Model Natalie Prabha's tips on how to maintain a vegan lifestyle
Interested in going vegan but not sure how you can kickstart this lifestyle? Find out what Natalie Prabha has to say about her experience as a vegan in our BURO. Hangouts: Live episode:
“I’ve been a vegan for five years now. I tried it out for 40 days for Lent and I liked what it did to my body. After 40 days I went back to old diet but I decided to go back to eating normal and I realised I didn’t like what it did to my body. I felt lethargic and my skin started breaking out. When I learnt more about the environmental impacts of eating a diet with meat, I decided to go vegan.”
Tips for beginners:
“Do your research before you start, on what to eat, buy, what to expect from your diet. You need to know the substitutes because animal protein is different from plant protein. There are a lot of YouTubers and bloggers who share lifestyle experience and tips. It really helped make the transition smoother.”
On her beauty philosophy and favourite products:
“I received some products from Handmade Heroes and I’ve been loving them recently. I tried the mask today and I really like it; I also love the new lip scrub—it smells like ice cream. I like this gel moisturiser from Natura—it’s a Brazilian brand and they are 100% vegan and sustainable as well. They recently launched in Malaysia and they have a store in Sunway Pyramid, and they are available online too. I’m using Natura’s shampoo too and it’s good.
“A few non-vegan products I use are YSL Beauty's Pure Shots range, Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate, and Shiseido sunscreen. When I first started going vegan I thought I needed to make a 100% lifestyle change, but I realised it wasn’t easy or convenient because not all products suited my skin. I do use non-vegan brands but I try to use those that are sustainable. My philosophy on going vegan is to use or consume whatever is better for the earth and gives back to Mother Earth. I like makeup from Chanel and Dior; I try to use cruelty-free makeup, like from NYX and Urban Decay and Tarte, but for certain products, I still prefer non-vegan ones.”
On misconceptions about veganism:
“Most people have an 'all-or-nothing' assumption about going vegan, and they tend to fall out after they make a slight mistake (for example, they crave ice cream and eat some and then feel bad). To me, it’s okay to start out 50%/50% or even 70%/30%.
“A lot of people also think that going vegan by default is healthy and it’s going to be very good for you—but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always healthy. Potato chips, French fries and deep-fried vegetables are not healthy. Listening to your body is the most important thing you can do. The vegan diet isn’t for everyone and certain people do need nutrition from animal-based protein.”
On challenges she faced while transitioning to a vegan lifestyle:
“Eating out was the hardest part for me. You don’t want to just go to a vegan restaurant, especially with your friends and family, as there aren’t options for them. I wish restaurants here have more vegan options. My favourite vegan restaurant here would be Sala—they never disappoint, the mushroom asada dish is amazing. I like HSBC restaurant in Bangsar too as it’s inclusive.”
On positive changes she's discovered after going vegan:
“It really benefited my skin. I was breaking out a lot previously, but when I tried going vegan, I realised my skin cleared up. I felt like I had a lot more energy as well. People assume that if you take meat out of your diet, you’ll feel really tired but that’s the complete opposite. Energy comes from carbohydrates and most of them come from plant foods. Mental health wise, I felt more fulfilled with myself as I knew I was doing it for the plant and animals.”
On vegan recipes, ingredients and more:
“My favourite meal is breakfast. I make it with oatmeal instead of wheat flour and I use it for toppings and crumbles. We have tofu four days out of the week (it’s so versatile). My favourite easy go-to recipe is peanut sauce: peanut butter, soy sauce, maple syrup and lemon juice and a bit of water. It tastes like instant satay sauce and I love it. The most-used ingredients in my kitchen are: bananas—I use them in a lot of my meals (for smoothies and even for breakfast), and soy sauce (I even use it in my Bolognese pasta).
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