Interviews

Interview – Bev Missing

Posted on 8 November 2016

An interview with Bev Missing, founder of Rain …

By Antoinette Maake

Bev Missing

Vegan SA: Tell us about who you are and what you do?

Bev Missing: Rain is a Fair Trade company, manufacturing body and bath products and skincare from bioactive wild harvested African plants.

We have 22 of our own Rain stores – 18 in SA and 3 in the USA.

Vegan SA: What inspired you to come up with Rain?

Bev Missing: A desire to make a difference in our community and country by creating work opportunities for unskilled people in rural areas.

Vegan SA: Are all the Rain products vegan friendly?

Bev Missing: Our products are all vegetarian friendly – we are endorsed by Beauty Without Cruelty. And all are vegan friendly apart from our Bee Range and our baby range which have beeswax.

Vegan SA: Where can people buy the Rain products?

Bev Missing: We have 18 stores in South Africa in the major malls and a web shop www.rainafrica.comOpens in a new window.

Vegan SA: When did you become vegetarian and why?

Bev Missing: I have been vegetarian since I was a very young child. I can recall my mother telling me where roast lamb came from and I point blank refused to eat meat from that day on. She was only able to deceive me with mince or hamburger patties which did not “look” like meat as there was no visible bone! Chicken followed soon after. I ate tuna till I was in university. I then saw an excerpt at the end of the evening news which showed a gold fish which had been cruelly raised in a tea cup and had grown a curved spine. When the SPCA confiscated this fish and introduced it into a tank with normal fish – it was unable to swim to the surface to breathe. The other fish took turns to lift it to the surface to breathe. I was gobsmacked. I could not believe the intelligence and compassion I had seen in a gold fish. That was the end of all fish for me. And that was 35 years ago.

Vegan SA: What is your favourite place to shop for food?

Mellissa: I live in Swellendam, so we have limited selection. We have a little organic eco shop in town which I support, but mainly I grow my own herbs and veggies organically. I shop at Woolies whenever I am in Cape Town.

Vegan SA: Tell us about what motivated you to write your first book, Rain Book of Natural Soap-making?

Bev Missing: My desire to share and pass it forward. A lady in the USA had helped me learn to make soap – out of the goodness of her heart, so it seemed a nice thing to do – to share what had really not been mine to own.

Vegan SA: What reception is your book receiving locally and internationally?

Bev Missing: The sales have been better than expected. We have also published in the USA – an Americanized imperial version.

Vegan SA: There is a lot happening globally and in South Africa about eating/diet. What advice do you have for people who are trying to eat a healthy diet and how to maintain it?

Bev Missing: I had breast cancer last year and, for me, that was a wakeup call on eating non organic and processed convenience meals. I am a very busy person so convenience meals were such a help to me…….my gorgeous man does not cook. There are all sorts of funnies in there – stabilizers, non caking agents, preservatives, flavor enhancers etc etc. NOT good.

I have also been shocked at how even ‘fresh fruit’ is dipped into preservative baths and waxed for longevity. One cannot trust our food suppliers anymore. They are not forced to warn us on how food has been treated on fresh produce. I think the only way forward to grow your own.

Vegan SA: What is your favorite meal?

Bev Missing: Halloumi in a traditional tabbouleh salad.

Vegan SA: How strict are you in your diet, do you eat honey, wear leather?

Bev Missing: I do eat honey and I do wear leather. I often say that I am a hypocritical vegetarian because of the leather. But I would NEVER wear it if I knew an animal had died for just my shoes. Everyone around me eats meat. I am the only vegetarian in my family and friendship circle. So, on the balance of probabilities, it is likely that I am wearing the by – product of what they all eat.

Vegan SA: Best advice you can give for travelling vegans and vegertarians?

Bev Missing: There is a bakery in Robertson who makes the most exquisite eggless cheesecake – Loretta se Koek Boutique – 023 626 5133.

Vegan SA: Babel at Babylonstoren – fresh organic seasonal food straight from the garden around the restaurant.

Vegan SA: What obstacles have you faced in the past, and continue to face, by being vegetarian, and how did you overcome them?

Bev Missing: Continual teasing and made to feel the pariah. It started as a child and has never ever stopped. I just laugh it off.

Vegan SA: What improvements or changes would you most like to see in the vegan and vegetarian movements, both domestically and internationally, over the coming years?

Bev Missing: I would love people to really THINK about what where their food comes from and how animals are treated in the various processes. I would like to recommend a book to all carnivores – EATING ANIMALS by Jonathan Safran Foer – truly shocking and life changing.

Vegan SA: What is your favorite meal and do you have a recipe that we could publish on our site?

Bev Missing: An embarrassing confession… I have a wonderful mom. And she does all the cooking. I don’t have time. But as the rest of my family are carnivores, I get the “meat and three veg” without the meat! She knows the rules of course – not to use the same utensils for both.

Vegan SA: What advice would you give to people want to make the switch to becoming vegan or vegetarian?

Bev Missing: As a vegetarian I would not advise anyone to switch to a Vegan lifestyle to be honest. That is a tough road and very challenging. It must come from your own heart and conviction. You cannot persuade people to convert. It needs to be driven from within.

My personal health challenges have been that I have not focused enough attention on my protein intake over the years and now at 54 years of age – my muscles have started to atrophy as a result of lack of protein. Beans and lentils were never part of my diet, and this I regret now.

Vegan SA: Where can our readers buy a copy of your book?

Bev Missing: Rain stores nationwide in the major malls or our online shop www.rainafrica.com.

Visit our website for a list of famous international and South African vegans.


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Brett Austin

Posted on 4 December 2015

An interview with author Brett Austin …

By Antoinette Maake

Vegan SA: Tell us about who you are and what you do?

Brett: My name is Brett Austin I have been DJ since I was 15 years old. After school I did a plumbing apprenticeship with my uncle Bob, but have just recently closed my business to follow my dream of supporting people to live their best lives. I share my story with them through my writing, talks and food.

Brett Austin - after vegan diet

Vegan SA: When did you become vegan and why?

Brett: After watching a final episode of survivor in June of 2012 I saw how all the men and woman looked after just 41 days of being stranded on an island eating nothing more than fruit, veg and occasionally some meat, so I went to my fridge cleared everything out and the next day bought what I needed. It was 3 months later on my way to a festival that I next ate meat again. Boy did it not agree with me. I could feel the pain and suffering of the animal and the anxiety the animal lived with during its life. We are what we eat and if you ingest an animal that suffered in any way that suffering will show up in you in some way or form.

Vegan SA: Did the transition happen overnight?

Brett: It was literally overnight with meat. After a year I started eating cheese and occasionally had milk in a cappuccino, but of late I have gone back to being fully vegan as I have become more aware of the devastating facts behind the milk and cheese industry and I can’t bear to know that I have had a part in supporting such an industry.

Vegan SA: What is your favourite place to shop for food?

Brett: I have no favourites as I buy different things from different places. Most of my veg etc. is from Woolies, preferably organic. Biscuit Mill for mushrooms, Fargos in Salt River for certain dried supplies (I never got the fuss about Atlas), Baps Shayona in Retreat for Indian supplies and curry. Some of what used to be my favourite delis now sell Foie Gras and refuse to stop so I won’t support them anymore. Pity, I don’t get to the city markets on Saturdays nearly as often as I would like.

