Tuesday, July 31, 2018

10 Questions: Vegan Rockstar with Diane Randall...

I am so excited to be featuring the radiant and exuberant
Diane Randall as this week’s Vegan Rock Star. Diane has a great podcast, Balanced Living for Busy Professionals (subscribe and find the archives here), and stays active as a consultant and speaker who helps clients with everything from healthy living and achieving goals to finding balance in a busy life. We are lucky to have someone as passionate and welcoming as Diane working to build a kinder, healthier world. 

1. First of all, we’d love to hear your “vegan evolution” story. How did you start out? Did you have any early influences or experiences as a young person that in retrospect helped to pave your path?

I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri where my experience with animals was visiting the local zoo and an occasional farm visit. I rarely interacted with animals outside of dogs, cats, fish and other domesticated animals as a young child. I remember an experience as a 9-year-old child visiting my great-grandparents at their farm in Mississippi. I was running around the yard playing with the chickens and a horse. I remember my great-grandfather walking over to the yard where I was playing with the chickens, picked one up by the legs and walked over to a chopping block, laid the chicken’s head on it and cut it head off.  I watched in terror as this chicken ran headless around the yard before it finally fell down. The chicken was served for dinner. I remember crying uncontrollably and I was not being able to eat for a couple of days because I was traumatized by the experience. This was the first time that I correlated animal consumption and food. This experience influenced my questioning of eating animals for many years to come, but was always over-shadowed by societal conditioning and messaging of animals being a part of the food chain.

2. Imagine that you are pre-vegan again: how could someone have talked to you and what could they have said or shown you that could have been the most effective way to have a positive influence on you moving toward veganism?

As I think about my pre-vegan days, if I had more of a one-on-one connection with farm animals when I was young, maybe visit sanctuaries where I could experience feeding, petting and nurturing them and reading books, this experience could have expanded my mindset as it relates to non-domesticated animals and would have given me another perspective and consciousness aside from “seeing’ them as a food source. These are all the things I model for my grandson, Miles. 

3. What have you found to be the most effective way to communicate your message as a vegan? For example, humor, passion, images, etc.?

As a whole living consultant, my most effective way is through compassion, humor, education and modeling the behavior that I want to see in others as a vegan. I created my own podcast show called
Balanced Living for Busy Professionals where I have interviewed leading experts around the world and I’ve done solo episodes to effectively share information on vegan and plant-based topics, providing value tips for listeners on how to get started eating plant-based foods and bring more balance to the lives of busy people for the past three years. I also teach healthy eating workshops at a local college in the western suburbs where I educate participants on eating more plant-based foods for optimal health and balance, for the animals and for the planet. I want people to know that my vegan journey continues to unfold every day. I continue to grow and learn without putting pressure on myself or others to be one way or another. I am following my heart, advocating and being of service to others who are interested in learning more and improving their lives.

4. What do you think are the biggest strengths of the vegan movement?

It’s an “all hands on deck” moment in society for all. Too many people are dying and living with treatable diseases and conditions from eating unhealthy foods. The strength of the movement is raising consciousness, telling hard truths, opening hearts and improving the health for many people. The movement is literally saving peoples’ lives by educating and sharing information that supports them in making better choices and living healthier lives.

5. What do you think are our biggest hindrances to getting the word out effectively?

I feel and witness so much judgement and mean-spirited people in the vegan community, along with “in your face” right fighters who are so passionate about being vegan and uncompassionate about everyone else who is not. In my opinion this behavior hinders or gets in the way of the messages conveyed and effectively received. I feel that more patience, compassion and empathy is needed as we advocate, and communicate our message more effectively where people 
hear us and receive the message in a positive way.

6. All of us need a “why vegan” elevator pitch. We’d love to hear yours.

People always ask me why I became a vegan and how do I maintain the meat-free, plant-based lifestyle. I tell people, I don’t eat food that have a face, a mother and is not grown in the ground. I share my vegan evolution of more than 12 years ago starting for health reasons to stave off chronic health conditions. Along the way I became more conscious, my heart opened up and I “saw” and connected with the animals. Because of this I experience I feel a deep soul connectedness and love, It’s the same love, compassion and empathy I experience with humans; I see them; they love, they grieve, they play, they hurt just like me. I cannot imagine eating another animal and continue to evolve my vegan footprint. 

7. Who are the people and what are the books, films, websites and organizations that have had the greatest influence on your veganism and your continuing evolution? 

The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, PlantPure Nation, The China Study, Free from Harm, Dr. Will Tuttle, The World Peace Diet, Mercy for Animals, Peta, Dr. Joel Kahn, Amy-Lee Goodman, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, many more.

8. Burn-out is so common among vegans: what do you do to unwind, recharge and inspire yourself?

I am inspired and passionate about sharing and helping people for the highest good. My approach is always from a place of modeling and educating what it means to be vegan; I work on reflecting in myself what I want to see in others as they navigate their own vegan journey. Lots of patience, compassion and empathy is needed when educating people that are willing and open to changing their minds hearts to a healthy new way of eating and being on the planet.

9. What is the issue nearest and dearest to your heart that you would like others to know more about?

So many sick people in the world who are not aware that they can heal themselves. My intention is to raise their awareness when it comes to the food chain.

10. Please finish this sentence: “To me, being vegan is...”
one love

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