Blog

Interview with Ros Stiles

by in Fitness, Women 18/05/2013

Here is a lovely interview I got to do with Ros Stiles from Sullivans Bay in Australia.

How long have you been a vegetarian and what made you make the swap?

I have been a vegetarian for four years. I became very conscious that I was eating animals, that had been alive, had feelings, felt pain, were sentient beings. Then I became aware of factory farming, I looked into how the animals were treated before their death. I joined Animals Australia, Peta and WSPA and as I became more animated to stop the abuse of animals I realized that I did not want to eat them. I ate fish for a few months after I stopped eating other animals and then I met my own fish. It had survived a year in our fish pond, after we bought the house, without our knowledge. I realized it must have had a very strong will to live and then I learned more about fish – they feel pain, they can be educated, they enjoy having other fish around them. Then I became a complete vegetarian.

What is the biggest benefit of a meat free lifestyle?
I feel comfortable, morally and ethically, for my choice. I used to feel very guilty when I ate meat. I would wonder what had happened to the poor animal along the way to my plate. The biggest benefit is to my own conscience.

What has benefited you the most from being a vegetarian?
I am hoping that the greatest benefits are yet to come. I believe in Karma and reincarnation and I believe that the choices I make in this life time will determine what I become in the next life time.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about vegans and how do you address this?
I think the biggest misconception is that we eat “rabbit food”. I am not a vegan but I am becoming close. People believe that our food is boring but it is far from it. I have found so much delightful and delicious food since I became a vegetarian that I have gained weight. There is a lot of variety and I have found that vegetarians explore food and food combinations more. We work harder at making our food work for us and we take pride in presenting food that non vegetarians will also enjoy. I combat the misconception by finding delectable food, making delicious food and doing my utmost to provide enough variety that people will unintentionally eat and enjoy vegetarian food.

Did your family have any impact on your decision to go vegetarian? How did they react?
I live with my partner. My adult children live nearby. My children were not surprised but did wonder why I had not done it sooner. They laughed and told me that I would have to learn to cook. My partner was a little mortified that he could not cook for both of us anymore but was also relieved because he likes hot spicy food that I don’t like and could then cook to his own tastes. My lorikeet, who always eats of my plate, was delighted with the greater range of vegetables for her absolute enjoyment. My partner has since learned to cook a variety of vegetarian meals which he has as a side dish. The family itself had no impact on my decision.

Are your family and friends supportive of your vegan lifestyle?
Yes, they are very supportive. In fact, I think that they also delight in the challenge to make nice food that is vegetarian, to provide alternatives and to enjoy other types of food. One of my daughters has become a vegetarian because of my strong beliefs, that she also endorses.

What is the biggest challenge – being a vegetarian?
Remembering to look up what is in the ingredients of every day items that I used to buy, such as confectionary, gravy mixes and other pre-packaged items.

What is the most common question/comment that people ask/say when they find out that you are a vegan and how do you respond?The most common question would be what sort of vegetarian I am. This would include – Do you eat fish? Do you eat dairy? Are you a full vegan? They are usually merely courteous questions so that the person asking knows what to offer, share etc…

I respond that I am not a vegan but I only buy organic or local eggs that are free range from farmers or people that don’t slaughter their male chicks. If we talk about milk and cheese I tell them that I buy it and use it sometimes, milk for tea but I am cutting back more and more because often the animals are not treated with dignity and respect and I read that the cows are milked until puss comes out. Then I avoid dairy for a few days!
The most common comment would be “ I would like to try it… I often think of becoming a vegetarian, I wish I could but I just love meat…”
I suggest that they try having meat less meals more and more often and that every time they sit down to eat meat they actually research and track the animal they are eating from birth until death.

