Vegan Talks: Ziya Empereur

Interview with Ziya the founder of Easy Vegan Good Life, about her journey towards a 100% vegan lifestyle.
3 profile photos Ziya Empereur
20 Aug 2018

VeganTalks: Ziya Empereur

What moved me to go vegan? How did I experience going vegan? I tell you everything about my vegan journey in this interview! Just because, I think it's helpful for transitioning vegans to read about the experience of other vegans. That's why next week another experienced vegan will answer these questions! I'm excited to read their stories!  I'm open to receiving suggestions for questions I can ask next - please leave them in the comments. X  Ziya

When did you go vegan and what made you go vegan?

I have been a pescatarian since I'm four years old. Three years ago I made the decision to become vegan when I came across a video of Peta about the leather industry. I always thought that leather was a by-product of the meat industry. After seeing the horrible video, I quickly understood that the leather industry was killing cows separately from the meat industry.I realized that eating steak and buying leather shoes was kinda the same thing, an animal was mistreated and killed for human consumption. I started to investigate all the industries where animals where used and I understood that all the industries that use animal products for profit are a cruel industry. As an animal lover, there was no way back. I had to go vegan

So from that moment onwards,  what was your transition strategy?

I stopped eating fish, dairy, and eggs in it's whole form immediately. At the beginning of my vegan transition, I still allowed myself to eat processed food that had some dairy or eggs in it. Because to be honest I had no idea what vegan foods I could eat throughout the whole day - I was too used to my old omnivore diet. Once I got used to 90% vegan diet, I stopped eating processed food with eggs or dairy as well.

How long was your transition period?

I think it took me 6 months to be completely cruelty-free. But it took me at least 1 year to feel really comfortable with my new vegan lifestyle. I still committed a lot of mistakes by accidentally buying non-vegan products, and I would have difficulties going out for dinner non-vegan restaurants.

Now that you look back on that period, what would you have done differently?

I would have investigated the vegan lifestyle more! When I went vegan, I mainly learned from my mistakes. Which is ok, but these mistakes sometimes made me uncomfortable and I could have avoided them if I had more basic vegan knowledge  - it would have also speeded up my transition period.

What was the biggest challenge when you just went vegan?

Finding the correct plant-based diet definitely was my first struggle. The problem wasn't not eating animal products, that was the easy part. It was mainly to find the correct way of eating vegan. I didn't have a very clear idea of what to eat to get all the nutrients and energy I need. I was eating plates of vegetables, too many nuts and I wasn't eating enough carbs. I really didn't know what a vegan vegan diet was. I ate quite healthy, but my diet wasn’t complete. therefor I wasn't getting enough nutrients and I didn’t feel that healthy after going vegan - to be honest. I had a lack of energy and I was bloated all the time.. My second challenge was dealing with ignorant people. When I was transitioning into the vegan lifestyle I was working on a yacht. I was always surrounded by colleagues, not my friends and family. We went for dinner when we reached a new destination. I had difficulties ordering vegan food in non-vegan restaurants, especially in places like, Greece, France, and Turkey. But I also had difficulties with responding to negative feedback on my vegan lifestyle. Often when I went out for dinner with my colleagues they would make a big deal about my vegan demand. They would try to prove to me that eating meat is fine. They were making jokes about it. I can tell you that the atmosphere would always become quite negative as I didn't know how to deal with it assertively and intelligently. I would get so caught up in my emotions as I took all their comment too personal. I also felt that I had to accept every vegan - carnivore debate, it really took a toll on my energy.

That are a few obstacles, right there. How do you deal with these particular challenges now?

Honesty nowadays they're not challenges anymore. I have completely found my way in the vegan lifestyle. The best change is my vegan diet. Since I eat according to the whole food plant-based diet, I enjoy all the benefits of the vegan diet and I feel healthier than ever! I also have no problem to order vegan food in restaurants anymore. I am proud to be vegan and I'm not ashamed to ask the waiter for a vegan meal off the menu. Also, I became really good inveganizing meals. The truth is that I don't make a big deal of it anymore before I used to think I was difficult - but hey I'm the client, right? When people want to debate with me about veganism, I decide first if I feel like it. If I feel that the conversation has a very negative and attacking atmosphere I use a closed but sharp statement about why I'm vegan and I stop the conversation for my own inner peace. Veganism is a lifestyle of compassion and it also applies to yourself.

A lot of people think that a vegan lifestyle is restricting them. As an experienced vegan, how do you feel about this?

The first year I felt restricted as a vegan. But this is a feeling from the past. Once you change your old omnivore habits for new vegan habits, it's all good! And you see how many vegan and cruelty-free products are available to you. It's important to always look at what you CAN eat, drink and wear, not want you can't.

What is for you the best part of being vegan?

Every aspect of being vegan is amazing! First of all, I'm not harming animals. I'm part of a very important revolution and it makes me proud.  Secondly, veganism is on the rise and vegan products are popping up everywhere. It's exciting to see the world go vegan. I have so much fun discovering and sharing tips with my vegan girlfriends about all the new vegan cosmetic and fashion brands we find on Instagram! And of course, discovering trendy vegan restaurants all over the world is a big joy too.

So, how did the vegan lifestyle improve your life?

My vegan lifestyle is more enriching than anything. I live according to my values and for me, that’s a very powerful feeling. I’m part of a solution and not of the problem. Besides that, I became more conscious about what I put in my body. Since I eat a whole food plant-based diet I m healthier than I have ever been.

To close the interview with.. Do you have tips for transitioning vegans?

Yes, just do it! Find like-minded people that are on the same journey as you. In real life or online. Support each other, give each other tips and have fun with your journey!

Do you want to know more about Ziya, click here ABOUT ME

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vegansgotstyle_/

Blog: http://www.vegansgotstyle.com

Youtube: Vegans got Style by Ziya Empereur

1 Response

  1. Ton Verkerk

    As a Baby Boomer ( 65 years( with two left hands for cooking I started this course and I can tell you: “Living the vegan lifestyle’ – Go for it. Ziya tells, shows and demonstrates easy, simple but very informative videos on how to learn and join “ living the vegan lifestyle “. Go for it. By the way up to now I lost 16 pounds.

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