'I don’t want to focus on the negatives such as animal cruelty, but the positives, such as health and the great things this does for our environment,' says Dubai resident Jacqui Nightscales
The Whole Movement: a month-long campaign showing the benefits of a vegan lifestyle
Dubai resident Jacqui Nightscales has teamed up with vegans across the UAE to launch a month-long initiative to raise awareness of the benefits of a plant-based diet. Fitting, given that today is World Vegetarian Day.
The South African photographer, who has lived in the UAE for eight years, decided to stop eating animal products on December 27. “I don’t remember a lot of dates, but this one is so important to me,” she says.
“I knew what I had to do when I became vegan, but I didn’t know how to do it. It’s not as simple as cutting out meat and diary, as you can turn to foods that are very processed or high in sugar because you’re not sure what to eat. It’s been a lot of experimentation and learning since December. I’m still learning every day and trying to find the right balance for my body.”
Nightscales is now hoping to share some of that knowledge through a social media campaign that she has dubbed The Whole Movement. The premise, she says, came to her in the shower, “as all good ideas do”. The campaign will unfold through daily posts on Instagram (@foodstories_dubai), Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Plus, as well as Nightscales’s personal blog (www.jacquinightscales.com/blog). All posts will be tagged #thewholemovement.
“I want to show people that they can have any lifestyle and be plant-based. Our idea of nutrition has completely evolved, and it goes against everything we were taught as children. We are also being shown that it is possible to lead compassionate lives that are cruelty-free.”
There are still plenty of misconceptions surrounding a vegan diet, which Nightscales hopes to addresses in a helpful, non-preachy way. “Some dieticians and doctors believe that you will be nutrient-deficient on a plant-based diet. People can be nutrient-deficient on any eating plan. The point is to know what you are eating and how you are fuelling your body to ensure optimal health.”
Nightscales will share vegan recipes, ideas on where to buy and eat vegan food, and details about various nutritional aspects of a plant-based diet. There will also be a series of one-minute videos featuring vegans from across the UAE, including holistic and health coaches Tatiana Abouassi and Maria Morales; Michele van Gelder, a vegan bodybuilder who will quash the myth that women can’t build muscle; Yasmin Di Mario, a travel and food blogger, who will talk about travelling while being vegan and gluten-free; and Raffaella Gallo, who will show people how to bottle food and sauces so they stay fresh in the fridge for up to six months. Videos will be followed by Q&A sessions, where viewers can delve deeper into certain issues. People are also invited to share their own stories.
“This is not a branded marketing campaign,” Nightscales is quick to point out. “We’re keeping it real, with approachable people, so viewers can ask questions. We are trying to make it easy for people. I don’t want to focus on the negatives such as animal cruelty, but the positives, such as health and the great things this does for our environment,” Nightscales says.
“My key message is to inspire people to try this. I want to provide enough information over the month to make it easier for people to transition. I don’t want people to ever underestimate the change that they can make for their own health, but also for animals and the planet.”