Spread awareness just by being seen.
Up next in my Cruelty-Free Holiday Gifts Series, I'm featuring Shirt Activism Apparel, a vegan owned, Toronto-based company by Anne-Marie Campbell, the Meat Free Athlete. In this article, I've shared my interview with Anne-Marie where she shares misconceptions about being a vegan athlete, as well as her top 5 tips on going vegan. Plus, I've teamed up with Shirt Activism for an exciting giveaway just in time for the holidays! Keep reading to learn how you can WIN a T-Shirt from Shirt Activism in a contest that is open worldwide. Plus, I've shared a special promo code exclusively for my readers!
Anne-Marie is a vegan athlete and animal rights activist who is passionate about spreading awareness of the truth about the use of animals in our society, and is dedicated to help people go (and stay) vegan by showing by example and making it a priority to be as available as possible to help people seeking inspiration or answers. Anne-Marie spreads her message through social media and weekly lifestyle videos on her YouTube Channel, covering everything from health and fitness, nutrition, activism, healthy foods, with a good amount of junk foods, as well as recipes too!
Shirt Activism is an awareness clothing company, and truly an extension of Anne-Marie's passion for spreading the vegan message. It's everyday activism that's incredibly effective at starting great conversations and planting seeds. Her designs have powerful messages, that are thought provoking.
I first met Anne-Marie earlier this year at the Field Roast Party at the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA. Anne-Marie is super down to earth, always has a smile on her face and the best food recommendations to share! I always love seeing her local at vegan events and she has been a generous supporter of community events that I've been involved with including my 2016 Toronto Vegan Social Event and recent Animal Justice fundraisers in Toronto. I even spotted her shirts at the Animals Beyond Borders fundraising and social event for the Toronto Area Save groups last weekend!
What I appreciate about this brand is that Anne-Marie works closely with her production team in California, USA to create quality apparel, using water-based, eco-friendly ink. Plus, $1 from every sale is donated to animal charities. Most recently, the brand donated $100 to the Toronto “Why Love One But Eat The Other” Subway Ad Campaign, which put 5 ads on the subway for an entire month! This provocative ad campaign aims to get people thinking about their food choices in relation to animal suffering.
Here are some of the most popular designs from Shirt Activism:
As an exclusive for my readers, Shirt Activism is offering a 10% discount! Use code "LOVE" at checkout on www.shirtactivism.com for 10% off the entire website! :)
Tell us your vegan story! How did you first find veganism?
I went vegan for the animals in 2011. Before that, I actually considered myself an animal lover, even though I was blindly contributing to animal agriculture. I didn’t know better. I was so truly disconnected from what I was eating that I never thought about the food I bought. I would order chicken without thinking about where that came from, and that the chicken was someONE, not someTHING. One day, I saw a post on social media exposing undercover footage of a slaughterhouse and it was the first time I seen anything concerning the animals we eat, and that wasn’t about companion animals, like cats and dogs. My first true connection was made that day. I started researching what I just saw, and that was the beginning of my transition to a vegan lifestyle. I look back and see how disconnected I was, and it’s something I try to always remember when speaking with non-vegans. Some good people out there are still eating meat/dairy/eggs but they just haven’t made the connection or been exposed to the truth yet. Going vegan is absolutely one of the best things I’ve ever done, and I will continue to be a voice for those without one, and help people go, or stay, vegan for the rest of my life.
What was the inspiration behind creating Shirt Activism?
When I first launched MeatFreeAthlete.com in 2012, I started making logo shirts and designs I wanted to wear myself, and then people started asking where they could buy them! So, I started selling my designs. After a couple years of growth, I realized that my designs were diverse, not just athlete focused, so I wanted to create an apparel brand apart from Meat Free Athlete to make it more welcoming to those who aren’t athletes. That’s when Shirt Activism was born! It’s a compassionate lifestyle apparel brand with a growing line-up of original designs for everyone, from animal lovers, activists, and athletes.
I understand that the Shirt Activism brand supports vegan non-profit organization and animal sanctuaries. What are some of the charities that you have contributed to in the past?
My driving passion and mission with Shirt Activism is to spread awareness, and to give back to the organizations helping to build a better world. $1 from every sale is donated to non-profit animal charities. Most recently, I donated $100 to the Toronto “Why Love One But Eat The Other” Subway Ad Campaign, which will put 5 ads on the subway for an entire month. Other animal organization currently on our list to receive donations is Primarily Primates, which houses about 600 non-human primates and a variety of other animals, rescued from animal testing, exotic pet trade, or entertainment. There are several other Sanctuaries, such as Wishing Well Sanctuary, that we believe in, and we are continually researching and selecting charities to add. If anyone has an animal charity that they believe in, please feel free to contact me and let me know!
