Since joining Instagram, I have met a long list of amazing people, some whom I’ve grown to really admire and become friends with and others who have inspired me to become a better version of myself. I first started my IG as a way to share photos of my daughter with family and friends who live far away – since I ditched Facebook last year (due to unhealthy drama and unsupportive people), it has been the only form of social media I participate in. I used to be on Facebook to keep up with friends and family and to share, not only our life, but also healthy tips, tricks, recipes, etc., so I made the decision to combine two of my favorite things (my daughter and health) and try to break the myth some people carry that vegans are extreme, malnourished, and only eat salads. Branching out has made me more confident as a person and I have learned so much from others that I follow on IG.
My experience with Instagram makes me so happy that I would like to feature some of my fellow inspiring vegans! I’ll be doing a series of interviews and my hope is that you’ll learn more about veganism, health, natural living, and check them out on Instagram!
What if I told you that one of my best friends is someone I’ve never met face to face?! Sounds crazy, right?! Well, I started following kguarasci4 on IG back in January and we became fast friends. If I remember correctly, we connected over the typical pediatrician drama that comes with raising vegan kids. She is my soul sister and I would be lost without our daily text messages! Kendra is a mom to two beautiful girls with another baby on the way…AND she’s going to school. Not quite sure how she does it, but that’s just one of the many ways I admire this girl!!!
MY INTERVIEW WITH KENDRA:
When did you go vegan and why? What was your ‘aha’ moment?
“I went vegan a little over a year ago because of an ‘aha’ moment of, “Wait. I wouldn’t eat my cats, why are we eating chickens?” I’m not sure why it never clicked until then, but it just sort of hit me and then my mind was made up! I only ate turkey, cheese, and chicken occasionally. I hadn’t eaten red meat in probably 20 years – and neither one of my girls have ever eaten it.”
What’s the hardest part about being vegan?
“The hardest part is the strange behavior from everyone I’m surrounded by. People suddenly become health experts questioning your protein intake…whether you are always hungry….and simply, just always thinking you are weird. I also have a hard time because of the girls. I have some relatives who make fun of us and some who try to sneak “normal” food to my girls. They worry my girls won’t “fit in” by going along with the crowd. I want to raise confident little girls who are proud of who they are and can stand alone if needed!”
What is your favorite go-to meal?
“My favorite go-to meal is spaghetti! Some organic noodles, sauce, and some fresh veggies! It’s quick, a family favorite, and cruelty-free!”
Any words of wisdom for anyone new to veganism OR on the fence about making the transition?
“My words of wisdom…knowledge is power!!! Do some research – research factory farming, GMOs, zoos, animal testing – and also research how easy it is to eat a plant-based diet and still get all the calcium, protein, iron, and more! There is a tremendous amount of knowledge at your fingertips!”
What’s your favorite cruelty-free product? Why?
“My favorite cruelty-free product right now is Dr. Bronners…I use it for cleaning, bathing, and laundry!”
What has your experience been like raising two vegan kids? And have you ever questioned whether or not it was the right choice?
“It’s really hard raising the girls vegan. The girls love it and are healthy, but it’s family and everyone else that make it challenging. I have never doubted my decision, but it’s hard when family, friends, or pediatricians think you are being neglectful! It makes my heart happy to know that my girls are extremely healthy and no animals had to die for that.”
What’s your favorite natural healing remedy (for anything like colds, headaches, upset stomach, etc.)?
“My favorite remedy would be essential oils and apple cider vinegar (ACV). It’s all natural and I think they work better than meds! I truly believe that our bodies have what they need to heal…we just have to treat them right!”
If you could travel anywhere, all expense paid, where would you go? Why?
“If I could travel anywhere, it would be to Sicily! My great grandparents came over on a boat when they were 18. We still have a large amount of relatives over there that I have never met. I am totally fascinated by my family trees and would love to meet them!”
Favorite way to relax and unwind?
“My favorite way to relax…I have a few right now…I love to be outside walking, gardening, or just swinging on our swing and being! I’m also addicted to Pinterest!”
