KIRRA POST

Kirra, Coolangatta and Tweed Heads

Wednesday 02 July 2014

9 Questions with Kathy Divine


On the Launch of her New Book "Plant-Powered Women"


You spent some time living at Coolangatta last year.  What do you love most about this part of the world?
 
The weather! Coolangatta is a wonderful, earthly paradise. I really enjoyed the beach and the ever present sunshine. I'm definitely keen to come back and visit very soon.
 
Did you have any favourite eating spots while you were here?
 
Yes, definitely. I was a regular at Govindas at Burleigh Heads and I loved having lunch at Raw Energy in Coolangatta. I also love the hot chips at Grill'd in Coolangatta and the smoothies at Greenhouse Factory Restaurant and Bar at Kirra, are awesome!
 
Of the 30 women who wrote for your book “Plant-powered Women”, were there any “knock your socks off” responses that totally took you by surprise?
 
I am always impressed by the incredible health benefits people report after being vegan for even very short periods. Even though I have read many stories over the years on this subject, it still amazes me. The vegan diet is such an incredible boost to health and can reverse even serious, chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. In chapter eight, one woman speaks of reversing her chronic fatigue, digestive problems and other ailments after transitioning to the vegan lifestyle. It's an inspiring story!
 
This article appeared in a recent edition of “The Conversation”. But do you think Australian women are generally aware of the health risks of a meat and dairy diet?
 
Awareness is increasing, but it could be better overall. We still have a lot of work to do because the meat and dairy industries have a lot of advertising dollars available to them and are very clever at deceiving the public. Fortunately, the internet has helped people gain access to independent information, which has allowed those interested in living a healthy lifestyle, to do their own research and come to their own conclusions based on that. The mainstream media is slowly getting on board and publishing more articles on the benefits of the vegan diet and lifestyle, but there is still a lot more to do as long as fast food chains still dominate prime time television advertising spots. It's a constant battle to reach the general public with the truth about not only the health risks of a meat and dairy diet but also the cruelty that goes on to bring these 'products' to market. Having said this, awareness of the benefits of the vegan lifestyle is increasing all the time and I believe will continue to do so at exponential rates.
 
How easy is it for someone on a typical meat eggs and dairy diet to make the switch to pure vegan? Will your book help in any way?
 
It's as easy or as hard as you think it's going to be. There are so many great vegan cookbooks and vegan blogs available to people with countless delicious recipes and ways of veganising your current favourite foods. A vegan chef wrote for Plant-Powered Women and details the steps involved in veganising your kitchen in the book. Check out her mouthwatering recipes at www.thekindcook.com.
 
The great thing about Plant-Powered Women according to the feedback I've received so far is that it is written in a really supportive tone. The women in the book recount their stories about their journey to veganism and provide support and encouragement, and in this environment of non-judgement, gently guide people interested in going vegan, to take their first steps in that direction. It is a book you can give to your mum, sister, aunt or best friend who has shown an interest in living a healthier lifestyle or a more compassionate one, and you can be reassured that the women in the book will take their hand and lovingly explain and describe what the vegan lifestyle is all about.
  
Your last book was “Plant-powered Men”. How did the submissions from the girls differ to those from the guys?
 
The main difference is that there are a lot more women in the book who made the switch to veganism because of their love and compassion for animals compared with the men. If you are an animal lover, you will really enjoy Plant-Powered Women. The descriptions and stories about how animals touched the lives of these women are really beautiful.
 
You began your website, “Vegans are Cool.com”  6 years ago.  Have you found attitudes towards the vegan lifestyle have changed over this time?
 
Yes! Veganism is definitely becoming more mainstream. The changes I've witnessed over the last six years have been huge. There are a lot of people going vegan or vegetarian or taking part in Meat Free Monday or incorporating a lot more plant-powered meals into their week. As a result, demand for vegan food is skyrocketing and has resulted in supermarkets stocking many vegan brands; restaurants having special vegan menus; vegan supermarkets and grocery stores opening both in Australia and in many other countries; many celebrities going vegan and/or taking 30 day vegan challenges; and an increase in media interest about the vegan lifestyle. Vegans are cool and more and more people are realising that fact!
 
What is it that drives you to write these books?
 
The thought that billions of animals worldwide suffer unnecessarily is what motivates me to keep going and spread the vegan message as widely as possible. We don't need to torture animals so we can live a healthy, happy lifestyle. There is a delicious, nutritious, fun and joyous way to live that doesn't involve animal cruelty and that is the vegan lifestyle. I won't stop until everyone is vegan.
 
Do you have a favourite quote from the book that you would like to share with us?
 
I have many favourites. This is one of them:
 
“My advice is to first and foremost, look at what animal products you are consuming. Start experimenting with and stocking the plant-based alternatives of your personal “must haves”. For instance, start replacing cow’s milk with organic soy, oat, rice or one of the many plant-based milks on the market. Get the basics ticked off first. So if you eat breads, find out which breads, wraps, dry biscuits and so forth in your supermarket are vegan. Exchange egg mayonnaise with vegan mayonnaise, cheese made from cow’s milk with vegan cheese. As the fridge and freezer empties of meat, start stocking up on beans, lentils, chickpeas and split peas. They provide a hearty base for a myriad of meals. Get yourself some vegan stock powder. It is a staple and will form the building blocks of soups, curries and risottos. Then look at what your food traps are going to be. Are you going to crave chocolate or ice cream? Try the vegan versions and stock ones you like.”
– Mel Baker, Plant-Powered Women, Chapter 2 – The Foodie and The Chef
 
Kathy Divine is the author of vegan lifestyle books, and chief blogger at VegansAreCool.com.


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18 Jul 14

Kathy Divine

Thank you for the interview! I look forward to visiting Coolangatta again in September.

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