Today I’m sharing an interview with one of my favorite vegan bloggers Tedi Sarah! Tedi is a gorgeous, compassionate blogger living in NYC. Her blog has been a fave of mine for quite sometime now because we both share a love of compassionate fashion, food, and beauty! On her blog, Tedi shares the best eats in NYC, healthy vegan recipes, and kind fashion looks! Plus, she’s just launched an amazing Instagram account featuring the chicest cruelty-free looks. Read on for an insight into Tedi’s vegan life!
KB: How did you become a vegan and what was your transition to a cruelty-free lifestyle like?
TS: I’ve always been an animal lover, but it was actually my interest in health and nutrition that brought me to a plant-based/vegan diet. It was a total chance encounter with Rip Esselstyn that led me on this path. He happened to be at Whole Foods promoting his book, My Beef With Meat: The Healthiest Argument for Eating a Plant-Strong Diet when I was there grocery shopping. I had no idea what a plant-strong diet was, but the title intrigued me so I bought a copy. I was blown away by what I read and it totally transformed my views on healthy eating. As soon as I finished the book I stopped eating meat and then within a few months I stopped eating dairy too.
Changing my diet made me so much more aware of how often animals are exploited for human benefit. And once I had that awareness I started to be more conscious of buying products that are cruelty-free and vegan and avoiding ones that aren’t.
KB: What is it like living in NYC as a vegan? What are your favorite NYC veg restaurants?
Living in New York City as a vegan is amazing! We have so many vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants. There’s such an awareness of veganism here that most restaurants have vegan options on their menus. And if not, most chefs have vegan dishes that they typically prepare for vegan customers.
Some of my favorite vegan restaurants are by CHLOE. for vegan comfort food and baked goods, Sun in Bloom for my favorite salads and soups, Pala Pizza for the best vegan pizza in the city, and Avant Garden and Dirt Candy for the best in vegan fine dining.
KB: What’s your all-time favorite vegan meal?
TS: My recipe for vegan Thanksgiving dinner is one of my absolute favorites and I make it all the time…not just for Thanksgiving! It’s a variation of my recipe for hearty vegan stew and I’m obsessed with it. I make stuffing, mashed potatoes and vegan gravy and eat it all over a bed of sautéed kale. So delicious! And if I’m going all out I make homemade cranberry sauce too.
KB: What’s your day-to-day menu like?
TS: For breakfast, I usually have either fruit (grapefruit is one of my favorites) or Engine 2 cereal. It is the healthiest cereal out there and a big bowl is nutritious enough to fuel my whole morning. I always add fresh fruit or raisins to it too.
For lunch, I often like to eat a bagel with tofu cream cheese and lots of veggies on it or hearty salads like the Chef Aimee salad from Sun in Bloom. That salad is made with massaged kale, live sesame ginger dressing, roasted veggies, avocado, sauerkraut, wakame, seasoned pumpkin seeds and cayenne pepper.
For dinner, if I’m cooking at home I make a lot of simple meals like veggie stir fry or lentil pasta with veggies. And now that it’s cold out I’ll be making my recipe for hearty vegan stew and vegan Thanksgiving dinner a lot!
KB: You do cruelty-free fashion posts and now run The Kind Collection, where do you get inspiration for your cruelty-free wardrobe?
TS: I draw tons of fashion inspiration from the streets of New York. So many people have exquisite style here. If I see a look I like on someone, I’ll go online and search for cruelty-free versions of what I’ve seen. And I also find inspiration from fashion accounts on Instagram. Two of my favorite fashion accounts are @conveythemoment and yours, @veganalamode!
KB: What compelled you to start The Kind Collection?
TS: Ever since adopting a more cruelty-free lifestyle I’ve felt that people would make kinder choices if they just knew that there are so many awesome cruelty-free, vegan options out there. So, I created The Kind Collection to show people that there are a.) tons of ethical, cruelty-free brands and products out there and b.) lots of stylish women who wear them.
KB: What are your favorite vegan fashion brands?
TS: Danielle Nicole is one of my favorite brands for gorgeous non-leather handbags. And for vegan high fashion Stella McCartney is a favorite too. Even if it’s just to admire from afar. 😉 I buy most of my clothes from brands that are vegan-friendly, as opposed to totally vegan. One of my favorite vegan-friendly brands is ASOS, which gives online shoppers the option to specify if they want to be shown non-leather products only and BB Dakota which always has tons of fashionable vegan options in their collections.
KB: You are very involved with animal rescue and have fostered shelter animals. How did you get involved and why?
TS: I had always been afraid to start volunteering at an animal shelter because I thought my heart literally couldn’t take it. But once I moved to NYC I decided to finally try it and I am so glad I did. Of course it makes me sad to see the animals in the shelter, but at the same time I feel better knowing that I have the power to make their days a little better by walking them, giving them lots of love and helping them find their forever homes.
And it was actually an Instagram post that led me to fostering! Even when I was volunteering I still thought my heart couldn’t handle fostering since I feared I would get too attached to my foster animals. But one night @mooshoes_nyc put a post up on Instagram about a dog who desperately needed a foster home. Something about that post and the picture of the sweet, scared dog struck a chord with me and I volunteered to foster him right then and there. As it turns out, they had already found a different foster home for that dog but I was so inspired I went and signed up with a local foster network that night. By the next day I had my first foster puppy, Vanessa. Having her was such a positive and fulfilling experience. Saying goodbye to her was hard for me but she went to the most loving home I could have wanted for her. I still get updates on her and feel so grateful that she has such a wonderful life with such a loving family.
KB: Tips for how readers can help the lives of shelter animals?
TS: That’s a great question!
1. DONATE used or new blankets, towels and pet beds. Just like humans, animals find comfort in something soft and warm to nuzzle up to during a challenging, scary or stressful day (which is every day for a shelter dog). Being a shelter volunteer I see first hand that dogs will always move to cuddle up on a blanket if you give them one. So if you have any you can spare, they will get good use at your local shelter.
2. FIND your local shelter’s Wish List online and donate what you can. You can see exactly what the shelter needs and send it directly through Amazon or print it off and go buy the items yourself. You can donate everything from pet food to peanut butter for dog treats to greens for bunnies and so much more.
3. VOLUNTEER at your local shelter. As you know from the answer to my last question, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Shelters have all sorts of different volunteer opportunities to walk dogs, play with cats, clean cages and/or work at special events.
4. ADOPT your next furry friend. If you’re looking to add a new animal to your family, there are always animals in need of loving homes. Even if you want a particular breed, you can find it! Petfinder.com is a great resource for finding adoptable animals in your area. You can specify your zip code and the type of animal, breed, age, gender and size that you’re looking for.
KB: Lastly, what quote inspires you?
TS: This is one of my absolute favorites by Edward Everett Hale:
I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do, interfere with what I can do.
Follow Tedi on Instagram @TediSarah and to see more of her lifestyle visit her blog TediSarah.com. Thank you so much to Tedi for doing this interview!