Vegan SA: Tell us about what motivated you to write your first book?

Brett: I was shocked at how quickly the weight fell off my body after removing all the toxins and meat from my system. I feel amazing and every day I feel even better than the day before. I thought it only fair to share my story with all the people of this planet, as I wanted everyone to know how easy it is to lose weight, and become healthy, and be your best self without all the fads and pills that are so frequently advertised as a wonder drug or diet that will shed the pounds or make you feel better for a short while.

Vegan SA: What reception is your book receiving locally and internationally?

Brett: I have had a few reviews so far and all who have read the book have given me wonderful feedback. Internationally I have only just started to get people interested in marketing the book for me. Self-publishing has its draw backs but I could not allow publishers to take more than their value because my purpose in life is to help this beautiful planet transform. All the proceeds of “To all the people of the planet” will go back into cleaning up our planet one city at a time and creating gardens for people to be able to feed themselves.

Brett Austin - before vegan diet

Vegan SA: There is a lot happening globally and in South Africa about eating/diet, what advice do you have for people who are trying to eat a healthy diet and how to maintain it?

Brett: Perseverance is 100% self-control! Always remember those words. I made stickers and put them up everywhere, on my fridge on my walls, I even stuck one on my rear view mirror of my car so that I was always seeing them. If we just persevere and practice self-control, we can achieve anything we want, no matter how big or small the task at hand.

Vegan SA: What is your favourite meal?

Brett: Every meal is my favourite meal. When I came to the understanding that everything “we eat becomes us”, then preparing my meals became a spiritual practice, because I knew the fuel was going to feed every cell in my body. I cook from my heart and give thanks for the food I’m eating, and I always give thanks to all that supported the food to get to my plate too, the rain, the sun, Mother Earth and, most of all, the plants.

Vegan SA: How strict are you as a Vegan, do you eat honey, wear leather?

Brett: Occasionally I have some honey, I have used it to make my fat-burning chocolate in the past. But lately after giving up coffee I don’t see the need to use it anymore and I have found a substitute for my fat burning chocolate. I don’t wear leather anymore, I do have an old pair of work boots that I bought a few years ago before my awareness shifted to knowing the suffering of the animals.

Vegan SA: What is your favourite place to shop for food?

Brett: I support local markets now and shop for all organic foods whatever is in season and then get creative in my kitchen. I have also built myself a 50 square meter green house with a running river through it, and started an aquaponics system, so I now grow most of my own food. If we can put our own love into the food we grow, it responds to our body in such amazing ways, and benefits not only us but the entire planet.

Vegan SA: Best advice you can give for travelling vegans?

Brett: Mother Earth is our home so it does not matter where you are, this is our planet, we were born here and we have the right to be here. Be integerous with yourself, support the local farmer or market wherever you are. It is so easy to make good healthy food; just focus on that.

Vegan SA: What is your favourite place for eating out?

Brett: Everywhere I go I enjoy the food and at restaurants that don’t offer vegan options, I help the waiter to convince the kitchen just as to how I like my food prepared. I always say to the waiter to tell the cook to make mine with love, and trust me, you can taste the difference.

Vegan SA: What obstacles have you faced in the past, and continue to face, by being vegan, and how did you overcome them?

Brett: I have had no obstacles at all. Being vegan for me has only increased my level of enjoyment on this beautiful planet, I have a better relationship with my family and friends and every person I encounter during my day.

Vegan SA: What improvements or changes would you most like to see in the vegan movement, both domestically and internationally, over the coming years?

Brett: Everything is perfect the way it is, the world and its people have to know their worst before they want and need to change. As each one of us changes we affect others around us so all I can say is it is up to each one of us to just be our best version of ourselves, and as others see us being that they will ask and want advice.

Vegan SA: What is your favourite meal and do you have a recipe that we could publish on our site?

Brett: Chopped Raw Broccoli and Rocket Salad

Vegan SA: What advice would you give to people want to make the switch to becoming vegan or vegetarian?

Brett: Buy my book ! hahaha lol. You know it is much easier than you think. Have a smoothie in the morning or fruit if you don’t have a blender, snack on nuts during the day. For lunch make a salad. I have amazing recipes in my book for all meals. We are all amazing artists and creators, have fun in the kitchen and invite your spirit to guide you when preparing a meal. It will always be your best meal if you do that.

Vegan SA: Where can our readers buy a copy of your book?

Brett: Amazon.com for an ebook or, if you would like a hard copy, you can contact me and I’ll give you one of the stores in your area, or via post.

Contact: www.facebook.com/brettaustinliveOpens in a new window, @miracleofveg (twitter #tatpotp), Tel.: +27 078 159 0913, or email brettaustinlive@gmail.com.

Visit the Vegan SA website for a list of famous South African and international vegans.


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Can there be any beauty without cruelty?

Posted on 22 May 2015

An interview with Toni Brockhoven, Beauty Without Cruelty National Chairperson and spokesperson …

By Antoinette Maake

Toni Brockhoven

Vegan SA: Tell us about who you are and what you do?

Toni: I am a 55 year old Capetonian, loaded with enthusiasm, passion, a slight artistic bent and a disinclination to exercise, despite knowing it’s good for me. I am currently national chairperson of Beauty Without Cruelty, an organisation I have supported in one form or another since my late teens. I have a family of 2 adopted rescue cats and a husband.

Vegan SA: When did you become vegan and why?

Toni: I had been Vegetarian for many years, but not committed, and so to my shame I fell off the wagon about 18 years ago. In July 2004 Carte Blanche did an expose on KFC and chickens, and immediately after the show I informed everyone I knew I was no longer eating land animals. While I knew then I was headed for veganism, it was more a case of getting family and friends used to the decision. By December that year I had eschewed sea-life and on May 26th 2005, my cupboards and conscience were cleared. So this year I celebrate 10 years of compassionate living, and like every vegan before me, I say loudly “I wish I had done it before”.

Vegan SA: Did the transition happen overnight?

Toni: It took 10 months in total, but I simply made decisions about stopping certain things, i.e. consuming land animals, then I stopped eating sealife and then gave up eggs – once I had decided today was the day, that was that.

Vegan SA: What is your favourite place to shop for food?

Toni: I have no favourites as I buy different things from different places. Most of my veg etc. is from Woolies, preferably organic. Biscuit Mill for mushrooms, Fargos in Salt River for certain dried supplies (I never got the fuss about Atlas), Baps Shayona in Retreat for Indian supplies and curry. Some of what used to be my favourite delis now sell Foie Gras and refuse to stop so I won’t support them anymore. Pity, I don’t get to the city markets on Saturdays nearly as often as I would like.

Vegan SA: What is your favourite place for eating out?

