03 Sep DJ Tigerlily
Is DJ Tigerlily the world’s coolest vegan? We think she just might be!
DJ TIGERLILY AKA Dara Hayes, travels the world playing to massive crowds and mixing it with mega celebrities all year round. She’s been hailed Australia’s favourite DJ three years running, is an ambassador for Adidas and a spokesperson for RUOK Day. She’s even got a degree in media and communications. But for this beautiful babe, her main passion is animals and living a cruelty-free life.
Gently Vegan’s Lifestyle Director, Shonagh Walker, was recently lucky enough to sit down and talk all things kindness and compassion with her.
Shonagh Walker: You are a huge animal lover and have the most gorgeous dog, Lenny. Is this what inspired you towards a vegan lifestyle?
Dara Hayes: Yes! I went vegan for three main reasons; my health, the animals and the environment. Once I started to learn about the impact that consuming animal product had on these three elements, I couldn’t do anything but change my diet and lifestyle to a whole food plant-based routine, which basically means vegan.
My parents always taught me as a child to use the information that you are presented with, and make an informed decision looking at all the elements. Learning about what animal product does to your health, the environment, and the way that animals are treated, left me with no other option than to change my lifestyle.
SW: How old were you when you realised you wanted to live life as a vegan?
DH: I wanted to be vegan when I was young girl, but my parents weren’t very keen on it, from memory. One Christmas Eve, my family was having a big dinner (all the meat – turkey, ham, chicken etc.) and I decided I didn’t want to eat any of it!
Instead, I put each piece of meat in my mouth, pretended to chew, and then carefully took it out of my mouth and threw it under my chair! Needless to say, I got in a lot of trouble after that. It was in my early 20’s however that I really started to gravitate towards the vegan lifestyle and finally made the necessary changes.
SW: What has been vegan taught you about humanity and how has it allowed you to grow as a person?
DH: It has honestly been the best decision I have ever made. It has given me so much more compassion for animals and for people that work with animals and has made me really conscious about the way I consume on a day to day basis.
SW: Do you feel healthier as a vegan?
DH: One million times healthier. I can’t even begin to describe how positively amazing I feel. I have been dealing with gut issues for quite a long time, and every single health practitioner or specialist that I have seen has said that because of my whole food plant-based diet, I have been able to keep my condition under control, and that If I wasn’t vegan, I would probably be a whole lot sicker.
SW: How did your relationship with Adidas And Parley for the Oceans come about? Can you chat a little about what it means to you and why you became involved?
DH: I’ve been signed to Adidas as an ambassador for two years now and love working with a company that is making really positive changes and steps to becoming more environmentally friendly. Adidas know how much animals and the environment mean to me, so when they knew of the opportunity to collaborate with Parley, they asked me immediately as they knew I would love to be involved. It’s really important for me to align my business with others that mirror my beliefs and values.
SW: What does it mean to you to be part of the Adidas Parley Ocean Squad?
DH: I feel really proud to be part of this project and am really in awe of Adidas and the massive changes they are making. I can’t wait to see how the brand continues to be a leader of change in this regard and am looking forward to continuing to be involved in this project!
SW: Your schedule is a hectic one; with plenty of travel and long hours … how hard is it to follow a vegan diet with this lack of routine?
DH: I think it’s no harder than following any other diet when you’re busy. When you’re busy, you’re busy, it’s all about making your health a priority. Almost always there are healthy options available. For me, having go to recipes that can be made in 10 minutes or less is really good, as well as always having healthy options in my fridge. Taking snacks on long journeys also helps. Sometimes, you will be stuck, especially overseas and in airports, but I focus on the 80/20 rule… keeping healthy 80 percent of the time, and not worrying about the other 20 percent!
SW: How do you cope if/when people ‘vegan shame’ you? When they ask things like, “where do you get your iron?” or “But we are made to eat animals, you’ll be missing out?” and those kinds of questions?
DH: To be honest, when people ask me these questions, I feel so sorry for them, that they haven’t educated themselves properly, and they don’t understand the fundamentals of diet and nutrition. I always try and be as polite as possible and explain what I know and understand, also with the realisation, that if they aren’t ready to hear the truth, or the facts, then it’s like talking to a brick wall. I’m very conscious of the fact that we are all on our own journey and at very different stages of our life. Practising non-judgement is a daily practise.