As the Meat Free Athlete, I'm sure you get this question all the time: "where do vegans get their protein?" How do you approach this question?
You’re right, I get asked that question a lot! I know some people get annoyed when they get asked the protein question, but I don’t mind! We can’t assume someone knows what we know, and if someone is reaching out and asking then they are curious, and that’s often a first step to going vegan! Some people truly just don’t know which vegan protein options there are, and a lot of them are concerned about getting enough quality protein, especially as an athlete! With all the misinformation we’re all bombarded with in society, it’s not hard to understand why people are confused or unsure. I always make sure to clarify that protein isn’t just one type of food, it’s amino acids, and all the essential amino acids can easily be found in plant sources!
Are there any other common misconceptions about being a vegan athlete?
There’s always the myth that vegans are weak, and lack energy… which is completely false! I’ve been a competitive athlete for 20 years, and I can truly say that I have more energy now during my training sessions than I did 10 years ago! My recovery is also faster, and I feel much healthier overall. If anything, being vegan is an advantage for an athlete!
What are your top 5 tips for going vegan?
1. Veganize your life! You don’t have to give up the traditional meals and flavors you love… just veganize them!
2. It’s all about Perspective! Going vegan is a positive thing, for the animals, your health, and the planet, so focus on the good stuff and be happy with your decision, enjoy the journey!
3. Get Social! Go online, join vegan groups, follow inspiring vegan accounts on Instagram, and surround yourself with like-minded people who will uplift you and support your lifestyle! The vegan community is packed with awesome people!
4. Don’t feed the trolls. There’s going to be people that get confrontational when they find out you’re vegan. If there’s no opportunity for a constructive dialogue, ignore them! Don’t waste your time fighting with people, that’s just a whole lot of negativity you don’t need in your life.
5. Do research! It’s ok if you don’t have all the answers at first… nobody does! The vegan lifestyle is a journey. Keep an open mind, and keep learning!
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to become more involved in vegan and animal rights activism?
Find the style of activism that you feel passionate about! Not every type of activism is for everyone. There’s a lot of different styles of activism. Focus your energy on being the most effective activist you can be by listening to what truly drives you, because in the end, that’s what will help the animals the most!
What is your personal food philosophy?
It’s all about balance. I’ve always been interested in holistic health, and the healing power of food. Add that to me being a competitive athlete, and that’s probably why I enjoy eating healthy. My body feels good that way, and I love the taste of simple food. On the flip side, I also enjoy junk food sometimes too. There’s no “cheat days” in my world. If I want junk food, I eat it. I don’t diet, and never have. I’m a big believer in intuitive eating, which I’ve been doing for over 20 years, before I even knew it had a name lol. If you want to thrive, and be the best version of yourself, listening to your body is truly key. Eat well most of the time, include alkaline foods, aim to eat a good variety, and you’ll find the balance that works best for your body and lifestyle.
What are your favourite vegan or vegan-friendly spots in Toronto? Any recommendations for items to order?
There’s so many great vegan eats in Toronto! My favorites right now are:
Tenon Vegetarian Cuisine (green dragon roll, general tsao’s “chicken”, house special “duck” on spinach, and dumplings)
Hogtown Vegan (buffalo “wings”, shiitake fried “clams”, coleslaw, and quesadillas)
Ital Vital (rice & beans, bbq seitan, callaloo, channa, and fresh squeezed orange & ginger juice)
Fresh (ace of kales salad, and clubhouse wrap)
Whatcan we expect to see in the future as Shirt Activism evolves?
I’ve also got a brand new line-up of accessories being added to Shirt Activism in early 2017 (likely February) that I’m really excited to share with everyone!
Can we find you at any upcoming events?
Shirt Activism is an online store, but sometimes we do sell locally at pop-up shops or events. Currently we don’t have any planned, so check out our store blog, join our mailing list, and follow us on Instagram to get any updates!
Instagram Giveaway Details
I've teamed up with Shirt Activisim for a special *world-wide!* giveaway just in time for the holidays. Enter to WIN a T-Shirt of your choice from Shirt Activism. Visit my Instagram post from today (pictured below) by clicking here.
This post was in collaboration with Shirt Activism and Anne-Marie Campbell. This is an unpaid endorsement and I was gifted the "Humane Meat is a Lie" Racerback Tank Top for review. I only share content about products that I personally support, and that are of the highest integrity.
To work with Avra and Love Wild Live Free on collaborations, reviews and sponsored posts please get in touch on the Contact page!
Promo Code Details: The 10% off code "LOVE" from Shirt Activism can be applied to your entire purchase on www.shirtactivism.com. This code does not expire!