Self-described as an “ordinary guy”, Garth (@cape_town_vegan) is anything but… What he is though, is a very genuine guy who simply doesn’t want to see animals get harmed and loves eating awesome food! This is how his incredibly useful website was born www.capetownvegan.com for the ‘everyman’. So if you are confused as to what you can/can’t eat and you want to know where the best spots are for food, then look no further! You have come to the right place. His inspiring feed to his social media community conveys a message of care, solidarity and responsibility for animal welfare. We caught up with this busy Musical Theatre Lecturer and Director, Jazz Pianist, Blogger and Influencer and asked him to share some of his journey with us. Check out his daily routine and how his get-shit-done attitude has led him to success:
Tell us a little about yourself, your background and what you do?
I am a full-time Musical Theatre Lecturer and Director, Jazz Pianist, and run the Cape Town Vegan website, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter platforms where I collate information about vegan eateries, events and foods in and around the Western Cape.
What made you decide to become a vegan?
Up to the point that I became vegan, I had little to no connection to the vegan community and had not ever been exposed to any of the “hard-hitting” vegan documentaries that are so widely circulated these days. I simply woke up and went off red meat, assuming it was my body’s way of saying, “Take a break pal!”. Two weeks later the thought of eating chicken repulsed me, and next was fish. It wasn’t long before the smell of eggs put me off too. I can only put this down to some sort of shift in consciousness as it was at that point that I started investigating what it meant to live a vegan lifestyle and was horrified when I discovered what I had been doing to myself, the animals that I said I “loved” and the planet.
What was the inspiration behind creating a blog dedicated to all things vegan?
I am a LIST kinda guy. I need lists of everything in my life to operate, and when I became vegan I found that many of the online resources that listed vegan eateries were outdated. I started a list for myself and added to it whenever I noticed a restaurant would begin offering a vegan option or two. I had a job booked in Nigeria for a month that was cancelled and had nothing to do, so I decided to start a website (having never even created one) and that’s how Cape Town Vegan was born. I sort of learnt as I went along. After that came an Instagram account (which is now my most popular platform), a YouTube Channel and a Facebook page (which is also very active).
What are some of your daily inspirations, challenges and rewards as a blogger/ instagram influencer?
Inspirations: meeting incredible folks from all walks of life who are genuinely appreciative of the time and effort I put into helping people come to terms with how accessible and somewhat easy it is to integrate all things vegan into your life. When I get messages thanking me, they truly make my day.
Challenges: time! I dedicated a minimum of two hours a day to Cape Town Vegan, over and above the hours I need to put into my full-time job
Rewards: knowing I am making a difference in even one person and many animals lives.
What do you find is the hardest challenge balancing your work and personal life?
My “buzz word” for 2019 is actually “balance” and I am so bad at it. I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist and this means that I am married to my work! I try my absolute best to make “me” time where possible. I took a trip to Bali with my partner recently for 11 nights and left my cellphone and laptop in South Africa: that was a big deal for me!
What is your self-care philosophy?
Be gentle and take time. I am too hard on myself. I push myself far too hard and then need to constantly pick up the pieces. For me (personally) I need to do as much inner self-care as I do outer. It’s a journey!
Take us through an average day in the life, the first thing you do in the morning through to the last thing you do at night.
I love this question! My days vary so incredibly, so this is just one. And I love a list:
– woke up and had a glass of water
– made a smoothie with soya milk, Phyto Pro Sport Chocolate, frozen blueberries, green powder, pumpkin seeds, omega oil, pine pollen and CBD oil
– taught a piano lesson (I’m a piano teacher too!)
– spent the whole day invigilating Musical Theatre assessments at the Waterfront Theatre School (and ate too many Oreos whilst doing so – which are vegan by the way!)
– had a wrap for lunch
– taught two singing lessons
– came home to work on the social media I do for two companies)
– practised piano (as I have a rather important gig coming up)
– replied to all my WhatsApp, Facebook, Emails (which I am doing right now!) and Insta DMs from the day (I try to do then all in one go)
– do all my Cape Town Vegan admin
– spend some time on Facebook collating information for my Weekly News (that I post every Sunday)
– plan my next day
– and if I am disciplined, I will try to do some yoga and meditate before bed – but I will more than likely be too tired!
– Tomorrow will be an entirely different day!
What does your perfect day in Cape Town look like? (if you want you could also include your ideal day somewhere else too – hehe we would love to know)?
I love London. Wake up and grab a coffee, go back to wherever I am staying, do some work until lunch. Head to a new vegan spot, then see a matinee of a show. Go home and rest. Go out for dinner and see an evening show! I do this trip every year. A vegan food and theatre trip!
Where are your three favorite destinations to travel to alone/with family/friends? Do you have any trips planned?
I have travelled so much this year already. I have already been to London, Bali and Moscow.
2020, only London is on the cards, and maybe Melbourne!
What is your philosophy when it comes to food?
As long as it isn’t from an animal and you can consume it in moderation then it cannot possibly harm you. Everything in moderation.
Could you share your favourite recipe with us?
Blend the following:
1 cup cashews
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 cup plant-based milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp onion powder
It makes a mean cheese sauce which you can pour of anything (like spaghetti pasta or gnocchi). You can even use it in a lasagne.
What does health and fitness mean to you?
Learning to listen to your body and not push it to the extreme which I am guilty of! I really SHOULD do some yoga tonight!
Must have self-care products?
I have grown to become a minimalist: a good sleep for me is the best self-care possible, more than any product. Good sleep and hydration. I wish I listened to my advice: this is GREAT advice!
I have a collection of My Little Pony figurines. This, sadly, isn’t a joke. Collecting ponies makes me happy. They are a vice. I have a lot. And want more.
Something you can’t live without?
Food and my cellphone.
I am a BIG foodie and love and appreciate good food.
And my cellphone (for the most part) = work.
Is there anything we have not asked that you would like to talk about? (specific achievements, project(s) you are working on that you would like our followers/readers to know about etc.)
I am happiest when I am just left to do my thing. I don’t need to be in he limelight and am an extroverted introvert: an evening home catching up on work makes me happier than being at some “event” or other. I’m really a super average Joe: and would like to be treated like one.
Sweet or Savory? Savory
Hot or cold? Hot
Lips or Eyes? Lips
Smoothie or Juice? Smoothie
Yoga or Pilates? Yoga
Coffee or Tea? ALL THE COFFEE
Have never had one.
Describe yourself as a person in 3 words
Passionate, Driven, Perfectionist
Your favourite thing in your closet right now? My boyfriend…. Kidding! My new (vegan-friendly) Adidas shoes
What’s on your cell phone playlist at the moment (3-5 favourites)? I spend my life playing music, so I prefer silence
One book you read that positively shaped you? The Secret
Favorite Tv show?
One superpower you would like to have? The ability to bend the time and space continuum
Best gift you have ever received? When my grandmother recently passed away, she left me a book that she had written detailing our family history and all the memories of her past especially written for me. It is my most treasured possession.