Inspirational Women Interviews 2011 {Sarah Kramer}

by Kris on May 25, 2011 · 52 comments

Sarah Kramer is a vegan queen. She’s been a part of the vegan world longer than many of you have even heard of the term “vegan” and her enthusiasm for vegan living has expanded to four successful meat-free cookbooks, a vegan wall calendar and a popular website for all your vegan and vintage dreams, GoVegan.net. Did I mention she authored the first vegan book I ever owned {La Dolce Vegan}? She’s also our fourth Inspirational Woman.

Sarah never fails to bring the fun, kitschy and spunky to vegan living, from her comic-book covers, her large collection of thrifted toys, or her colorful tattoos. This was probably the immediate reason I was first drawn to her books. Not to mention the fact that her recipes are amazing! Completely self-employed, on top of her cookbooks and website, she runs a photography company [Sarah Kramer Photography] and a tattoo business [Tattoo Zoo] with her husband in her home city,  Victoria, B.C. No wonder her last book was titled Vegan a go-go! Sarah continues, through everything she does, to make the world of living cruelty-free easy, fun and exciting. If that’s not inspirational, I don’t know what is.

Kristin’s note: To further prove how cool Sarah Kramer really is, I’m publishing her interview exactly how she sent it to me- multi-colored! 

1. In the past ten years you have owned and operated a popular website, a tattoo business, and not one, but four vegan cookbooks you have written or co-authored. How do you do it all?

I don’t know. *laugh*

#1. I don’t have kids so that gives me a lot more free time then the average bear.

#2. I am so passionate about my work that it’s not like work. I love what I do. I love being creative. My interests vary far and wide and I don’t ever want to be stuck doing one thing for the rest of my life so I try to broaden my horizons by sticking my fingers in as many pies as possible!

Life is for living!! :)

2. When, and why, did you become vegan? How did this change affect your life for the better?

I wrote about my vegan journey in the opening essay of How It All Vegan but in a nutshelI was born and raised vegetarian (with the exception of a brief experimental meat eating phase in high-school) and went vegan in my early 20’s.

3. What made you decide to get into writing vegan cookbooks? Did you ever think one would turn into four?

NO! *laugh*

Tanya and I were really broke punk-rock kids who were looking for a cheap alternative to buying our friends family x-mas presents so Tanya came up with the idea of doing a vegan cookbook zine (this was during the height of 90‘s zine culture) and we cut and pasted together a little 50 page home-made zine that we printed and bound ourselves.

We gave them away to friends and family and the response was overwhelming. They wanted copies to give their friends, so we printed a couple hundred more and those sold out right away. So we did another run of 900 (not sure why I remember that number ;) and started selling them at punk-rock shows and via the internet.

The internet was a brand new baby at that time and I utilized the web to build a web-presence with www.GoVegan.net

The book took-off and we knew we were on to something – so I wrote a cheeky book proposal. Sent it off to 6 different Canadian publishers and THREE days later we had a book deal with Arsenal Pulp Press.

HIAV has sold over 1/4 of a million copies and is still going strong. It started out as a little snowflake of an idea and has turned into a giant snowball. It’s amazing! :)

4. How does Sarah Kramer spend her days? How about your off-days?

Days off? What’s that? *laugh*

When you’re self employed your hours are loosey-goosey. It’s great because I can adjust my day according to what I need to do. But on the negative side – I end up working 24-7.

Lately I’ve been setting boundaries for myself and have been trying not to do any work after 6pm. All work and no play makes for a very exhausted Sarah.

5. How is your lifestyle different now than it used to be?

I was a very lazy vegetarian and when I became vegan was also very lazy. What I mean by that is I ate to fill the hunger. Not to fuel my body. So I wasn’t very conscientious about the quality of my food.

I became quite ill with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in my 20’s and at one point was bed-ridden. It was a terrifying time of my life – to lose control of your health and to have a chronic illness with no end in sight.

It was during my CFS years that I started to look at my lifestyle. How I was taking care of myself (or not taking care of myself) and had an epiphany. I am the Captain of my ship. The direction I go depends on me. I made big changes in the kind of food I was eating and that made big changes in my health.

6. How do you stay positive in an increasingly unhealthy world? Does the large amount of new health research that comes up seemingly everyday have an affect on you, or do you like to form your own opinions?

I focus on the things I can change in my life that help move me forward towards being a compassionate well informed human being. Every day I strive to be a better vegan and to be the best version of myself.

But there is no such thing as perfect – that’s a losing battle so I strive for excellence instead. :)

I have had to start limiting how much A.Rights stuff I read/view. I can’t watch movies anymore of animals being tortured. I know what’s happening. I’m informed. I’m supporting my community to help stop the exploitation of animals but I’ve seen enough.

