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Veg (Pinoy) From Around the World: Jaynee Ruiz — San Francisco

Jaynee Ruiz  is the blogger of  “Vegan Ilokana”.

She’s a thrity-something year old Filipina (Pinay) who was born and raised in California.  Besides Veganism and being proud of her Filipino roots, she enjoys music, art, film photography, reading, cooking, snowboarding (since she was sixteen and proud of it!!!), practicing Bikram Yoga, and running.

AstigV had the chance to interview our fellow Vegan Pinay blogger.

From dispelling myths to sharing personal stories, Jaynee Ruiz shares her world of being a “Vegan Ilokana”.

1. How did you learn Filipino cooking?
Growing up, my parents and grandmas always cooked Filipino food, in particular, Ilokano food.  I LOVE food and tasting all the flavors and elements of a dish.  My parents and grandmas taught me the basics of cooking Filipino food and I basically took off from there.

2. Was it hard to veganize Filipino food? Why?
For the dishes that I posted on my blog, it wasn’t hard to veganize at all. Although, 
Ilokano vegetable dishes has been really hard for me to veganize because most of the vege dishes incorporate a particular kind of bagoong that I have yet to try to attempt to veganize.  

3. What does your family and friends think about your veganism?

It took my family some time to get used to me being Vegan.  I was teased a little in the beginning about being Vegan but they got over it.  Also, being Vegan to them meant that I still ate seafood because it wasn’t “meat” to them.  This made it hard to eat at family parties because I had to constantly explain to them what being Vegan meant and that I didn’t eat seafood.  It took time for my family to understand what it means being Vegan but now they totally understand the lifestyle and are very supportive.

My friends and Husband are extremely supportive of my Vegan lifestyle and are always accommodating whenever we have dinner parties or go out for dinners.

4. What does being vegan mean to you?
Veganism is a lifestyle.  It’s more than just a diet that some people may think.  It’s a way of life.  Veganism is a political statement that I make to give animals a voice in our society about all the inhumane and unethical treatment that goes on in our society.

5. Why did you create your blog, Vegan Ilokana?

I created the Vegan Ilokana blog to document my recipes and my favorite restaurants.  At the time, there weren’t many Vegan Filipino Recipes out there and I just wanted to share my creations with other folks searching for Vegan Filipino recipes.  I recently decided to take down my recipes though because I want to eventually launch a cookbook.   As for now, my blog is still evolving.

6. What’s your favorite dish and why?

My favorite Vegan Filipino dish on my blog are my Vegan Empanadas.

7. Any advice to those thinking of going vegan?
Watching documentaries on our country’s industrial production of food and society’s treatment of animals is a must.  The documentary, Earthlings, is a must for all those thinking about going Vegan.  I would also suggest reading literature about animal treatment.  My favorite books are 1)  Animal Liberation by Peter Singer 2)  Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism by Melanie Joy 3)  Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer 4) Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin.   5)  Vegan Freak:  Being Vegan in a Non-Vegan World by Bob Torres   6) Becoming Vegan by Brenda Davis

I also subscribe to the magazine Vegan News to keep me informed with the latest Vegan happenings around the world.

8. Additional comments?
People always ask me if it’s hard to be Vegan.  It really actually isn’t.  If you are going Vegan for the all the right reasons it’s not hard at all.  You become more aware of what you put into your body and making sure you getting all the nutrients you need.  One benefit of being Vegan is, it forces you to eat healthy whole foods, which you definitely won’t get at a fast food restaurant.   I don’t miss eating meat or seafood.  I don’t miss eggs, cheese, or anything made with milk products.  I don’t miss buying leather.  I love animals.  I love being Vegan.  

 I also run marathons and I’m always training for the next race.  I’m able to run fast and run hard on a Vegan diet.  Being Vegan helps me stay strong, energized and healthy for running full and half marathons.  

Thanks Jaynee for breaking it down for us and sharing your perspectives on the vegan lifestyle. More power to you sistah!


To see other guest posts, click here



TJ & RG at AstigVegan would love to hear your own unique veg adventures to share with our readers.

Whether it be with an essay, photo, video, recipe,
we’re excited to feature you!

Just email us at


2 thoughts on “Veg (Pinoy) From Around the World: Jaynee Ruiz — San Francisco

    • Hello! Nice to “meet” you. I’m glad to find yet another Vegan Filipino. How long have you been transitioning to veganism? Let me know how the recipes turn out. Keep in touch!

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