By exploring the different lifestyles of plant fuelled people we aim to show that being vegan isn’t restrictive in terms of the variety of flavours you can enjoy and the type of lifestyle you can lead.
In our previous interviews we spoke to Ed Griffiths about his experience as a fitness coach, Sophia Zaman about her life as a vegan ballerina and Leon Greogory about what it’s like being a yoga instructor.
In this series we spoke with Vitali Bara about her experience as a model, photographer and director leading a vegan lifestyle in Madrid!
Hi Vitali! When and why did your vegan journey begin?
My journey to a vegan lifestyle started when I was between 15 and 16. I think it was Autumn, but it’s hard to say now exactly when it was, approximately 10 years ago now.
I remember the beginning was hard, no one in my family was vegan, but despite the information that surrounded me at that time, I just stopped eating meat and then dairy products, even though I had to stand up for my decision, finding all of the information and learning everything by myself.
In the beginning I was ignorant and it was hard to reply to common questions such as “You’re a vegan?! What about protein?” I feel that now I can answer with more awareness and experience, and that there isn’t and can’t be any contra argument to eat meat.
What is your favourite aspect of being vegan?
Full awareness – Knowing that my personal choice of what I eat during the day doesn’t attribute to the slaughter of animals.
If someone was looking to go vegan, what advice would you give them?
Oh, now there is so much inspiration out there and many wonderful websites, influencers, blogs. But still, I would say that, if someone goes vegan, everything starts from cooking at home.
I would recommend: @avirtualvegan on Instagram or aviertualvegan.com for foodie inspiration!
Pinterest is my number 1 for searching for recipes. I also make my own boards, where I can save everything.
If someone is new to being vegan it is also good to follow a vegan trainer for a constant reminder that being vegan doesn’t stop body growth and other body possibilities. (Gosh, how long is it going to take to reverse all the false information picked up in society, don’t you agree?) And also follow PETA for sure. Or, at least visit their Facebook or Instagram frequently.
Do you find there to be any connection between being vegan and your daily work as a model, photographer and director?
Models are often in a position of influence. People often look to models as role models and pay attention to their lifestyles and the values they represent. Therefore as a model I take this position of influence very seriously and make sure the influence i impart is a good one, primarily by living a vegan lifestyle and sharing information responsibly.
I think that being a model is one of highly influential representatives. Some people can take certain lifestyle as a pattern. So, there is a responsibility for shared information and influence. And I’d like it to be a better one.
Tell us more about your work!
I have always been passionate about photography, so I ended up on both sides of the lens as a model and a photographer. Mostly, I post my work on my Instagram @vitali.bara. I do have a website too with an archive of fashion and beauty editorials.
As someone that is both a model and vegan, give us an insight into what your diet looks like.
I try to eat healthy, so everyday I include a meal high in protein. I’d say lentils are the every day mantra for vegan people.
In the morning I have two breakfasts – first is a shake with plant based milk, with protein powder, chia seeds, fruits or vegetables (I like to change the combination) after this I go for a morning run, yoga or a short workout. Then I have oatmeal nicely decorated with fruits, seeds, nuts etc.
Meals during the day always vary. I like to make complicated recipes and try new exotic meals, but mostly I include a lot of fruits, veggies, legumes and soy. Also I can’t live a day without chocolate. And I’m really thankful that there are now so many tasty vegan chocolates!
What are your favourite dishes to make?
Vegan Mexican lentil soup, Vegan curry ramen, baked sweet potato boats filled with chickpeas and spices. Whatever with avocado!
What does your workout routine look like? Has this changed at all during lockdown?
I don’t run so often anymore, that’s changed. But I do my “uzhe” workout at home, which is an intensive 15 minutes abbs workout, 10 minutes arms workout and yoga in the morning or evening or both.
Which flavour of Roots ‘n Shoots is your favourite?
It’s a hard question, but if I have to choose, the Very Vanilla and Salted Caramel are my favourites.
We know there are many ways to use our products, but how do you use Roots ‘n Shoots?
I have used Roots ‘n Shoots powder to make protein cookies, pancakes and even protein banana bread!
Finally, as this is an interview for Plant Fuelled People, what is your favourite plant food and why?
Avocado as food and as plant!