My little sensitive heart can’t take the images. It effects me deeply and at a certain point was dragging me down. It doesn’t mean I’m not involved but I’ve seen enough to know what’s right and wrong.

7. What made you start up your website, GoVegan.net? Any advice for other aspiring vegan bloggers or business owners?

I started www.GoVegan.net right when the internet was a brand-new baby. I wanted it to be a place for like-minded people to visit and get more information about the cookbooks and the work I was doing. Over the years it’s had many incarnations and is now where I keep a blog of my daily exploits and I’ve also turned it into a store where you can buy some of my favourite products.

I carry a myriad of items from kitchy thrift-store finds to my favorite vegan products and some of my favourite fashions.

8. How does it feel to be considered an inspirational woman? Who, or what inspires you?

Well … thank you. That’s very kind of you to say. I don’t wake up and think “What am I going to do to be an inspirational woman today” *laugh* I just do my thing and people dig it.

As for what inspires me? My dog. He helps me be in the NOW and not the “what am I going to do later”. It’s something I struggle with … thinking about all the things that I want to do rather then focusing on what I have right here in this moment. Fergus always grounds me. :)

9. How has the world of vegan living changed since you’ve been in it? Is it encouraging to see how much more mainstream it has become? Do you think it will continue to become more mainstream, and what are your hopes for the vegan community in the future?

Well 10+ years ago you could say to a waiter that you’re vegan and they would look at you like you were a crazy person. Now there are vegan dishes on menus, waiters know what a vegan is, your Great Auntie Dotty probably knows what a vegan is thanks to Oprah and Ellen talking about it on their shows.

My only concern with veganism becoming part of popular culture is that we are raising a generation of junk-food vegans.

I wrote HIAV and my other cookbooks with the focus that ANYONE can cook healthy delicious food for themselves. Cooking is not rocket-science. I want everyone to feel confidant that they can feed their family healthy vegan food without having to buy something out of a box.

It’s really fun that you can get vegan corn-dogs and vegan ice-cream and vegan whatever out of a box … but there’s no fuel power in that food. It’s junk food and should be consumed on a limited basis.

Food is the fuel that keeps our bodies alive and if you’re filling your body with junk – you are going to feel like junk.

You are what you eat! Ya dig? :)

10. Do you have any future plans for cookbooks or the blog you want to share with my readers?

No cookbooks on the horizon. I know this bums some of my readers out but I am really enjoying not being in the kitchen working on recipes. I took a year off last year to work at Tattoo Zoo (the shop I own with my husband Gerry) and realized how much I miss working with people.

My goal with Sarah’s Place (www.GoVegan.net) is to turn it into a bricks and mortar store in downtown Victoria. That way I can still do my thing … but people have a place to come and visit me.

11. What is your favorite thing to eat? To cook?

I love a good apple. There is nothing better then that! :)

My favourite thing to cook is vegan food for my non-vegan friends. My goal is to change the world – one tummy at a time.

12. And, the million dollar question: What’s in your fridge?

Right now? It’s actually quite empty. I am on my way to get groceries right now!!

Thanks so much, Sarah! 

{Previous Inspirational Women 2011 Interviews}

Kristen Suzanne
Caitlin Boyle
Meghan Telpner

Tell me: What was your first “inspirational” cookbook? 

xo
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{ 50 comments }

ThingsYouRealizeAfterYouGetMarried May 25, 2011 at 11:18 am

I love reading about people like this! Thanks for sharing!

Gillian May 25, 2011 at 11:26 am

Sarah is awesome, and I love that she’s from Victoria!! B.C babes all the way :) I love her style and approach to food. And I agree about the worry of vegan junk food taking over- we gotta keep it real.

My first inspirational cookbook was ‘Cool Kids Cook’ which I just realized the other day is written by Donna Hay. I bought it in my early teens because I wanted to learn cooking in the most easy to understand way. The cute drawings helped. It’s funny because to this day, Donna Hay is my favourite cookbook writer, but now I buy her adult books :)

Lakia Gordon May 25, 2011 at 11:31 am

Enjoyed the interview!! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!!

The Dream Chaser May 25, 2011 at 11:54 am

Pretty wild!

thor27 May 25, 2011 at 12:09 pm

I like to eat and I like your blog. Come visit my blog here on wordpress sometime.

PDI Fashion May 25, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Sarah is definitely a character!
We love and admire who keeps and embrace their own color of persona.
looking forward to blogging more of yours.
Great Great !

