The concept of living a plant-based lifestyle has been thrusted into the mainstream over the past few years. From reversing illness to positively impacting the environment, there are so many reasons why people are choosing to go veg. Mayola Becheret Ruiz’s reason, however, is crystal clear.
“I am vegan and cruelty-free because I would like to end all animal suffering,” she says. “I consider myself very empathetic to others, including animals. When I see suffering, I can’t help but put myself in their place whether it’s animals or other people.”
Mayola chose to dedicate a huge portion of her time to encouraging others to consider leading a more ethical life.
“It has been proven you don’t need to eat animal ingredients to live. No one has died of protein deficiency,” Mayola says, who also advocates against animal testing, saying that it’s “been proved obsolete and unnecessary.”
In addition to speaking for the voiceless, Mayola also highlights the benefits of consuming a plant-based diet. She admits she feels lighter and has increased energy since going vegan.
“Plants are actually delicious. People think being vegan is a sacrifice but it isn’t. You gain so much more.”
If you thought this animal-lover had a couple pets of her own—you’re right! She loves playing with her dogs Lilly and Sasquatch. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and taking scenic drives with her husband.
Learn more about Mayola’s journey as a vegan warrior and how she shares her lifestyle with others.
1. What inspired you to live a vegan lifestyle?
I have loved animals my whole life. I saw a video about animal testing many years ago and learned how testing is even done to dogs and cats. I adopted a beagle (Lilly) through Beagle Freedom Project (now Rescue + Freedom Project). Once I had her and my other dog, Sasquatch, I became more empathetic after seeing Lilly’s fear, suffering and lack of trust. I realized she went through hell in a lab, and that happens to animals in farms as well. Both my dogs are inspiration, but Lilly was what opened my eyes.
2. And now you’re using social media to spread your message. How?
To raise awareness about what is happening, including how these issues need to be addressed and changed. I also like to present options of what is available to substitute animal ingredients or animal-tested products.
3. Was it easy for you to go vegan?
I tried veganism when I was a teenager for a year, but failed. I was not informed enough and developed anemia. Then in June 2016, I went vegan [again]. I did a lot of research this time. The first month I followed a meal plan designed by a nutritionist that made a huge difference. After that one month, I never wanted to go back to eating animal ingredients.
4. How has this lifestyle changed the way you feel about food?
I love the food I eat. I feel light and I have energy. I love the challenge of coming up with new recipes. I actually have a culinary background, so I had to rethink everything I used to cook.
5. With all that increased energy, how do you stay active?
I usually go to the gym four times a week. I try to do five sometimes but work can get in the way. The summers in Washington State are gorgeous so I try to hike or kayak, but in the winter I spend more time in the gym.
6. What keeps you motivated?
Knowing that a plant-based diet is a lot better for the environment, and it saves so many animals, is the biggest motivator.
7. What do you typically eat in a day?
On my work days, I start with a smoothie and coffee. I bring my lunch to work, which is usually a bowl containing grains, some type of beans and tons of veggies. For dinner, I can be more creative and have anything from Mexican to Thai or Italian food (like I mentioned, I have a culinary background so I like to recreate meals I loved before going plant-based).
8. What’s the most challenging part about healthy living for you?
Sometimes dealing with both critics and experts thinking they know more about my health than I do.
9. Do you have a “day job?”
I work as a fraud investigator for a large ecommerce retailer—funny enough, I still prefer to shop at Vitacost. But I do have a couple dream jobs. One is to be a marine biologist and study orcas. The other would be an adoption coordinator for an animal shelter so I could place dogs with loving families.
10. Very interesting! Speaking of Vitacost… what can we find in your #VitacostHaul?
- NOW® Real Food™ Organic Whole Raw Cashews: I use it as a base for cheeses and sauces.
- OCHO Organic Coconut Candy Bars: I love these candy bars. They’re coconut-covered dark chocolate. It’s my guilty pleasure!
- Deva Vegan B12: Most of the time, I monitor what I eat so I can receive all my nutrients from food. But when I need to supplement, this is what I use.
11. While we’re still on the topic, why do you ♥ Vitacost?
Vitacost is the one place where I can find food, supplements, makeup and beauty products all in one place. Their cruelty-free and vegan selection is amazing. I have been shopping since 2013 and I have been loyal since.
12. Final words of advice for our readers?
The only thing you will regret about taking a healthier route is that you didn’t start sooner.