Who or what motivates you?
I am motivated by Animals Australia, by my rescue birds, grand-dogs, other animals. Facebook is fantastic for sharing pictures of what truly happens to animals, staying informed and continuing to stay motivated. Knowing that pigs are as intelligent as my grand daughter motivates me to spread the message – please don’t eat my grand daughter – please don’t eat a pig. Seeing and knowing animals in my life and through out my life and seeing them on the internet remind me constantly that these are all beings who are innocent and they deserve our protection. They should be treated with respect and cared for.
What does a typical meal plan for you consist of:
Breakfast – Cup of tea. Left overs from the night before. On weekends we have a fry up – Baked beans, egg, tomato, mushroom, zucchini, hash browns. Sometimes during the week I have brunch and make a fry up of this and some baby spinach, anything that cooks quickly. I rarely eat bread but when I do it is home made and full of the goodness of quinoa, chia, bran, wheat germ, chick pea flour and anything else good in the pantry.
Lunch – My lunch usually consists of left overs from another meal. I often cook enough for a tribe and then freeze the rest into portions. If I am home I may cook an egg, tomatoes, hash brown etc… I also usually have a home juiced concoction of leafy greens, carrots, fruit and ginger – usually with some herbs from the garden.
Snacks – I quite often snack on fruit. We have a flock of birds and there is always fruit around and I am quite often handling it. I love all sorts of fruit and will quite often share it with the birds as I am feeding them. Sometimes I will snack on a slice of cheese. I have been practicing cooking and recently started to make all sorts of nice muffins, cakes, loafs etc…. from the left overs of my juicing. I have also made pies and crumbles out of these. It is really good, minced fruit pulp. I will often juice the vegetables separate to the fruit so that I can keep the left over vegetable pulp for savory dishes and the left over fruit pulp for sweets and snacks. I also like to snack on nut mixes and dried fruit.
Dinner – At the moment it is summer and we are having light meals with a lot of salads. I will often have a Quorn or Frys burger with salad. Sometimes I will eat bread with this. When we have family meals we make food that we can all eat and there is a dish of vegetarian loaf, or vegetarian meat replacement schnitzels, burgers or seaweed fish replacement. I rarely eat tofu because there have been serious health concerns about eating too much soy.
Treats – Lollies with out gelatine, Cashews, apricot balls, Fruchocs, Dark rum and raison chocolate, Tiramisu cake, apricot jam on toast. Luckily I am not generally a snack or treat person.

What’s your favourite sneaky meal?My favourite vegetarian recipe was our Christmas lunch. I have actually misplaced the recipe but I did not stick to it anyway.

The recipe is quite flexible and is roughly:
1 cup of cranberries
1 cup of vitamised fresh coconut meat (or 1 cup of ground nuts)
1 cup of ground cashews.
4 eggs (egg replacement for vegan)
2 cups of left over spinach/kale, carrot and celery puree from juicing.
Quinoa flakes to form a loaf shape ( just keep adding this, chia, bran etc.. until the shape holds)
I sprinkled grated cheese over the top.
Bake in the oven at medium checking from half hour onwards.
Serve with vegetarian gravy and roast vegetables.
What is your favourite source of protein?
Mushrooms! They can be fried, roasted, eaten raw, mixed in a casserole, added to salads. The Quorn range is also made with fungi and the nicest meat replacement source I have yet to find.
What is your favourite source of Calcium?
Kale and Spinach – I have either of them in my daily juices. I also have Kelp in capsule form.

What is your favourite source of Iron?
Spirulina – I take it in tablet form and a I add spirulina powder to my juices. I also source it from parsley and spinach that I have in my home made juices.

What is your favourite energy boost?
Fresh juices with spirulina and bananas give me the most energy

Do you supplement?I take supplements, spirulina and kelp.

Here is some more of Ros’s thoughts that came from the interview…Vegetarianism has become more accepted over the broader community in the last decade. There need to be a wider variety of choices for the meat free community – with eating out, festivals, community events etc …

Being a vegetarian had helped me to feel a lot better both physically and emotionally. I am no longer carrying the baggage of guilt. My body works better, I am not bloated, constipated, I feel lighter and brighter. I have problems with eating from the local Chinese shop because they don’t seem to understand the concept that vegetarian means no chicken broth, shrimp paste etc….. Most restaurants take great pleasure in providing a meal or an entrée combination if they don not have many vegetarian choices on their menu.
My favourite take away is still pizza! I also enjoy Thai food very much. I am always considering becoming vegan and the only thing that is really stopping me is my love of cheese. I have bought some soy cheese recently but not tasted it yet. I don’t need anything to keep me motivated to be a vegetarian. To me, now that I have been a vegetarian for so long, eating meat would be like eating a human. Ethically and morally there would be no difference to me.
There is nothing that I miss now that I am a vegetarian. I don’t think I was ever a big meat eater, I ate it because I thought I had to. I can have anything that I want to eat and I usually do. I am always learning more about nutrition. I was very conscious that I would have to be careful of my iron intake. The spirulina is a wonderful source of iron and protein. The iron in my blood is higher than in most meat eaters. I would (and do) advise any one who is thinking about becoming a vegetarian to give it a go. Try some vegetarian recipes and drop out the meat meals gradually until you just don’t know why you ever bothered eating meat. I do yoga stretches and Kinesiology exercises every morning. I garden a lot. At the moment it is Summer and I have been swimming almost every day. I have been doing yoga and stretches for 30 years. I started doing push-ups last year and was at 25 push-ups at a time but have recently had to rest due to an old tennis elbow injury returning.

… and there you have it. One inspiring Vegetarian. We’ll have many more of these interview to come. If you’re one, then email us. We’d love to interview you too.

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Here is a lovely interview I got to do with Ros Stiles from Sullivans Bay in Australia.

