Jane Velez-Mitchell is known for being a voice for the voiceless — whether it be for people in need, the environment we want to protect or all the innocent animals in the world. She is a nationally known journalist (definitely one of the coolest) and animal activist that everyone should try to get to know. Throughout life, Jane has shared her own struggles with the world, and now she strives to share her successes from living compassionately. I had the pleasure to chat with Jane about her news website and how she uses Facebook LIVE to spread awareness about veganism to everyone!
Q: Tell me about your Facebook LIVE vegan cooking show. What are you hoping to accomplish out of it?
A: After almost four decades as a mainstream TV journalist who was allowed an occasional story on animals, I embarked on a new venture: all compassion, all the time. JaneUnChained.com is an all video, multi-platform news source for animal rights and the vegan lifestyle. Most of our content is viewed via Facebook where we now go live every day, showcasing vegan cooking with some of America’s top plant-based chefs, vegan celebrities and activists.
Our goal is twofold: to show people how delicious and easy plant-based recipes are and to inspire other vegans to use Facebook LIVE to spread the word. It used to to take a TV station full of satellite dishes and million dollar hardware to go LIVE. Now, we vegans can go LIVE with the touch of a button on Facebook and on Twitter. Spread the word. Every meal is a story! Make sure you get a top quality phone, like an iPhone 7, so you can have great video quality. Hold it sideways and get the landscape image, which is more professional. FYI, on Twitter and Instagram I’m @jvm.
Q: Can you describe the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart program? What are the benefits?
A: I’m what they call an ethical vegan. Basically, that means I don’t want to kill animals; so I don’t eat them. However, for many people, the motivation to switch to a plant-based diet is to improve their health and fitness. When Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine agreed to let us showcase their 21-Day Vegan Kickstart program, I knew it would be a great video series: 21 live videos with different chefs showing the meal plan in its entirety. I decided to try it myself and found it to be life-changing. The meals are super high in nutrients, low in calories, easy to make and they taste great. I got to sample a wide range of plant-based dishes and select the ones I like the best to incorporate into my daily life. I learned to use dates and maple syrup for the sweetness I crave, avoiding any processed sugar. I learned that spices and vegetable broth are a great alternative to high calorie oils.
I also learned about a great brand! Engine 2 makes hummus, tortillas, grains and cereals that are delicious and naturally low in calories. Whole Foods carries the brand and you can order it online. We all know diets don’t work in the long run. This is not a diet. It’s a lifestyle that allows me to whip up incredibly tasty whole foods: fruits, vegetables, beans and grains. Suffice it to say, I’m now a believer!
Q: How long have you been vegan and what pushed you to make the change?
A: I went vegan some two decades ago after I did a TV interview with Howard Lyman, author of the amazing book Mad Cowboy. Lyman is a 4th generation cattle rancher who had a crisis of conscience and decided to reveal the secret horrors of his industry. After the interview he and his publicist approached me and said, “I hear you’re a vegetarian.” I nodded. Then they asked, “Do you eat dairy?” Somewhat shamefaced, I nodded yes. The publicist looked at me, pointed her finger at me and said, “Liquid meat.” That did it for me. I went vegan and never looked back. It’s not a sacrifice. It’s an adventure. Everywhere I travel in the world, I have an instant group of friends. I just open my HappyCow app, find the nearest vegan restaurant and the party begins. We are a joyous, happy, healthy lot. If you’re going veg, get that HappyCow app ASAP and join in on the fun!
Q: What is your biggest accomplishment related to your vegan lifestyle?
A: My biggest accomplishment is not killing. I do a lot of dumb things on a daily basis, but when I put my head on that pillow at night I can rest easy knowing I did not kill or participate in the torture of an innocent being who did not have to suffer and die.
Q: Where have you volunteered to help animals?
A: I volunteer at every vegan, animal rights event and with every animal organization I can find including: PETA, Mercy for Animals, Farm Sanctuary, National Animal Rights Day, DxE, Last Chance for Animals, Farm Animal Rights Movement, Beagle Freedom Project, Social Compassion in Legislation and — of course — with my news organization JaneUnChained.
Q: What is your favorite vegan meal?
A: There are so many, it’s tough to choose. But, I would say my top five are: veggie stir fry with tofu and mixed veggies; veggie BLT with Fakin’ Bacon and a vegan cheese like Treeline, Miyokos, Follow Your Heart or Daiya; any vegan ice cream; any vegan dish from Veggie Grill; and any vegan dish from Plant Power Fast Food.
Q: Is there anything you would like to tell people who are thinking about transitioning to a vegan diet?
A: Switching from a meat/daily laden diet to a plant-based diet is the best decision you can make in your life. That is no exaggeration. It will help you avoid heart disease, cancer and a host of other leading killers. It will help fight climate change, as meat/dairy production is a leading cause of climate change. It will help end human world hunger, as animal production is the most inefficient use of food resources. It will help avoid the suffering and death of the thousands of animals you would have consumed over the course of your lifetime. It will help change the culture, making it more compassionate. It will help humans evolve.
Thanks again Jane Velez-Mitchell, for all you do for the animals!