10 Questions for a Vegan – Beverly Aigen
My latest q&a is with the lovely and big-hearted Beverly Aigen, who I first met at an animal rights march in Los Angeles. Beverly splits her time between Los Altos Hills, CA and Sun Valley, Idaho. She and her husband along with their three beautiful dogs will soon reside permanently in Sun Valley where they enjoy skiing, hiking, and other outdoor pursuits.
Beverly has many interests from animal activism to French literature to running marathons, mountain biking down Mt Baldy to even paragliding off mountains. She is also a breast cancer survivor. Beverly’s husband, Dr Arnie Aigen, is a surgeon who is also a member of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a group of doctors dedicated to saving and improving human and animal lives through plant based diets.
Beverly uses Instagram (@tinaandbellesMom) as a way to show a happy vegan lifestyle as well as some of her animal activism. She found it to be more impactful than when she shared graphic footage. She also features her two beautiful labs – Martina and Mirabelle (hence the IG name) and the Great Pyrénées that she found on the side of the highway, Madison – @maddieofsunvalley.
In 2014, Beverly was diagnosed with breast cancer and experienced debilitating night sweats. An ‘on and off vegetarian’ since childhood, Beverly never thought that the yogurt and cottage cheese she ate could cause animal torture or deaths or harm her health. She decided to look into dairy, to find out the truth. After watching Cowspiracy and What The Health on Netflix, she threw out the yogurt and dairy, and her night sweats stopped. Overnight they stopped!
After going vegan, Beverly contacted LA Animal Save and Chino Cow Save to attend vigils. She flew to LA several times as she became more involved with activism. She met Ellen Dent with Animal Alliance who had an impact on her. Pictured below is Beverly at a cow vigil and a pig vigil. The bottom picture is from the March of Silence demonstration held in Los Angeles.
In Beverly’s words – “I love when I get to go and do activism anywhere. I feel so happy when surrounded by other activists. It truly warms my heart.”
And she got involved with Direct Action Everywhere (DxE). After learning about DxE activists getting arrested in Sonoma County for doing an investigation, Beverly’s husband immediately recommended they bring a check to the courthouse to help get the activists out of jail.
Beverly also does vegan outreach in her everyday life, whether at the grocery store while shopping or on the chair lift while skiing. She’s had great conversations with people about veganism and many have thanked her for the information.
What inspired you to become a Vegan?
Overall I’m vegan for the animals. Their lives are no less important than the dog that I rescued from a highway. All animals are capable of giving love, needing love and having a safe and healthy environment. I ultimately understood that to say I love animals didn’t match my behavior of eating animal by-products.
Second, I’m vegan for the planet. It’s imperative that we all get on board and start being accountable for our actions. We have a Climate Crisis.
Third is my health. Cancer is horrible and I’m sure I got it from living on a diet of cottage cheese and cantaloupe. Cheese contains hormones that can increase risk of breast cancer. A group of doctors has recently petitioned the FDA to add a warning label to cheese.
The fourth reason would be that veganism could help end world hunger tomorrow if we stopped feeding everything to animals born for slaughter.
How has Veganism impacted your life?
Being vegan has impacted my life in the most wonderful of ways. My husband is a surgeon and I’m so proud of him as he advocates daily to patients to go vegan. I’m involved mostly with DxE ( Direct ActionEverywhere) and I absolutely love the people. I’ve met wonderful people through activism and have learned so much from them. I’m currently not living near either of these above-mentioned groups, so we donate from time to time and I do fly out to join some events.
What does a typical day look like – breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert?
A typical day of eating can be a plate of hash made with fresh peppers, onions, garlic, vegan sausage, fennel and potato with a side of Just Egg for breakfast.
For lunch I usually eat either a burrito filled with shredded carrots, sunflower seeds, rice and black beans or a favorite is a garbanzo bean sandwich.
For dinner I make a great curry or anything else that Google gives me when I ask “vegan raw”.
I definitely cook and eat home more often but that’s because it tastes so much better. If I eat out and they use butter, I’ll sweat all night long.
I’ve discovered Vegan Doughnuts at Big O Doughnuts in Salt Lake City and they freeze well. I load up when in town.
What do you typically eat when you’re on the go or traveling?
When traveling, I bring fruit and try to make a hearty batch of muffins to get me through. I love my Happy Cow app and used it all over Paris recently. I can always find plain pasta or pizza without cheese and extra veggies if I’m in a small town.
Can you recommend any favorite Vegan brands (food / fashion / beauty)?
My favorite designer is Stella McCartney. And I think Mink Shoes does a good job – I’m excited to see their new range. I also love following bloggers who give me fashion and beauty tips, so for that it’s the beautiful Sophia Esperanza I turn to.
I absolutely love Veg News and the emails I get from Live Kindly. They are both full of great beauty tips, recipes, information and clothing. I’m getting away from fast fashion and really trying to be more conscious of what I do purchase.
Favorite stores to shop Vegan (online or brick & mortar)?
I try to buy second hand and vintage. We need to think about what we’re buying. So much of our waste ends up in the oceans and landfills. It’s a sad fact that many of our clothing articles are worn just seven times before they end up in a landfill.
So I find great deals from online luxury consignment and resale shops such as:
I love designer brands and look for deals. In Paris, I bought a pair of Chloe boots that are vegan for a fraction of their original price. I’ve found many other good deals. My thought is if we can meet our needs by buying from consignments stores and still look like a million bucks, why wouldn’t we?
“We shouldn’t keep feeding the monster that is consumerism.” ~ Beverly Aigen
Do you have a favorite Vegan restaurant?
Who or what gives you inspiration?
I also write to many beauty bloggers who post food that’s dead animal parts and I’ve been very successful in getting them to go vegan. That makes my day.
Favorite animal sanctuaries or animal rights / environmental organizations?
Happy Hen Animal Sanctuary has to be a favorite of mine. A turkey I rescued from slaughter lives there. Her name is Meliha which means strong and beautiful.
There are so many good ones I hate to name just one. I think what Renee is doing with Rowdy Girl Sanctuary in Texas is phenomenal.
What is your best advice for those thinking about going Vegan?
The most important advice I can give when people ask how to go vegan is to get a buddy and do it together. I recommend the websites that offer mentors but I think having a friend to learn all these new ways is much easier. My husband and I had a great time and made it fun when we were trying to figure it out. Also if you slip up, don’t give up – it’s in the past and just learn from it. It’s so important to help others who want to go vegan but don’t know where to begin so I give out my number to call me – I love to assist when they get stuck.
On a last note: Being vegan is so much less expensive than eating dead animal products. The food lasts in the refrigerator, my bill at the store is about 1/4 of what we used to spend. It’s very inexpensive to eat healthy vegan. As one who’s quite a shopper, I’ve witnessed this first hand. I also feel better, I’m never bloated or have lapses in energy. And I’m able to ski all day and then play tennis.
Beverly loves being active, whether it’s lobbying for animals, attending vigils and demonstrations, donating to a cause or rescuing an animal.
“When the suffering of another creature causes you to feel pain, do not submit to the initial desire to flee from the suffering one, but on the contrary, come closer, as close as you can to him who suffers, and try to help him.” – Leo Tolstoy