Jez Kaur - Hipster Veggie
A new campaign (or trend, as some see it) has swept the world this January; it's called...'Veganuary', and it ''...aims to reduce the suffering of animals by inspiring and supporting people across the globe to go vegan for the month''. As Vegans and Vegetarians ourselves, we are all for this cause; but not our fellow featured individual. Her fight is not so much for the animals as it is for the betterment of her own health, which comes from a place of self-love.
Meet Jez Kaur aka Hipster Veggie, whose way of life focuses on 'decolonising the mind' - in essence, going back to her roots by way of the food she eats on the daily. We caught up with Jez, who was kind enough to (we just had to do it) offer some 'food for thought' on all things Vegan and Plant-based...
Tell us about Jez Kaur, the inspiration behind creating 'Hipster Veggie', and how you came up with the name
I am nearly 25 years old (cue quarter-life crisis), I am a teacher and I love cooking tasty food.
I went vegetarian on a whim with my best friend, just to try it out for a month. That’s when Hipster Veggie started; as a blog to document my journey and see how long I could last. Then I stumbled across Veganism and began to clock the effects it has on the mind, body and planet.
The growth of Hipster Veggie became inspired by the rapid increase of friends/family members I saw getting sick. Diabetes, heart problems, cancers … it just weirded me out that this was becoming a really normal thing.
As for the name, ‘hipsters’ are THE archetype of irony. As we all know, going vegetarian and vegan is SO ironic it just fit my entire lifestyle shift perfectly.
What challenges do you face on a day-to- day basis maintaining and raising awareness of a Vegan lifestyle?
Sometimes sharing the vegan/health message is difficult because people are sceptical and scared. We fear ourselves so much and place our trust in institutions that don’t have our best interests at heart. Going against the status-quo is never received well. Many will only 100% believe stuff that their doctor or the NHS says; I’m not saying that’s right or wrong, but we should question things a little bit more.
It’s a huge obstacle that get’s draining on some days. But we push through. Taking back the autonomy via SELF-education is the best route to SELF-empowerment and, kirpa (blessing), it is slowly but surely happening with our generation.
If you had to, what would you get tattooed on your forehead?
I got a big forehead so:
The best person to help you, is a better educated YOU!
Save yourself and then save the world - MAN JEETE, JUG JEET
How do you stay motivated?
The deteriorating health of our people; Punjab has the highest incidence of cancer in the WHOLE of India!!! THE WHOLE OF FRICKING INDIA! Heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer are the top 3 “chronic” illnesses of South Asian migrants. I don’t want the idea that “as you get old, you just get diabetes/heart disease/cancer” to continue into our generation. I want people to INNERSTAND that chronic illnesses DO NOT need to exist. EVERY disease is preventable and reversible! We just need to knowledge up and look within a bit more.
What makes you feel good?
- Plant based food that doesn’t include f*ing tofu
- Positive sangat (company)
- My bedroom; it’s my library, my recording studio, my editing suite & my place of rest. Best place ever.
What’s been your greatest struggle, and how do you generally overcome negative emotions?
Greatest personal struggle was, and still is, getting to know myself (how cliché). But talking to my grandparents, parents and reading more Gurbani has helped me piece bits together. Growing up with NO brown people around me was a struggle too.
Greatest work struggle is finding a balance between a 9-5 job to earn money, whilst still maintaining the determination to keep putting information out for people. But nothing is impossible when you visualise and work towards small goals.
I generally overcome negative emotions by taking a step BACK, totally away from any work I may be doing. Going for walks without a watch and without a phone really helps. Just getting outside, walking until I feel better and reminding myself why I’m doing certain things.
How have your family and friends encouraged you to pursue what you are doing?
I have a great support system - a great family who support all the things I do and great friends, who are also family, and constantly show me a better path.
My family haven’t always been supportive though! I’m Punjabi and what I do is pretty “unconventional” - it did used to discourage me, but I had to learn to keep my parents in the loop with what I do: why I make videos, peoples response etc. It made a HUGE difference. It made them understand what I do and why I do it, and now they appreciate it.
Where do you draw you inspiration from?
Gurbani inspires me; when I feel like I’m not on the correct path (because I don’t live a “conventional” life), Maharaj reminds me about what our time here on earth is TRULY about.
My parents are also such a huge inspiration and motivation. They are the reason I believe nothing can stop me. I have zero fear about most things I want to pursue, and it is all thanks to them.
You are having a (vegan!) dinner party – which three people would you invite, and why?
OOOOOO this is so hard
1. Maharani Jind Kaur. I genuinely think we would be besties
2. T. Colin Campbell. His books and research have been a huge inspiration for me and many others
3. Hitler. He was a VERY interesting guy
What do you enjoy about being Vegan, and what do you find challenging?
Being vegan isn’t really challenging anymore. But the first thing that was VERY challenging was not eating cheese, and that is most people’s vice. Cheese is addictive, cheese is a drug. If you are someone who “can’t give up cheese” read a book called “White Wash”. I’m pretty sure it’ll change your mind ;)
What advice would you give to anyone looking to go vegan?
BE VIGILANT! Don’t let the bulls***t disinformation/misinformation cloud your journey. Seek truth and have a sustainable reason to be vegan. Enjoy the journey, but don’t put pressure on yourself! If you slip up, learn from your mistakes and carry on.
Tell us an interesting fact you would like to share!
I am that person who will check if the car is locked a billion times; which is why I have to shout a random noise or word every time I lock my car or front door, so I know I don’t need to run back and check it. It really works!
For more doses of green goodness from Hipster Veggie: