You first heard about Carol Hunt in my shameless teaser here. She is a beautiful woman – inside and out – and is a walking, talking example of what she believes about life, love, and animals, even the human ones.
She is someone I have wanted to interview since the beginning of this blog. She *always* personified self-care, even when she thinks she didn’t. What she didn’t realize is that she was doing the best she could… and when she could do better, she did.
And while she was figuring all this stuff out for herself, I was busy figuring out my stuff too. We were two people traveling a path that wove in and out of each other’s lives.
And now, we are here.
I love so many things about Carol, including her authenticity and compassion. I’m very pleased that she agreed to my interview and I hope you feel the same way!
1) You are an advocate for vulnerable people and animals. How did you get involved?
Yes, I advocate for people and animals – well people are animals too, right? I started my blog not only to express myself but also to advocate for all living creatures. I am especially involved in animal rights and human rights with a leaning towards mental health issues. I became involved because of my own struggle with anxiety and depression, and my daughter’s struggle with bipolarism and borderline personality disorder. There are very few resources for mental health that are easily accessible, especially when you consider folks with these illnesses are often crippled emotionally to the point where they can’t navigate our very convoluted and lacking system. Listening to an automated phone directory, for instance, is beyond anyone in the throes of panic or depression, unless they have someone to help them, they don’t get much treatment at all.
Our four-legged friends are even lower on the compassion totem pole than the mentally ill. As an animal lover, I started to realize I was being a hypocrite if I saw cows, pigs, and chickens differently. Agricultural animals are treated like a commodity (which they are in this society) and are not afforded the same animal rights as dogs and cats. It breaks my heart to see images of what actually happens in factory farming and slaughterhouses. Sadly, many people who see these images or hear the horror stories don’t equate that with the hamburger they are biting into. No one cares how ag animals are treated because the end result is dead anyway, It’s called cognitive dissonance and it happens at all levels of our society.
I feel if we can find respect and compassion towards animals then surely that will leach into how society then treats people. It’s really all one issue: animal rights.
2) Your work with animals has led you to choose veganism as a lifestyle (and boy, have I been impressed!). Tell me what has changed in your mind and body since beginning this journey.
I actually started out plant-based, rather than vegan, to deal with high cholesterol. Plant-based is what you eat; being vegan is what you are, a mindset, a lifestyle. After I started eating plant-based, as a writer, I did oodles of research and started seeing examples of the monstrous mistreatment of ag animals.
I was already advocating for our local humane society for pets, and I was against hunting and fur fashions, and once I realized what was going on in the name of “food”, I quickly realized I wanted to walk the vegan path, and include ag animals, wild animals, and animals in captivity in my advocacy activities.
So much has changed for me! I lost about 15 lbs without trying; my cholesterol dropped into the safe zone within months; I found a niche for myself emotionally which fulfills me, and I have made so many new friends and learned so much! Going vegan has been the best decision I have ever made.
3) You are deeply spiritual. How does that manifest itself into your day-to-day life?
I can thank my mother for my spirituality. We were raised Catholic, but we were never limited to one faith. She taught us kids to respect all faiths and all spiritual paths. She came from an area in England, near Pendle Hill, which is very well known for its “witches” and she believed in and loved the fairy folk.
We actually grew up thinking all this was very normal and were kind of astonished to learn, as we got older, that not everyone embraced these ideas. The afterlife was and is very real to me and so I expanded my knowledge into paranormal areas, studied spiritualism, meditation, divination, healing, and communication with spirit. I feel I am something of a pagan: I connect more with nature-based beliefs now.
4) Can you share a couple of your fave vegan recipes – hint: I must know about the mac & cheese! LOL
I love to cook, and “veganizing” my old favourites has been a fun challenge! Here is my recipe for Vegan Mac n Cheze, and Black Bean burgers.
Vegan Mac n Cheze has a really cheesy taste, creamy texture – you won’t believe there is no dairy!
2 cups of potatoes, 1 cup carrots, ½ cup water, 1/3 cup of vegan butter or oil, 2 tsp salt, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, ½ cup nutritional yeast (henceforth known as “nooch”), ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp onion powder, cayenne (optional) to taste.
Cook chopped spuds and carrots til soft, plonk everything into a blender and blend until it is creamy smooth. (You can also add 2 tablespoons of tapioca starch when blending to make it stretchy-ish) Pour over noodles of choice, sprinkle vegan cheese shreds on top if desired. Add salsa if you wish to make a cheesy salsa chip dip.
Black Bean Burgers are a crowd pleaser – everyone loves them.
1 chopped onion, 1 cup cooked rice (brown preferred), 1 cup bread crumbs, 2 cups canned black beans, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp cumin, 2 tablespoons ketchup (I have also used tomato sauce with a pinch of sugar) 2 tablespoons oil.
Pulse onions, rice, breadcrumbs, beans, and spices in blender or food processor until choppy (some will be smooth, some will be lumpy. Sometimes I mash half the beans by hand and add them to the blended mix) Cook in 350 deg oven for about 10 mins. You can fry them or bbq them. Brush lightly with oil to bbq and fry.
For a really to-die-for dinner, place black bean burger on bun bottom, and pour above cheese sauce with salsa mixed in over top! Garnish with fresh jalapenos, tomatoes, and cilantro.
Yikes – I just invented that as I wrote this!
5) What does self-care look like in your life?
Oh self-care – why dost thou elude me? Ha ha! I’m the worst for self-care. I’m a classic “giver” and find it hard to say “no”. I’m an empath; I feel everything and everybody deeply and I always want to help which is emotionally tiring. I am trying to incorporate saying ‘no’ more as part of my self-care, so I can focus on the things I need to be well. I have always needed a lot of “me” time, and all my life that has been in short supply. I also love to create; I love painting/sketching; sewing/knitting and many other crafts. Spending time creating is very therapeutic for me, and I’m trying to allow myself more time for that too.
6) Bonus Question since I know you love to read. Who are your favorite
Oh favourite authors. There are so many. But I guess I would narrow it down to: Stephen King (for my love of the macabre), Daphne DuMaurier (that gothic drama!) Charlotte Bronte (pre-feminism feminism), Michael Crichton (scientific chills and thrills), and Gloria Steinham (all hail the queen!) There are really too many to list.
Facebook: carol hunt @badpuppyblogs (https://www.facebook.com/BadpuppyBlogs)