Meet a Vegan: Christopher ‘Soul’ Eubanks
In this month’s Meet a Vegan feature, I speak with Christopher ‘Soul’ Eubanks. Activist, creative, photographer and environmentalist.
I’ve enjoyed following Christopher’s work so much lately that I had ask him to be part of me ‘Meet a Vegan’ series. Christopher is clearly very passionate about animal rights, he often takes part in protests and his recent project photographing animals at sanctuaries was simply sublime.
I think Christopher has a unique way with words and his increased popularity on Twitter means I’m not the only one who has noticed.
I’m fascinated in hearing the stories of other people’s journey into veganism. I hope you are enjoying the ‘Meet a Vegan’ series as much I am.
Can you tell us a little about yourself, Christopher?
I was raised in Atlanta, Georgia (USA) and enjoyed the arts as a child i.e. creating hip-hop music, drawing and learning film making. I worked in finance for 7 years before deciding to leave corporate America to become a freelance photographer/videographer. I was a vegetarian for almost a decade before becoming vegan because I wanted to have a healthier diet. As I began to educate myself on animal agriculture I felt the urge to become an activist and speak out against animal cruelty and have been doing so for over a year.
When did you go vegan and why?
I became vegan after watching Cowspiracy. Once I became aware of how bad eating animal products were for the environment I decided to change my diet. After changing my diet I soon realized all of the suffering and injustice that happens to animals in animal agriculture and many more heartbreaking ways animals are exploited in other industries and used for consumption. This made me no longer want to contribute to the suffering of innocent beings and be more mindful in the choices I make with the products I consume.
“I began to notice how normalized animal suffering was in modern society and dealing with that was easily the most difficult adjustment.”
What were the challenges you faced?
Food wise my biggest challenge was adjusting to a new diet and not being familiar with eating exclusively plant-based foods. My first few weeks of being vegan I ate a lot of the same things but after a few months, I realized I had so many more options. I then began to embrace the variety that a vegan diet has.
The biggest challenge I faced was more emotional and social. Not only was I new to being vegan but I also didn’t know any other vegans so I didn’t have much of a support system. Also, I began to notice how normalized animal suffering was in modern society and dealing with that was easily the most difficult adjustment. Being involved with animal activism helped me deal with these feelings that overwhelmed me by allowing me to positively release my frustrations.
What was the reaction from family and friends?
I was a vegetarian for almost a decade before I became vegan so my family wasn’t surprised that I adopted a vegan lifestyle. They may have been more surprised when I began doing animal activism. Although none of my family members are vegan, they seem to be really proud of the work that I do and are always supportive.
How would you say going vegan has benefited your life?
Being vegan has benefited me most, spiritually. Before I became vegan I didn’t grasp how all beings and things are connected to each other on a physical and spiritual level. After being exposed to the way that animals are treated it made me question more about my existence and what energy I wanted to put out into the universe.
I have always been an easy going person but since becoming vegan I am more mindful of how I want to have peace with the decisions that I make and how they not only affect other beings human and non-human but also how they affect my spirit.
Do you feel you have changed much as a person?
Aside from the way veganism has affected me spiritually, I have also changed as a person due to me being involved with activism. As one of the leaders within the Atlanta vegan activist community, I have become more educated about organizing and dealing with a variety of people, educating others and being more comfortable with speaking to the public.
“The world creates false standards of what is masculine and often we blindly accept these standards. Being vegan transcends any sexual orientation because it is an ethical decision”
What advice do you have for men thinking of going vegan?
The advice I would give to any man considering going vegan is that your diet or lifestyle has nothing to do with being masculine or feminine. The world creates false standards of what is masculine and often we blindly accept these standards. Being vegan transcends any sexual orientation because it is an ethical decision. No one’s masculinity is questioned when they make moral and ethical decisions and being vegan is just the same. Being vegan is a way of life built upon having respect for other beings and that’s neither a masculine or feminine attribute.
