I do a lot of food reviews on this blog, but I’ve been wanting to change things up a little. Being vegan is about so much more than the food, it’s about the people who are doing awesome things for the movement too! I’ve decided to start doing some interview posts from time to time on here with fellow vegans. I’ve realized that all of us have a different perception of what it means to be vegan, and it’s always helpful to hear their thoughts and advice to better inform our own beliefs about veganism. I had the opportunity to meet André Avena aka UnhealthyVegan, who made an UnVcMuffin (vegan mcmuffin) for me and we got to talk over some vegan donuts from The Donuttery.
1. What was your perception of vegans before you made the switch?
I actually didn’t have much of a perception of vegans because I didn’t know any. I was so blind to veganism that I didn’t even know people who practice it existed.
2. What made you go vegan?
My ethics professor in community college had a presentation about the ethics of eating animals and he made perfect sense. The guy [he used as an example] for eating animals, who was really funny, had no real good points. And from there I just walked out and said ok I’m going to be vegan. It was that simple. I got educated and decided to act on it.
3. What were your favorite foods before becoming vegan?
Burgers, pizza, burritos.
4. What are your favorite foods now that you are vegan?
Burgers, pizza, burritos.
5. Where did the name “unhealthyvegan” come from?
The more I think about it and get asked about it, the more I realize how much it means to me and how it has become a part of me. I love it so much now. It means so many things to me now. First off, it was meant as a smart ass answer to everyone who kept telling me that going vegan would be unhealthy. So in a way, it’s basically me saying, “ok, I am what you say I am. I’m an unhealthyvegan like you think I am,” even though I know that’s not the case. I also love it because it breaks the stereotype that every vegan eats salads and juices. I’m a vegan who eats double bacon cheezeburgers so it works in that sense as well. It is literally the perfect way to describe me in all the ways. The name chose me, I didn’t choose it.
6. Advice to people who want to switch over to veganism?
Just do it already! There isn’t one real reason or excuse not to do it so just go for it! Also get an Instagram because everyone on there can help with recipes or even just ideas for you to cook food. Download all the vegan apps so you know where to go when you’re eating out or what to buy when you’re in the stores.
7. What are your favorite restaurants, either locally or nationally?
I have only eaten locally, but hopefully soon that will change, so in Southern California I love Seabirds, Doomie’s, Organix, Cheezy Pizza, and the Loving Hut in Upland. Veggie Grill for nationwide best food. Those are all my go to restaurants but can’t wait to try even more!
8. What has helped you to stay vegan?
My first answer is the animals. I feel that if you solely do it for the animals than it really becomes easy. I never once felt the need to go back. But the more I think about it, the online community that I joined with Instagram has actually helped me become a better vegan and I truly love them and thank them for making it even easier than it already was.
9.Who are some other influential vegans online that you admire?
All these guys are from Instagram: @HiramCamillo, @Veganfoodshare, @DangVegan, @StacyMichelson, @TheSaucyVegan, @MyVeganPlate, @NomYourself, @WickedHealthy, and @Vegicano. All of their accounts really bring it when it comes to food and the food they make. Or the food they share or the food they buy, it’s all good and they all have my approval. I would eat every meal of theirs and I know I will be happy.
10. Which recipe on your YouTube channel has been your top favorite?
So far I really loved my second episode where I made the Double Bacon Grilled Cheeze. It has two grilled bacon jalapeño cheeze buns, and more bacon and chikin and cheeze in the middle. It’s so amazing.