Miley Cyrus, Jessica Chastain, and Alicia Silverstone may all be outspoken vegans. But Jasmin Singer is one vegan who’s truly making a difference.
Jasmin Singer is a woman with many tattoos who wears many figurative hats: she’s the Senior Editor of VegNews Magazine, the author of the memoir Always Too Much and Never Enough, and the co-host and co-founder of the longstanding Our Hen House podcast. She’s been a vegan for 14 years and regularly does speaking engagements to educate Americans about veganism, animal rights, body positivity, and overlapping social justice issues.
Considering we were talking to one of the most interesting women in the vegan activism world, we asked her about her opinions on all of the vegan stereotypes: the concept of veganism as a fad, and the idea of selective compassion. After that, we chatted with her all about her personal vegan journey and how she became the creative soul she is today. Trust us: this fierce female is one you need to be following.
Interviewed the wonderful @msevylynch this morning (with help from @sarahmclaughlin) for @vegnews, celebrated the 400th episode of the @ourhenhouse #podcast, put cinnamon in my ☕️ coffee, and bought this second-hand denim vest. Now I need to convince myself that going for a run 🏃 is the noble next thing to do.
Interview with Jasmin Singer
There are a few key reasons why people have switched to a vegan lifestyle: for the animals, for the weight loss, even for the status. There are arguments where people state that others went vegan for the wrong reason, or even worse, that veganism is a fad. What are your thoughts on that? Do you think there’s a right way or wrong way to be a vegan?
I think there are many different factors as to why people get turned on to veganism, and I don’t think there is one right way in—as long as it sticks. My hope is that when people become vegan, whether for health or environmental reasons, they will be open to learning about the ethical reasons. I personally think the switch to veganism is a no-brainer, and as people settle into their veganism, they often start to realize it’s the very best thing they can do in order to live in alignment with their worldview. It’s also fantastically tasty!
While veganism is associated with a healthier lifestyle, like any other diet, there’s a right way and wrong way to do it. What advice would you give to the junk food vegans who only live off of sugar-packed yogurts and frozen processed foods? How can they transition to a whole food vegan lifestyle when convenience is key in American culture?
I think there is naturally a transitional food period when most people go vegan. Going from more processed food to a whole foods-based diet overnight can be a tall ask when they have been following the Standard American Diet. A lot of new vegans get excited that there is a vegan version of everything, especially the junk food. I think a good first step for anyone leaning into veganism is to transition away from animal products and replace foods you are used to with the vegan counterpart. Eventually, most of us naturally eat more vegetables as we are settling into our plant-based diet. Here’s a perk: What winds up being good for us also winds up being what’s good for our wallet. Whole foods are so much cheaper than specialty vegan foods. I went grocery shopping for dinner the other day and the bill came to less than three dollars!
A key theme of veganism is compassion, which is something a lot of Americans are struggling with right now. There are many people who are very compassionate with their friends and family, but can’t fathom having compassion for animals. Why do you think people separate the two? How can we persuade them to see that there’s no difference?
Marketing runs deep in societal norms. We have to undo an entire lifetime of what we’ve learned from society, TV commercials, even our parents. If we’re conditioned as a society and individually to think that animals are in a different category, we’re fighting against a huge monstrosity in order to shift that thinking. One of the keys to shifting it is to add a personal story to these animals and remind our friends and family that they are individuals, just like us. Start by not referring to an animal as an “it.” Call the animal “he” or “she,” share their story, and others will start to connect the dots.