Dana May 25, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Sarah is a real inspiration– we live in the same city, too, and whenever I see her at the grocery store it feels like I’m spotting a celebrity! ;) I really like her focus on ‘real foods’ as well. Unfortunately, I know quite a few vegans who eat nothing but packaged, heavily processed vegan ‘foods’! Ugh.

Lately, I’ve been very inspired by Kimberly Snyder’s book/cookbook “The Beauty Detox Solution”. I like how her recipes aren’t complicated at all and how the focus is on fueling our bodies with great food when our bodies are actually hungry, not eating just because it’s technically “lunch time” or whatever.

Christian Hollingsworth May 25, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Loved your thought on trying not to work after a certain time. I’ve tried to do that many times, but it seems I fail. I always tend to work longer each day, than originally planned. But that’s just poor time management and lack of focus on my part.

Inspired by your life!

dirtykaty May 25, 2011 at 1:24 pm

:D I would love to work with her (as a photographer) :p

Thank you !

libaenan May 25, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Love this woman! Her cookbooks are amazing!

Eva McCane May 25, 2011 at 2:16 pm

love it! have done the vegetarian thing, but never tried vegan…we’ll have to see.

Janet Pfeiffer May 25, 2011 at 2:33 pm

I find her recipes as fascinating as her tattoos – it’s an interesting combination!

cprfordepressives May 25, 2011 at 2:48 pm

I very much enjoyed reading your interview with Sarah Kramer. Although I’m neither a foodie nor a vegan, I felt very inspired by the things Sarah said. I especially enjoyed how she took back her power when she was ill by realizing she was the “captain of her own ship” and that, if she was going to be well, it was up to her to make it happen. I’m a big believer in healing ourselves; it’s really the only way it can happen. http://cprfordepressives.wordpress.com/

You are also obviously an inspiring woman due to the work you are doing with this blog! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

jeanofalltrades May 25, 2011 at 3:18 pm

What a great interview! I have three of Sarah’s books and the recipes are failproof (I’m a horrible cook but I can make appetizing food with her guidance). She isso inspiring. It’s wonderful to live your dram and enjoy what you do :)

jeanofalltrades May 25, 2011 at 3:19 pm

What a great interview! I have three of Sarah’s books and the recipes are failproof (I’m a horrible cook but I can make appetizing food with her guidance). She is so inspiring. It’s wonderful to live your dream and enjoy what you do

Brooke Lea Foster May 25, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Will Sara write a cookbook for babies? I’d love to get her take on making toddlers healthy food. I’m dying to break my 15-month-old out of the mac n’ cheese doldrums. Great post.

Deanna May 25, 2011 at 3:37 pm

So interesting and inspiring – I am now motivated to make a salad for lunch and incorporate more vegan dishes into my non-vegan lifestyle.
When people are passionate about what they do, it always shows. Great interview!

ournote2self May 25, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Great interview! Thanks for sharing.

pokerbetty May 25, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Great. Just great. Please post more interviews like this.

Betty

lyricalhealer May 25, 2011 at 6:21 pm

Excellent. I love raw food esp smoothies. eating natural foods is how I loss 42lbs. Keep those lovely foods coming. Yum.

FoodFeud May 25, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Very nice. Sarah is an interesting lady.

freshhell May 25, 2011 at 9:32 pm

I love Sarah and follow her on Facebook. I own two of her cookbooks. Thanks for a great interview!

inidna May 26, 2011 at 12:26 am

This is awesome – what a great read! I myself am not a vegan or vegetarian but know many people who are and am sure would love to read through this too! It’s very inspiring, plus I’m loving Sarah’s tattoos! Thanks for sharing :)

happybs May 26, 2011 at 3:19 am

So Inspirational !

Pollyanna May 26, 2011 at 4:08 am

What a very funky woman she is!! You can see from the photos (and what she says) that she’s just shining her unique light in the world, no matter what. I love that. Thanks for sharing a passionate person with us. And congratulations on getting Freshly Pressed!
x

lousie May 26, 2011 at 4:33 am

my favourite recipe that gets used so often in my house is from la dolce vegan “fruity oaty bars” we actually sing the oaty bar song in my house when they are being made. Got nearly all of her books how it all vegan, la dolce vegan, the garden of vegan just need one more : )

แพ็คเกจทัวร์,ทัวร์จีน,ทัวร์เกาหลี May 26, 2011 at 4:46 am

I very much enjoyed reading your interview with Sarah Kramer. Although I’m neither a foodie nor a vegan, I felt very inspired by the things Sarah said. I especially enjoyed how she took back her power when she was ill by realizing she was the “captain of her own ship” and that, if she was going to be well, it was up to her to make it happen. I’m a big believer in healing ourselves; it’s really the only way it can

Sister Earth Organics May 26, 2011 at 7:25 am

Thanks for this post! Very interesting and informative. I will definitely check out her site. Thanks for bringing “vegan fun” to those that don’t get exposed to it!
Hopefully this will get people thinking about their own eating habits and maybe start with small changes, like “Meatless Mondays”!

