To know me is to also know that I am the biggest fan of Beyonce. My fandom goes way back to Destiny’s Child concerts with Solange singing backup. I can belt out any song from “Dangerously in Love” to “Lemonade” word for word.
So when the Queen puts out a call to action, I usually answer. Last week Beyonce announced the launch of “The Greenprint Project,” a new vegan lifestyle initiative in partnership with her husband Jay Z.
The hook? Any fan who makes an earnest effort to adapt to a plant-based lifestyle can enter to win tickets to their concerts for the next 30 years. I’m sold. I consulted with my girl Shaneka Valdez, owner of The Veg Switch-up and a hardcore vegan, to help me curb my snickers and Cheetos obsession before the winner is announced.
32 Letter: What do you think of Beyonce and Jay Z’s vegan challenge?
Shaneka Valdez: I think the challenge is a great idea because it gets people curious about veganism. Sure their typical challenge is 22 days but in that time frame, someone might decide to do further research and possibly stick to the vegan diet. It might sound like all hype at first, but one thing it does is get people talking.
32: How long have you been vegan?
SV: I started out eating a vegetarian diet in September 2017 and then began transitioning towards a plant-based diet around March 2018.
32: What inspired you to take up the vegan lifestyle? Was it a particular person or life event?
SV: I originally went vegetarian to see if it was something that could fit into what I considered my already healthy lifestyle at the time. I started out doing a personal 30-day challenge and since I really only ate seafood and chicken beforehand, it turned out 30 days wasn’t hard at all for me. I kept going and along the way, I watched countless documentaries, read a few medical journals and after a while, I decided that I wanted to go completely plant-based. I was already eating about 90% vegan anyways but still classified myself as a vegetarian.
32: What misconceptions do you find yourself consistently dispelling about being vegan?
SV: Oh my goodness where do I start? I would say everything from vegans not being able to get enough protein to showing people that I eat a whole lot more than just salads every day.
32: How could someone who loves burgers, chicken, and ribs as much as I do tip-toe into the vegan pond? What tips could you give to get them prepared?
SV: I would first say to sit back and think about why you want to do it. Are you doing it for health, the environment, the love of animals, or even all three? You are better able to stick to your goals if you know what they are and why you are doing it in the first place. Next, I would say to do a little research. Watch a few documentaries, join a few meetups or online groups of similar interests and read some books on veganism. Now when it comes to eating the best advice I can give is to keep it simple. Think of all of your favorite meals and challenge yourself to switch out ingredients to make it vegan. You can try switching out dairy milk for a non-dairy alternative, butter for non-dairy butter and so forth.
32: How do you deal with people who have negative things to say about being vegan?
SV: I think the greatest thing about living in a 1st world country is that we have the choice to eat whatever we want. If someone chooses to be negative towards my choice to be plant-based I kindly remind them that I’m not forcing them to eat anything I have and leave it at that. Now if they show interest and have questions beyond that I am more than happy to answer any they might have.
32: How were you able to educate yourself about veganism? Books? Podcasts? Health gurus?
SV: I went all in and watched documentaries like What the Health, Forks Over Knives, Food Inc., Cowspiracy, Vegucated,
32: Do you think being vegan is just a trend?
SV: Although there are some who may have jumped on and off the bandwagon after watching “What the Health,” I don’t believe being vegan is a trend. It is a complete lifestyle choice that doesn’t just affect the food you eat, but also the clothes you wear, the makeup you put on, even the type of personal [hygiene] and hair care products you use.
32: Did you experience any major positive or negative physical changes after adopting a plant-based lifestyle?
SV: I feel great. Now don’t get me wrong, being vegan doesn’t equal healthy and at first, I was so overboard eating the meat substitutes that I actually gained a ton of weight for the first time in my life. I kept thinking to myself how am I gaining all of this weight after giving up meat? I had to remember that even though they are vegan foods, they were still processed foods and I have since learned to cut back on them. Eating more healthy meals has given me more energy, mental clarity, I sleep better, and I don’t have that heavy, weighed down feeling after I eat a meal anymore. I’ve also changed my mindset on how I think about food. I no longer eat to please myself or other people. I pay more attention to the cues my body sends and I nourish it accordingly.
32: What’s your go-to vegan meal when you’re in a rush?
SV: When I’m in a rush I like to keep it simple and make either a veggie pasta dish like spaghetti or some seasoned roasted veggies and potatoes. I’m pretty efficient at making those in 30 min or less.
