The Fruitful Life

Live Your Best Vegan Life | Interview

Live Your Best Vegan Life | Interview

Behind every great vegan is an origin story. That's why today we decided to interview Cher, FY Manager of Training and Leadership Development, and long-time vegan enthusiast. 

FY: Hello Cher, tell us a little bit about yourself. How long have you been "eating vegan"?

Cher: I've been a vegan for over 15 years. Before that, I was a vegetarian for probably 10 years.

FY: Wow! What inspired you to be a vegan?

Cher: Starting as a vegetarian, I always wanted to make the leap to go vegan. A lot of it had to do with health. I know our animal sources are contaminated. [In that way,] we're eating whatever they're eating. Also, I don’t really like eating animals . I don’t want to contribute to mass meat production and factory farming. When I was still a vegetarian, the book Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman was what did it for me. At that point, I knew too much, and I knew I had to do this.

FY: That's pretty powerful! To switch gears a little bit, do you think it’s an unspoken rule that most vegans are also pet owners?

Cher: I love animals, but I don't know about the rest of us. Perhaps, haha! I’ve always had a definite love for animals and animal care. That’s always why I'm caught up in some type of rescue.

FY: Tell us about your pets.

Cher: We have three dogs who were rescued from the same shelter. We have two lab mixes -- they’re just a joy. Onyx keeps me from going crazy; he's the voice of reason. Lula is our small chihuahua, and my daughter's baby. Bambi is my wild child. They bring their joy, chaos, fun, and love to our home and to our lives.

Cher's daughter with Onyx.

FY: What are your Fruitful Favorites?

Cher: I really like to add algae oil to my diet to make sure I'm getting my omegas. I like Nordic Naturals. Also, I eat chia seeds to meet those needs. Plus, I couldn’t not mention our wonderful selection of organic nut butters! From almond butter, to cashew butter, to all of the above mixed together with chocolate. That's a great breakfast or anytime snack. Finally, organic greens like kale and spinach powders ensure I'm getting my daily dose of greens. (It’s so easy to cheat ourselves in that department!) Those are three big ones, but I could go on!

FY: What are some of the biggest misconceptions that vegans get?

Cher: "Um, what do you eat?" I get that question! At times it can be difficult for others to even imagine how we’re sustaining ourselves. It’s shocking to them. In reality,  there’s plenty of food options! I never feel like I'm starving or missing out. At times, when you go out to eat at a restaurant your friends choose, you’re limited, but that could happen to anyone living a healthy lifestyle. There aren't always healthy options around every corner.

Photo of Vegetable Salad in Bowls

However, more and more, the plant-based options are really exploding. A lot of restaurants and grocers starting to explore that. We just need to make sure that as we go plant-based, the foods are still healthy! It's not as important to have every food look and taste like meat, but to have healthy alternatives -- so we need to read between the lines. At the same time, foods like Beyond Meat opened the world's eyes to plant-based eating. That's a gateway for a lot of people. 

FY: Do you have any advice for people just starting out as vegans, to get over initial cravings?

Cher: Hmm, well, reading that book I mentioned is a good option. It helps to think beyond just taste and missing meat. Remember why you're trying to avoid it. Now, there are so many options to keep people from missing out. Most of the time, I hear people miss dairy. There are a lot of dairy alternatives for ice creams and cheeses... You just have to try, and sample, and see which you like best. If one grocer doesn’t have something you want, just try another one. They’re popping up everywhere. You can do it!

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