Sherilyn @ Wholepromise May 26, 2011 at 7:45 am

Great interview – she seems like a real card. Such a great post.

Natalia May 26, 2011 at 9:23 am

What a wonderful dose of inspiration for breakfast!! I will surely be back to visit your blog :)

kuihmor May 26, 2011 at 10:43 am

thanx for sharing, its very inspiring. i wish someone out there can help me to start something useful in life and can inspire others too.

I Made You A Mixtape May 26, 2011 at 11:21 am

What a lovely interview. And I am suprised- clicking around your blog- what a wide variety of recipes and inspiration you have here. Fab!

onewomaninaricefield May 26, 2011 at 12:51 pm

I have all of Sarah’s cookbooks. She is a great kitchen inspiration. Way to be sassy, Lady!
I turned vegetarian for health reasons and was amazed at all the things I DIDN’T know about food and nutrition. The switch (and people who write and live the lifestyle, like Miss Sarah) inspired me to keep a blog about my own experiences in the kitchen as I learn more recipes, learn to cook things I never thought I would (this evening I’m making guacamole and red pepper jam and artichokes are next on my list) and satisfy this newfound love of vegetarian and vegan food.

So thanks to Miss Sarah and all the other lads and ladies out there who make vegetarian and vegan something FUN!

notesfromrumbleycottage May 26, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Great interview. I love seeing how other creative people work and what drives them.

happilysmiling May 26, 2011 at 1:46 pm

I really like how she is so mellow and doesn’t sound judgemental at all. This is so refreshing and you can just tell that she lives a happy life. I really liked the interview.

healthbuystore May 26, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Thanks for this post.
Very interesting, inspiring and informative….

Rini Rosturini
http://healthbuystore.wordpress.com

Dee Mingo May 26, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Thank you for inspiring the women community to live life on their terms. Keep up the good work!

mkeeffer May 26, 2011 at 2:33 pm

She makes me want to add more vegan dishes to my dining table – great interview. Thanks, cool blog!

atopicofinterest May 26, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Wow, love really interest interviews and journalism and love food even more, so simply adore this post!

http://atopicofinterest.wordpress.com/

thesunnygirl May 26, 2011 at 6:40 pm

I think there is so much happiness when we’re in the kitchen! This was a great interview and I loved how Sarah pursued what she loved. I think that is the key to true success. Thanks for writing!

Keep shining,
The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook
http://www.thesunnygirl.com

Ava Aston's Muckery May 26, 2011 at 6:44 pm

Alway great to hear about strong independent women!

Blessings,

Ava
xox

April @ Private Money Utah May 26, 2011 at 7:48 pm

I like Sarah’s personality. Never afraid to show the real her. I’ve tried for several times to be a vegan but I always fail. I get tempted! Gonna get a copy of your cook book. Thanks for inspiring us.

whatsaysyou May 27, 2011 at 4:19 am

Wow, she is totally awesome :)

Mira May 27, 2011 at 4:23 am

Thank you Sarah for all your culinary activist work. You inspire me.

Blessings,
Mira

papillonchouette May 27, 2011 at 6:55 am

I love her personality too :) such an inspiration… great post!!

thegeeman May 27, 2011 at 9:23 am

This is so cool. I like it. cook books are great. My wife use’s one all the time. When I cook it is 911 time…

Carl May 28, 2011 at 5:15 am

This ws a great post! please keep it up :)

Susan May 28, 2011 at 10:07 am

I love her! Garden of Vegan was one of the first cookbooks I owned (I was a vegetarian for 8 years and often ate vegan). That book is responsible for introducing me to things I use all the time now like nutritional yeast, Braggs, and apple cider vinegar.

Also, congrats on having this post featured of Freshly Pressed the other day!!

Liverpool FC May 29, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Your post was very inspirative and very well written !! I will continue to come back to your blog to see what articles you have in the future !!Great graphics that kept my attention. Well done! Thanks for sharing!

Healthy Mama June 13, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Great interview! I need to check out her cookbooks. It’s an incredible journey: to be raised vegetarian, to sway a bit and eventually become a vegan.I am raising my kids vegetarian (practically vegan,) so it’s a joy to read about inspiring vegans, like Sarah Kramer.

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