A while ago we were lucky enough to catch up with Gregg Lowe for one of our most inspiring interviews yet! Gregg talks to us about compassion, authenticity and community and how he balances work, travel and veganism since going vegan 5 years ago. Read on to find out more about this incredibly genuine and authentic guy…
Hi Gregg! Tell us a bit about your background and how you feel that has influenced you going vegan?
Well I’ve always been health and fitness conscious anyway so that’s always been quite high in terms of my priorities. What really made me go vegan though is when I was given the book Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. Once I had read that I really couldn’t go back, I couldn’t unread or unlearn those things and that’s what really made me turn vegan at the start.
I think when you go vegan it really makes you take a step back. It’s all about compassion and it starts at the food, but it doesn’t end there. For me, being vegan is the minimum I can do to live a more compassionate life. After that everything else follows; from showing compassion in my relationships, the products I buy, and everything else in my life.
I am also a practising Buddhist and I started getting interested in Buddhism when I was really young, maybe around 17-18 so I think because so much of that is about being mindful anyway, going vegan is only one small way of showing that.
What were the main challenges you faced when first going vegan; in particular with your job and travelling?
One thing I always do, and particularly did at the beginning is I always go prepared. I always wanted to make sure I was just carrying food around, just in case. For me though the things that other people normally say are difficult; like finding enough food or missing cheese weren’t an issue. It was more that I felt really strongly about veganism and the main challenge was I wanted everyone else to be vegan too, so I definitely tried to push that on people at the start.
I guess it is more of a social thing too that can be difficult. I think though as soon as you stop trying to press others into going vegan then it’s completely fine and everyone is supportive.
What do you friends & family think about you now being vegan?
As I’ve been vegan for around 5 years now, everyone is just used to it. Also bit by bit I started getting involved in the vegan community so I have a lot more vegan friends now too which makes things easy. My sister also went vegan in June/ July time which is great, I got her!
What’s your one health tip?
Just one is tough! A lot of people always think I look really young; like 18 or something and are always shocked at my age and ask me what my secret is. The things I always say are to drink lots of water, eat vegetables and breathe. The vegan lifestyle is obviously important but avoiding stress is the biggest thing by being happy, smiling and breathing.
What’s it like being vegan in the city you live in?
Well having been based in Toronto, it is amazing for being vegan! There’s vegan pizza places, vegan butchers, vegan everything! London is fine but it’s not as good as it should be. What I find with London is that there are vegan junk food places but actually not that many vegan places to eat clean and healthy food. I do think that is changing more and more though. Being vegan isn’t weird anymore, and most people know what that means so that makes things a lot easier too!
How did you find going vegan in other elements of your life?
It’s interesting because there are so many paths that draw people in to going vegan that normally when someone connects with one element of the vegan lifestyle, then they can’t really ignore or deny the others areas whether it’s the environmental impact, sustainability or health.
It’s kind of a snowball effect and you become aware of all the other areas of the vegan lifestyle. So for me it wasn’t difficult to apply going vegan to my entire life.
Why do you think there has been such a rise in veganism over the last few years?
The Media and Youtube in particular, has played a massive part. The access that people have to each other as well nowadays with Facebook, Instagram, and other social networks. Social networks have really connected people and created communities. I also think people are really waking up to meditation and spirituality, and as people have become aware of the benefits these things have all really started to really trend. People just learn by osmosis as well.
What inspires you?
Community – having a great support network that really gives you strength to do things that you really believe in. It is really important.
What’s your average day like?
I can tell you what an average morning is like! I get up pretty early; I try and get all the important stuff done before anyone else is awake. I drink lots of water and then meditate for about an hour. After I normally write for about half an hour and go to the gym for some exercise and then the day just unfolds… The rest of the day can involve learning scripts, auditioning, doing voice-overs and meeting people.
Do you think you have a work/life balance?
I don’t feel like I have a job because I do what I love and so it never feels like work to me. It feels like a weekend every day for me and it’s always sort of felt like that! My first acting class was when I was 5 and my first job was when I was 8 so it’s something I’ve always done really. The downside is that I often don’t know when my next job is coming from but even when I am in breaks between jobs I’m still working on my craft and still working in other ways.
What words do you live by?
Compassion definitely. And also in body, speech and mind. I think it’s so important to realise that you can’t be healthy in mind without your body and healthy in the body without being healthy in mind.
What’s next for you?
The next project I’m working on with a few others is working on opening a mindfulness centre. It is really to create a space that is free and people can come and mediate. It is something that doesn’t really exist in London right now. Another element of the centre will be the vegan aspect, which will really be to showcase vegan food, and other products.
Workwise I’m not sure yet. There are a few things I am waiting on at the moment but we will have to see. The other thing that’s next for me is settling for a while in London and seeing how that goes…
Inspired to take action? Watch Gregg’s latest project; Swine here.
If you are vegan brand, blogger or individual and are interested in being interviewed as part of our series please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
All images by Gregg Lowe.