Inspirational Vegans

Thich Nhat Hanh ~

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh is a global spiritual leader, poet and peace activist, revered throughout the world for his powerful teachings and bestselling writings on mindfulness and peace.

His key teaching is that, through mindfulness, we can learn to live happily in the present moment—the only way to truly develop peace, both in one’s self and in the world.

Thich Nhat Hanh, now in his 92nd year, is a gentle, humble monk – the man Martin Luther King Jnr. called him “An Apostle of peace and nonviolence.” The media has called him “The Father of Mindfulness,” “The Other Dalai Lama” and “The Zen Master Who Fills Stadiums.”

Plum Village practice centers and retreats have always been vegetarian, and since 2007, they have also been vegan. In October 2007, Thay wrote his famous “Blue Cliff Letter“, where he explained why the community was turning vegan to nourish compassion and help save the planet.

Dairy and egg products… are products of the meat industry,” he wrote. “If we stop consuming, they will stop producing… According to the University of Chicago, a vegan causes approximately 1.5 fewer tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere each year than a meat-eater does.”

Lynn explains the influence Thay has had on her: 

“Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay) managed to explain very simply why veganism is the only way to be truly peaceful and compassionate, and it was Thay himself who influenced my decision to switch to veganism from vegetarianism. This First Mindfulness Training really struck a chord with me when I heard Thay explore it and explain it. Being vegan is not just about love and compassion for the animals, but consideration for the environment and awareness how the meat and dairy industries impact massively on world hunger. It is not possible to be truly peaceful, loving and compassionate as long there is any involvement in the violence and cruelty of the meat, dairy and egg industries.”

Buddha/Thich Nhat Hanh – The First of the Five Mindfulness Trainings based on the Buddhist precepts.
The First Mindfulness Training really struck a chord with me when I heard Thich Nhat Hanh deliver and explain it. How could we possibly follow any of this without being vegan?

The Five Mindfulness Trainings represent the Buddhist vision for a global spirituality and ethic. They are a concrete expression of the Buddha’s teachings on the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path, the path of right understanding and true love, leading to healing, transformation, and happiness for ourselves and for the world. To practice the Five Mindfulness Trainings is to cultivate the insight of interbeing, or Right View, which can remove all discrimination, intolerance, anger, fear, and despair. If we live according to the Five Mindfulness Trainings, we are already on the path of a bodhisattva. Knowing we are on that path, we are not lost in confusion about our life in the present or in fears about the future.

First Mindfulness Training ~ Reverence For Life

Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I am committed to cultivating the insight of interbeing and compassion and learning ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to support any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, or in my way of life. Seeing that harmful actions arise from anger, fear, greed, and intolerance, which in turn come from dualistic and discriminative thinking, I will cultivate openness, non-discrimination, and non-attachment to views in order to transform violence, fanaticism, and dogmatism in myself and in the world.


Philip Wollen –

Philip is an Australian philanthropist and one of the less well known advocates for animal rights…mainly because he has striven to keep himself out of the limelight.

He was born in 1950 in Australia and became a high powered businessman; a former Vice-President of Citibank and was also General Manager at Citicorp. Philip went vegan following his departure from Citibank and is a member of the animal rights movement.

In a very articulated and calm manner and approach, Philip delivers the reasons why “Animals Should Be Off The Menu” in a debate in 2012 at St James Ethics Centre and the Wheeler Centre in Australia.

Please take 10 minutes to listen to this – it is the best speech you will ever hear! Philip does say vegetarian, but he’s referring to veganism.

For me a particularly powerful paragraph was –

“Poor countries sell their grain to the West while their own children starve in their arms. And we feed it to livestock… so we can eat a steak? Am I the only one who sees this as a crime? Every morsel of meat we eat is slapping the tear-stained face of a starving child. When I look into her eyes, should I be silent?
The earth can produce enough for everyone’s need. But not enough for everyone’s greed”. 

We must look at the bigger picture…this isn’t only impacting on the lives of billions of animals every year, it’s impacting on our planet as we are in crisis, but it also massively impacts on world hunger and our fellow human beings!

Dr Melanie Joy ~

Beyond Carnism is a US-based, international organization dedicated to exposing and transforming carnism, the invisible belief system that conditions people to eat certain animals.

