The Reluctant Vegan Interview Series: Renee Buckingham

If you’re a vegan who lives in Sydney, you’ve definitely come across the Sydney Vegan Guide on Facebook and Instagram (with a cool following of 30,000 and growing).

But you may not have met the face behind it all – the awesome Renee Buckingham!

Starting the guide purely as a hobby after going vegan, the Sydney Vegan Guide is an account you need to follow for the best places to eat in Sydney – and an account you want to be seen on if you’re a restaurant or cafe.

We caught up with Renee on the Reluctant Vegan podcast after her recent move to Melbourne (and subsequent start of the Melbourne Vegan Guide) and chatted with her about going vegan, the changes she’s seen in the space and why living wholeheartedly is in her blood.

“My identity now has come from veganism. I found myself and got in touch with myself (by becoming vegan).”

“I just wanted to do a month cleanse trial. Once I did it, I thought this lifestyle was something I wanted to tap into. I literally just did it because someone asked me to.”

“A friend encouraged me to start it (@sydneyveganguide) – I just did it… and 23,000 followers later its pretty much a job and a huge passion of mine.”

“I didn’t do it to get anything out of it, just literally for my own benefit, it’s changed people lives and its changed business. It’s a very rewarding thing.”

“The first time I got invited to a restaurant to eat for free and be a vegan review I was sitting with people from Zomato, and they were like who are you?? I felt like I was nobody.”

“The vegan community is so supporting and uplifting and inspiring. I’ve seen so many people find themselves or their business from becoming vegan. (The community) is never going to stop growing. It’s rewarding to be a part of that.”

“(Being able to) change one person’s daily intake of animal products is a huge step.”

“Why wouldn’t businesses make the shift? No one’s ever lost business by going vegan.”

“If you don’t cater for vegans, you’re missing out. The vegan community are so loyal. If they like somewhere, they’ll go back.”

“A lot of people don’t understand veganism so they are scared of it.”

“If you’re going to give something to one of your hobbies, give it wholeheartedly.”

“How are you meant to be alive when what you are eating is dead?”

“I wish I would have known how it (going vegan) would have made my feel. I wish there was an idol for me to have looked at to see how I could live.”

Listen to our latest podcast with Renee and plenty more guests at reluctantvegan.com.au/podcast and be sure to follow the @SydneyVeganGuide, the @MelbVeganGuide and for our overseas listeners, the Sister account to Sydney and Melbourne, the @NewYorkVeganGuide.