considering becoming vegan?
NP: That if you do it for the right reasons you will never regret it. I’ve studied a lot of science and you can always argue that some people can be perfectly healthy having meat and dairy in their diet. Although I will say that I truly believe a plant-based diet will benefit most. And even if humans were meant to eat meat, we have somehow along the way messed it up completely. Ultimately I would say... never stop looking, learning and exposing yourself. Keep your heart and mind open to the realities of this world and you will be very surprised at what you are capable of.