Chela Long, Vegan
Miss Universe Canada Finalist 2014
We're happy to introduce Chela Long and her passion on being vegan and ask for your support at the BC Beauties Gala Fundraiser.
BC Beauties. a gala to help raise funds for our Miss Universe Canada, BC delegates to continue their journey to Toronto for the Miss Universe Canada Pageant finale.. This will be an enchanted evening of live music, silent auction, savoury canapes and an introduction of each of the 14 national finalists including Chela Long.
Click here to find out more or buy tickets online.
Q&A w/ CHELA LONG
Why did you become Vegan?
I became a vegan simply because I appreciate the gift of life and I can’t justify denying that from another living creature.
When adapting this lifestyle I really educated myself which completely changed my outlook on the world and our society. It honestly horrified me to see the things we deem acceptable in order to enjoy certain pleasures in life. I cried many times watching videos of suffering animals and I promised myself I would not be part of inflicting that pain upon anyone. I have never looked back.
What did you find positive and negative about the lifestyle?
Positive: I LOVE the way it makes me look and feel. The changes it had on my body were incredible!. It also really made me feel good knowing my food choices were having a small but positive impact on the world.
Negatives: Social acceptance. I feel fortunate to live in Vancouver where health and fitness are a priority and being vegan very accepted. I have travelled and lived abroad for the last few years and found that my lifestyle choices were hard to maintain and even discriminated against. Many people have such a preconceived notion of what being vegan is, it can be difficult to get past those stereotypes. It was also hard to find vegan option or even vegetarian option when eating out.
How would you inspire people to become Vegetarian or Vegan?
I have never been the type of person to push my views on others. I always say you lead by example. If people ask me about my choices, I tell them. I love to share with people how amazing it makes me feel. I think the most important thing when approaching people is education. People tend to behave negatively or fearful about things they are unfamiliar with. They worry it’s too extreme or that they will lack vital nutrients (I always get the protein question) The truth is once I explain a bit about the lifestyle, it’s benefits and how easy the changes are to make; people are fascinated. No not everyone will listen; some people just don’t want to hear it. Which is fine, everyone has a right to make their own choices.
I just want to put the message out there by setting a positive example and offering information about my lifestyle. You never know who might hear you and the impact it may have on them.
What are you currently doing to make a difference?
A big part of being a national finalist for Miss Universe Canada is about raising money and awareness for charity. I will be supporting Operation Smile and my charity event will based on giving information on a plant based diet. I will also be offering a smoothie challenge. Smoothies contain a lot of nutrients and help you get your 5 a day. This may not seem like much to a vegan but for someone on a SAD diet (Standard American Diet) it can have a big impact. Smoothies play a major role in my own diet. I love them so much I even backpack across Europe with a blender in bag!
What advice would you have to people considering becoming Vegetarian or Vegan?
Do your research: I read a lot and was inspired by many books and documentaries. I would recommend Fork Over Knives, Food Inc, The Kind Diet and The China study.
Be aware: Read the nutrition labels on your food, if you are unsure of an ingredient look it up.
Do a background checks: look up your beauty products and house hold items, make sure those companies are not testing offenders! (PETA has a good list)
Try new foods and recipes: I really enjoyed making new things and trying them with friends. Seek out some veggie restaurants and explore gourmet dishes
Go at your own pace: No one says you need to go cold turkey (maybe no turkey haha) decide what feels best for you. Try cutting out meat one day a week or avoiding dairy. Every little change will make a difference and you are more likely to stick with it if you enjoy the process.
Get inspired: Inspiration is big. I was so inspired by many stories from people who ventured on the same journey. I have always been into health and fitness so I looked up to vegetarian and vegan athletes who trusted this lifestyle enough to bet their careers on it!
Know that you are doing something amazing: Feel good about what you are doing. You are giving yourself the gift of good health, saving lives and helping the planet.