Kindness of Ravens: Alright, so, first thing’s first—how long have you been veg/vegan?
Jennifer Vega: About 2 years and, before that, on-again, off-again since I was 12, with years of cheeseburgers and steak eating in between.
KoR: What drove you to make that kind of change in your lifestyle?
JV: I’ve always loved animals and felt uncomfortable with the idea of eating them. I tried not to think about where my food was coming from for a long time. About two years ago, I decided to look into how animals were being raised for food. I realized it is unacceptable, and I knew that I could no longer block out what was happening. We can eat delicious and nutritious foods without animal products.
KoR: Totally. Yeah, we both originally made the decision relatively early in our lives based entirely on animal welfare issues. Our reasoning is still based on that and, years and years later (too many, really), our convictions are stronger than ever. That said, as we’ve gotten older, I think our bodies have reaped the benefits of a decision made with them barely in mind at all. Have you also discovered many health benefits along the way?
JV: Yes! I’ve never felt better. I am the weight I was at 16 and I eat whatever I want. I hear so many women still counting calories, and there’s no need to do that when you’re eating a plant-based diet. My skin is so much clearer and brighter too. I spent years running around to dermatologists and spending hundreds of dollars on different face products. When I stopped drinking cow’s milk, my skin completely cleared up.
KoR: Did you find that going vegetarian sort of pushed you into a world of self-reliance as far as cooking for yourself and having to be creative in that sense or were you interested in food and cooking before that?
JV: I decided to start cooking recently because it gave me more variety and control over the ingredients. And there are so many yummy food blogs to get inspiration from!
KoR: Right? I will just tell you, it was NOT like that in the ‘90s. So, like most, I’m sure you know a lot of people who aren’t vegetarian or vegan. What’s your advice to anyone considering going veg?
JV: Be positive and lead by example. I found it helpful to switch over gradually. It’s important to be kind and take it easy on ourselves so that the experience is fun and positive. I eat a much greater variety of dishes now, and I’m even more passionate about food. I recommend spending a little time reading about vegan nutrition. If we eat a diet consisting of white pasta and fake meat, obviously we’d be unhealthy even though we’re vegan. Also, I noticed a big difference in my energy level since I started eating quinoa. I try and replace a lot of the dishes where I would use rice, with quinoa.
KoR: Yeah, we didn’t really discover quinoa until like five or six years ago. Super good and so easy. So, what made you want to start a Sweet On Veg? We know from experience that blogs are a bit of a pain…and ours is often merely held together by bits of Internet tape and twine. So what drives you to keep it going?
JV: I adore food and inspiration. When I realized how unnecessary it was to be eating animal products and how many delicious vegan options there were, I felt I needed to share that with everyone!!
KoR: Well on behalf of everyone, thanks! You tend to post a lot of raw recipes. What do you like about raw foods? I tried going raw for a bit myself and it DID NOT take at all. That said, I enjoy some raw ice cream from time to time and feel like it works for a lot of people.
JV: I just made raw ice cream last night with frozen bananas, raw chocolate and maple syrup! I really love raw desserts, but I could never go without pasta and toast.
KoR: Not together though, right? When you’re not blogging, what do you do?
JV: Hang out with my two dogs, Tibby-Lee & Fifone.
KoR: Working in the world of branding and image, we like to read into names and such. Sweet On Veg seems pretty straightforward as far as how it works. Were any other names in the running?
JV: Sweet On Veg was the one and only!
KoR: Well done then! So, obviously your hometown of Vancouver has very much been in the news lately. Have you lived in Vancouver all your life?
JV: I was born and raised in Vancouver but lived in a few other places like Toronto and England in my early twenties. I enjoyed a few months in your fine city too.
KoR: Oh, well a few months is not NEARLY enough. So, when it was announced however many years ago, how did you and your family and friends react to the news that Vancouver would host the 2010 Winter Olympics? I remember when they were talking about hosting the Olympics in NYC recently, most everyone here was just like, ‘Oh, HELLS to the no!’ Then again, I guess you could rent out your apartment for, what, a bajillion dollars
JV: It’s been a mixed reaction. I wouldn’t have minded renting my apartment out and taking off to Italy for a few weeks of pasta and wine.
KoR: So is your town totally overrun with media and weirdly fit people right now? Have you spotted anyone out and about? Er, oot and aboot?
JV: It’s a different vibe around the city. There is excitement in the air. I haven’t seen anyone famous though. I was hoping to spot Cindy Crawford!
KoR: Hm. I’m not familiar with her. Is she a Canadian skier? Any other favorites that you’re rooting for with the games?
JV: Go Canada Go!!
KoR: Fair enough! I’ve never been to Vancouver myself, but I have to say, I’m pretty impressed by the eastern trinity of Toronto, Montréal, and Quebec. In your opinion, what makes Vancouver awesome?
JV: The ocean, the mountains, delicious local food and the mildest climate in Canada.
KoR: Oh, that sounds like a plus. So, you’re not super far from Seattle, right? Have you ever had Mighty-O’s donuts? Can you mail me some? Like, a baker’s one-hundred dozen? Mmm. Bed of donuts…
JV: I’m overdue for a trip to Seattle. I haven’t been in a couple of years, and it’s only a couple of hours drive from Vancouver. Mighty-O’s will be my first stop!
KoR: And then straight to the post office. Switching scope to fashion, we’re already huge fans of Canadian designer, Dace, who’s based in downtown Vancouver and I believe manufactures everything there locally. Any other local fashion you can clue us in to?
JV: Astrosatchel has some really cute vegan bags!
KoR: Nice. Any word on things to come with you or Sweet on Veg? Plans? World domination through vegan recipes and inspirational quotes?
JV: Continuing the delicious inspiration.
KoR: Alright, time for the lightning round. Best all-around vegetarian restaurant in Vancouver?
KoR: Ooh, that does look good. Favorite local singer?
JV: k.d. lang…I think she’s from Alberta, but close enough and wow, she can sing.
KoR: Oh, right, Alberta. We totally saw a great band recently called the Rural Alberta Advantage. They may be onto something… Web site that’s been keeping you from work lately?
KoR: Favorite TV show?
KoR: Favorite recipe of late?
JV: Toasted tomato & avocado (with a bit of olive oil & salt) sandwiches. Best sandwich ever.
Alright, well that abut does it. Be sure to check out Jennifer's musing and makings over at sweetonveg.com whenever you get chance. Now we're going to go watch some snowboarding.