Toni: It depends on what I want: Food Inn, Long Street for dahl and channa curry, Biesmiellah on Wale Street for veg roti, Maharaja Rondebosch for their soy mince samosas and chilli bites, Simply Asia for 408, brinjal and tofu, Plant (Plant, 8 Buiten Str, CBD) for the cheez toasty or mushroom rolls, Sophea Gallery in Simonstown for the unbeatable Sherpa Stew (oooooeer), Colcaccio for the green house salad with artichokes, Belathazar at the Waterfront (yes, you read right) for the onion blossom (have it veganised), Salero at the Waterfront for their vegetable linguine, Takumi in CBD for sushi.

Vegan SA: Tell us about Portobello Road Kind Biltong

Toni: I started making biltong for myself, initially using Rawlicious’ recipe and then I tweaked it to get the flavour I wanted. It’s almost inevitable that I will make recipe changes with everything. Then I gave some to a couple of friends, including carnists, who raved. So now it’s available at Plant, Conscious 108 use it in their menu and Greenside / Uber Café in Greenside usually stock it. I have a couple of people around the country who buy in bulk directly from me, for their own use.

Vegan SA: What is your favourite meal and do you have a recipe that we could publish on our site?

Toni: My favourite meal depends on my mood, as seen above. I have several recipes of my own, you may publish, with pleasure.

Vegan SA: What obstacles have you faced in the past, and continue to face, by being vegan, and how did you overcome them?

Toni: The only annoyances have been non-vegans, and the usual comments, which I think is all too common. There have been very few restaurants not willing to accommodate me. So in a nutshell, there have been no obstacles.

Vegan SA: What improvements or changes would you most like to see in the vegan movement, both domestically and internationally, over the coming years?

Toni: I’d like to see recognition that veganism is not a fad, it’s not about us, that compassion is no longer ridiculed, and naturally, that more and more people adopt a vegan lifestyle. There is not a single logical, intelligent reason that anyone can give for carnism.

Vegan SA: What advice would you give to people want to make the switch to becoming vegan or vegetarian?

Toni: Yes it takes courage to stand up for what you believe in, but you aren’t alone. There are excellent Facebook groups, like African Vegan Outreach and Boere Vegans, where we encourage and help. Use the Beauty Without Cruelty humane guide for personal care and household cleaners. Google is your new best friend. Read labels. Don’t beat yourself up if you slip up. As you change your wardrobe going forward, make the change to animal friendly choices. Read. Learn the facts. Play in the kitchen, and have fun.

Almost all of us are surrounded by carnist friends and family, so we have all been there or still are. You are tougher than you know. And most importantly, you know, deep down, you are doing the right thing. Be aware that no longer eating Mum’s roast is taken as an implied criticism of her, when actually it has nothing to do with either of you. It’s about you no longer willing to participate in the exploitation and intentional brutalisation of others for pleasure, profit or palate, and that is quite something.

Vegan SA: How can people support BWC?

Toni: As a non-profit organisation, Beauty Without CrueltyOpens in a new window is totally reliant on public financial support for our work defending animal rights on the public’s behalf. Company membership is tax deductible, we request that people take out annual membership, make us a beneficiary on their MyVillage card, donate. Purchase our cookbook and merchandise. We also need support at events, be they fundraising or protests. Use the humane guide, we don’t charge at all for endorsement or the use of the logo once endorsed, and it is the only way to ensure that products purchased are animal friendly. Every purchase of an endorsed product is one less sale for a questionable company.

Vegan SA: Is there any question that you would like to ask and respond to that we didn’t ask you?

Toni: Beauty Without Cruelty celebrates 40 years of existence this year. Join us at Backsberg Estate Cellars, at the foothills of the Simonsberg Mountains for a glittering event to celebrate Beauty Without Cruelty’s 40th anniversary.

The evening will begin with a wine-tasting. Backsberg Estate Cellars’ award-winning wines are known not only for their structure and finesse, but also for their range and drinkability. Backsberg was chosen as one of the Top 100 Wineries of the Year by Wine and Spirits Magazine in New York. To complement their wines, a delectable selection of canapés by Wynand du Plessis, the youngest chef ever to represent South Africa at the Culinary World Cup, and trained at the prestigious Five Star Carlton Hotel in Johannesburg, will be served. To complete the experience, award-winning acoustic guitarist, and founder member of the popular African group Tananas, Steve Newman, will captivate and enthral you.

The Parlotones frontman, Kahn Morbee needs no introduction to South African audiences. In 1999, Kahn formed The Parlotones, a rock quartet which has attained a global following, from headlining the 20,000-seater Coca Cola Dome to the 2010 FIFA World Cup Kick-off Concert to an audience of a billion. They have achieved multi-platinum selling status and have received numerous awards. They are also spokespersons for both Live Earth and Earth Hour, along with, amongst others, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. Kahn’s first solo album, SALT was released in February 2015. Join Kahn for a concert that will rock your world!

Book online at http://activitybridge.com/book?activityid=3970Opens in a new window, contact Marianne on 082 481 3300, Laura on 084 772 1239, or email marscaro@gmail.com.

Visit the Vegan SA website for a list of famous South African and international vegans.


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Blogging around the vegan world

Posted on 12 April 2015

An interview with vegan bloggers, Karen Louise Fletcher and Patrick Knight …

By Antoinette Maake

Patrick Knight and Karen Louise Fletcher

Vegan SA: Tell us about who you are and what you do?

Patrick and Karen: Patrick is an ex ship captain. He currently works as a marine consultant in the off-shore industry. He’s an aspirant raw vegan chef, hoping to open an underground restaurant from home. Karen is an ex medical rep. She now manages properties and has an eco-fashion blog.

Vegan SA: When did you become vegan and why?

Patrick and Karen: Karen became vegetarian in 1980. Patrick was flexitarian from the day he met Karen (not so easy to eat a roast on your own). They both shifted to a vegan diet after visiting a dairy farm in the Netherlands in 2013. The realities of large scale animal produce farming were sufficient catalyst for them to make the change. In addition to ethical reasons, the couple have reaped massive health benefits. They feel much healthier, have more energy and now have normal cholesterol levels.

Vegan SA: Did the transition happen overnight?

Patrick and Karen: If only it were that easy! Eggs, cheese and milk were a big part of their diet. They had to find new ways to prepare old foods. And find substitute foods. Fellow vegans said they would get over cheese and milk. Initially they were not convinced.

But old habits do die. A person’s palate can adapt. It’s been a fun journey trying out different plant milks, learning to make veganaise and vegan cheezes. Out went old cookbooks and in came wonderful new vegan cookbooks. The couple have done a few raw food courses.

Vegan SA: What is your favourite meal? … and do you have a favourite recipe that we could publish on our site?

Patrick and Karen: Karen’s vote is for Patrick’s stir fries with Fry’s strips. His raw vegan tarts are a sure-fire crowd pleaser. Patrick is also a whizz with his power blender (an item they never needed before and can’t live without now). He whips up delicious plant protein packed smoothies in the mornings. Patrick thinks Karen is a genius when it comes to salads. She adds nuts, seeds, kale, leafy greens, edamame beans and quinoa for a protein punch. Visit Patrick’s blog for recipes.

Vegan SA: What is your favourite place to shop for food?