What inspires you?
“I am inspired by my girls, nature, love, friends, family, adventure, change, and anything that keeps me moving forward!”
Something you couldn’t live without?
“Hmmmm, something I couldn’t live without? My girls and the baby in my belly! And coconut oil!”
Is this your first vegan pregnancy? If so, how is this one different from the previous two?
“Yes, first vegan pregnancy and it’s different because my doctor doesn’t understand. She thinks I should eat cheese and yogurt for my calcium…ugh! It’s different because it’s new and sometimes new is scary. I just keep doing lots of research along the way and I believe this is my healthiest pregnancy yet…GMO-free and vegan!”
“Not all who wander are lost” and ” All good things are wild and free”
What are your go-to resources for veganism and/or natural health and living?
“My go-to resources are books, Pinterest and blogs! A few of my favorite books right now on healthy living and being vegan are: “Vegan Pregnancy” * “The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy” * “Eating on the Wild Side” and “Prescription Alternatives”. I also love finding blogs and posts about recipes and real people using “alternative medicine” and living/raising little ones vegan!”
A typical morning in your household?
“Typical AM – we usually get up by 7am and head to the couch. Emma (my 17 month old) has to be by me for at least the first 15 mins of wakeup! Then we turn on the tv usually some Curious George or Mickey Mouse and make smoothies! Before I had Emma and Ava was really young I was really good about no tv…now most days I just need a free hand and it helps! After smoothies we brush teeth, get dressed and do a few chores (clean blender, laundry, paint a room…I am really random with my projects LOL). Depending on the day and whether we either head out to run errands or go outside to play!”
Have you noticed any changes in your health or well-being since going vegan or using a natural approach to health/healing?
” YES!!! So many changes…for years I was a huge “addict” to anything! I smoked cigs, drank a lot of alcohol, and was on a few different meds for anxiety. I had horrible phobias (terrified to leave the house if snowing??) and panic attacks. During my 38th week of pregnancy with Ava, it got so bad I couldn’t sleep from my anxiety. After she was born I went back on a med for anxiety and that was one of my light bulb moments…I stopped about 3 days later and realized I needed to change my ways. It took me a good 2 years and another baby to really get it! I feel amazing today! NO anxiety and tons of energy. I am hardly ever sick and this winter was the first time I drove in the snow in over 7 years! I am a huge believer that my diet and all natural approach is what turned everything around.”
In your opinion, what are some of the biggest myths about being vegan?
“Myths about being vegan…ugh where to begin…that you can’t get enough calcium, protein, iron and that you are starving. These are the most common I hear…along with people always making weird “bacon” comments which I am still baffled by. I haven’t had any meat or dairy during this pregnancy and my last blood work showed all of my levels to be excellent! A little research goes a long way…psst plants have vitamins and nutrients too!”
When the time comes, how will you teach your kids about why you’re vegan?
Best advice anybody ever gave you?
As a mother, of soon to be three kids, do you have any words of wisdom for new parents or parents-to-be? Things you’ve learned along the way, or things you wish people would have told you?
“Oh, words of wisdom…research everything!!!! And also to do what feels right and natural. Every day is a new challenge and struggle – we all have our good days and bad days! Don’t listen to what everyone else says…some kids don’t sleep, some are picky eaters, some go through a biting and hitting phase, some will use a bottle to fall asleep until 3 (yes these are my kids haha), but its ok!! As a parent you just have to survive some days and show your kids love!!!!! And if something doesn’t feel right to you, change it, research it, or seek help!! You are in charge of your kids!!! I think the number one thing is LOVE…everything else is secondary!”
THANK YOU, KENDRA!!! It was fun to learn a few things about you that I didn’t know before – thanks for being my first interview in the series. Love ya, darlin’!
***If you’re interested in following Kendra on IG, you can find her @ kguarasci4 – she posts photos of great quotes, her adorable girls, delicious food, and healthy tips!
Thanks for stopping by!
****L for Love image by Eduardo M