Twin Cities VegFest Spotlight: Pamela Ziemann

Name: Pamela Ziemann

City: Sequim, WA on the Olympic Peninsula.

Occupation: Solo Performer, Educator, Author

What inspired you to switch to a plant-based diet?
I loved talking with cows when I was growing up. They were the best listeners ever! I saw one of them with a broken leg being pulled onto a trailer. My dad encouraged me to ride along and see the butchering process. It was the most insensitive thing I’d ever witnessed. Later, my mom was serving lasagna and I realized it was the cow I’d seen, my friend, being butchered.  That’s when I stopped eating meat. I can still see the fear in her eyes and that was about 4 decades ago.

Like many people, I didn’t make the dairy connection until years later. What inspired me to go vegan was my workout buddy who decided to stop eating all animal products. I told her I’d try it with her for 21 days. Having her as an accountability partner made all the difference. After the 21 days, I completely lost my appetite for dairy and eggs.

About the same time, I saw the documentary Peaceable Kingdom.
The moment I saw Snickers (the cow) bump into Harold Brown’s chest ‘breaking him open’ my heart opened too. I related at a core level when he talked about how farm kids are expected to turn off their feelings when it comes to certain animals. It was ok to love a dog, but cows, pigs and chickens didn’t seem to matter.

Did you notice any physical or mental differences after transitioning to a plant-based diet?
In the beginning, I was just avoiding animal products and still eating a lot of processed food. I didn’t notice a huge difference. But, when I went whole-foods, plant-based, the pounds dropped off. Now when I avoid oil and sugar I notice my joints feel better.
Something shifted in my mind as well. It’s one of those things that’s a little tricky to describe. 
Someone told me once they had more mental clarity when they went vegan. I thought to myself, “What are they talking about? I have mental clarity!”

Then when I went vegan, I knew exactly what they were talking about. Like a veil dropped. The veil that protected me from seeing what I was doing that wasn’t aligned with my values. That’s when the mental clarity about every aspect of my life opened up.
What I’ve noticed is that this lifestyle is much more than just food choices. By witnessing and respecting all life, I feel more respect for myself and that I matter.

Are you affiliated with any vegan-related organizations?
Port Townsend and Beyond Vegan Meetup (Washington State)

What do you do to stay physically active?
I walk my dog Ruby every day and sometimes chase her around the house. I also play table tennis, it’s great exercise mentally and physically. There’s a 91-year-old woman where I play who still kicks my butt. (Not every game though.)

Is there a book or movie you’d like to encourage people to check out regarding veganism?
Movies: Year of the Dog to watch with family members who don’t understand why you’re vegan (if you did it for animals). It’s poignant, not preachy, and at the same time, playfully honest.

I also recommend Iron Jawed Angels (free on YouTube) It’s not a vegan movie but I think activists can learn a lot from it. It’s a true story that was kept out of our history books. It documents how women got the right to vote, how they stayed inspired, what they had to go through and how they were smart about making changes in society where people didn’t want to change. All of this can be applied to veganism.

Forks Over Knives for people who are concerned about their health, Cowspiracy for people who are concerned about the environment, and Peaceable Kingdom for animal lovers.

Book: World Peace Diet by Dr. Will Tuttle. He covers all aspects of veganism, even some you may not have thought about.

Favorite local restaurant: When I’m in Minneapolis I enjoy the cornmeal crusted black bean burger with homemade guacamole on a sprouted organic bun at French Meadow on Lyndale Ave. However, looking at the Herbivorous Butcher menu, it may become my new favorite! When I find a place that’s ALL vegan I feel happier eating there.

Favorite place to buy groceries: I’m thankful for the St. Peter Food Coop. It’s halfway between the Minneapolis airport and my parents' farm in Fairmont and is a good place to stock up on organic and local products. They have sprouts and micro greens, too!

Tell us one thing on your bucket list: To perform my full one-woman show at the Minneapolis Fringe Festival in 2017.

What’s one piece of advice you would offer someone who is working on the transition to a plant-based diet?
Hang out with as many veg-friendly, uplifting people as possible. You can find them at meetup groups or plant-based cooking classes. If that’s not available to you, watch uplifting documentaries and stay focused on the reasons you’re making a plant-based diet your goal.

You can see Pamela speak at Twin Cities VegFest on October 30 at 1:30pm. Learn more about Pamela on her website:

RSVP to our Facebook event for TCVegFest for sneak peeks at our menu offerings and other news.

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