SW: As a vegan, how easy/hard do you find it to feed your dog ethically? Do you raise it as a vegan? I know there are lots of amazing vegan dog food brands out there.
DH: To be 100 percent honest with you, my dog isn’t vegan, and I’m okay with that. I’m hoping I don’t offend anyone reading this, but this is personally what my partner and I have decided for our dog Lenny. Long story short, I did some research before we got him, and it scared me reading some of the health issues that dogs and cats could potentially encounter if they don’t get the right nutrition from their diet.
The food I do feed him is all organic, grain free, filler free etc., and I shop locally for all of it. His diet consists mostly of dry food, as he is still a puppy his stomach is quite sensitive. My partner will sometimes go up to our local butcher and get him some bones/offcuts that would otherwise be thrown out. Once again, I’m okay with this, and as much as it grosses me out, I know it’s important for him to have a balanced diet, in addition to this we are using parts of the animal that may otherwise be wasted.
SW: What is daily life like for you?
DH: My daily life is very different to my weekends, which are crazy with work and travel. Because of this I’m going to run through my week day life….
• Wake up at 6am and have a snuggle with Scott and Lenny
• Wander down to the park for a play with the other dogs
• Coffee at my local cafe Piccolos in Rozelle, using my Keep Cup of course. I have a strong almond latte! YUM!
• Home to begin my morning routine which consists of things like a cool shower, oil pulling, tongue brushing, stretching and meditation…
• Breakfast time; often organic oats cooked in water, with banana, berries, peanut butter and Tropeaka Vegan Protein
• Work time: lots of emails, meetings, planning and collaborating with my creative assistant, making music in the studio, or organising my podcast.
• Afternoon workout at the gym, I train at Lift Performance in Sydney
• Evening: time to switch off from work, take Lenny for his second walk along the bay, and cook dinner for Scott.
I love to keep things simple in the kitchen because it’s better for my stomach and I’m usually exhausted by the end of the day. Big stir fries, green curries, or Mexican bowls are my favourite.
SW: Do you have any fave vegan make-up brand? love them?
DH: Kat Von D has recently turned her whole range Vegan and I use a heap of her products on my face religiously!
SW: What is your absolute indulgence?
DH:Vegan Ice-Cream. Either Over The Moo or Ben and Jerrys! YUM!
SW: Have you ever had incidents where you became low in iron or other vitamins and if so, how did you balance it out?
DH: Yup I have. I get a blood test every six months to track my levels of everything and am working with a gut specialist at the moment to try and tackle my stomach issue head on. Because I train really regularly I supplement quite a lot, under the close guidance of my trainer who is qualified not just in Personal Training but also in Nutrition.
The most important thing when it comes to supplementation is that you are purchasing brands that are good quality. Brands like FUSION, POLLOQUIN, or BIOCEUTICALS are really good quality… if you’re using other brands that you can find in any chemist, they are usually no good, and your body won’t absorb the goodness. Although these brands that you find in health food stores are going to be more expensive, you pay for what you get.
Supplements that I regularly use include: B12, Iron, Magnesium (Topical; Salt Lab), MultiVitamin, Curcumin, Spirulina, Vitamin D.
SW: What advice would you offer for those embarking on their kindness journey towards a vegan lifestyle?
DH: Be easy on yourself. Take it step by step, day by day. Don’t put pressure on yourself to be perfect because none of us are. Don’t focus so much on labels.
If you are vegan except for say consuming one thing that you can’t live without, be proud of yourself for making the commitment in 95 percent of your life, don’t hate on yourself for not being able to commit fully.
What we do 80percent of the time is going to create the biggest impact on our health and the environment.
SW: Anything you’d love to add?
DH: I think it’s really important for everyone who follows a vegan lifestyle to be gentle on other vegans. I have copped so much bullying online from fellow vegans who criticise elements of my lifestyle, or slip ups that I’ve accidentally made, to the point where I reconsidered if I wanted to be part of the vegan community.
It really upset me that people who I thought were my extended vegan family could be so awful. We are all fighting the same fight, but at the same time, we are also all at different stages of our journey and it’s so important to respect that whole heartedly.
Interview with Lifestyle and Beauty editor Shonagh Walker