Saturday, 29 November 2014 15:50

Viewer of the Month: Victor Rivera

Victor is one of those people who gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside, which is remarkable given that he's a total tough guy on the outside. I'll never forget when we first communicated online - he won a giveaway I ran and his response started with "OMG YESSSSSSS!!!! I've never won anything EVER" and ended with "Thank you, thank you, thank you!" I loved his enthusiasm and passion. About a year later he reached out to offer her personal training services and we've been in touch off and on ever since. Victor is a fantastic role model for vegan men. Ladies, try to contain yourself when you read what an amazing husband and doggy dad he is!

Hey Fellow EvGers! My name is Victor. I moved to Los Angeles (A.K.A. “Vegan Heaven”) about 12 years ago from the Boston area. I have a wonderful wife, son and two cute dogs, and all of us are vegan (yup, our dogs are, too!). I am also a certified personal trainer, wannabe blogger, as well as a student at UCLA, pursuing a degree in psychology.

victor rivera dogs victor rivera dog

I would say my vegan journey probably began in my early youthful days, as I have always had a passion for social justice and compassion. I’ve seen firsthand, as well as voraciously read about, the plight of the poor, minorities and women, so standing up for the voiceless and oppressed has always been important to me.

victor rivera family

I met my wife, a long-time vegetarian, about eight years ago, and whenever I ate a burger, she would say, “Moooooo.” While I know she was being funny, I also knew that it hurt her to see someone eating her favorite animal. So knowing that I might be with her forever, I decided to look into this vegetarian thing. I began reading “Fast Food Nation,” and was quickly appalled at the treatment of the animals, migrant workers, and the general behavior of the meat, dairy, and fast food corporations. My wife was also reading, “Skinny Bitch” at the same time, so about a day after I decided to go vegetarian, we began planning how to go vegan.

While I went vegan for the animals and the environment, I could’t believe how much my health had changed. As someone who suffered from IBS for 10 years at that point, my condition basically vanished upon going vegan. I also lost nearly 70 pounds simply by changing to a vegan diet, and a basic exercise routine! So these days, I enjoy sharing the benefits of a vegan diet to the world, as well as proving that you can be just as strong and healthy eating plants!

victor rivera before after

About two years ago, I went to Chef Chloe Coscarelli’s book signing in Santa Monica, and my wife said, “Hey, there’s Eco-Vegan Gal!” I said, “You’ve never told me about her!” Apparently my wife had been following her forever but held out on me. So that night, I went to ecovegangal.com and was blown away! I am totally one of those people with about a thousand different passions and always wondering which one I should “pick,” so I was astounded that someone could combine journalism, physical health, mental health, veganism, hygiene, the environment, how to be your best self, business skills, and about a million other topics under one umbrella.

Not only does Whitney cover all of these categories, she does so in multiple formats (i.e. the regular Eco-Vegan Gal channel, “Live Q and A,” “Uncensored,” and so on) across multiple platforms (her webpage, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, etc.). So I would say I follow Eco-Vegan Gal because she seems to have a video or article about all things vegan and general day-to-day life issues, and also because her various sites help me improve my ability to have an impact on the world, as well as as better my own personal and family life.

Victor's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: "My hands down, favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video is, “Education and Power Can Change The World,” because it captures what Whitney is all about: The importance of “Inspiring, educating, and empowering” others, as well as ourselves. I get fired up every time I watch this, and I hope you do, too!" "

 

Follow Victor's journey:

Published in Viewer of the Month

The vegan lifestyle is about more than what one eats, it's encompasses every purchase. But don't let that overwhelm you because cruelty-free products are in ambundance and there's no need to feel like you're comprimising on how you feel, act or look. Just as there are many meat and dairy alternatives in the food realm, there are animal-free items galor for home goods, cosmetics, clothing and beyond. And if you want to take it to another level and make your belongings environementally-friendly, no problem!

Published in Fashion/Clothing
Wednesday, 01 May 2013 10:33

Viewer of the Month: Kylie Bennett

I met Kylie when she applied to the EvG Apprenticeship Program - I was instantly impressed with her online presence and can-do attitude, but her sweet personality really touched my heart. She is incredibly passionate about veganism and I love her story about making the transition, as well as her husband's journey to plant-based living. Bonus: the photo of her with Buttercup from Gentle Barn is just so darn cute!