How long have you been a vegetarian and what made you make the swap?

I have been a vegetarian for four years.  I became very conscious that I was eating animals, that had been alive, had feelings, felt pain, were sentient beings.  Then I became aware of factory farming, I looked into how the animals were treated before their death.  I joined Animals Australia, Peta and WSPA and as I became more animated to stop the abuse of animals I realized that I did not want to eat them.  I ate fish for a few months after I stopped eating other animals and then I met my own fish.  It had survived a year in our fish pond, after we bought the house, without our knowledge.  I realized it must have had a very strong will to live and then I learned more about fish – they feel pain, they can be educated, they enjoy having other fish around them.  Then I became a complete vegetarian.

What is the biggest benefit of a meat free lifestyle?
I feel comfortable, morally and ethically, for my choice. I used to feel very guilty when I ate meat.  I would wonder what had happened to the poor animal along the way to my plate.  The biggest benefit is to my own conscience.

What has benefited you the most from being a vegetarian?
I am hoping that the greatest benefits are yet to come.  I believe in Karma and reincarnation and I believe that the choices I make in this life time will determine what I become in the next life time.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about vegans and how do you address this?
I think the biggest misconception is that we eat “rabbit food”.  I am not a vegan but I am becoming close.  People believe that our food is boring but it is far from it.  I have found so much delightful and delicious food since I became a vegetarian that I have gained weight.  There is a lot of variety and I have found that vegetarians explore food and food combinations more.  We work harder at making our food work for us and we take pride in presenting food that non vegetarians will also enjoy.  I combat the misconception by finding delectable food, making delicious food and doing my utmost to provide enough variety that people will unintentionally eat and enjoy vegetarian food.

Did your family have any impact on your decision to go vegetarian?  How did they react?
I live with my partner.  My adult children  live nearby.  My children were not surprised but did wonder why I had not done it sooner.  They laughed and told me that I would have to learn to cook.  My partner was a little mortified that he could not cook  for both of us anymore but was also relieved because he likes hot spicy food that I don’t like and could then cook to his own tastes.  My lorikeet, who always eats of my plate, was delighted with the greater range of vegetables for her absolute enjoyment.  My partner has since learned to cook a variety of vegetarian meals which he has as a side dish.  The family itself had no impact on my decision.

Are your family and friends supportive of your vegan lifestyle?
Yes, they are very supportive.  In fact, I think that they also delight in the challenge to make nice food that is vegetarian, to provide alternatives and to enjoy other types of food.  One of my daughters has become a vegetarian because of my strong beliefs, that she also endorses.

What is the biggest challenge – being a vegetarian?
Remembering to look up what is in the ingredients of every day items that I used to buy, such as confectionary,  gravy mixes and other pre-packaged items.

What is the most common question/comment that people ask/say when they find out that you are a vegan and how do you respond?
The most common question would be what sort of vegetarian I am.  This would include – Do you eat fish?  Do you eat dairy?  Are you a full vegan?  They are usually merely courteous questions so that the person asking knows what to offer, share etc…

I respond that I am not a vegan but I  only buy organic or local eggs that are free range from farmers or people that don’t slaughter their male chicks.  If we talk about milk and cheese I tell them that I buy it and use it sometimes, milk for tea but I am cutting back more and more because often the animals are not treated with dignity and respect and I read that the cows are milked until puss comes out.  Then I avoid dairy for a few days!
The most common comment would be “ I would like to try it…  I often think of becoming a vegetarian, I wish I could but I just love meat…”
I suggest that they try having meat less meals more and more often and that every time they sit down to eat meat they actually research and track the animal they are eating from birth until death.

