INTERVIEW:MILENA MINA


This week we interviewed the lovely Milena Mina for our {in conversation} series. We are completely in love with her artistic vegan food creations she posts on Instagram and Tumblr, showing us how beautiful and delicious vegan food can be! Milena  gives us the breakdown on why she’s a high carb, low fat vegan and what it’s like being vegan in France.


Hi Mina! Tell us a bit about your childhood and background and how you feel that has influenced you today?

Firstly I must say that I lived until I was 17 by loving parents , with my little brother . They helped me become the person I am today : both fulfilled and happy . They taught me to be open- minded, free to make my own choices , with a thirst for discovery and always supported me . Despite being the only vegan in the family, it doesn’t stop them wanting to taste the dishes I cook!


When did you decide to go vegan and why?

When I was 17 I moved away to start University. It was during that time that I really became interested in what I was eating . I began to understand that what I had on my plate was a piece of flesh from a dead body. I realised that for my dinner to be in front of me and for my enjoyment, I was involved in the death of an animal. I did not want to be complicit in the killing. Also, if I found it revolting to kill a dog , why would I do the same thing to a pig or a cow ? During this year I started to reduce my intake of animal products, slowly going vegetarian, and in April 2015 I became totally vegan .


How did you first find going vegan and what were your biggest challenges?

During the first weeks it was a bit hard for me, I have to admit it! I had such a habit of eating biscuits that came from supermarkets, but inevitably they contained eggs so I had to lose that habit, and I had to learn to cook my own food. Not eating cheese was also a big change because I used to eat it so much. However , my body accustomed to going vegan very quickly. The biggest challenge when you become vegan is to explain to people who know you why you are changing your lifestyle. And to show them that something is wrong in our consumer society. People can say you can eat nothing, that, you’re deprived of lots of food, while it is not like that at all! You eat , but better and often people need to be shown to understand!



What do you friends and family think about you now being vegan?

As I said before, my parents are open minded people . However , they were afraid that by becoming vegan I would lose a lot of weight etc. When they saw that everything was fine for my health, and I felt better in my life and my body, they totally accepted my lifestyle. My brother loves meat so he thinks my diet is difficult, but he respects it.

For my boyfriend, I was already vegan when I met him. First he was surprised because I was the only vegan person he knew, but he totally accepted it and he never tried to make me change. Sometimes he teases me but he perfectly understands my lifestyle…even cooking vegan dishes for me ahahah! My friends were also a bit afraid for my health (everybody has stereotypes), but now they’ re just curious about what I eat and cook.


What’s your one health tip?

My advice is the following: first do not deprive yourself : eat what you want, and how much you want. Second , go at your own pace; it may take more time for some people to become vegan and it’s normal. We are all different , we must allow time for our bodies to get used and to ” detox ” from what we used to eat before. Do not try to go vegan overnight , because if you fail you will be disappointed in life! Also, I think everybody should be conscious about what is on their plate.


What’s it like being vegan in the city you live in?

It’s quite hard! I mean, in France you don’t have a lot of vegan food stores or restaurants. Also, not a lot of people are vegan, except maybe in Paris and don’t really know what veganism is! So you have to find solutions, to make them accept that your lifestyle is different from theirs, and you need to know where the good spots are! Also when you are with open minded people, they totally understand and accept you, and sometimes they become veryyyy curious! So at the end it’s quite funny!


Why do you think there has been such a rise in veganism over the last few years?

I think that maybe social media have helped. It has made us discover how easy it is to be a vegan. Also, everyday on Facebook or Instagram for example, you can find videos or pictures of horrible things done to animals. So I think people are more aware of what they have on their plate , and they understand that they are somehow complicit to that.



What made you decide to be a high carb low fat vegan?

I decided to become HCLF because I saw and read some articles about this lifestyle. Everybody said it was awesome because you had so much energy, your skin looks better, etc. Also, I love smoothies, potatoes, rice etc so I didn’t wanted to deprive myself just by eating things that contained low carbs!


What inspires you?

First thing is humanity. I know there is a lot of violence everywhere in our world today, but I don’t know, I have this idea in my mind that everybody has a good part. I’m a real optimistic person. So I truly believe that love can change everything. So lot of things inspire me : art, music, a good coffee with a sunrise in the morning, the whole world inspires me !


Tell us what made you start your tumblr?

I wanted to have a place to talk freely about veganism. I mean, on instagram you can do it, but you only have small captions and it’s quite different. On a blog, you can give details about a recipe, show pictures etc… also I wanted it to be accessible to all . Everybody doesn’t have Instagram so I wanted to make veganism more famous in the french community and show that it is quite simple to eat healthy and break down stereotypes about this lifestyle !


What goes into each of your posts?

A part of me : my whole heart I guess ahahah ! And always something positive.


How do you make your food look so tasty on Instagram?

I just cook like if I wanted to do something artistic : match colors, use brightly coloured foods and voila! Then I ‘m assuming that when it’s beautiful that it’s tasty too!


What’s your average day like? 

My typical day always starts the same way: I wake up with a good black coffee and music. The best clocks are where I can see the sun rise. Sometimes I wake up in the arms of my boyfriend, which is very nice and makes me feel like if I was a princess!

Then, I prepare a good breakfast (my favourite meal of the day!) which is good vitamin smoothie or a porridge! I taste it in my bed, enjoying the sunshine and listening to music; it puts me in a good mood. Then I have a good hot shower, I do my make up etc and I go to my psychology courses. At noon I come home to prepare a good meal or I eat the one I prepared the night before. Sometimes I also go to a yoga class at midday. In the afternoon I’m either at home or in college for my courses. If I’m at home I take the opportunity to meditate and do yoga, I try to do a little every day. Sometimes I also do some photography, or listen to music. At night I often share a good meal with my boyfriend and we spend our evening together until the next day!



Do you think you have a work/life balance?

Yes I really think so! I identified the things that were stressful to me and I put them out of my life. I enjoy much more of the small things in life now. Also I think I take care of myself by eating healthy without feeling deprived . Last week for example, I spent the evening with friends to eat homemade pizza (vegan for me of course!) The idea is to have fun healthy eating, to enjoy your life, and to spend good times with those you love. I don’t want to have regrets later, so I just share/spread/receive good vibes and I really think this is key to make your life balanced.


What’s the best part about being a student?

Well I don’t know if being a student is a real job but but it has big advantages. I meet many people who are creative , open-minded , from diverse universe. And I have time to devote myself to my other passions which are photography and cooking. The best part in this life is discovering new things! I can make new recipes for people I love for example but also I can take some photographs of them. My mind is free to create .


What words do you live by?

“Un ti ni fà, dumani u soli hà da vultà” this sentence is in Corsican ( the island where my family lives) , and it’s also a phrase I made tattooed on my ribs. This means that whatever happens today, tomorrow everything will be better , things will improve. I think this is my philosophy of life . We must live in the moment and appreciate the good things of life, and also the best that is yet to come.


What’s next for you?

I hope to become a psychologist, it is important to me as I want to help people. I would also like to improve my cooking to be able to live off of this passion and share it. I will cook and do photography all my life that’s for sure! I also want to discover the world, new cultures, meet lot of people and learn from them. So, at the end many things are coming and I’ll see where life takes me ….


Find Milena on Instagram here. If you are a vegan business, individual or blogger and are interested in being interviewed as part of our {in conversation} series, please get in touch at contact@theveganedition.com.

All images via Milena.

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