Carnism causes extensive suffering. Animal agriculture is responsible for the unnecessary slaughter of 77 billion land animals worldwide per year, and it is a major contributor to environmental degradation, human disease, and human rights violations. However, the majority of people who eat animals are unaware that they are contributing to such destruction.

Beyond Carnism believes that people need and deserve to know the truth about carnism, so they can make their food choices freely — because without awareness, there is no free choice.

Beyond Carnism seeks to empower concerned citizens and vegan advocates through education and activism, to help create a more compassionate and just world for all beings, human and nonhuman alike.


GarywithsmalldogGary Francione ~

Gary L. Francione is Board of Governors Distinguished Professor of Law and Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Scholar of Law and Philosophy at Rutgers University School of Law-Newark.

He received his B.A. in philosophy from the University of Rochester, where he was awarded the Phi Beta Kappa O’Hearn Scholarship that allowed him to pursue graduate study in philosophy in Great Britain. He received his M.A. in philosophy and his J.D. from the University of Virginia. He was Articles Editor of the Virginia Law Review.

Gary Francione is without doubt one of the most controversial animal rights figures in the world. Back in the 80’s he worked with PETA but broke ties with them as he started to feel they were not moving in the right direction. He promotes the abolitionist approach.  The abolitionist approach to animal rights maintains that all sentient beings, human or nonhuman, have one right:- the basic right not to be treated as the property of others.  The only way to do that is to go vegan…immediately, no in-between!


Dr Brooke Goldner –

Dr Brooke Goldner was diagnosed with systemic Lupus when she was 16 years of age – she cured herself 12 years later using regular plant-based food from regular supermarkets and exercise…nothing fancy, nothing expensive, just the foods Mother Earth gave us, and some exercise.

She now helps people all over the world recover from debilitating illnesses like Lupus, Fibromyalgia,  Diabetes, Heart Disease, CFS and many other chronic diseases. She’s inspirational and everything she says makes perfect sense.

Robert Cheeke (with Arnie)Robert Cheeke ~

Robert grew up on a farm in Corvallis, Oregon, where he adopted a vegan lifestyle in 1995 at the age of 15. Today he is a best-selling author of the book Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness – The Complete Guide to Building Your Body on a Plant-Based Diet.

As a two-time natural bodybuilding champion, Robert is considered one of VegNews Magazine’s Most Influential Vegan Athletes. He tours all over North America, giving talks about his story of transformation from a skinny farm kid to champion vegan bodybuilder.

Robert works full-time running Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness, which includes writing books, touring, and maintaining the popular website, He is a regular contributor to Vegan Health & Fitness Magazine, a freelance writer, entrepreneur, and multi-sport athlete.

Lynn says:

Robert was a massive inspiration, influence and encouragement to me actually even considering starting to lift any serious weights. I basically dissected his book “Shred It” before I attempted to lift. He has always been happy to communicate with me via social media to help me out with advice and words of “vegan lifting wisdom”…brilliant guy!

Torre WashingtonTorre Washington ~

Vegan since 1998, 100% supplement free, and an all natural body builder with pro cards in four distinct body bodybuilding organisations, Torre certainly gets our respect. Since a very young age, Torre been fascinated with how things worked and how they were created. He would take things apart to see if he could re-assemble them and have them work as if he never took them apart. This was the beginning of the engineer that wanted to design a great physique. Having studied the physiques of Arnold Schwarzenegger, the bodybuilders of that era, and the comic book characters such as superman and wolverine, he started sculpting his body with a dumbbell and a bench.

Some years later he acquired a degree in engineering, but his passion for sculpting physiques never faded, it rather strengthened when he witnessed his friend compete and win in 2009. His passion drove him to have the courage to start learning about bodybuilding and begin competing. He took a great leap of faith to pursue his dream, to become one of fitness greats and shares his gift with the world.

Laurel FredetteLaurel Fredette ~

Laurel is 26-year-oldld NPC physique competitor. She has always loved fitness and competed in sports throughout her childhood and into her teens. She played soccer, basketball, ran in track, and competed on a national level in gymnastics when she was younger. She became involved in lifting in 2012 and fell in love instantly! Laurel loves the challenge of pushing her body to its limit and watches her physique transform with proper diet and exercise. In June 2015, she decided to start prepping for her first bodybuilding competition in Women’s Physique. She took first place at her first show at the Connecticut East Coast Cup in October 2015. She became nationally qualified and took 3rd place in her height class 6 weeks later at NPC Nationals in Miami, FL. Bodybuilding is a tough sport, both mentally and physically, but she is grateful to have found her true passion. Laurel’s goal is to earn her pro-card in 2016 and show her peers and fans how athletes thrive on a plant based diet!