Patrick and Karen: The couple realised they would have to change their shopping habits after many frustrating attempts to buy vegan foods. They believe that major supermarkets do not adequately cater for vegans or ethical consumers. They now shop at health food stores like Wellness Warehouse, food markets such as Biscuit Mill or Hope Street Market, and farmers markets such as Rodger’s Fruiterers or Organic Zone. Komati Foods in Observatory are brilliant for a wide variety nuts, seeds and grains at bargain prices.

Woolworths are getting better at stocking organic, raw and vegan food. And Sea Point Spar stock a few non-dairy cheeses, milks, spreads and ice creams.

Vegan SA: Best advice you can give for travelling vegans?

Patrick and Karen: Keep bags of dried fruit and nuts in your backpack. Check out Happy Cow – www.happycow.net – it was the couple’s best discovery for eating out. Happy Cow list vegan, vegetarian or veg friendly eateries and stockists all over the world. The reviews give helpful advice such as directions for hard to find places or speciality foods.

Vegan SA: What is your favourite place for eating out?

Patrick and Karen: Cape Town – Plant Vegan Café – corner Buiten and Loop streets in Cape Town is the couple’s absolute favourite place to eat. Plant Café do a mix of vegan comfort food such as melted cheese toasts or tempeh bacon to power foods such a green juices and quinoa salads. They also have brilliant wines at great prices and they sell vegan foods.

Simply Asia make good curries with soy or tofu in lieu of meat. Kauai, Osumo and Nü are fabulous for food on the run.
Jozi – the couple have eaten at Conscious 108 and Greenside Café, both in Greenside, and were impressed.

Vegan SA: What obstacles have you faced in the past, and continue to face, by being vegan, and how did you overcome them?

Patrick and Karen: Eating out is a challenge. A person can eat pizza, pasta or risotto only so many times and then eating out becomes boring. Usually the couple have to ask for substitutions to get a vegan meal. Often resulting in extra costs or unwilling staff, which only compounds the negative experience eating out. The couple entertain at home or take their own food.

• Making food from scratch becomes a way of life since vegan options are simply not available. Patrick and Karen find it best to set aside an evening or a morning to make a batch of vegan cheeses, veggie burgers, hummus, muesli mix or pestos for the week. The up-side is by having control over ingredients, their food is free from preservatives and extra salt or sugar. They believe home-made food is far tastier than store-bought food.

• Most cookbooks and food magazines do not cater for vegans. On-line shopping is the only way to find decent vegan cookbooks. The couple would love to see magazines such as Cook Vegetarian, Vegetarian Living and Vegan Life available in South Africa (it’s possible to download some veggie magazines). Veganomicon is their must-have book for new vegans. The Non Dairy Evolution has fool-proof recipes for substitute cheese and egg foods. Rawlicious and Easy Living Food are excellent raw vegan recipe books. The Vegetarian Flavour Bible is an aspirant chef’s guide to flavour compatibility.

• Social media groups are helpful for connecting to other vegans both locally and internationally. Karen likes Cape Town Vegans on Facebook and reads recipes and tips from One Green Planet and Mind Body Green.

Vegan SA: What improvements or changes would you most like to see in the vegan movement, both domestically and internationally, over the coming years?

Patrick and Karen: Patrick and Karen were lucky to attend Vegfest in London 2014 and would love to see something similar in South Africa. The range of foods and products was incredible.

• Seeing one or more vegan options on restaurant menus would be a giant leap for vegans.
• Patrick and Karen wish supermarkets would start catering for conscious consumers.
• It would be wonderful if the perception of soya as a bad food could be debunked. Most people have no idea how to prepare it, which doesn’t help. Veronika Powell MSc from Viva Health and Dr Justine Butler both campaign in favour of soya foods and their arguments are compelling.

Vegan SA: What advice would you give to people want to make the switch to becoming vegan or vegetarian?

Patrick and Karen: A person cannot drop meat, fish, eggs, cheese and milk and not replace them with equivalent plant foods. Doing so can only lead to poor health. Cooked animal protein is not always well assimilated by the human body, and it is acidic. Humans need to take in sufficient protein. Plants have a lot more protein than people realise. People need less protein than the average person is eating. Make a point of getting to know which foods and which combinations will provide adequate protein. There is a heap of information on the internet.

Vegan SA: Is there any question that you would like to ask and respond to that we didn’t ask you?

Patrick and Karen: Karen and Patrick find family and friends struggle to come to terms with their diet. They voice fears over inviting them for a meal and they worry about being judged for eating meat. While the couple are 100% vegan at home – and never eat meat – they are willing to eat a meal that may contain animal foods when an awkward meal situation arises. They often invite people to join them at vegan friendly eateries and they entertain more.

Vegan SA: Where can people follow your blogs?

Patrick and Karen: www.meatfreeeveryday.blogspot.com. Patrick’s blog started when people asked him what he ate since meeting Karen. He decided it was easier to share meals, ideas and recipes on a blog. Meat Free Everyday chronicles the couple’s shift away from eggs, cheese and milk to vegan foods, and has a gallery of recipes.

Visit the Vegan SA website for a list of famous South African and international vegans.


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Interview with Mellissa Bushby

Posted on 16 February 2015

An interview with Mellissa Bushby, author of The Vegetarian Kitchen …

By Antoinette Maake

Mellissa Bushby with her 2 children

Vegan SA: Tell us about who you are and what you do?

Mellissa: I am a vegan author, pen and watercolour illustrator and ceramic designer. I love nature, books and art, and ancient history. I am an avid supporter of sharks and their increasingly worrying endangered status. I love cats, the sea and trees.

Vegan SA: When did you become vegan and why?

Mellissa: I became vegetarian nearly 15 years ago. It was something I had wanted to do for many years but just never put my heart into it. I cut out red meat, then chicken, then fish and eggs and have never looked back. I became vegan nearly 5 years ago.

Vegan SA: Did the transition happen overnight?

Mellissa: Almost. The time between cutting out red meat, then other meat and eggs was a matter of a few months; becoming vegan took longer. I was very much of the opinion that as long as it was organic cheese and milk, it was fine; I even made sure we used only badger friendly honey. But my husband started becoming ill and we couldn’t figure out why, and eventually I thought it might be dairy products and started investigated all the health issues. I have a very good friend who is vegan and she also kept on pushing me to give up dairy, left bits of propaganda around my house! He has been vegan for longer than I have, but eventually I just couldn’t look the other way anymore.

Vegan SA: I read your book (The Vegetarian Kitchen) and found the meals delicious and easy to prepare, I would recommend it to anyone who is trying to make a switch to a plant based diet. What is your favourite meal? … and do you have a favourite recipe that we could publish on our site?

Mellissa: Chilli chickpea cakes with papaya and coriander salsa.

Vegan SA: What is your favourite place to shop for food?

Mellissa: Woolies for fresh veggies and fruit. Pick n Pay for tins, flour and so on, as well as Fry’s, although we eat very few ‘Faux meat’ products. I make most of my own bread.

Vegan SA: What is your favourite place for eating out?

Mellissa: Stefano’s Trattoria in Nelspruit. They know us by now as every birthday or anniversary celebration is spent there. Their food is fabulous and the atmosphere is lovely. You can have a decent meal without it being a sad and limp vegetable platter, always an obvious afterthought in my opinion and not good enough for paying customers, whose money is just as good as the next guy and who should be given excellent service and treatment irrespective of their meal choice.

