Youtube has been my loyal best friend—even though it takes away my time, energy and attention as well as irritating me with ads.
I still love it for its educational and entertaining content.
And it actually helped me see a whole different perspective in life—thanks to Vegan YouTubers!
It was around late 2014 when I came across the word veganism. At that point in my life, I was getting more interested in organic farming and healthy eating, as I learnt that there’s a connection between what we eat and the state of our mental health.
So the YouTube algorithm won me over and showed me videos I had never watched before:
WHAT I EAT AS A VEGAN
Little did I know then, I’d be using that phrase a lot a year later.
I was thinking back to that time and which vegan YouTubers had inspired me. I couldn’t quite remember everything as a lot has changed in terms of my preference.
So I looked back at my old video about being a Muslim Vegan (my first time coming out to the public as so, I suppose). In the description, I linked the resources for further study and also the YouTube channels that inspired me.
She’s an Australian woman who was documenting her vegan journey. Her then-boyfriend Tim appeared most of the time. It was nice looking at what they ate and they inspired me to eat overnight oats and banana nice cream.
In January 2019, she released a video saying she’s not vegan anymore and that created a whole drama on YouTube. This trend is not unique and it seemed that people (primarily Caucasians) were falling back from their vegan values or lifestyle.
The common reason is that they’re trying to cure a health condition.
In retrospect, I think that they put that on themselves.
When they started eating a vegan diet, they went to extremes of trying a range of diets prior to and during their vegan journey. They might have tried the keto or paleo diet before and then did a high carb low-fat diet or raw-til-4 as vegans.
That probably confused their gut so much.
But yeah, Bonny Rebecca inspired me a lot when I first started and I can’t say I wasn’t let down when she decided to eat fish and eggs again. I have since unfollowed her, not just because of that but also that her videos don’t serve me personally anymore.
This is another drama in and of itself.
It seems my journey into veganism was laden with drama that I was a highly entertained spectator of.
I’m glad that I’m not that kind of person to be put off by a drama and not being able to see the real subject matter i.e. veganism as a lifestyle that excludes animal exploitation.
Essena O’Neill is also an Australian who used to be best friends with Bonny Rebecca. They appeared in each other’s videos a lot. But then somehow there was a drama between them and another set of people (see point #3). I don’t quite remember what it was about, to be honest.
But anyway, to my knowledge, Essena is still vegan (yay!) but she’s not a vegan YouTuber anymore. After her social media disappearance 4 years ago (the year I became vegan) she reappeared in the public online sphere in November 2019 on Tiffany Ferg’s YouTube channel talking about her personal experience.
These ladies are twins and vegan YouTubers from America who mainly post about food and fitness.
I remember they used to do entertaining challenges as well. I’ve long unsubscribed because their content had become too chaotic for me to handle, but they are indeed a fun pair.
They somehow got into the Bonny Rebecca-Essena O’Neill drama. Again, I can’t quite remember how. But I think they met up at one point and just didn’t vibe along well.
And this is not uncommon—vegans not vibing well with each other, I mean. We might essentially share the same values but at the end of the day, we’re still humans with different personalities and interests. We can’t possibly vibe well with every single person we meet.
Nina and Randa are still plant-based vegans and they do still occasionally post “What I Eat” videos.
Ooh, now we’re talking.
Gary Yourofsky is a notable figure in the vegan scene. To some, he might seem extreme. To me, he’s just realistic and straight to the point—something many people are not used to.
His “Best Speech” video on YouTube gained lots of traction and had turned people vegan overnight from watching it. It didn’t have that immediate effect on me but it definitely moved me and set me on that path with no turning back.
He has retired from the vegan activism scene and I hope that he’s living a peaceful life right now surrounded by animals.
He’s no longer active on the social media sphere and he deleted all his videos from his page. He used to be a vegan YouTuber creating vlogs and vegan-related videos. The channel name has now apparently changed to DISRUPT.
Ali is the director of the documentary film Seaspiracy which was released in March 2021.
This film highlighted the connection between the seafood industry and ocean degradation.
Fun fact: I had unknowingly crossed paths with him in London in the summer of 2015. I didn’t even know him at that time as I was only starting to be aware of the vegan community. Apparently, they did some sort of a demonstration at Trafalgar Square. There were people lying down in bodysuits that showed their ‘meat’. It was only after I took these pictures that I realised that he was there.