I loved the animal sanctuary photography project you completed recently. How did that come about?
This project came about because I have always been a creative but within the last couple of years I have wanted to donate my talents to causes that resonate with my spirit. My youtube channel Culture Vegan was one of the first ways I used my talents to promote veganism but film work can be a tedious process. After visiting a couple of sanctuaries and seeing how many of them are often limited in the help they receive I thought it would be a great idea to visit several sanctuaries, take pictures of the animals and donate those pictures to the sanctuaries for them to use for fundraising efforts.
I see you frequently take part in vegan activism. What advice do you have for anyone interested in taking part themselves?
My advice to anyone interested in taking part in vegan activism is two things. First, people are much more confrontational online than they are in person. In most cases, people are more relaxed and open-minded when they are having a conversation face to face so don’t be intimidated by the idea of confrontation. Secondly, you don’t have to remember every single thing about being a vegan to be an activist. The thing you need most is a kind and compassionate heart. Sure you may want to brush up on some basic information about veganism like how many animals are killed a year, different sources of protein from plants, etc… but advocating from a place of love and compassion is just as important as any facts you can remember.
“I try and have a healthy positive dialogue based on asking and answering questions and actively listening when I have conversations with people.”
Have you learnt any specific ways to best communicate with people about veganism as a result of your activism?
When I do activism with the public I follow the Socratic Method. This is an approach where I try and have a healthy positive dialogue based on asking and answering questions and actively listening when I have conversations with people. This helps people to have a positive interaction and creates a stimulating conversation.
Top 5 tips for going vegan?
1. Know why you’re going vegan
If you don’t eat animals products for dietary reasons then you follow a plant-based diet but if you are against eating animal products for ethical reasons and are against all animal suffering i.e horse racing, aquariums, animal testing, etc… then you follow a vegan lifestyle.
2. Find other vegans.
Taking on a new diet or lifestyle can be a challenge but if you find other people that are vegan or join vegan facebook clubs or social media groups with vegans it can be a big help during your transition. You will meet tons of new vegans, become familiar with new places to eat and vegan events.
3. Read labels
We often assume that items are vegan because they aren’t meat or dairy but there are so many things that would surprise you that aren’t always vegan. Some include wine, sugar, candy, multi-vitamins, etc… Once you began to read your labels and find out what ingredients like gelatin, casein, whey, etc… are then you will begin to understand how animals are used in so many ways. This can be overwhelming initially but if you are trying to avoid eating animal products read your labels to know what’s in your food.
4. Know that vegan products exist outside of food
Just because you don’t eat animal products it doesn’t mean you aren’t purchasing non-vegan items. Clothing, ink, healthcare products, musical instruments, etc… are all products that you may think are vegan but may not be. This may also be overwhelming but educate yourself as much as you possibly can if you are choosing a vegan lifestyle. Some of these items have vegan alternatives but don’t just assume that veganism is just a dietary decision because animals are exploited for more than food.
5. Consider being a vegan activist
It’s great to not contribute to eating animal products and support products that exploit animals but speaking out against animal abuse is powerful. Activism doesn’t have to include marching, protesting or boycotting, it can be done in several ways. Fundraising, organizing, signing petitions, etc… I am a vegan for ethical reasons but after about a year of being vegan I wanted to do more so I began doing activism and have met some amazing inspiring people along my journey. It’s a great way to connect with people that share the same goals and ideas with you and you can make some life-long connections.
Top 5 Resourses
Anything else you would like to share?
In the fall, the VegFest will be in Atlanta and local activists along with myself are planning to have Atlanta’s first Animal Rights March as a part of the Nov 9th & 10th weekend. For more information about any vegan or animal rights activities that I continue to be a part of you can follow me on all social media’s at @Soul_Eubanks or you can visit my website at SoulEubanks.com.
p.s I’d love to meet you on Twitter too:! here
If you liked this, check out our previous Meet a Vegan features.
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