Vegan SA: As a mother, are your kids also vegans?

Mellissa: Yes, both of them have been from birth.

Vegan SA: What obstacles have you faced in the past, and continue to face, by being vegan, and how did you overcome them?

Mellissa: It is very hard to convince family members that children do not need meat to help them grow, and that you are actually not doing them a disservice but quite the opposite. It’s frustrating when you want to go out for a special occasion and the manager at the restaurant you had your heart set on implies that it’s bad enough to be expected to cater for vegetarians, but vegan is just impossible.

Also, a big challenge has always been my children. I worry that they will be ostracized or teased because of my choices. Fortunately the older one has no qualms about it, and is very quick to say “no thank you, I don’t eat animals” in the politest way (there is always someone who thinks we have forced him into it). The younger will be the same I’m sure, he is just as stubborn.

Vegan SA: What improvements or changes would you most like to see in the vegan movement, both domestically and internationally, over the coming years?

Mellissa: More advertising and awareness regarding the dairy industry. I find it astounding how few people – and I mean people who care for animals and would not knowingly harm them – refuse to believe the atrocities going on there. They won’t see it, and all the hype about “happy cows” and “laughing cows” sets a precedent regarding the comfort and amiability of these animals – we are only too happy to supply you with milk, it’s not as if you are eating us. I just think the awareness isn’t there.

I also think it’s important, as harsh as it is, to make children more aware of the plight of farm animals. Many children don’t realise the implications, they don’t make the connection between the piece of steak and the animal, because everything is packaged neatly. That’s why many adults don’t see it, it’s not something that was ever actually brought home to them. Most people would still eat meat, but there a few who would think twice if they saw the living (and dying) conditions these poor creatures are subjected to.

Vegan SA: What advice would you give to people want to make the switch to becoming vegan or vegetarian?

Mellissa: To read as much as possible on the benefits, ethically, morally, health and planet wise, and also to research the alternatives. The struggle and eventual demise of an already overburdened planet, the dreadful suffering and terror the animals have to endure, let alone the constant and on-going despair, day after day. Once the penny has truly dropped, I cannot imagine anyone ever going back to eating meat again.

Vegan SA: Is there any question that you would like to ask and respond to that we didn’t ask you?

Mellissa: Just how important it is to prepare food with love, to sing and chant when preparing your food and to use the best quality products that are available.

Visit our website for a list of international and South African famous vegans.


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An interview with Rolene Sher

Posted on 18 November 2011

An interview with Rolene Sher of RAWlean …

By Antoinette Maake

Rolene Sher of RAWlean

Vegan SA: Tell us about who you are and what you do?

Rolene Sher: I am International Motivational Speaker, run Personal Growth, Empowerment and Changed Management workshops for companies and the general public. I have also started running the RAWlean food preparation workshops. In these workshops we not only learn how to make exciting healthy and quick raw food dishes but also gain a deep understanding that we are connected, body mind heart and spirit and by taking it all into consideration we can truly make lasting life style changes. Educate people on how to take care of themselves and experience optimum health by making empowering lifestyle changes.

Vegan SA: When did you become a raw food vegan and why?

Rolene Sher: I became a raw food vegan 4 years ago when I was diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer and realised I really needed to make lasting changes in my life. Was very unhappy with dairy farming and after reading The China Study that was it for me.

Vegan SA: What are the differences between a normal vegan and a raw food vegan?

Rolene Sher: Interesting question. I think the answer is one eats cooked vegan food and the other raw vegan food.

Vegan SA: Tell us more about New Beginnings and RawLean

Rolene Sher: I am the founder and director of New Beginnings. I develop and delivers empowerment workshops, individual and corporate seminars that are taking the country by storm and achieving lasting results.

I am suited to this calling having spent my teenage and adult life pursuing education and experiences that empower and facilitate change in people. I have always been a gifted trainer, with my passion taking me to classrooms and boardrooms.

I am an accredited BOTA Trainer, accredited Journey Therapist, demartini and reiki therapist, and Life Line Councillor, and I have also devoted myself to studying and applying nutrition and wellness through “How to heal the Body though Food and Life Style Changes” meeting my incredible personal challenge of healing from breast cancer.

My vision is to touch peoples’ lives and facilitate change in the world through enabling people to glimpse who they really are.

RAWlean is an exciting offering inspired by my own journey to vibrant health. The classes are for anyone who needs inspiration for making changes to their health and lifestyle, they are not just about food, they are about healthy sustainable life style changes, looking at all aspects of our life, body, mind, heart and soul. One of my favourite inspirational talks is about the “Gift of Cancer” – how to heal the body and go raw!

Vegan SA: Did the transition happen over night, or did you become a vegetarian first?

Rolene Sher: I had been a vegetarian for about 20 years and over the years on several occasions I found myself at different times eating fish and chicken. Once I was diagnoses with cancer I became 80% raw overnight.

Vegan SA: How strict are you as a raw food vegan, i.e. do you eat honey, wear leather; buy cruelty free products etc?

Rolene Sher: Yes I do eat honey and still wear leather. I’m ok with that right now.

Vegan SA: What is your favourite place for eating out?

Rolene Sher: Africa Cafe, The Mount Nelson will make you a wonderful raw food dinner if you give them 2 days notice. Absolutely amazing … and a few slices of avocado pear on top.

Vegan SA: What is your favourite meal? … and do you have a favourite recipe that we could publish on our site?

Rolene Sher: I love making soups for both summer and winter and of course smoothies in the summer are decadent. Favourite recipe is my 10 minute tomato soup which I’m about to go and make right now.

Vegan SA: What is your favourite place to shop for food?

Rolene Sher: Ethical Co op on the internet and Organic Zone and Wild Organics in Woodstock.

Vegan SA: What obstacles have you faced in the past, and continue to face, by being a raw food vegan? And how did you overcome them?

Rolene Sher: Often finding organic products is a problem so I started growing my own vegetables and you just have to shop around and see what you can get.

Vegan SA: What improvements or changes would you most like to see in the vegan movement, both domestically and internationally over the coming years?

Rolene Sher: Larger varieties of products, prices to come down so it’s not so expensive and all the big supermarkets to have larger sections of organic foods available for everyone.

Vegan SA: What advice would you give to someone who is trying to make a shift to becoming a raw vegan?

Rolene Sher: Baby steps one thing at a time, set yourself up for success not failure by taking things slowly, Keep eating how you normally eat and just add more raw food on a daily or weekly basis.

Vegan SA: Is there any question that you would like to ask and respond to that we didn’t ask you?

Rolene Sher: Just how important it is to prepare food with love, to sing and chant when preparing your food and to use the best quality products that are available.

For more information about Rolene and her workshops, visit: Rawlean .

Visit our website for a list of international and South African famous vegans.


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An interview with Beauty Without Cruelty’s Beryl Scott

Posted on 26 April 2011

An interview with Beryl Scott, Chairperson of Beauty Without Cruelty South Africa …

By Antoinette Maake

Beryl Scott at a Robben Island rabbit culling protest, October 2008

Vegan SA: Tell us about who you are and what you do?

