Animal lover Samantha Crosby, 35, is a mother of 2 energetic young boys and married to Zaaron Lee. Her entirely vegan household is situated in the picturesque Perth Hills. Sam is also the founder of Ayana Organics, a 100% vegan product range. Sam’s life motto is “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. This is a Ghandi quote which inspires her to ‘walk the talk’ each day– whether it is through food choices, personal habits or business decisions. Her organic and certified cruelty-free products focus on eco -friendly materials, sustainability, and fair trade. They are lovingly crafted by the Ayana team in Sam’s studio.
Below is her story.
Your journey to veganism:
I remember always feeling uncomfortable eating animals, and when I was around 11, I told my parents I wanted to be a vegetarian. It lasted for around a year, however my parents were worried about my diet and I resumed eating meat. As soon as I moved out of home when I was 19, my meat intake dropped dramatically and then in my early twenties, I made the decision to cut out red meat, which later led to transitioning to full vegetarian in my late twenties. Around this time, I read Peter Singer’s book ‘The Ethics of What We Eat’. I found the information about the dairy industry very upsetting and I knew that I was headed towards veganism, however, it still took me several years! I arrived at the place I am now incrementally, gradually replacing items with the vegan version as I found them and as I continued to educate myself and get inspired along the way. For most of this time, my husband was a meat eater. I had not anticipated Zaaron making the change to veganism however, we watched Gary Yourofsky’s lecture ‘the best speech you’ll ever hear’ together and what had taken me years, took Zaaron approximately 2 minutes.
What’s the most remarkable change you’ve noticed since becoming vegan?
The biggest change that I noticed was a mental one. It took me many years to get to my final destination of veganism. Along the way, I was partial to feeling guilty for still consuming foods that I knew in my heart had cruelty associated with them. I kept putting it out of my mind, but as soon as I made the decision to become vegan, I felt liberated. It sounds clichéd in a way, but I felt like I reached where I was supposed to be. Physically, I can attest to having more energy and to feeling far less bloated when I stopped consuming dairy products.
A typical day’s meals for you and your family?
I’m a muesli eater for breakfast. I make my own muesli using organic oats, organic sultanas, flax seeds and sunflower seeds. I have it with organic almond milk. I’d like to say I always make my own almond milk, but it’s mostly store bought! During my toast phases, I like to eat rye bread, with avocado, hummus and chia seeds. I always have a large cup of peppermint tea, and at the moment, I’m juicing a lot, so breakfast also includes juice (my favourite right now is apple, carrot, beetroot, kale, lemon and ginger).
For lunches I love lentil burgers with salad and for dinner in the colder months we usually have something hot and hearty, like a chickpea, pumpkin and spinach curry with quinoa, or a barley and lentil shepherd’s pie.
Favourite no-fail recipe?
Vegan date loaf. It has very few ingredients and is super easy. The date loaf recipe I use is from one of my favourite vegan recipes books ‘Wild Vegan’ by Angela Stafford. My best friend bought Wild Vegan for me when I first became vegan. I always have the ingredients for this recipe in my pantry.
Biggest challenges of being vegan:
I would have to say…other people! Many people do not know what vegans do and don’t eat. I know that people worry about what to make me for lunch if they invite me over. In terms of eating out, being vegan is getting easier and easier here in Perth, with many more cafes adapting their menu to reflect peoples changing attitudes towards eating animals; having said that, you have to know where to look! For me, the biggest challenge has proven to be in relation to having vegan children. They are young and not always confident enough/knowledgeable enough to make food selections outside of the home. Going to children’s birthday parties always proves a challenge!
Advice to newbie vegans:
Surround yourself with people who are already vegan. Not only can they provide you with tried and tested recipes and tell you where to get local vegan items, but it will make you feel less isolated.
Choosing to have a vegan lifestyle puts you in a very small minority and it’s easy to get weighed down and frustrated feeling that you are alone and can’t make enough of a difference. There is a reason they say ‘strength in numbers’.
Biggest misconception about vegans:
That we are ‘missing out’ when nothing could be further from the truth. Also, that we lack protein!
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