Ever since she was a child, her friends and family knew her as the “animal lover,” but she never made the connection of eating and exploiting animals until she was about 15. She stopped eating meat when she saw a PETA advertisement about veal; it’s like something clicked inside her mind and she finally became aware of the pain and suffering that animals endured for human consumption. She cut meat out of her diet for a few years, until she was about 19; then she became vegan. Even though she felt great about being vegetarian, she knew she could make an even greater impact by eliminating all animal products from her diet and choosing brands that didn’t test on animals. The main reason she switched to a vegan lifestyle was becoming active in social media and learning more about how the meat, dairy, egg, and leather industry were all connected. She had never realised how much suffering she was still supporting by eating animal byproducts! She has been vegan for over 6 years, and could not be happier.

pat_0Patrik Baboumian ~

Patrik was born in Iran and lives in Germany. In 1999 aged 20 he won German Junior Bodybuilding title. He holds the world log lift record for under 105kg, with a 165kg lift, as well as the German heavyweight log lift record . His heaviest log lift is 190kg. In 2011 he won Germany’s Strongest Man, 105kg category.

In 2012 he continued his success by winning the German log lift title for the fourth time in a row, and setting a keg lift world record (115 kg). He took the European Powerlifting title in Finland, and set a world record for fronthold by holding a 20kg weight for 86 seconds.

IMG_0208By late 2012 he had continued to grow in size and strength and weighed 127kg, so is no longer considering competing above 105kg. In 2012 he competed in the European Powerlifting Championships and despite a number of setbacks squatted 300kg, bench pressed 200kg and deadlifted 330kg. This gave him the European title in the Open category.

Also in 2012 he set a World record by lifting a 150.2kg beer keg overhead. He also made an attempt at the front-hold record which involves holding a 20kg weight with straight arms in front of the body. He added 10 seconds to the World record. He finished the year with the first ever title of Vegan Athlete of the Year.

Lynn has her say on Patrik: 

“I met Patrik Baboumian at Veg Fest Scotland in 2015…wow, what a totally amazing guy! He is such an inspiration to me and to so many as to how we can thrive on a vegan diet. He blows the myth right out the water than vegans are weak! He has won many body building & strong man competitions, he is also a world record holder/breaker in a variety of lifts and challenges – Badass Vegan”

Dean HowellDean Howell ~

Dean Howell is 31 and a professional footballer currently playing for Crawley town F.C. in league 2. He has been a vegan for 7 years. While he has been a vegan he has enjoyed the most successful period in his career. He’s considered to be a lower league football journeyman. He has played for many clubs and failed to settle at any until his move to Crawley. This is mainly down to reoccurring injury problems. From his own personal experiences and self-education in health, Illness/injury is most definitely connected to poor nutrition.

Many people are interested in why he changed his diet. His injury problems were a key factor but the death of his beloved Nana to cancer was a real turning point in his life. He always questioned the quality of the foods we are conditioned to eat from youth and as his nana never smoked or touched alcohol, he felt strongly food was the root cause of her death.

Marc s woodMarc S Wood ~

Every single thing we ingest has a direct impact on our bodies. Fueling our bodies correctly has a profound effect on how we feel and how our organs, muscles, and senses act and react. This is why it is important to take charge of our own health, for self-care is the only true care and we are all the masters of our health or dis-ease.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently linked Cancer to the consumption of meat, along with other studies that have shown people who adopted eating whole plant-based foods suffer much less heart disease, cancers, auto-immune disease, type II diabetes, obesity, and weight problems. Plant-based eaters are shown to live longer and healthier lives.

What Marc offers is an education of how to eat Plant-Based, an education that you can incorporate into your life, at the grocery store or in restaurants when you go out. The foods we have come to know and love so well are killing us at an epidemic rate. Knowing this information in this day and age gives you a huge advantage towards looking after you and your loved one’s health.

