” Molly taught me how to love animals and not just say I love them. I was a speciesist all my life, saying I loved animals when really what I meant is I love elephants and giraffes and cuddly koala bears but I will happily pay for cows, sheep, chicken and pigs etc to be slaughtered and abused for my taste buds. Now I feel if I wouldn’t want that to happen to Molly I will not be part of it happening to another animal. “
My next vegan person to interview is my good friend and one of my favourite people, Eyleen Sheil. I’ve known Eyleen a long time, neither of us were vegans when we first met though, so it’s been awesome to see us both find our own way to a compassionate lifestyle. Eyleen is a super fun, passionate and talented woman, so I am thrilled to be able to interview her for my little blog ( I am also now even more madly in love with Molly! ).
You can find Eyleen on instagram as The Gibraltar Vegan
1. Can you tell us what the most significant contributing factor was in your decision to go vegan?
That’s easy, my dog Molly was. I rescued her at five weeks old and it was the first time I felt true love for an animal. Growing up in the countryside surrounded by farms I saw animals as things and not sentient beings. Molly changed that. I said to myself, ‘hang on if I would not eat Molly (some cultures eat dogs) why would I eat other animals’.
At first, I became vegetarian but after learning more about the diary, egg, wool etc industries, I became vegan.
2. How long have you been vegan? Did you transition slowly or fairly quickly?
I have been vegan roughly two years. The transition to vegan wasn’t a slow one once I had the information as to why using animals was wrong. I decided to become vegan and I became one. I did use up the food I had left in my cupboard/fridge such as dairy products, but other things with a longer shelf life I gave away.
3. What’s your current favourite vegan dish?
I’d say anything with beans in it, especially Edamame beans. I love them with garlic salt and chillies. A handy quick meal I like is sweet potato, a can of five beans in tomato sauce, onions and vegan cheese on top. I love a ‘Sunday roast’ with about 12 different roast veg and stuffing with extra fruit or nuts in it, with an apple sauce or something along those lines. I also could happily drink Gazpacho everyday especially if it is loaded with garlic.
4. Best vegan restaurant/cafe where you live?
There is only one 100% vegan café in Gibraltar, The Kasbar, the food there is very good. I think perhaps my favourite place would be Vinopolis, they have a vegan menu that is catered by Eat Your Greens a vegan chef. More and more places are offering vegan options, more than just a beanburger too, as the number of animal lovers on the Rock grows so do our options.
5. Best vegan restaurant/cafe you’ve ever been to?
I cannot remember the name of the place now, but it was in Kyoto in Japan. Kyoto is known for its tofu and to be honest I was not disappointed at all. I haven’t been to many vegan restaurants, there are a few in Spain but I generally don’t go for a drive to find a restaurant.
6. Where do you get things like shoes and bags? Is it difficult?
All of the bags I have are fake leather, plastic or cotton etc They aren’t vegan labelled though.
I wear Ipanema flipflops, Converse All Star Chuck Taylors (I am aware there is some debate over the glue they use being vegan or not depending on the factory they came from) and other shoes that are made from man-made products. You cannot buy vegan shoes here.
7. Are you on a tight food budget? Is a vegan lifestyle affordable for you personally?
I’m not on a tight food budget and even if I was vegan food is always cheaper than meat. I feel it is only when you start to buy things like chia seeds etc that people think being vegan is expensive. Some products are slightly more expensive such as vegan mayo, cheese etc but as a general rule I don’t find the prices unaffordable.
8. What is your favourite post-workout meal?
I do yoga, ball yoga and piloxing. I don’t have a favourite meal for after these exercises, but if I come home to a big plate of Edamame beans ready and waiting I am smiling big time.
9. What do you tend to eat as staples on a daily basis and why?
Beans, because I love them, I get so much goodness from them, and I don’t suffer from the side effects beans are known for (no air fresheners required). I also love nuts, all types but almonds and pinenuts are my two favourites.
10. What are you favourite vegan make-up brands?
I don’t wear much make-up (when compared to some people who are contouring, sculpting etc). I haven’t spent much money on make-up because I wanted to replace all I had with vegan products in one hit. Therefore, the only vegan brand I have bought and used is B from Superdrug. As far as I can tell, they have discontinued this range so I will be looking to buy others in the future. In Gibraltar, Urban Decay has just launched, but I will probably wait till I go home to Ireland to seek out more products.
11. Favourite vegan wardrobe item?
My t-shirt that has on the front the answers to some of the typical comments or questions vegans receive.
12. Have you convinced any friends or family to join you yet, and have those around you been generally supportive of your veganism?
No one has become vegan but some have become plant based the majority of the time (so only focusing on food). Generally speaking everyone around me has been very supportive, my fiancé, Paul, and his family cook vegan dishes with pleasure. As do my friends. My family have been wary and concerned about being vegan when it comes to getting enough calcium but this comes from love so I have never been upset by it. In general they are supportive.
13. You have a companion animal. What do you feel she teaches you about animals, their place in the world and how humans view animals?
Molly thought me how to love animals and not just say I love them. I was a speciest all my life, saying I loved animals when really what I meant is I love elephants and giraffes and cuddly koala bears but I will happily pay for cows, sheep, chicken and pigs etc to be slaughtered and abused for my taste buds. Now I feel if I wouldn’t want that to happen to Molly I will not be part of it happening to another animal.
I got Molly spayed at six months old, aside from the health benefits one of the main reasons I did this was because I was getting very upset at the thought of her having puppies (anywhere between 7-9) and having to take them away from her. I cried at the thoughts of her wondering what was happening to her babies and her getting distraught thinking she has lost them and it was her fault.
My brother in law told me a story a few months ago about a cow that lost a calf at birth, my heart went out to that Mum and it was in moments like this that I realise Molly has changed how I view the world.
14. Do you see a vegan world in the future?
I am an optimist so yes I do. However, I guess I will need to be a realist too and say I think a large percentage of the world will become vegan, you will always have people who are too afraid to change their ways, who don’t care, who don’t believe that animals are sentient and all the other positive sides of being vegan such as the impact on the environment and your own health.
What really annoys me is celebrities like Ricky Gervais and Leo DiCaprio speaking out about animal welfare and the environment but are still animal abusers and pollute the environment.
15. Finally, can you sum up in one sentence why you don’t think we should use animals?
Animals are our friends, they share the planet with us and desire the same things we do, food, air, water, love, friendships etc we do not need to abuse and use them to survive, we should treat them the way they treat us.