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The Vegan Network Verne Cleo Baele

Cleo Baele

is a fashion designer.
Photographed by Verne.
Follow Cleo on Facebook, Instagram

Q:

Do you think being vegan makes a difference?

A:

I’m a true organic-ista. We’ve been eating organic for over 10 years now.
This does not only have a big impact on the environment (organic foods are grown and processed without the use of synthetic pesticides, GMO’s, petroleum-based fertilizers and antibiotics), but also on your health!
I get a lot of comments that it’s too expensive…well, organic food can be expensive, but with a little shopping knowhow we can all buy more organic products without going broke.
Grow your own, there’s lots of veggies you can grow in pots; tomatoes, courgettes, leek, radishes, lettuce, bell peppers, all kind of herbs etc.
Buy in bulk and use your freezer. Buy local and seasonal; so don’t eat strawberries in the winter, that doesn’t make any sense! ;)
Learn about the dirty dozen and the clean 15! I most highly recommend that you at least purchase tomatoes, potatoes, grapes and apples organic. Your body will thank you. Just Google it and you will quickly find it.
We a true foodies and really enjoy good food and cooking it. We eat 5 times a week vegan if we stay in.
Being a vegetarian or vegan did not come natural in our family. Partly raised in North of France and partly in Flanders Fields, meat and fish played a big role at the dinner table and we didn’t question what we were eating or where it came from. It took me a long time to realize that our meats and fish weren’t as clean as I thought.
To be honest, I’m not sorry to say that I like the taste of meat and fish. So for me it was important to find a good replacement in taste and texture to make the switch! It took us approximately 6 years to get to the point where we are now, that’s between flexitarian and a flexanist. And I’m truly proud of the journey we took to get here.
A big turning point was when we discovered ‘The vegetarian Butcher’ , OMG, chicken substitute that taste better than the real thing! I absolutely adore the whole line of products and I praise about it to everyone! ☺
We are raising our 2 year old son a little differently than we were at the time. A big part of that is awareness. Where does your food come from? What journey has it taken? How long has it grown or lived?
So Yes, I think it does make a huge difference, not only for me but also for the people around me.
I don’t preach about my believes, but I do share information and create more awareness. Why? Because most people don’t think about what happened with the food they put in their mouth and sometimes it’s a true genocide. Not kidding! How many people (with or without kids) know that the potatoes from Mc Donald’s are first applied with toxic pesticides, so bad the crops has to be stored in isolation for 6 weeks before the farmers can even touch them! And that because the Mc Donald company doesn’t want to have any blemish on their fries. Would you eat there again?
But companies aren’t the only ones to blame, customers are as guilty of wanting perfect looking food…but hey, where does that image come from…!
I get really angry inside when I see people eating animal cruelty food or using animal cruelty products! For example I do not get why restaurants still serve Foie gras! How is that possible? Everyone knows how it’s made…it’s a sick liver for f* sake!
I suggest that people who want’s to eat Foie gras get first a gastroscopy and see if they would still eat it afterwards…drastic measures for drastic food!
Sharing doesn’t have to be negative all the time, I love to try out new recipes and I’m currently in my vegan Korean phase. You can regularly find some yumminess on my socials. I get really warm and fussy inside if people tell me they tried out some veggie/vegan recipes and are considering reducing their consumption of animal products, that makes me smile and is a big motivation to keep doing what we are doing.
Right now I’m on a mission in finding and testing animal cruelty free/vegan make-up and cosmetics, being flexitarian /flexanist doesn’t stop when we leave the table, it has become a way of live.
So let’s make even more of a difference!

More photos by Verne