Beryl Scott: I have been the National Chairperson of Beauty Without Cruelty for the past 20 years and before that I was the Cape Chairperson of SAAAPEA, an anti-vivisection organisation. I am passionate about having animals reclassified as sentient beings and for their rights to be recognised in law. Cruelty, abuse and exploitation of defenceless beings, including humans, angers me and I will always speak out against those who perpetrate such cowardly acts.

Vegan SA: When did you become a vegan and why?

Beryl Scott: I adopted a vegetarian diet nearly 30 years ago and, as I learned more about the cruelty inherent in factory farming, I naturally started excluding offending foods from my diet, so there has been no fixed cut-off time when I started being vegan. I feel that, for some people, the journey towards veganism is a gradual process, but it should ALWAYS be the end goal for everyone who wishes to adopt a cruelty-free lifestyle and especially those who call themselves *animal lovers*. Being vegetarian means you are only half way towards being the best person you can be!

Vegan SA: Tell us more about Beauty Without Cruelty

Beryl Scott: Beauty Without Cruelty is an animal rights organisation whose primary concern is to educate and inform people about the suffering of animals in vivisection/cosmetic testing, factory farming and wildlife issues (fur and ivory in particular). We are also hands-on when there is a need e.g. we were partly responsible for rescuing the feral cats on Robben Island and re-homing them at our sanctuary in Hout Bay. We have also been able to home lab rabbits from a local facility and have been involved with other groups dealing with animal rescues and sterilisation campaigns.

Education is absolutely necessary to change people’s attitudes towards animals and Beauty Without Cruelty has a progressive education programme through which we give talks at schools, universities and other social and community organisations.

An important part of our work is to investigate the humane claims made by cosmetics and household product manufacturers and we publish an approved product guide as a free service to the public. Beauty Without Cruelty has an on going ‘sentient being’ campaign and promotes veganism as a lifestyle choice. Our methods of campaigning include education, protests, negotiating with national, regional and local government and using any other peaceful means to improve the lives of animals. This is just part of the work we do and we would be happy to provide more information to those who may be interested.

Vegan SA: How strict are you as a vegan, i.e. do you eat honey, wear leather; buy cruelty free products etc?

Beryl Scott: I don’t eat honey, wear leather, silk or any other ‘fabrics’ of animal origin and, as far as possible in this modern world, I avoid anything that may be the result of the exploitation, suffering or death of any being, including things like coral, pearls, porcupine needles and many other less obvious ‘products’.

Entertainment that includes animal exploitation such as zoos, aquariums, horse racing and circuses are also not on my entertainment calendar. Veganism is not only about what one eats, but extends to all aspects of animal exploitation and there are many instances where this is hidden, so one has to be vigilant!

Vegan SA: What is your favourite place for eating out?

Beryl Scott: I don’t eat out much but they make great vegan hamburgers at Cafe Royale in Long Street, Cape Town. :-)

Vegan SA: What is your favourite meal? … and do you have a favourite recipe that we could publish on our site?

Beryl Scott: I love anything with mushrooms in it [Beryl’s Mushroom Risotto].

Vegan SA: What is your favourite place to shop for food?

Beryl Scott: I don’t really have any favourites but I love the look of fresh vegetables and am always looking around health shops for anything that will help make dishes more delicious.

Vegan SA: What obstacles have you faced in the past, and continue to face, by being vegan? And how did you overcome them?

Beryl Scott: As far as food goes, I don’t have much trouble except with cheese replacements. I am not keen on any of the vegan ‘cheese’ products that are available in this country so I either have to do without or grit my teeth and eat what’s available.

As far as people are concerned, I try to avoid confrontation when I am with people who question my ethics, but I will not back down if they persist. I do have a lot of criticism and lack of support from one family member and that is probably the most difficult obstacle I have to deal with.

Vegan SA: What improvements or changes would you most like to see in the vegan movement, both domestically and internationally over the coming years?

Beryl Scott: As always, education is vital to changing people’s attitudes, whether it is towards other beings or their own lifestyle choices. We need to use any educational tool at our disposal to educate and inform the public about the horrors of the meat industry; the destructive effects animal products/by-products have on our health; the benefits that changing to a vegan diet will have on one’s mind, body and spirit and the fact that by being vegan, kindness and compassion to all living beings will fall into place naturally.

Methods used to educate people must range from protests and demonstrations to negotiations with governments; civil society’s demand for change, to boycotting cruel industries. Anything to draw attention to the plight of animals. Vegans should realise that harsh criticism of meat eaters works sometimes, but often only makes them more determined to continue their flesh eating habits; sometimes less is more and some people respond better to example rather than bullying – one has to judge each case as it presents itself.

Unfortunately, human nature being what it is, we will probably have to wait until the earth is in a disastrous state before people wake up to the fact that the rearing of animals for the meat industry and the vast amount of food and water that is required to do this, that should have been used to feed humans, has damaged the environment to such an extent that veganism will be the only option left to feed the starving billions. Having said that, animals should not be expected to wait until humans ‘decide’ to stop eating them or exploiting them in other ways. They have a right to justice now.

Vegan SA: What advice would you give to someone who is trying to make a shift to becoming a vegan?

Beryl Scott: Don’t hesitate! Once you try vegan food you will realise that it is easy to prepare, tastes great and there are limitless ways of preparing delicious, healthy and compassionate food. If there is any doubt about this, Beauty Without Cruelty has published the “Living Without Cruelty” vegan recipe book which may be obtained by e-mailing toni@bwcsa.co.za. It’s full of fabulous recipes and cruelty-free hints to change your life.

Vegan SA: Is there any question that you would like to ask and respond to that we didn’t ask you?

Beryl Scott: People always like to think humans are the superior species and that the rest of creation is there for our use and abuse. The claim that one of the things that separates us from animals is our ability to have complex emotions, two of which are compassion and empathy. If that is so, then start having empathy with the suffering of others and apply your compassion – don’t be part of their suffering. If you do not do this, then you are neither superior nor more worthwhile than other animals!

Visit our website for a list of famous vegans, both South African and international.


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An interview with golf superstar Gary Player

Posted on 15 March 2011

An interview with Gary Player, one of South Africa’s favourite sporting sons …

By Antoinette Maake

Gary PlayerGary Player needs little introduction….. internationally acclaimed golfer and sports celebrity, he has kindly allowed Vegan SA to interview him. Even with his busy schedule he was gracious enough to offer us his point of view. Special thanks to Guy de Silva, his Business Development & Media Director, for making this interview possible.

Vegan SA: At what point and why did you decide to look at a plant based diet?

Gary Player: Greens, fruits and vegetables have always been a huge part of my diet, but it was probably about 15-20 years ago that I started to become more aware of the health benefits of “more green and less red.” Over that time I have begun transitioning towards a vegetarian diet (about 90% of my current diet is vegetarian based) and my goal is to adopt a vegan diet in the coming years.

Vegan SA: I hear that the China Study was somewhat influential in you making the transition to a plant based diet, please elaborate?