Who or what motivates you?
I am motivated by Animals Australia, by my rescue birds, grand-dogs, other animals.  Facebook is fantastic for sharing pictures of what truly happens to animals, staying informed and continuing  to stay motivated.  Knowing that pigs are as intelligent as my grand daughter motivates me to spread the message – please don’t eat my grand daughter – please don’t eat a pig.  Seeing and knowing animals in my life and through out my life and seeing them on the internet remind me constantly that these are all beings who are innocent and they deserve our protection.  They should be treated with respect and cared for.
What does a typical meal plan for you consist of:
Breakfast – Cup of tea.  Left overs from the night before.  On weekends we have a fry up – Baked beans, egg, tomato, mushroom, zucchini, hash browns.   Sometimes during the week I have brunch and make a fry up of this and some baby spinach, anything that cooks quickly.  I rarely eat bread but when I do it is home made and full of the goodness of quinoa, chia, bran, wheat germ, chick pea flour and anything else good in the pantry.
Lunch – My lunch usually consists of left overs from another meal.  I often cook enough for a tribe and then freeze the rest into portions. If I am home I may cook an egg, tomatoes, hash brown etc…  I also usually have a home juiced concoction of leafy greens, carrots, fruit and ginger – usually with some herbs from the garden.
Snacks – I quite often snack on fruit.  We have a flock of birds and there is always fruit around and I am quite often handling it.  I love all sorts of fruit and will quite often share it with the birds as I am feeding them.  Sometimes I will snack on a slice of cheese.  I have been practicing cooking and recently started to make all sorts of nice muffins, cakes, loafs etc….  from the left overs of my juicing.   I have also made pies and crumbles out of these.  It is really good,  minced fruit pulp.  I will often juice the vegetables separate to the fruit so that I can keep the left over vegetable pulp for savory dishes and the left over fruit pulp for sweets and snacks.  I also like to snack on nut mixes and dried fruit.
Dinner – At the moment it is summer and we are having light meals with a lot of salads.  I will often have a Quorn or Frys burger with salad.  Sometimes I will eat bread with this.  When we have family meals  we make food that we can all eat and there is a dish of vegetarian loaf, or vegetarian meat replacement schnitzels, burgers or seaweed fish replacement.  I rarely eat tofu because there have been serious health concerns about eating too much soy.
Treats – Lollies with out gelatine, Cashews, apricot balls, Fruchocs, Dark rum and raison chocolate, Tiramisu cake, apricot jam on toast.  Luckily I am not generally a snack or treat person.

What’s your favourite sneaky meal?
My favourite vegetarian recipe was our Christmas lunch. I have actually misplaced the recipe but I did not stick to it anyway.

The recipe is quite flexible and is roughly:
1 cup of cranberries
1 cup of vitamised fresh coconut meat (or 1 cup of ground nuts)
1 cup of ground cashews.
4 eggs (egg replacement for vegan)
2 cups of left over spinach/kale, carrot and celery puree from juicing.
Quinoa flakes to form a loaf shape ( just keep adding this, chia, bran etc.. until the shape holds)
I sprinkled grated cheese over the top.
Bake in the oven at medium checking from half hour onwards.
Serve with vegetarian gravy and roast vegetables.
What is your favourite source of protein?
Mushrooms!  They can be fried, roasted, eaten raw, mixed in a casserole, added to salads.  The Quorn range is also made with fungi  and the nicest meat replacement source I have yet to find.
What is your favourite source of Calcium? 
Kale and Spinach – I have either of them in my daily juices.   I also have Kelp in capsule form.

What is your favourite source of Iron?
Spirulina – I take it in tablet form and a I add spirulina powder to my juices.  I also source it from parsley and spinach that I have in my home made juices.

What is your favourite energy boost?
Fresh juices with spirulina and bananas give me the most energy

Do you supplement?
I take supplements, spirulina and kelp.

Here is some more of Ros’s thoughts that came from the interview…
Vegetarianism has become more accepted over the broader community  in the last decade. There need to be a wider variety of choices for the meat free community – with eating out, festivals, community events etc …

Being a vegetarian had helped me to feel a lot better both physically and emotionally.  I am no longer carrying the baggage of guilt.  My body works better,  I am not bloated, constipated, I feel lighter and brighter. I have problems with eating from the local Chinese shop because they don’t seem to understand the concept that vegetarian means no chicken broth, shrimp paste etc…..  Most restaurants take great pleasure in providing a meal or an entrée combination if they don not have many vegetarian choices on their menu.
My favourite take away is still pizza! I also enjoy Thai food very much. I am always considering becoming vegan and the only thing that is really stopping me is my love of cheese.  I have bought some soy cheese recently but not tasted it yet. I don’t need anything to keep me motivated to be a vegetarian.  To me, now that I have been a vegetarian for so long,  eating meat would be like eating a human.  Ethically and morally there would be no difference to me.
There is nothing that I miss now that I am a vegetarian.  I don’t think I was ever a big meat eater,  I ate it because I thought I had to.  I can have anything that I want to eat and I usually do.  I am always learning more about nutrition.  I was very conscious that I would have to be careful of my iron intake.  The spirulina is a wonderful source of iron and protein.  The iron in my blood is higher than in most meat eaters. I would (and do) advise any one who is thinking about becoming a vegetarian to give it a go.  Try some vegetarian recipes and drop out the meat meals gradually until you just don’t know why you ever bothered eating meat. I do yoga stretches and Kinesiology exercises every morning.  I garden a lot.  At the moment it is Summer and I have been swimming almost every day.  I have been doing yoga and stretches for 30 years.  I started doing push-ups last year and was at 25 push-ups at a time but have recently had to rest due to  an old tennis elbow injury returning.

 

… and there you have it. One inspiring Vegetarian. We’ll have many more of these interview to come. If you’re one, then email us. We’d love to interview you too.

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