You may already know Julien Corriveau from the Quebec comedy troupe Les Appendices. But did you know that in addition to being a talented screenwriter, actor, director, musician and composer, a year ago he also became vegan? This means that his lifestyle and consumer choices (food, clothing, entertainment, etc.) are based on animal-friendly options.
We recently had the chance to chat with him at the Montreal SPCA. Here’s a short account of our talk with the man whose compassion extends to all animals, although he’s never had a companion animal!
- How did you transition to a lifestyle free from animal products?
When I decided to switch to a vegan diet, about a year ago, it was mainly for health reasons. I signed up for the Défi végane 21 jours with a friend and stopped eating all animal products right then and there. I think going cold turkey makes you realize just how omni-present animal products are in the average diet. Within one week of eating exclusively vegan, I felt much better, and since I was already a big fan of vegetables, it was a good chance to get creative in the kitchen. I then watched some documentaries about the meat industry and the way animals are raised, and I realized that it didn’t make much sense to contribute to that—from either an environmental or an animal welfare standpoint.
- Are you a good cook or do you prefer fast food?
I cook often. I enjoy recipes from the book Thug Kitchen, but I’m mainly inspired by dishes I try at restaurants. I love pasta, Asian, Mexican and Indian cuisines. Some world cuisines are already veggie-friendly or easy to adapt. I don’t try to reproduce what I ate in my omni days by veganizing things, or replacing meat. Instead, I‘ve adopted a different approach to cooking. Except for spaghetti sauce, for example—I add Yves Veggie Cuisine’s ground-round to that.
- What are your favourite vegan restaurants and products?
For dining out, I really like the restaurants LOV and Copper Branch, and when it comes to products, Gusta sausages and Yves Veggie Cuisine’s veggie burgers are among my favourites.
- What would you recommend to someone who is interested in adopting a cruelty-free lifestyle?
I’d tell them not to just replace meat with fake meat, for instance. But to be curious and adopt a new approach to food rather than always trying to plan meals around a source of protein. I would also suggest looking into different aspects of veganism, such as clothing and household or personal-care products that aren’t tested on animals. I myself still have some leather accessories, and I intend to fully wear them out before replacing them with cruelty-free versions.
Thank you, Julien, for this interview. We hope that his experience has inspired you to continue learning more about cruelty-free options!
This fall, don’t miss Julien in the program ALT on Vrak.tv, and in his upcoming shows.
Marie-Noël Gingras works in the Department of Animal Advocacy at the Montreal SPCA. In the past few years, she has collaborated on numerous projects related to animal rights and welfare (the Vert et Fruité and Vegan Portraits blogs, the Montreal Vegan Festival), as well as collaborated with the Défi végane 21 jours book, published in spring 2016 (Éditions Trécarré). You can follow her on Facebook.