32: How can people learn more about your platform?
SV: I started The Veg Switch Up last year to just document my journey as well as share some of the foods I’ve tried eating out or make at home. My ultimate goal is to be a resource and help coach people who have an interest in transitioning into a plant-based lifestyle. Currently, I can be found on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter
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23 comments on “The Veg Switch-Up’s Shaneka Valdez Gives Us The Scoop On Veganism To Win Beyonce Tickets For Life”
This is neat! I am what I consider a part-time vegan. I do certain time periods of eating just vegan (I ate 100% vegan for about 2 years at one point). For me it was all about health and I’ve reaped the benefits!
So are Beyonce and Jay Z vegan or are they trying to get people to eat more greens? That is a tough sell for me personally, I love a good salad but I don’t think I could do only plant-based all the time. But i do love animals. Interesting read.
So are Beyonce and Jay Z vegan? That is a tough sell for me. I like salad a lot but I don’t think I could go only plant-based. But I do love animals. Interesting read
I’m curious about the veggie and pasta dish though. Pasta contains egg yolk. Is there a vegan/vegetarian pasta available?
I have crossed over in January of 2017. I’m not vegan but vegetarian living in meat south Texas. I hear all the banter about whats best and honestly not even B can convince unless I want to too. I know one day I’ll make a choice and i’m glad people are thinking of better ways to eat.
Being vegan is definitely difficult! I had a roommate in college that was vegan and I had no idea how she could keep track of what few things she could eat. I ended up learning that a lot of things I would have thought were vegan actually weren’t.
I had a roommate in college who was vegan. I have no idea how she did it, but I ended up learning that a lot of things I thought were vegan (like jello) actually aren’t.
I love the answer to question about people responding negatively to veganism, “I think the greatest thing about living in a 1st world country is that we have the choice to eat whatever we want. ” Like, perfectly said! I always find it strange when people react in a negative manner to others food preferences. This was a really interesting and informative article, great job!
Wow who would have thought that this would be a challenge that Bey and Jay would create. But I definitely commend you on doing this because I know being vegan is far from easy. I wish you so much luck during your journey!
I don’t think I could give up cheese. However, I do think it’s awesome that Beyoncé and Jay-Z are raising awareness for vegans.
I am from a country where a huge population are vegetarian (though not exactly vegan) ..I still remember around 15 or so years back there uses to be so less choices for them in restaurants in Western Countries ..back then many people didn’t even know what vegetarian diet was and not having fish or meat was a big challenge during International travelling.
This was a really fun read from someone who has made the choice to be vegan, but doesn’t look down on others for not making the same choice. I couldn’t do it, that’s for sure. I like my meat. But it’s great others do make this choice.
Pretty good post! While veganism isn’t my thing, I definitely see both the health benefits as well as the benefits to the environment. So are Beyonce and Jay-Z vegans? I didn’t know that at all. This is a pretty awesome idea!
I have always been a fan of live and let’s live. As long as your choices and styles are not affecting me or a helpless individual, then off you go! You can have Marijuana for breakfast!
I am also a fan of healthy eating and anything clean.
Love your comment about living in a first world country and having anything we want– always good to be reminded of perspective!
Awesome interview. My favorite part is to consider why one wants to become vegan; health, environment or animal. I’ve really reduce my meat consumption for environmental reasons and the massive impact the meat industry has on our Earth. It’s important to learn about and take steps to become our best selves. Thanks for your post!
I was never too aware of Veganism till an year back when I came across a colleague of mine.And each of them that I have met after that are equally passionate.
I’m not vegan, but some of my favorite local restaurants are vegan ones! Vegan mac and cheese and ribs are my jam… seriously! I think this is a pretty interesting initiative from the Carters, but to a certain extent, I feel like encouraging green eating would be more beneficial to their fans. There’s plenty of vegan junk food out there. Being vegan doesn’t automatically equate to healthy eating.
Thanks for your insights. I loved the interview style and you presented a lot of information in an interesting way. I couldn’t do vegan myself… I do like eating meat, but there is a lot to be said about eating healthier and the vegetarian/vegan side is a big plus for healthy. Good luck with your challenge. Great read.
I have a coworker that’s vegan and I’m so interested in her food choices. It always looks amazing. Great interview.
Wow…she just changed my whole view of the Vegan community with one chill, down to Earth interview. Love this!
This is very interesting! I’ve never considered going vegan or even vegetarian but this post is super enlightening! Maybe I’ll give it a go after all.
This post is so informative!