Frances, the founder and owner of Vegan Wines, has been a vegan for many, many years now. But with the plant-based lifestyle becoming more and more popular these days, we thought we’d interview her to address many questions that non-vegans have and get a veteran’s advice. For anyone looking to experiment with a plant-based diet, Frances offers some helpful insights and tips. Here we go!
People choose to go vegan for many reasons – including animal cruelty, environmental concerns, health reasons, and more. What were your motivations for going vegan?
I became a vegan for animal rights reasons. I saw a very disturbing video over 25 years ago about cruelty in other countries outside the US based simply on tradition. My heart was in my throat and I said to myself, “Frances, you are eating animals out of tradition and this stops today”… and it did.
Read Frances’s full story here: The Truth About My Journey as a Vegan
Why do you think veganism is becoming more popular lately? Is it purely a result of people becoming more educated and aware?
Yes, the internet has made it possible for us to become aware of the truth. Free-range animals do not die happy. The laws do not protect animals so humans are legally allowed to make or cause an animal to suffer. Belief and change begins with what we see with our own eyes – and the large amount of information available today has enabled that.
Have you personally noticed any health benefits from maintaining plant-based lifestyle? (For example, more energy, better sleep quality, weight loss, better mental health?) Have you heard other vegans say they’ve experienced any health benefits or positive changes?
The most important thing, besides health, that I noticed change within me as I became vegan was mentally – and the growth that came with it. I was very young and I became disciplined to change. I blossomed with education. I became more curious, more determined to find out more about life.
I also learned how to eat better for my health. I don’t get sick, and I come from a family with major health issues so I am very grateful to veganism for that. My life partner had extreme skin allergies and was on medications. Now he is medication- and allergy-free. He also maintains a healthy weight now.
You’ve been vegan for a long time, but in the past, did you ever find yourself missing or craving any animal products in particular? If so, how do you replicate them in your diet? (For instance, lots of vegans say they still craved burgers in the beginning – thus the rise of popular mock meats like the Impossible Burger.)
Yes, back when I became vegan, it was much different when it came to food than it is today. There was no mock meat. My strategy became more about seeking out vegan food from the traditional foods and dishes of other cultures. To me, this was a blessing in disguise because I was able to learn more about other countries and their food, which just fascinated me!
Speaking of, are meat substitutes a regular part of your diet today or do you prefer whole foods? Are there any meat substitutes you would recommend for new vegans?
I personally prefer whole foods because that is what I’ve learned from eating vegan. However, I still support all mock meat as they are always better in many ways than animal meat. I still feel the best vegan burger is a homemade bean or beet burger. However, Impossible Burger or Beyond Meat is a must-try for all new vegans. 🙂
Which foods, drinks, flavors, or ingredients do you find particularly tough to replicate or buy vegan versions of? For instance cheeses, butter, seafood, etc.
None, the plant-based industry has it all covered 🙂
GTFO It’s Vegan! is a great resource if you’re looking for the vegan version of ANYTHING! They have recommendations for everything from breakfast sausage to cheeses to seafood!
What are your biggest cooking tips for those who want to get started with a plant-based diet? How do you keep your diet fun, new, and diverse?
I feel eating what grows with the season of your zip code is key. It’s like your body and earth are in sync to make sure you get the food you need. My key is Googling simple vegan recipes with eggplants, tofu, or mushrooms, etc. I never make a thing twice. It’s fun exploring!
What are your favorite meals (dining out or cooking at home) these days?
BBQ for sure!
Where do you get your protein?
I make sure I get my 63 grams of protein I need each day according to my macros. The cool thing is that I loved many of these foods even before I became a vegan:
What is your best advice for those who are thinking of experimenting with the plant-based lifestyle but don’t know where to start?
You will be surprised how much your tastebuds will change – and what new food your body will crave. I say don’t be shy, go all out, and experiment. Food in general is fun, so have fun with it. You will surprise yourself! 🙂