Are you vegan or thinking about becoming one? Always up for a yummy recipe? Then, Plant Based Jane is the blogsite for you. With over 30,000 Instagram followers and growing, 23-year-old founder, Jane, a Fashion Merchandising student in New York, kills it with her creative and delicious recipes and fun and inspiring blog. Check it out at plantbasedjane.com and on Instagram @plantbasedjane.
How did you start Plantbasedjane?
I started Plant Based Jane when I first went Vegan and wanted to document my journey. At first, it was never meant to be a blog, but just an extra Instagram account where I didn’t have to blow up my friends’ and family’s feeds with photos of food. I also was going through a depression at the time and wanted to find other like-minded individuals who were beginning their Vegan journey and connect with them on my newfound lifestyle.
Tell us about your transition to becoming vegan. What got you interested?
I knew for months prior to going Vegan that it was something I wanted to do. Without getting all preachy, I just didn’t feel right saying I loved animals but eating them, whether meat or dairy. I got to what people like to call “the weird side of YouTube,” and randomly came across a whole bunch of videos on Veganism. I found it super interesting and decided to become Vegetarian for a few months at first to transition slowly, and on Nov. 29, 2015, I decided to go fully Vegan.
What would you say your mission is?
My mission is just to purely inspire people. Whether it is help with finding motivation to get in the kitchen, eat healthier, go vegan, or prove that you can get out of a dark place by allowing your body to take its time to do so, Plant Based Jane is there for you. I have received messages telling me that I have even helped followers with eating disorders. Those kinds of messages make me the happiest. I never really considered how I could inspire others or help them to gain motivation to expand their diet or contribute to their healing from an eating disorder. My mission is also really to live an honest and true life, and through that inspire others to feel confident to be themselves.
What do you think is unique about your approach?
I think that my real and raw nature is probably my most unique approach. I don’t mind cursing on my page, or being straight up about “that time of the month.” I could have completely painted myself on Instagram as this perfect person with absolutely no troubles in this world, and that would do absolutely nothing. I also am still suffering from depression, and I think it’s important to talk about mental health, and to be honest about all of my life, not just the aspect of being this food blogger who sits at home all day and takes pretty pictures of my food. I have days where leaving my bed is a struggle, let alone leaving the house. No one should ever feel alone in what they’re going through, and I just want to show through my Instagram/website that what I’m going through doesn’t define me. I just try to be as authentic as possible no matter how “TMI” it may be at times.
What’s your favorite part about what you do?
My favorite part about what I do is what happens after I do the recipe tests. I absolutely love having my non-vegan family members taste test my food and have them tell me how much they like it. I like getting approval from people who would never order the vegetarian, let alone vegan, option at a restaurant. My parents are always my first taste testers, and, if they approve, the recipe immediately gets written up on my blog.
Do you have a favorite power food/recipe?
Sushi bowls! I just throw some microwavable rice in a bowl with frozen soybeans and microwave until done. Chuck in some cucumber, avocado, nori strips, tofu and sesame seeds and you have the fastest deconstructed sushi bowl ever. It is also packed with healthy fats, protein, and carbohydrates you need to get through your day.
What’s trending for 18- to 24-year-old women right now in the world of food?
I believe as young girls we are shown in the media, magazines, etc. that we have to look a certain way to be attractive or likeable, and a way we’ve been taught to attain that look is by demonizing carbs. I think girls around my age now are learning that carbs are actually good for you. Everyone avoided food items like brown rice or potatoes, but I think women are coming to realize that, in moderation, carbs will not make you fat! When I mean in moderation, I don’t mean once in awhile, I mean at each meal, making sure you eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed.
For us social media food addicts, what is it like to have so many followers? How did you do it? And how do you keep them engaged?
Having many followers is great, but it comes with a lot of negatives. Specifically because I am Vegan, I’ll get the additional “trolls” who will say, “A steak would look SO good with that,” or, “You look like you’re not eating enough.” I knew that I wouldn’t get nice people 100 percent of the time, but for the most part, 95 percent of my comments or messages are just so kind. I also realize it’s important to remain consistent and post multiple times a day, not just for more followers, but because you could potentially be inspiring someone to make that meal for dinner or prove that the Vegan lifestyle is not restrictive. I also always make sure to ask my followers how they’re doing, or what they would like to see on my blog. It helps keep me inspired, and I want to make what people want to see.
How do you balance school life and your online media presence?
If I recipe test for the blog, I always make sure to do it on an off-day. I also mainly take online classes, so my days are free to work on my website and then make time for homework, as well. I write down everything and hang it on my way, in regards to school, so I don’t miss any assignments or forget about them.
What makes you feel confident?
Cooking! I always feel like that is such a confidence booster for me. I love living a life where I can cook for my friends and family and always have a relatively positive response to it. It helps me to try to build confidence in other areas of my life where it seems to be lacking a little bit.