Jo is a vivacious young woman from London who came to live in Melbourne a few years ago after traveling through the United States and Mexico. Jo's done various jobs from marketing in Switzerland, admin for the British Army in Germany, an animal shelter supervisor in Australia and currently Jo is doing education outreach with Animal Liberation Victoria. Jo's favorite hobby/pastime is cooking. Even as a child some of her favorite presents were kids cookbooks and she would experiment with different recipes. Many of the recipes on this website are Jo's and they are delicious! Jo has been a vegetarian for 12 years and four years ago became a vegan.
Q: What made you become a vegan?
Jo: I have always felt an affinity with animals. As a young child I shared my life with numerous animals including a horse, rodents, dogs, cats and rabbits, however it wasn't until following a highly publicised series of protests against live animal exports in the UK and seeing the terrified faces of the animals peering out of the transport trucks that I finally realized how wrong eating meat was. That was in 1995 and when I became a vegetarian. Then in early 2008 while surfing the internet and watching footage of the cruelty and huge waste of life involved in the dairy and egg industries I became vegan. I feel happy now, knowing my vegan lifestyle is causing as little harm as possible to others.
Q: What's your favorite meal?
Jo: Goodness, its hard to pick one thing, but I'd have to say one of my current favourites is salt and pepper tofu!
Q: What do you cook the best? Do you have a favorite recipe you'd like to share?
Jo: Hmm, maybe sweets and desserts, that's what people seem to enjoy eating the most anyway! I like to cook a variety of things, although I don't like spending hours fiddling around with one particular dish. Many of my recipes are on this website, some of my favorites are Potato, Squash and Asparagus Frittata, or for dessert, Lemon Cheesecake or Sticky Date Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce.
Q: Are many of your family and friends vegans?
Jo: Most of my friends are vegans, I was lucky in a way that when I came to Australia I became vegan fairly soon after and therefore many of the new people I met and formed friendships with are vegan. Unfortunately my family are not.
Q: What makes you happy?
Jo: I have been a foster mum for numerous stray animals left at pounds and shelters. Nothing makes me happier than seeing an unsettled and homeless animal thrive with some love and care. Good company, good weather, good food and the odd glass of wine go a long way too!
Q: What do you do to relax and unwind?
Jo: I love to take the dogs for a long walk on the beach on a beautiful day when its quiet and watch them swim and dig to their hearts content. Otherwise I like to settle down with a good book or movie.
Q: How do you keep fit?
Jo: I'm usually on my feet for a good part of the day so my exercise routine consists of walking (or very occasionally jogging if I'm feeling particularly energetic) with the dogs. I try to incorporate fitness into my every day routine but do sometimes go to the gym too.
Q: Do you have a favorite movie/book/blog that inspired you that you'd like to share?
Jo: I love Arthouse movies. One of my favourites is Bombon El Perro (yes dogs again, I'm obsessed!). I couldn't pick a single book, there're far too many to choose from! From an inspirational point of view I think everyone should watch both Earthlings and A Delicate Balance, it might open a few minds. I think Food Revolution by John Robbins is also an eye opener.
Q: Do you have a favorite restaurant?
Jo: There are so many great places in Melbourne to choose from! I love the relaxed atmosphere and food at Las Vegan, the raw food at Yong Greens and for a special night out Shakahari.
Q: What's been the best part of being a vegan?
Jo: Knowing that the choices you make are not contributing to animal cruelty.
Q: Have you found any difficulties being vegan?
Jo: No, not personally following a vegan lifestyle, but I find other people's attitudes towards animals hard to deal with sometimes.
Q: anything else at all you'd like to say or add?
Jo: I think its unfortunate that we seem to be shielded from where our food comes from and how it gets to our plate, and I guess that's unsurprising because the truth is pretty ugly. I wish that people would start to think about what their choices really mean for animals and the environment. Being vegan is not difficult, it is just different, different to what people are used to. All it takes is a little effort and education and for something that is so important that doesn't seem such a hard thing to do.
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