I was the only vegan I knew, and initially struggled to find restaurants to eat at, ingredients to cook with, and friends to confide, so I decided to create my own platform. The initial scribbles of thoughts and recipes quickly transformed into a lifestyle guide for aspiring vegans living in South Africa.
I’ve always been critical of what I eat but my first vegan experience occurred whilst completing my honours degree in Public Relations at Cape Peninsula University of Technology. For Media Studies, I was required to try something new and write an article about the experience. I chose to go vegan for one week and I titled my assignment “Is There Egg in There?”
Since this was a once-off, I went back to my meat-eating ways but continued to consume more plant-based meals for health purposes. Then, in June 2012, I unintentionally watched the graphic animal abuse documentary “Earthlings” and was traumatized by the reality of the factory farming industry. With tears in my eyes, I immediately transformed to being a full-time Pescatarian (eating fish, eggs and dairy, but no meat).
One and a half years later “Veganuary” popped up on my social media news feed and, since I already tried it once, I decided to participate in the challenge, which requires you to eat vegan for the entire month of January in support of veganism. During this time, I explored my culinary creativity, learned more about animal agriculture and physically felt the health benefits of eating green. I realised that eating plant-based offered too many benefits to eat in in other other way. So, after the challenge was completed, I decided to convert permanently.
Becoming the Veganista
I was the only vegan I knew, and initially struggled to find restaurants to eat at, ingredients to cook with, and friends to confide, so I decided to create my own platform in the form of a blog, CTVeganista (which is now this website). The initial scribbles of thoughts and recipes quickly transformed into a lifestyle guide for aspiring vegans living in South Africa. The blog featured regular posts on plant-based recipes, veg-friendly restaurants, travelling, vegan events, and cruelty-free beauty products.
Through my blogging and my determination to making a difference in the lives of animals, I landed the position as consultant one of the world’s biggest animal protection organizations, Humane Society International. In this positition I organised and managed various farm animal welfare campaigns to help improve the living conditions for animals raised for food in South Africa. As part of my portfolio, I managed Green Monday SA – a movement encouraging South Africans to ‘eat green’ every Monday and improve their health, lessen their carbon & water footprint and help save animals. National chain restaurants, local celebrities, educational institutions, communities and even the Western Cape Government have since joined the movement.
I have been fortunate enough to be featured in many publications, sharing insight on animal welfare and plant-based eating. I have also hosted a number of plant-based cooking demonstrations on national television and conducted talks about veganism at public events and local radio stations.
The South African Vegan Cookbook
The next step in my exhilirating vegan journey is publishing The South African Vegan Cookbook – bringing about positive change, one marvellous vegan meal at a time.