Saturday, February 19, 2011

Interview # 1: Air Chalieobun

Photos of Air!

This is my first interview of many. I am hoping that just seeing that there are other vegans out there all around the world is comforting. But also I think that sharing interviews gives more than that, the knowlege that all different types of people have plant based diets and go about it in different ways is something I find interesting too. I digress. Here it is:

Air Chalieobun is an awesome 25 year old vegan and animal rights activist from Bangkok, Thailand.  Her favourite vegan treats are vegan cake and vegan ice cream. She’s such a lovely interesting person to talk to and I’m super excited to share what she has to say about veganism.  I interviewed her too many times to count; I just kept coming back with more questions.  We’ll start off with the basics…

Why did you become vegan? Animal rights and environmental concerns.

Air at a DIY Weekend at her Black Sheep community space in Bangkok
How difficult did you find the transition? I didn’t find many difficulties during the transition. I never miss meat but sometimes I do miss dairy products and bakeries.

Are there any stereotypes you feel that you face as a vegan? Since Thailand is a Buddhist country, I normally face those people who admire me in religious way that I’m vegan and I’m making good merit. Many times, I wanted to reply and said fuck karma, I’m vegan for the animals’ sake.

Do you feel like you are depriving yourself? Not at all, in fact feel so free and more liberal.

Do you get enough calcium, B12, and protein? I think I do. I’ve been reading more about how to get enough nutrition and alternative mineral and vitamin resources. I’ve been trying to eat variety of food, like green veggies, nuts, beans, seaweed, soya products, and not just sticking with the same thing over and over in order to keep the balance in my diet.
Air at an Eggplant Farm (second from right)
Do you have friends or know other vegans, and does this help make veganism easier for you? Once I turned vegan, I had this American vegan friend who guided and introduced me how to live vegan. But he left for his journey soon after. And I was the only vegan among real-life friends. It was quite difficult and discouraging sometimes. But fortunately, soon after I found another Thai vegan friend and we set up animal rights tabling at local gigs and universities. Now, I love sharing restaurant and ingredient info or newly discovered food/ snacks with her now.  

Did veganism make you explore foods you wouldn't have tried? Yes, I’ve been exploring, trying so much new stuff. Actually, I started to try simply things that I wouldn't eat when I was meat eater. I started to love veggies more than before, such as eggplant, ginger, jack fruit, and some other stuff. 
Air's photo of a fruit shop in Kabul, Afghanistan
What do you think of people that care about environmental issues or animal rights issues but can't make the full leap to veganism? Is it worth it in your eyes to reduce dairy consumption? Hmmm, I personally prefer not to judge people. But it'd be definitely great if environmental-concerned people could turn at least vegetarian.  

Is it difficult to find vegan options at restaurants? Thailand is one of the most vegan friendly. 

  Do you have any tips on going vegan? Be more compassionate and think about those animals and environment that are suffering. But on the other hand, do take care of nutrition and substitute. Search for veggie/vegan restaurants in your area that might help as well.

Air challenges her housemates to try to eat vegetarian or vegan and cooks vegan for them when they make meals together. She explains "The response is quite okay and they like the vegan food that I cook, but only we don't get to eat together everyday."
She is even sharing her favorite recipe with us. I’m excited to try it! 

Scrambled tofu with basil leaves: Stir fry garlic, string beans, sliced onions and a bit of tomato and baby corn, then add scrambled tofu and some seasoning and a bit of chilli. End with adding fresh basil leaves. Rice would be great to eat with. Yummm. Thank you so much Air! You’re a very inspiring person and I can’t wait to try your scrambled tofu with basil.

I hope you liked the interview. Click here to check our Air's Community House Blog

I have more inspirational vegans up my sleeve. So check back for some more interviews soon! As Air would say

-carrots and tomatoes

No comments:

Post a Comment