My name is Kylie. I am 34 years old living in Los Angeles with my husband and two rescue dogs, Henry & Willow. I started my vegan transformation just over two years ago. I had a couple of extremely inspiring friends who were vegan and I admired them immensely for a couple years before I realized it was silly to just look up to them when I could join them! I gave myself a challenge: go completely vegan for one week and see how it went. By day 3 I felt noticeably better, lighter in body and mind. At this point the term vegan to me was strictly dietary. I didn't think about all the animal by-products that were in the beauty products I was using and the clothing I was wearing. In that first week I also started reading and researching. I read The Kind Diet and that was a great starting point to open my eyes into what it truly means to be vegan. As I sat there with tears pouring down my face, soaking the pages of the book I knew that I could never go back to the way I was living. I could no longer ignore what was really going on in the world.

Being vegan is a constantly evolving journey. Everyday I learn something new and try my best to make ethical and eco conscious decisions. Luckily, there is a huge vegan community in Los Angeles and online. I have met so many amazing people who share my way of thinking and I get excited when my omnivorous friends tell me they are going vegan. It took my husband a full year of me being vegan before he made the switch (and I didn't even have to beg him, he did it all on his own!). Now the two of us love discovering new vegan places to eat around L.A. and it's great to have a partner in crime ;-)

Kylie Bennett profile ecovegangal 3

In my spare time I like to blog about my experiences as a vegan and make things for my online shop Fabulously Fierce. I love unique home decor,
so my main focus is on that, but I do make some embroidered clothing as well. Having a creative outlet keeps me sane (most days)!

Kelly's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: Eco-Vegan Gal has been such a great source of information for me as well. Her positivity and knowledge are so inspiring. Whenever I have a question about certain products or what I can do to make smart choices for the environment or just need a little mental boost, I know I can find it in one of her videos! Since I'm not the best at taking care of myself and tend to lose motivation to exercise, I especially love her video "How to Reach Exercise Goals and Make Them a Priority Every Day":

 

Kylie online:

Published in Viewer of the Month

UPDATED: February 24, 2015 (originally written in 2013)

It's that time of year again - Natural Products Expo West starts on March 7th! This business trade show is an amazing place for professionals in the health field to meet eachother, discover new products and introduce others to them. Attendees are bombarded with free food all day long, namely energy bars, chocolate, sweet drinks and bagged snacks. Unfortunately this wonderful experience often leaves to upset stomaches due to weird food combinations and cravings for nutritious, sit-down meals. Though the area around the Anaheim Convention Center doesn't offer much in the way of healthy restaurants I've pulled together a list of places that offer whole plant-based meals, which will satisty both vegans and omnivores.

Published in Restaurant Reviews
Saturday, 24 March 2012 20:00

The Four Seasons LA Goes Green and Vegan!

chef Ashley James with his vegan creations at Windows Lounge

I have a soft spot for The Four Seasons - about 5 years ago my family started a tradition to go to their Boston location for dinner every Christmas Eve. Since we've become regulars, the staff quickly learned about my vegan diet and now has an option for me each time I'm there - what started as a plate full of vegetables has turned into delicious dishes like creamy risotto, which you can see in this video. Thus, I was thrilled when a friend of mine told me that The Four Seasons Los Angeles was adding vegan items to their restaurants' menus - I knew I was in for a special experience but boy were my expectations exceeded. 
Published in Travel
 
I've done a lot of coverage on Veggie Grill despite their limited gluten-free and soy-free options because it's one of my favorite restaurants to indulge at. So naturally I jumped at the opportunity to check out their new menu offerings while visiting Los Angeles - and boy am I glad I did. The following video is a teaser to the snazier version I'll edit when I get back to San Francisco, and since these items on available NOW at the Sunset Blvd location, you better get your butt over there ASAP to check out things like:
Published in Restaurant Reviews
Wednesday, 28 September 2011 05:08

M Cafe de Chaya (Video Review)


Haven't had time yet to do a write up, but this video review of M Cafe de Chaya in Los Angeles should speak for itself (for now).

Published in Restaurant Reviews
Berkeley Vegan pizza
 
Forget Pizza Hut, Papa Johns and Dominos - go for something healthier and higher quality. If you live in a big city in the U.S. chances are there's a place call z pizza nearby, where you can get a delicious pie with fresh, organic ingredients. Today's video features z pizza in West Hollywood and their vegan and gluten-free pies, including an interview with the store owner and son of the founder.

Published in Restaurant Reviews


It's almost that time of year we all dread - bathing suit season. Though we know it's coming, it always seems to creep up on us and suddenly we've run out of time to whip ourselves into shape. You can try intense liquid-based cleanses, diet pills, and 20 minutes on the elliptical each day - or you can find an exercise class that will kick your butt. If you live in Los Angeles and can make it over to Marina Del Ray, I've got just the place for you.

Published in Fitness
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