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Do You Love Animals As Much As Phoebe Dykstra?


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 Vegan Phoebe Dykstra and Pig Esther

Phoebe Dykstra is a social media personality and the host of a new cutting-edge digital series from Canon called The Creator Class. Phoebe is committed to devoting her life to honesty and the pursuit of helping others—especially animals. Her passion for animal activism has linked her to many progressive companies, including the Humane Society, peta2, Vegan Cuts and more. Now working freelance in media, she hopes to inspire many of today’s youth who are also seeking truth and meaning with each new project she takes on.

How long have you been a vegan and why did you decide to become one?

Phoebe: The last time I ate meat was about eight years ago now! I say that statement proudly because being compassionate towards animals is the only thing in my life I’ve ever really stuck with. In those years, I went back and forth between vegetarian and vegan. I’d be all in, then, it was as if I forgot everything I knew, and I’d grab a milk chocolate bar.

Last year, I was telling a guy friend of mine who is vegan how I was vegan most of the time, and he said, “You’re either vegan, or you’re not”—because being vegan is a mentality as much as it is dietary. So with that in mind, plus encouragement from my former co-host, Lauren Toyota, to re-watch the documentary Forks Over Knives, all the information stuck. Vegan for life! So I got the “V” tattooed on my finger.

I grew up on a farm in Manitoba. My mom was vegetarian, and the animals were my best friends. Animals are still my best friends: I feel more deeply connected to them than I have ever felt with any human. They feel. Who decided we love dogs, but eat pigs? Pigs are equally as smart—I believe it’s been proven they are actually smarter! That doesn’t make sense to me.

Phoebe Dykstra

Is it true that being a vegan also impacts the clothes you wear and the beauty products you use? 

PD:
I believe the term “ethical vegan” would be used in this case. If you look back to when I first started at MuchMusic, I wore leather boots almost every day, I wore down-filled jackets and had whatever makeup our artists worked with piled on me; I never thought anything of it.

It was last year that Lauren invited me out to visit a meat-packing factory with our beautiful friends from Toronto Cow Save. It was a traumatic but eye-opening experience. We held onto each other, cried and decided to change our wardrobe to pleather!

Since then, I’ve been switching out my fancy, expensive beauty products to products that are vegan/cruelty free. I want to be a positive role model and help to inform people. I recently partnered up with the #becrueltyfree campaign, as well as helped out with October’s Vegan Cuts beauty box—and it ain’t stopping there!

Would you say that the vegan lifestyle is constrictive?

PD: Like everything, it’s all about perspective! If you think something is going to be hard, it’s going to be hard. If you believe it’s easy and everyone can do it, there you go! For sure, there are times when it can feel like an inconvenience, but there are also times that feel celebratory! What you choose to put in your body, as well as your mental attitude, are the most important; it’s worth the extra planning. Trust me, I feel amazing!

Just think, most coffee shops have soy milk, there is a whole section of fake meats at grocery stores, and there’s nothing like eating raw fruits and veggies, straight from Mother Nature!

Since you can’t eat meat and fish, what do you eat to add protein to your diet?

PD: Haha! This reminds me of the massive amount of memes on Instagram that poke fun at this question. Here it goes: spinach, avocado, lentils, nuts, quinoa, mushrooms, peanut butter, tomatoes, black beans, cabbage, kale…honestly, the list is never ending!

What do you eat for calcium because you can’t consume dairy products?

PD: Here’s just a few: almonds, orange juice, broccoli, tofu, raisins, white beans, flax seed, collard greens, butternut squash, sesame seeds and figs.

Would you say that vegans don’t eat as well as meat eaters?

PD: I’d say the opposite! Not only do vegans eat food that is better for their mind, body and spirit, we are also hyper-aware of what it is we are eating, and where it came from.

Do you have a favourite vegan recipe that we can try at home?

PD: To be real with you, since becoming vegan, I haven’t really been big on cooking/recipes. I’m more of a grazer, and always have been. This means I don’t do sit-down meals very often: I healthy-snack all the time! I just moved to a little island in B.C., where there are no vegan restaurants—just gardens—so I’ll be experimenting lots in the kitchen and will be sure to share what I learn!

Here’s a healthy and yummy recipe that I would like to share though:

Quinoa Avocado Spinach Power Salad

Ingredients
1 cup dry quinoa
2 medium avocados
3 oz. baby spinach
8 oz. cherry tomatoes
3 green onions

{For the dressing}
1-2 cloves garlic, minced (I use 2)
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/8 tsp. salt

Directions
Cook the quinoa according to package directions.

Meanwhile, make the dressing: in a small bowl whisk together ingredients and set aside.

Roughly chop the spinach and place in a large bowl.

Slice the green onions, halve the cherry tomatoes, and dice the avocado.

When quinoa is done cooking, add it to the large bowl with spinach and toss. The heat from the quinoa will lightly wilt the spinach.

Add the green onions, tomatoes, and dressing. Stir to combine.

Add the avocado and lightly toss.

Serve immediately or refrigerate to let flavors blend more.

Special message from Phoebe:

I know you are open-minded if you’ve read this far, so if you do want to get a little more educated, maybe even eliminate animal products from your life, check out Forks Over Knives or Vegucated, and follow my friend EstherTheWonderPig on Instagram!

Photo of Phoebe and Esther courtesy of Phoebe Dykstra.
Host Phoebe photo courtesy of Faze’s Christian Dun.
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