This interview is a result of me stumbling upon the “Why Vegan” video below. I am not even sure how I happened to see it, however when I found it I was completely drawn-in and found myself staring at the screen after watching it deep in thought. I guarantee that by the time you get 40 seconds in to the 4:06 minute video you will be spellbound.
Within a few short minutes EVOLVE! Campaigns was able to so eloquently show the multiple and varied reasons why people become vegan.
After watching the video I contacted James Gorman, the Director of EVOLVE! Campaigns and he graciously agreed to an interview. I am impressed with James’s commitment to animals and leading a plant-based life.
JG - I’ve been vegan for over 50 years. I was lucky to have a mother who was forward thinking enough to raise me on a vegan diet. I didn’t appreciate it at the time because there weren’t all the alternatives available then that there are now so meals were quite basic, but looking back I’m very proud of what she did. What motivates me to stay vegan however is the cruelty that is involved with the meat, dairy, egg and fishing industries. I cannot abide the violence that is inflicted upon innocent living beings and basically I don’t want to be a part of it and I certainly don’t want to fund it.
CV – Tell me a little bit about EVOLVE! Campaigns and what inspired its creation.
JG - My wife Rolanda and I set up our organisation three years ago as an educational resource. Before we met, I was busy lecturing on the nutritional benefits of a plant-based diet, in colleges and Universities, and also doing talks on advanced nutrition for personal trainers, bodybuilders and athletes here in the UK. Rolanda was involved in online activism and graphical design. Putting our talents together we came up with something which would allow Rolanda to expand on her love of design by creating campaign materials, posters, videos etc. and which would also be a back-up for my lectures, somewhere students could go to find out more information.
CV – What do you hope to accomplish through EVOLVE! Campaigns?
JG - EVOLVE! Campaigns is purely educational and is there to help and inspire anyone who is considering transitioning to a cruelty free, environmentally friendly, and healthy lifestyle. We do a 30 day Vegan Pledge and all our campaign materials, like our graphics and videos, are created with one aim: to stimulate people into thinking about their food and lifestyle choices more consciously. Our message is that the use and exploitation of animals is not only wrong, but is also an out-dated concept, and while we are primarily trying to encourage as many people as possible to evolve and make positive changes, we believe that it is important to show people not only why, but also how, this can be done.
CV – How can people get involved with your organization?
JG - We use our Facebook page to interact with people. We have a great community of compassionate-minded people on there and we post news articles, campaign materials, videos, recipes, tips etc. on a daily basis. Through the page we are able to publically answer queries and generally discuss topics relating to animals and veganism. I think it’s particularly important for new vegans, who may not know any other vegans in “real life”, to be able to find support online and hopefully meet new friends too. Our page can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/EVOLVECampaigns
CV – Walk me through a day in your life.
JG - No day is the same, one day I may be doing a talk in a University, another day I may be doing a talk for a small group of people at someone’s house. Even in my spare time I don’t seem to have a day off as I regularly try to convert unsuspecting members of the general public to veganism, even in the supermarket! But when I’m not doing that I enjoy being around animals – I really do get pleasure from their company. I also enjoy being by the sea – I’m a real beach bum as I grew up by the coast and have always lived near to the sea. I also enjoy keeping fit and I do believe my diet has helped me to remain healthy and strong. In my youth I was an international speed skater which required a lot of disciplined training. I also did martial arts for many years but these days I’ve slowed down a lot!
CV – What do you typically eat in the span of a day and are you a snacker?
JG - I eat a lot of fresh fruit, I am a big fruit eater! For breakfast I typically have a bowl of muesli (grains, nuts, seeds, dried fruits) with rice milk. Then for lunch I really love fresh salad sandwiches with avocados, tomatoes, onion, beetroot and mixed leaves. For my evening meal I usually have something cooked with the family, so it might be spaghetti bolognaise or a tofu meal with lots of vegetables, for example. And yes, I am a snacker! I like to graze throughout the day on fresh fruit and raw vegetables but don’t let that fool you into thinking I’m never tempted by naughty treats because I do have a weakness for biscuits and chocolate sometimes too.
JG - Dairy-free ice-cream!
CV – When people learn that you are vegan, what is the #1 question they ask and what is your response?
JG - They usually say “But you’ve got big muscles! Where do you get your protein from?” And I respond that I get my protein from plants instead of animals. It’s amazing how many people still don’t realise that there’s protein in plant-based foods, especially when I tell them that it’s even in vegetables.
CV – What vegan product could you not live without?
JG - My shoes! I buy them from a shop called Vegetarian Shoes in Brighton, on the south coast here in the UK. All their products are 100% vegan and they are brilliant because they are made from a man-made breathable material which makes them very comfortable to wear.
CV – In your wildest dreams what will your life look like in 5 years?
JG - I would be living in a world where humans are no longer violent towards other living beings. A vegan world – that really is my wildest dream. And then I could retire and spend all day down at the beach!