Gary Player: Dr. Colin Campbell’s book is fantastic and yes it has played a part in my dietary intake. He really opened my eyes about the dangers of eating too many animal proteins and how the body benefits more from plant based foods. I think that everyone should read his book; it will change how people eat and structure their diet. Imagine if we could get parents and children to read this book together! It could make a significant impact on childhood obesity and educate parents about how to properly feed their children.

There are 2 quotes that really resonate with me and have helped drive my commitment to fighting childhood obesity; “More people die today from too much food than from too little” and “The human race has never been more unhealthy as it is today”. This says something to me!

Vegan SA: Do you think that if everybody on the planet became a vegan, would this be an incredible point of development for human beings or do you think it’s necessary for some societies or ethnic groups to incorporate animal products in their diet?

Gary Player: I would like to see more people adopt a vegan diet, but I do not think that it is possible for the entire world to do so. The mass breeding of animals for human consumption is detrimental to our planet. Animal waste has a direct impact on the world’s clean water supply, the hormones that are pumped into chickens, pigs and livestock are causing children’s bodies to develop more quickly, and the land necessary to raise the animals is taking away our green spaces. These are issues that would be positively affected if more people would adopt a vegan diet, but I just don’t see that happening on a large scale.

There are many people who enjoy animal based foods and who have no interest in changing the way they eat. And as you correctly pointed out, animal products are an integral part of some ethnic groups and societies and it would be nearly impossible for them to change thousands of years of traditional eating habits.

Vegan SA: The food that your ancestors ate compared to what we eat today, do you think that they were healthier?

Gary Player: I do, and it is not necessarily because we and they ate different foods; it is because our ancestors grew food organically. The integration of chemical fertilizers, antibiotics and hormones has been necessary to deal with the explosion in the world’s population over the past century, but it has significantly affected the quality of the foods we eat. Most people think that a raw chicken is yellow, but it is in fact gray in colour. The yellowness comes from antibiotics! I think that if people would be willing to grow some of their own food or eat locally grown organic foods on a regular basis we could significantly decrease the amount of harmful chemicals we pump into our soil every day.

Vegan SA: At what stage do you think that you will comfortably be able to fully embrace a vegan diet, as we understand that at the moment your diet is 90% plant based and the rest is non-plant based?

Gary Player: My goal is to become a vegan within the next few years. I rarely eat red meat and only occasionally eat fish. Plant based foods are my main source of nutrition along with nuts, fruits, brown breads and grains.

Vegan SA: Is your food prepared for you or do you prepare it yourself?

Gary Player lends a helping hand on his farm in South AfricaGary Player: I travel extensively so a good majority of my meals are prepared by others, but when I am at home on my ranch in the Great Karoo of South Africa, we have several chefs who work full time and are wonderful. When travelling, I make a point of eating a proper diet no matter where I am in the world. It is getting much easier to eat a vegetarian or vegan based diet.

Vegan SA: Are you fussy about using whole/organic foods and do you grow any of the food that you eat on your farms?

Gary Player: Yes. I try to eat organic foods whenever possible and we grow a lot of our own fruit and vegetables on our farm. Organic foods, especially right out of the ground, or off of the tree are so delicious.

Vegan SA: What is your favourite restaurant?

Gary Player: Leafy Greens Cafe, my grand daughter Antonia De Luca’s vegetarian restaurant in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Vegan SA: What is your favourite meal? … And do you have a favourite recipe that we could publish on our site?

Gary Player: A baked potato, some brown rice, a sliced tomato and a sliced avocado. Simple, healthy and delicious.

My favourite recipe is for the drink I have each morning (it is hard to get when I am travelling, but at home I drink this every day).

2 spinach leaves
1 kale leaf
Juice of half lemon
Small piece ginger
1 apple
1/2 cucumber
1 piece celery
Combine ingredients in a juicer

When you get up in the morning, drink immediately.

Vegan SA: What is your favourite place to shop for food?

Gary Player: My farm in the Karoo, although I don’t have to shop there. The most amazing grocery I have ever been to was a whole foods market in California, USA. I was shocked at the amount of organic produce available and the freshness of the products. I had never seen a grocery that was almost totally devoted to organic based foods before and it also contained a large number of vegan products.

Vegan SA: How supportive is your family to your way of eating?

Gary Player: Some of them think I am a bit of a nutter, but they all understand and support my dietary decisions.

Vegan SA: What advice would you give to someone who is trying to make a shift to becoming a vegan?

Gary Player: First, educate yourself about what a vegan diet entails and why it is beneficial to your health. You need to understand and embrace the philosophy or you will not be able to make such a drastic dietary change. Secondly, make the change over time. Don’t try and “go cold turkey”; you will shock your system and you will develop cravings that you may not be able to fight off. If you take your time and let your body adjust you will be eating a completely different diet before you realize it.

Vegan SA: Have you inspired any of your friends to adopt a plant-based diet? If so could you name a few?

Gary Player: I have probably had the most effect on my children and grand children. Many of them have adopted my dietary philosophies and I am happy to see that they are eating a healthy diet and teaching their children to do so. I do preach exercise, eating a healthy and balanced diet, and staying away from sugary and fatty foods, but in the end it is up to the individual about what he or she chooses to eat.

Read more about Gary Player on his website www.garyplayer.comOpens in a new window.

Visit our website for a list of famous vegans, both international and South African.


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An interview with 5FM’s Grant Nash

Posted on 24 February 2011

An interview with the Grant Nash from South African radio’s 5FM station …

By Antoinette Maake

Vegan SA: Tell us about who you are and what you do? Vegan Grant Nash of 5FM. Photo courtesy of Aleksiei Lima

Grant Nash: 50% of the Grant and Anele Radio Show on 5FM from 12h00 – 15h00, weekday afternoons.

Vegan SA: When did you become a Vegan and why?

Grant Nash: Early January 2010. I was a vegetarian for a little while before that. I had been thinking about giving up meat for many years. It was a humane spiritual choice. I’m a vegan for compassionate, environmental and health reasons.

Vegan SA: Did the transition happen over night, or did you become a vegetarian first?

Grant Nash: Once you become vegetarian and you make the decision that sentient animals are not ‘ours’ to abuse and murder to sustain ourselves, and you begin to read just a little about the dairy and egg industries, I don’t think you are left with much of a choice. Dairy farms and hatcheries account for some of the very worst animal abuse and torture.

Vegan SA: How strict are you as a vegan, i.e. do you eat honey, wear leather; buy cruelty free products etc?

Grant Nash: I’m the whole hog … I believe animals are not resources. So all of my food and clothes are plant based. My cleaning products are NOT and were never tested on animals. My personal hygiene products are also all plant based and never tested on animals.

Vegan SA: What is your favourite place for eating out?

Grant Nash: I love Vietnamese food. Cranks in Rosebank is a great place. I also love Fresh Earth in Emmerentia and Greenside Cafe in Greenside. Both are amazing veggie places to eat out.

Vegan SA: What is your favourite meal? … and do you have a favourite recipe that we could publish on our site?

Grant Nash: Ahhh on Sunday myself and my housemates made vegan Ice-Cream (recipe: vegan chocolate chip ice cream). So it’s not my recipe and I hope Mr Del Torro won’t mind me sharing. BUT I JUST HAVE TO … better than any Choc Chip Ice-cream I have ever had.