Lynn says:

“Marc is a great advocate for the vegan lifestyle! He has a diploma in plant based nutrition and he coaches and educates people on how to get the very best from this way of plant-based eating. Marc looks under 40 years of age, but he’s over 50…he is the absolute picture of what a healthy vegan lifestyle can achieve.  Marc is from Scotland but lives in New York – the Highland Vegan who set up the fantastic group Vegans of New York!”

Josie du Plessis (with Barny)Barny du Plessis and Josie du Plessis ~ Follow them on Twitter – @MrUniversesHut @JosieKeck

In 2014, Barny du Plessis made his third attempt at the coveted Mr Universe amateur category. He was 40 – and he took home the title.

Winning the competition was the pinnacle of his bodybuilding career to date and, after he’d smashed it, he decided it was time to hang up his posing pants for good.
Constant training and dieting had left Bristol-based Barny exhausted and drained, He wanted to experience a ‘normal’ life.

But months after winning the title, Barny turned vegan – and says he found himself in better shape than ever. He claims that his meat-free diet gave him more energy and endurance in the gym than ever before.

He certainly is a great ad for a vegan diet, he says  “The world’s strongest animals are plant-eaters: gorillas, buffaloes, elephants and me”.

Barny is a lifelong bodybuilder who used to think that eating vast amounts of meat and eggs was the only way to build muscle, but now he knows different and is living proof we don’t need meat (or any animal based foods) to build muscle!

Lynn shares her views on Barny and Josie: 

“Barny & Josie du Plessis are an amazing couple and are doing great work to promote veganism and animal rights. Barny now also known as “Henchman for The Animals” won Mr Universe in 2014 and continues to be a force to be reckoned within bodybuilding. Both Barny & Josie have been very helpful, influential and motivational in me starting and continuing to lift weights! Josie is the U.K’s strongest woman and her story is very inspirational and is definitely worth a read if you get the chance!

The Smiths

The Smiths were a huge influence not only on my life, but on the lives of many who either already were vegetarians/vegans/activists or would go on to become such.

The song Meat Is Murder without doubt made people start to make the connection that eating animal flesh was in fact taking part in and paying for murder. Having already gone through difficulties as a child in connection with eating meat, and deciding I no longer wanted to eat it, it was almost a sense of relief for me when Meat is Murder was released and my favourite band backed up everything I was feeling myself.

I had always felt by myself and so lonely in this lifestyle as I didn’t personally know any other vegetarians as a child/teenager.  People would often make fun of me for not eating flesh…I remember I used to think it was so ironic that they were making fun of me even though they were part of this evil and violent industry, yet they thought it was me who was strange and that their part in this violence was “normal”! I pitied their ignorance. The Smiths changed that though, I no longer felt lonely in my lifestyle. I went to see The Smiths live in Hanley in May 1985 on the Meat is Murder tour, and what a gig it was; something so special and something I will never forget!

Although The Smiths feature in here as an influence, it must be made very clear that in no way does Bohemian Hippy support or share any of the statements or divisive views voiced by Morrissey in recent years. This is about the Smiths, not Morrissey or his views!

We no longer support Morrissey or his work here at Bohemian Hippy.

Dr T.Colin Campbell ~

For more than forty years, Dr. T. Colin Campbell has been at the forefront of nutrition research. His legacy, the China Project, is the most comprehensive study of health and nutrition ever conducted. Dr. Campbell is a professor Emeritus at Cornell University and is most well-known for co-authoring the bestselling book The China Study with his son, Thomas Campbell, MD. In addition to his long and outstanding career as an author, scientific researcher, and Cornell professor, Dr. Campbell has been featured in several documentary films. He is the founder of the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and the online internationally-recognized Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate offered by the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies in partnership with eCornell. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Board.

kipanderson (1)Kip Anderson ~

Kip Anderson is director and writer of Cowspiracy.

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret is a groundbreaking feature-length environmental documentary following intrepid filmmaker Kip Andersen as he uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today – and investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations are too afraid to talk about it.

Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution, is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry, and is a primary driver of rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss, topsoil erosion, ocean “dead zones,” and virtually every other environmental ill. Yet it goes on, almost entirely unchallenged.

As Andersen approaches leaders in the environmental movement, he increasingly uncovers what appears to be an intentional refusal to discuss the issue of animal agriculture, while industry whistleblowers and watchdogs warn him of the risks to his freedom and even his life if he dares to persist.