6. JAMES ASPEY
James is known for doing the 365 days vow of silence for the animals. He didn’t talk for a whole year and then appeared on mainstream news media to talk about his stance. He’s a really good speaker so the fact that he stayed silent for a whole year really impressed me.
His videos used to be about street activism and I personally find this type of video interesting to watch. However, he no longer does that and seems to have gone from doing vegan activism to crypto shilling. In the comment section under several YouTube videos, there has been quite a number of people saying that he is scamming the animal advocacy community out of their money with what appears to be crypto pump and dump schemes.
This video by Maggie Sargent was my introduction to this whole spectacle as well as revealing how James Aspey treated this sanctuary owner named Dorothy very poorly. You can also read more about this here.
Furthermore, he has also got cancelled for being a white supremacist, racist, and anti-semite.
I don’t know what his agenda is right now but it just doesn’t feel right. If you’re a new vegan, I’d advise you to stay away from his content. He’s not a vegan YouTuber anymore in my eyes.
If you’d like to learn about street activism, I’d suggest you check out Joey Carbstrong instead.
This Vegan YouTuber is more of a fact-based in-depth discussion about veganism. Expect some debunking videos even within the vegan bubble.
This is similar to Unnatural Vegan but probably a bit more controversial. I think I came across this channel when I was looking up whether honey is vegan or riding a horse is ethical. The discussions are really eye-opening and definitely shook my pre-existing beliefs.
9. TIM SHIEFF
OH MY GOD I ADMIRED THIS DUDE SO MUCH.
Mostly because he was a vegan parkour athlete and I was so fascinated with parkour. Sadly, he doesn’t do as much parkour now and he’s not vegan anymore.
It’s funny because he called himself the Vegan Prince at one point and that name kind of stuck.
He’s known to have done various types of diets (see the pattern here?) and had drunk his own piss. Yes, true story.
He even co-founded an ethical clothing brand called ETHCS!
Ever since he announced that he’s not vegan anymore, he handed ETHCS over to his team and is no longer involved in that, which I think is a respectable move. I’ve since unfollowed him because I need to protect my energy and I just can’t follow people who fall back on their morals after advocating it for so long.
It’s like cheating on your partner.
To clarify, I do acknowledge that opinions change and I don’t necessarily dislike people for changing their beliefs.
But in terms of veganism, especially when they’ve advocated the GOOD of it and ACKNOWLEDGED more benefits than harm, and then to FALL BACK on those beliefs—I’m sorry, I can’t.
Gosh, people in URL have played with my heart!
I first came across Jake Mace when I was learning about martial arts. He did Kung Fu and had many videos on that. I liked him then and I like him now. He’s steadfast in his holistic view of life that food and fitness complement each other and that eating plant-based whole foods help the physical body towards peak performance.
And I feel that martial arts are a whole set of values that complements the vegan lifestyle.
He’s currently living his off-grid lifestyle which I’m aspiring towards one day.
11. HOT FOR FOOD
Looking at my list so far, I realised that I haven’t included one dedicated vegan cooking channel. That’s because, with food, I pick and choose which videos I want to watch. And in terms of subscribing to a channel, I look for their variety of content and personalities.
But Hot For Food is different. It is a cooking channel but they also incorporated their personalities. It started with a couple, Lauren and I forgot the dude’s name, but they broke up some while back and it’s now just Lauren’s channel.
Since then I’m into other vegan food channels but this was one of the first that I actually enjoyed when I started my vegan journey. I think it’s where I learnt about scrambled tofu.
The fact that I’m still vegan even though a few then vegan YouTubers on this list are no longer vegan, shows that I’m not easily swayed.
I’m glad to have gone through the disappointment because it has made me stronger.
If you’re just starting out on your vegan journey or seem to be losing the drive, SEEK INSPIRATION. YouTube has no paywall as it’s governed by ad revenues. So take advantage of that and subscribe to inspiring vegan YouTubers. Also, don’t be afraid to unsubscribe to a channel if it doesn’t serve you anymore.
Keep educating yourself and discover all the vegan goodness!
And if you need more tips, check out my post on how to stay vegan for more than 5 years.