karo tak: leading by example
Activism through food, yoga, animals, and good vibes.
An activist, an advocate, a feminist- just a few of many ways to describe Karo Tak (@karoveganator). Karo spends her days traveling the world sharing with others love, kindness and vegan cheese! – “Because the cows are my pals!” Otherwise known as The Veganator, Karo spends her best days leading by example, and making the world a more compassionate place- one act at at time!
Karo and I share many things, but a zip code certainly is not one of them. Residing in Lisbon, Portugal, many miles from us here on the East Coast in the States, Karo and I met online through our shared love for animals. Through years of stumbling into life’s brilliant experiences, Karo has dedicated her days to fighting for the animals and having a great time doing it! She is the creator of GO PAL VEGAN CHEESE, a company launched in December of 2015, and the co-founder of FoodPrintz Cafe, a food, yoga, education and cruelty-free organization designed with compassion in every detail. Karo’s mission in life, her activism, and her desire to leave the world better than she found it have allowed her to arrive at her beautiful purpose- being a pink-haired superhero kicking ass and saving animals!
“GO means cow and PAL protector. Gopal or Gopala, is a name for the child Krishna. To Hindus, the cow is seen as a symbol of the Earth: she gives and gives, selflessly, and asks very little in return…Like Gopal(a), I too want to be a cow protector and bring vegan cheese to the people of Lisbon and beyond. GO PAL!”
It was difficult choosing just a handful of questions for Karo, since everything she posts on her website and social media inspire me, and leave me aching to know more! However, I think the following interview gives a lovely insight into Karo’s world as an activist, as well as her beautiful fight to make the world a better place.
An Interview with Karo Tak
- Karo- why are you vegan, and what was the defining moment in your journey to veganism?
I have been vegetarian ever since I was a kid. It was super simple for me, I do not eat my friends. Then a beautiful soul came into my life, called Liam Walsh, who inspired and encouraged me to join the vegan path. Overnight, it was such a clear thing for me. Then when I turned vegan I was like, what was I thinking all this time? It truly is the best decision I ever made, that and not drinking [alcohol]. I can look every animal being consciously in the eye knowing I am not harming them or any of their family. I live my life in total devotion and compassion, it’s just the best. (Plus I look 10 years younger too.)
- What suggestions would you give someone who wants to go vegan?
The first thing is just DO IT! Anything can be turned into a vegan meal and there really are no boundaries whatsoever, no limits to this fantastic lifestyle. I do feel there are two differences. A vegan diet and a vegan life. IF you choose to fully go vegan, then commit. So to ALL of it. Cosmetics, food, lifestyle, everything. Shampoo, toothpaste, clothes, shoes, everything! Educate yourself & ask for help. There is so much information out there it really is super easy to transition into a vegan lifestyle.
“I do feel there are two differences. A vegan diet and a vegan life. IF you choose to fully go vegan then commit. So to ALL of it. Cosmetics, food, lifestyle, everything.”
- What is your favorite vegan food?
Mexican. No doubt. Anything Mexican anytime of the day….. just love it.
- How did Sparky Join your life?
Well, he was given to be by my ex. To be honest, I would never have gotten a puppy, I am truly against [purchasing from a breeder] and am so inspired by the many rescue stories (like yours) that are out there. I have fostered a lot of rescues in my life and it’s an absolute dream of mine to have a few rescues of my own in my future… BUT Sparky came in my life when he was 6 weeks old and we have been inseparable ever since. Born in Australia (I lived there for 10 years) he has been all over the world with me and our bond is stronger then any bond I’ve EVER had with anyone. He is my EVERYTHING & I love him so incredibly much.
Karo went on to say-
He is the love of my life, my biggest inspiration and teacher. I take him everywhere, he visits the cafe often, is usually always there when I teach yoga, all of our trips, wherever we are going, he is right by my side. I would not have it any other way. I get so emotional about the fact that these precious beings don’t live as long as human beings. Whoever came up with that is a total idiot. It will be the hardest day of my life the day I have to say goodbye to this fellow & all we have together. So I try to live life the fullest & be with him as much as possible and give him everything I have and more. Love just PURE LOVE.
- What is your reason why?/What drives you?
My drive is the suffering in this world. What we are doing to these poor animal beings all day everyday, all over the world. I live for the fight. For JUSTICE. I cannot do nothing ever. Everything I do, every breath, every step, every meal, every cheese, whatever it is I am doing is for the animals. Its my life. My whole life is in dedication to that & I will keep going until the day I die.
“Everything I do, every breath, every step, every meal, every cheese, whatever it is I am doing- is for the animals. It’s my life. My whole life is in dedication to that and I will keep going until the day I die.”
- What is the most unique species you’ve had a relationship with?
Oh so many….. so so many. But, rescuing a tiger from the circus has been my most amazing experience I would say. I loved him so much, his pain was my pain & I cried myself to sleep every night until he was free.
“…rescuing a tiger from the circus has been my most amazing experience I would say…”
- What encouraged you to become a chef?
I really rolled into that (like so many things in my life) I love cooking always have. My dad was a very passionate chef as well, his mother was a great cook and baker, I guess it’s in my blood. Cooking for Sea Shepherd was a great learning curve & an experience I am forever grateful for. The kitchen is my natural habitat as my boyfriend always says. I love it. I love everything about it. Mastering the skill & the art of cooking, creating, coming up with dishes everyday….. it’s amazing.
Karo continued about her work with Sea Shepherd-
Like many experiences in my life this one was one I just fell into, through my work for Sea Shepherd as an onshore volunteer I got the opportunity to cook on the ship & it was an amazing experience. I really value the contacts & friends I made, how much I learned about life as an activist but also as a chef (especially about vegan cooking). It has just been an honor to serve such amazing people & be part of such an important organization. I have so much love and respect for Paul Watson & all he has built, stands and fights for.
- What encouraged you to blog?
We must share our passions & experience with the world. We MUST! Writing is such a powerful skill to have, I love it. I also think that these days a lot of people call themselves “bloggers” I def do not divine myself as such, I am a writer. I share my vision, missions and experiences with the world in order to inspire & encourage others. I love sharing my stories, recipes, views etc… I do my research, read a lot, write a lot, I really love writing. Also another thing I got from my dad, this passion to write.
“We must share our passions & experiences with the world. We MUST!”
- If you could share one message with the world, what would it be?
NEVER EVER GIVE UP!
- How would you describe yourself in five words?
Fire. Passion. Warrior. Crazy. Dedicated.
Karo is a woman of many talents, but what inspires me the most about her is the utter kindness she shares in each and every aspect of her life. She fights for the animals, educates others, she advocates, she shares her passions all over the world, and she has a great time doing it! Karo lives a life of love for others, and remains an incredible example of what a cruelty-free warrior is!
Thank you Karo, for helping the animals- and welcome to the Carrots & Carlos pack!
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
― Margaret Mead