Robert reached out to me a while back about a website he created called VegRep, a collection of internet’s best vegan recipes in one convenient directory. I love the idea behind the site and I wanted to feature him in this brand new interview series I’ve created called Vegan Entrepreneurs. The idea is a spin-off of the My Vegan Story series. As an entrepreneur myself, my goal is to share, collaborate and promote others who literally make it their business to share veganism with the world. If you’d like to share your story, please feel free to get in touch.
Check out Rob’s road to becoming vegan and how he came up with the idea for VegRep.com!
What was your road to veganism like?
Full of blood, sweat and tears… not.
In fact, it was a pretty smooth transition for me. Before making the best decision of my life (AKA going vegan), I was vegetarian for a good four years. At that time, I already knew that milk was toxic to my body, but I hadn’t quite made the ethical connection yet. I still believed that the eggs or milk you buy in the store didn’t involve hurting animals.
After I had learned the truth about what goes on in the dairy, egg and clothing industries, it was an easy decision for me to drop everything animal based from my life.
Was there one thing in particular that changed your thinking or was there an evolution?
As I said before, becoming a full vegan was the only option in my mind after I learned the truth about the cruel and disgusting industries.
But when I made the change from eating meat to a vegetarian diet several years ago there was one particular thing that changed in my way of thinking. Before that point I had always believed I couldn’t do it.
I knew that eating meat was wrong from a pretty young age. I always felt guilty after eating it. But being someone who hated eating vegetables and had a fruit phobia(no exaggeration), I always told myself I would never be able to go meatless.
One day I had a complete paradigm shift when talking to a friend. She told me how she watched slaughterhouse footage and never ate meat again. I thought to myself, “If she can do it, why can’t I?”
I just believed in myself, and that was all I ever needed.
Have you experienced any benefits from living a vegan lifestyle?
Too many to list off the top of my head. The main ones would be that my body looks and feels better than ever before, my immune system is exponentially stronger, my recovery in training is far superior, and I just feel happier. I used to be angry and raging all the time over tiny and trivial things that didn’t matter. These days if I get angry(usually due to animal agriculture) it’s focused, and it has a purpose.
What has been the most challenging part of transitioning to a vegan lifestyle?
Dealing with other people’s ignorant perceptions of veganism and listening to their weak excuses to justify something they know is wrong.
We may be living in the most technically advanced society ever, with unlimited amounts of information readily available at our fingertips. But you just keep hearing the same misinformed information from meat eaters, over and over again.
“Vegans can’t get enough protein, what about lions and plants feel pain too.”
It starts to wear you down after a while.
What has been the most rewarding?
Just taking pride in knowing that my actions are in alignment with my values. I can respect myself now, knowing that I am standing up for what I believe to be right, and making a positive impact on the world each and every day.
Tell us a little bit more about your website and its core values.
Let me tell you a little secret; I’m a terrible cook. I do however really respect people who have the passion and talent to create healthy and innovative vegan recipes, with the kind of pictures that could give you a raging food-on. You know the kind I’m talking about.
I believe this is important for veganism – to be able to break through into the mainstream, as many people still think a vegan diet has to be restrictive or boring(I know, crazy right?)
So VegRep can provide those awesome individuals with a platform to share their hard work, earn more love and followers while attempting to break the unfounded boring-vegan-food stereotype at the same time.
What inspired you to start the website?
In short, information overload. There’re so many amazing vegan blogs out there. But sometimes it can feel like too many. I wanted to create a place that people like myself could go to see all the awesome recipes in one simple and convenient location.
Where do you see yourself and your business in 10 years?
I wouldn’t refer to it as a business at this point. I may consider monetizing it in the future, but if I did that it would be to donate the majority of the proceeds to animal welfare charities. I have a day job as a teacher, so I’m not worried about money. I’m just doing what I’m passionate about which is website development and veganism. I hope to keep doing that until I’m able to create something that can break through into the mainstream media and provide massive amounts of value to the vegan community.
What advice would you give to someone else who is thinking about setting up their own vegan company, website or blog?
Get in touch with the community. Vegans have a reputation for being unfriendly snobs, but when you’re not trying to shove bacon in their face, you’ll find they are quite friendly and helpful.
In fact, I’ll make anyone reading this a deal. If you’re setting up your WordPress site promoting veganism, and you’re having difficulty with something technical or need some small development tweaks made. Send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ll do what I can to help you free of charge (within reason of course).
Other than your website, do you have any other resources you would recommend to someone who would like to learn more about becoming vegan?
I’m a big fan of YouTube. Some of my favorite channels are Bite Size Vegan, Vegan Gains, and The Friendly Activist. They’re all great resources in my opinion. If you’re looking for reliable nutritional advice, my go-to would be NutritionFacts.org. And if you’re looking for some motivational and insightful words to help you along your journey, feel free to check out my other website at VeganQuotables.com
Are you a vegan entrepreneur and want to share your story? Please get in touch.