Jasmine Rose shares vegan recipes, cruelty-free makeup looks, and various heat-free hair and makeup tips on her YouTube channel and blog. In 2016, the New York City native first discussed her journey with veganism and advocacy for animal rights. Since then, Jasmine has grown her one stop shop for all things beauty & lifestyle related to over 78,000 subscribers and amassed close to 6 million video views. PRETTY GIRLS SWEAT spoke with her about her health journey, advice for college students who are looking to go vegan, and so much more. Check out the conversation below:
Kési Felton: What or who inspired you to go vegan and stick with it?
Jasmine Rose: At the time I had a bunny, who unfortunately passed away. Rabbits are vegan and I felt bad eating meat in front of them. I went vegan for Lent and decided to stick with it after seeing documentaries that showed how harshly animals are treated.
KF: Maintaining a healthy diet obviously requires a lot of discipline, how do you avoid being tempted to buy or eat unhealthy or non-vegan food?
JR: I can give you an example from yesterday. I actually went out with a couple of friends yesterday night, but before I went out-- I always like to research the place that I go to before I go to it because, a lot of times, the vegan options are pretty slim. That was the case with this restaurant. So I ended up eating at home before I went… and sure enough, there weren't that many vegan options on the menu. There weren't even any non-alcoholic drinks on the menu and I actually stopped drinking alcohol drinks in December. Funny enough, a lot of alcoholic drinks are not vegan.
KF: You’ve talked about your fiancé helping you during lent and just overall on your health and wellness journey. Why do you think having a support group is so important when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle?
JR: Doing the journey alone is really hard. Especially when you have no one to talk to about your struggles. We both had a lot of struggles going vegan—with what to eat, how to cook, what to cook, where to shop for food—it was just very stressful. But it was always nice to have someone to talk to and vent and learn from each other because if I didn’t know something, he probably knew it and vice versa. We kind of leaned on each other for support in that way.
KF: What are some of your favorite or go-to vegan recipes?
JR: At the moment, ramen is my thing. I get these vegan ramen packets from Whole Foods. It’s really quick especially when I come home from work and I didn’t have time to meal prep the night before. What I like to do is sauté spinach, onions, mushrooms, and bell peppers on the side and toss it into the ramen so that way it’s even more nutritious. My love, my top #1 is chickpeas. I can do anything with chickpeas. I can make chick pea chips, falafels, curry chickpea and potatoes. You can do so many things with chickpeas.
KF: Yeah I saw one of your videos and you made the chickpea burger and I thought that was really interesting. I had never seen that before
JR: It’s DELICIOUS
KF: And also, since I’m in college, a lot of my friends eat ramen but I’ve never really been into it. I may have to try that.
JR: Oh yeah, I grew up on cup noodles. My mom would just buy packs of it. So it’s kind of nostalgic in a way, but in a healthier way.
KF: Who are some of your favorite foodies that you follow on IG?
JR: Vegan Zinga. She’s an amazing woman of color and animal rights activist. She’s been vegetarian for 25 years and I think she’s been vegan for seven. She’s been on that road for a while. I also love Sweet Potato Soul, she’s great. Badass Vegan on Instagram. He’s also another animal rights activist. I believe he’s also a bodybuilder. There’s a stigma about how you can get protein when you’re vegan and he’s living proof that you can be vegan and buff and muscular. You don’t have to eat meat. If you want to be strong as an ox…well what do ox eat? They eat grass… Another one, I love By Chloe who was the first vegan winner of Cupcake Wars. I also like Ty Conscious Kitchen, his focus is on alkaline-vegan foods. There’s another one I saw on [PGS’s] Instagram, Shine with Plants. She’s another woman of color and her Instagram is EVERYTHING.
KF: You also share a lot of your favorite cruelty-free beauty products on your YouTube channel and blog. Why is that as important to your health and wellness as your diet?
JR: As I said before, with watching these documentaries and seeing the harsh conditions that the animals live in, I didn’t want to have to support industries that harm animals. And the makeup industry? Not all makeup is created equal in that sense. A lot of makeup, if it’s sold in China, is 100 percent guaranteed tested on animals…We can even talk about clothing…there’s so many other materials that weren’t made from animals. So many other options.
KF: Do you see a difference in accessibility or cost?
JR: I definitely have to say that there is. When we’re dealing with fast fashion. They build these mass factories, pay workers very little wages, sometimes with little health benefits, and they ship [the clothing] to America because it’s cheap. With vegan clothing items, however, I feel like there’s quality in those pieces. You can have those pieces for a long time. I feel like, with being a vegan and buying these clothing items, I’m more conscious about what I buy because they’re not cheap. It helps me take a pause and really think about faithful items that I want to have. Most of these items will last me a very long time. I just want something that’s going to last me.
KF: Out of the 10 tips you shared in your video on How to Be and Stay Vegan, what would you say is your #1 piece of advice for young women in college specifically who want to go vegan?
JR: Definitely do your research. Finding vegan blogs. Going on apps like Pinterest, Pinterest inspired me quite a bit. I also recently fell in love with Food Gawkers. Happy Cow is great for when you’re going out with friends and want to recommend a decent vegan restaurant nearby… I don’t want to give just one bit of advice because research is important, but meal prepping is also so important. There were times when I didn’t have time to cook and I would have to go to work hungry because I didn’t meal prep. So preparation is key, making a big batch of food at the beginning of the week so you’re off to a good start.
KF: How do you think meal prepping could fit in a college student’s schedule?
JR: From my experience, I had availability on the weekends or sometimes on a Friday I never had class. Sunday morning is probably a good time for meal prep. That way you can get it out of the way and have everything divvied up for the week.
KF: Alright. So typically for every interview, we ask what “PRETTY GIRLS SWEAT” means to you but since this is more oriented towards healthy eating, what does “PRETTY GIRLS SAVOR” mean to you?
JR: Nourishing your body from the inside out. It’s definitely what makes you beautiful from the inside out. Literally and figuratively.
KF: Was there anything else you wanted to add? Any other pieces of advice?
JR: “Let food be thy medicine.” –Hippocrates. I was sick and my doctor said to keep a 30-day food diary and give up wheat, dairy, and soy for 30 days and that’s exactly what I did… I am cured. A lot of people don’t realize how important what you eat is until you get sick or something detrimental happens.