Vegan SA: What is your favourite place to shop for food?

Grant Nash: I have a local grocer that I love to source fresh fruit and veggies from . Other than that, all our supermarkets are great. Plus ‘Fresh Earth’ in Emmerentia for the difficult to find vegan goodies like arrowroot.

My hygiene products from the Body Shop and Woolies, and I have to tell you about my favourite shampoo in the world. ‘Pureology’ 100% vegan, available at all good salons.

Vegan SA: What obstacles have you faced in the past, and continue to face, by being vegan? And how did you overcome them?

Grant Nash: I think you simply have to be aware of your body’s requirements and know that you can’t go out and have a salad and expect to get your body’s nutritional needs. I also travel around the country pretty much every weekend and snacking, unless you carry your own dried fruit, nuts and seeds, is nearly impossible.

Vegan SA: What improvements or changes would you most like to see in the vegan movement, both domestically and internationally over the coming years?

Grant Nash: I would love to be able to sit at most restaurants and have at least one vegan choice that’s not a salad. Vegan food is imaginative. It can be so delicious, hearty and extremely healthy. There is no excuse for any establishment, fine-dining or easy dining, not to have at least one vegan choice. This will also give our meat-eating friends an opportunity to taste the goodness that vegan food can be.

For further reading, please visit our list of famous vegans.


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An interview with the Fry’s Vegetarian family

Posted on 10 February 2011

An interview with the Fry’s family, leaders in the South African vegetarian food market …

By Antoinette Maake

Vegan SA: Tell us about who you are and what you do?The Fry's Vegetarian family. From left to right: Shaun Richardson, Hayley Fry Richardson, Tammy Fry Kelly, Richard Kelly, and Wally and Debbie Fry

Fry’s: We are a company that produces a range of vegan meat analogues in a dedicated vegan factory.

Vegan SA: What is history behind the Fry’s group?

Fry’s: Wally Fry was not born a vegetarian. In fact, he was an avid meat eater, believing animal protein was essential for good health. His wife, Debbie and daughter, Tammy were born vegetarians. When Debbie and Tammy continually refused to eat meat, Wally started questioning his own need for meat. Wally owned a construction company and was commissioned to build mass producing chicken farms – this was his turning point and he too became a vegetarian.

It was at that point that Wally and Debbie began experimenting with protein alternatives for their own consumption. Just 1 year later, these ideas formed the foundation that would lead to the establishment of Fry Group Foods.

Vegan SA: Tell us about the Meat Free Mondays campaign.

Fry’s: Tammy Fry (Marketing Director of Fry’s and passionate environmentalist), wanted to sponsor a campaign in South Africa where the public could be educated about the negative impact that animal agriculture is having on our environment and a campaign which gave the public an achievable and simple solution. We launched a national radio campaign in June which stated some shocking facts and urged the public to adopt Meat Free Mondays within their family units, schools and companies. The success of the campaign has been phenomenal.

Vegan SA: Any plans on switching to Veganism?

Fry’s: Definitely. We are mostly vegan at home but it becomes very difficult when we travel as much as we do. Part of the work we do is educate service industry outlets about veganism and try to get them to cater properly for vegans and vegetarians. We actually own our own commercial 5 star, Big 5 eco lodge (Nambiti Plains) that does cater for vegans, so it’s always a treat when we go there for holidays!

Vegan SA: How strict are you as a vegetarian, e.g. do you wear leather or buy cruelty free products etc?

Fry’s: We are very strict vegetarians, we research everything we buy and ensure that it is cruelty free in every way.

Vegan SA: What is your favourite place for eating out?

Fry’s: Little India in Durban – great Indian cuisine!!

Vegan SA: What is your favourite meal?

Fry’s: We are big wrap fans (See the Fry’s Veggie Wraps recipe).

Vegan SA: What is your favourite place to shop for food?

Fry’s: Woolworths and Everfresh (the best you can get in Durbs!)

Vegan SA: What obstacles have you faced in the past, and continue to face, by being vegatarian? And how did you overcome them?

Fry’s: I don’t think there have been any obstacles; an obstacle can only be viewed negatively if that’s the way you view it. I try to find the positive and potential in obstacles and then move forward, e.g. it has always been difficult finding great high protein vegetarian options. So Fry’s embarked on a project to ensure vegetarian options on every menu/canteen/takeway in South Africa. We have had some excellent successes and Fry’s is now available on the Spur, Subway, Steers, Kauai, Boost, and Ninos menus, as well as hundreds of canteens, hotels and schools!

Vegan SA: What does the future hold for Fry’s?

Fry’s: We hope to increase our vegan offerings … watch this space!

For Fry’s recipes, news and product launches, log onto www.frysvegetarian.co.zaOpens in a new window and sign up for their newsletter.

Visit www.supportmfm.co.zaOpens in a new window to pledge your support for Meat Free Mondays.

Visit our website for information on famous South African vegans.


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Bheki Khoza, vegan jazz musician

Posted on 14 September 2010

An interview with South African vegan and jazz guitarist, Bheki Khoza …

By Antoinette Maake

Vegan SA: Tell us about who you are and what you do?Bheki Khoza, South African vegan and jazz musician
Bheki Khoza: I am a musician, composer, educator and producer.

Vegan SA: When did you become a vegan and why?

Bheki Khoza: About 15 years ago. I am affiliated to African Hebrew Israelites.

Vegan SA: Did the transition happen overnight, or did you become a vegetarian first?

Bheki Khoza: A few years before I had been vegetarian but as I learned more especially in the scriptures, I then graduated to Veganism.

Vegan SA: How strict are you as a vegan i.e. Do you eat honey? Wear leather; buy cruelty free products etc?

Bheki Khoza: I do not consume meat or meat by products.

Vegan SA: What is your favourite place for eating out?

Bheki Khoza: In Johannesburg, in Emmerantia at Fresh Earth, Bryanston at Fruits and Roots I also do Indian restaurants.

Vegan SA: What is your favourite meal?

Bheki Khoza: Spiced Tofu Salad, Matamata Mushroom, Shepherd’s Pie.

Vegan SA: What is your favourite place to shop for food?

Bheki Khoza: Woolworths, especially on the organic side. Chinese Supermarkets for Tofu products.

Vegan SA: What obstacles have you faced in the past, and continue to face, by being vegan? And how did you overcome them?

Bheki Khoza: Very few people in the society understand vegan diets so one has to do a lot of explanation if food is to be prepared outside one’s family. Travelling by air one has had to know the vegan code in order to be served and you have to remember to call 72 hours before the flight.

Vegan SA: What improvements or changes would you most like to see in the Vegan movement, both domestically and internationally over the coming years?

Bheki Khoza: It takes sometime to find places to shop for vegan food, and that can discourage some people who are making a transition. There is a need for enlightening people in general about healthy eating even at governmental level. I had a great wedding where strictly vegan meals and organic wines were served even the music was healthy selected. I dream of a music festival with only vegan products.

You can read more about Bheki Khoza on his website www.bhekikhoza.com.

Visit our list of famous vegans – South African and elsewhere in the world.


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