Name: Channing, AKA Channabanana
Where do you live and where are you from? I was born in Jamestown, New York. I moved around a bunch during my college years and early career, and I now reside in West Miami, Florida, with my two adopted shelter dogs.
Age? I’m 34 going on 7.
What do you do for a living/profession? I currently serve as the director of marketing and communication for a global management consulting firm. I’m fortunate to have a flexible work schedule that allows me to work from home (on my treadmill desk) several days a week.
What do you like to do for fun? I love to play, so in my spare time, I’m typically practicing yoga, hiking, obstacle racing, mountain biking, running, rollerblading, etc. I’m also passionate about a wide variety of causes, including environmental conservation, animal rights, women’s rights, LGBT equality, food justice and pet spay/neuter. I serve on the board of Youth L.E.A.D., a food justice nonprofit organization, and I volunteer with Miami-Dade Animal Services, South Florida Wildlife Center, Feeding South Florida, 305 Yoga Gangsters and PhilanthroFemmes. When I’m not working up a sweat or working in the community, I enjoy art, dancing, theater, live music and exploring
How long have you been vegan?
I was pescatarian for about four years, vegetarian for one, and then transitioned to vegan early this year. I’m not perfect in my veganism yet, but I’m working on it. There’s a lot to learn to achieve strict adherence.
Why did you become vegan?
Fundamentally, I chose veganism because I love animals and want no part in their suffering. It’s also better for my body and the planet, so everyone wins!
How was your transition? I made the switch from vegetarian to vegan immediately after watching the movie “Earthlings.” I had been pondering a switch to veganism for the last two years, and the truth of the dairy industry exposed by that film was the final push I needed. My sister made the switch as well, and my parents started trending in that direction soon after. I then started a Facebook group called VegSport Miami to help no-meat athletes connect and support one another. Veganism can be challenging and isolating without the solidarity offered by like-minded friends.
What is the funniest misconception(s) that you have heard about vegans? “People typically assume that vegans are malnourished, but research shows that plant-based diets are often more nutrient-rich, not less. My own active lifestyle and stellar blood work results are testaments to vegan wellness!”
What is your Favorite thing(s) about being a vegan? I enjoy eating with a clear conscience. Veganism also makes me feel and look healthy, strong and balanced.
What do you think makes a Sexy Bad Ass Vegan?
A Sexy Bad Ass Vegan embodies physical, mental and emotional wellness rooted in his or her commitment to conscious, compassionate living.
What is the best vegan dish that you make in your kitchen? I’m a terrible cook, so I mostly eat salads and other raw concoctions. My favorite dish is my Mexican salad, which contains seasoned black beans, heirloom tomatoes, guacamole, cucumbers, spinach, corn, romaine lettuce and spicy vegan dressing. ¡Delicioso!
What is the best Vegan Restaurant you have ever had the pleasure of eating at? Choices Café in Miami and Darbster in West Palm are both amazing South Florida vegan eateries. I dare anyone to compare Choices’ vegan pancakes to traditional pancakes –I think the vegan variety is superior!
What advice do you have for those that are thinking of transitioning to a vegan lifestyle? Too many Americans fill their bellies with processed garbage – packaged products rife with chemicals and hormones that bear little resemblance to actual food. Even those who think they’re eating healthy by cutting fat or sugar are typically turning to products with frankenfood substitutions. My advice for eating clean is simply this: eat mostly plants, raw and organic as much as possible. You don’t have to be perfect, but the more fresh fruits and veggies you consume and the more you eschew animal products and packaged foods, the healthier and happier you’ll be.
Do you have a website to share with the BAV nation?
For me, veganism is part of a larger commitment to serving animals and my fellow humans. Therefore, I recommend the following sites:
Humane Society Legislative Fund
Changing attitudes and behavior through education is a slow process – sometimes a more effective means is the legal system. HSLF is a lobbying organization that works to pass animal protection laws at the state and federal level, to educate the public about animal protection issues, and to support humane candidates for office.
Feeding South Florida
While we vegans are selective about the food we consume, some people in our communities don’t have the luxury of choice. Hunger is a real problem even in “overfed” America, and I encourage you to consider volunteering at or donating to your local food bank.
I’m endlessly disappointed by the number of people who buy their pets, thereby supporting irresponsible breeding and pet overpopulation, which lead to the killing of millions of shelter pets every year. Please don’t shop, adopt!