Holistic Holiday at Sea is truly excited to welcome the Founder, Director & Chief Editor of The Vegan Woman, Sivan Pardo Renwick as our first special guest joining us on our 2014 voyage to the Caribbean. The special guest program will include members of the vegan community who are showing up in the world to bring the message of vegan and compassionate living in a unique way.
Our interview with Sivan proved to be enlightening, informative and inspiring!
Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to become a vegan? What was it?
For me, going vegan was a process of increasing awareness, rather than one specific moment. Unlike my earlier transition to vegetarianism, which happened instantly once I understood where meat comes from and what it actually is, the misinformation and marketing propaganda regarding the ethical and health aspects of the egg and dairy industry were much harder to see through.
The three elements that helped me make the final shift to veganism, were first, the exposure to the truth behind the egg and dairy industries, which my husband Scott gradually exposed me to via the internet. Second, Dr. Neal Barnard’s lecture regarding dairy which for the first time shattered the calcium myth for me and brought about a more profound understanding regarding the way I see food. Finally, Gary Yourofsky’s lecture which managed to tie it all in for me and made me realize that by consuming these products I am in fact going against my beliefs and my morals. Upon viewing the lecture, I decided to give veganism a trial, and never looked back.
When did you know that your career would be in the vegan health field?
I actually consider my career to be in the ethical vegan movement rather than the health industry. Many of the recipes and posts we share on The Vegan Woman are not exactly health related. Although there are also balancing posts that accommodate a healthy vegan lifestyle choice, our priority is not personal health, but leading a compassionate life that does not exploit animals, to the best of our ability.
The decision to start The Vegan Woman took place about a month after I turned vegan, and around the same time I quit my job and was looking for something meaningful to do. I wanted my new career path to be something that was bigger than my personal gain or needs, and something that would make a difference in this world. Working around animal rights issues was always a passion and the natural way to go, but I was scared of dealing with painful issues, being faced with horrific pictures coming from the meat and dairy industry, and that I would not be able to cope. The Vegan Woman was my way of dealing with these issues in an appealing way, that isn’t too difficult or painful to digest.
Are there changes you have noticed since you made the switch? Can you elaborate?
The most immediate physical change I’ve noticed when going from vegetarian to vegan was the blessed weight loss I’ve experienced (and which I quickly gained back upon discovering the world of vegan baking and sensational vegan food). With that said, a more meaningful physical change was my significantly improved health as reflected both in my blood tests and my sense of wellness.
Mentally speaking there are many interesting things that have happened, from a sense of relief – knowing that I’m not actively and knowingly participating in someone else’s suffering, to a an increasing awareness in many other areas as well; veganism has taught me to look into things more deeply, to try and understand how I might be influenced by the media and by elements of financial interest, and it has encouraged me to be more in line with my truth by actions and not just in theory.
How do you envision the world being if 50% of the population was to decide to go vegan?
Great question! I really love this saying by my friend, Asaf: “veganism didn’t make me a better person than other people, but a better person than what I used to be”.
Following on that, I envision a world in which more people are more aware, and in which personal accountability would be much more present. I would imagine that people will work less on auto-pilot, give more thought to the consequences of their actions, and many of us will become an upgraded version of our compassionate and thoughtful selves.
Thank you for the great interview Sivan and we look forward to having you on the cruise this year!
Welcome to 2014!!! We are so very excited to be in our 11th year of bringing you great lectures, amazing activities, community building and a celebration of living a compassionate vegan lifestyle! 2014 promises to be an incredible year with new presenters, new and cutting edge fitness opportunities, new entertainers and amazing cooking classes with celebrity vegan chefs! Bring a friend or your entire family. The gift of health is the one that keeps on giving. We look forward to seeing you in March!