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Transcript of The No-Bullsh!t Vegan podcast, episode 90

Izzy Pope-Moore on working in a hospital as a vegan during a pandemic, cat fosters + more

Karina Inkster: Hey, welcome to the show. I'm Karina, your go-to no B.S. vegan fitness and nutrition coach. Today's episode is part one of two with the KI team. Today, Izzy joins me. And in our next episode, I speak with Izzy and coach Zoe.

So, I'd like to share a few podcast happenings with you. First of all, you probably know that I have a no-ads policy on the show, even though I get offers for sponsorships all the time. And even though many of the companies in question are vegan and/or companies that I like, I think I would be doing you, the listener, a major disservice if I started allowing sponsorships and reading ads. 

So, if you've been listening to this show for a while, you've heard me bring up Sam Harris before. But I'm going to do it again because he really says it best when it comes to why he doesn't have ads on his show, which happens to be one of the biggest podcasts on the planet.

So, here's what Sam Harris says: “It's a problem that so many people expect to get podcasts and other digital media for free. We've trained ourselves to expect this by creating an internet economy based on advertising, but advertising is not free because these companies want some of your time and attention. That's what they're paying for. And every podcast that relies on advertising contains five or ten minutes or more where the host reads ads. So there's this cost to the host's honesty or perceived honesty. If I spent the first five minutes of every show trying to sell you a mattress, you could reasonably worry about whether my enthusiasm for it was sincere. What else might I exaggerate if I'm willing to assure you week after week that memory foam will solve all your sleep problems?”

Sam Harris really does put it best. So, since I and my guests value evidence-based information and the scientific method, I think ads or sponsorships would decrease my perceived honesty and maybe increase my perceived bias, which is honestly the last thing I would want.

So, I had one of the top two nutrition tracking apps in the world contact me last week to sponsor the show. And, of course, I said no thanks, but it was kind of cool to know that our show is on their radar. Anyway, all of this is to say that I cover the costs of this podcast in the interest of producing a better, higher-quality show without bias. And without what I consider annoying ads. It does cost me several hundred dollars per episode, by the way, so it's not a small investment. We have our awesome podcast editor - shout out to Faena. We have Izzy who books guests on the show and preps them for interviews. We have Zoe who coaches, of course, but who also does some important admin work like publishing podcast episodes and creating social media content.

 So they're all getting paid, of course, plus there's podcast hosting monthly software fees. The list goes on.

Now I'm telling you this because I would love to continue creating this show. And don't worry, I don't have any plans to stop anytime soon. And I would really appreciate your support in the form of a star rating and a review on Apple podcasts or whatever other podcast platform you use. It'll take two minutes at the most, and it's the absolute best way to support this show and ensure that new listeners will find it. I recently found out that the same user can apparently leave multiple reviews for the same show on Apple podcasts. So if you've already submitted a review, you should be able to submit another one. And I've mentioned this particular user before, because I thought his or her one-star review was kind of funny alongside all the show’s five star reviews, but it turns out the same user keeps submitting one star reviews of my show over and over and over again, sometimes word for word as previous reviews. They write things like “yet another sarcopenic prematurely aged vegan promoting malnutrition and starvation,” or “straight road to malnutrition, loss of muscle and bone mass,” or “dangerous advice, dubious science, weak epidemiology.”

Anyway, most of this person's reviews have been removed by Apple podcasts as they go against their terms of use. But I thought it would be a good opportunity to share the hilarity because I kind of find them amusing, but also to ask you to submit your own, hopefully slightly less insult-laden, review of my show. If you use Apple podcasts, you can head to, or you can submit a review using whatever other service you use. Thank you so much in advance.

Okay. Time to introduce our awesome guest for today, Izzy Pope-Moore. As communications head honcho, Izzy keeps the No-Bullshit Vegan Podcast running smoothly. She scouts and books guests for the show, preps them for their interviews, and creates show notes for our episodes. She also shares with our online audience awesome vegan content every week and works behind the scenes to keep our coaching clients organized.

Izzy has followed a plant-based diet for almost her entire life and began strength training in December 2014. In addition to working for the KI team, Izzy is a Main Street Vegan Academy certified Master Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator, and works for Fraser Health as an executive assistant in her free time. She plays the piano and fosters cats through Vancouver-based cat rescue organization Vokra which, side note, is where we got our first cat Yoshimi from.

Izzy is also an assistant organizer of Vancouver Meatless Meetup, and is the past director of Volunteers for Earth Save Canada. Originally from Bury, England, Izzy relocated to Canada in 2011 and lives in beautiful White Rock, BC with her vegan partner Carl. Now, Izzy’s favorite vegan meal is a delicious curry with a turmeric cumin and fresh ginger base with broccoli, potatoes and zucchini over a bed of brown rice, which is making me seriously hungry right about now. Here's our discussion:

Hey, Izzy, great to speak with you.

Izzy Pope-Moore: Hey Karina. Thanks for having me on again.

Karina Inkster: Of course. We are going to link to your previous episode because that was amazing. Talking about some challenges and vegan bullshit busting. It was a really good episode. So yeah, thanks for coming back. Nice to see you. See, now I'm doing them on video and audio, so folks can have both experiences.

Izzy Pope-Moore: And I got makeup on, so…

Karina Inkster: I know, me too! Well, happy New Year. We're recording this just after New Year’s, so happy 2021!

Izzy Pope-Moore: Happy 2021! It's going to be an interesting one.

Karina Inkster: I don't know about you, but I feel like folks just think that 2021 is automatically going to be completely different. They're like, “Oh, it's a new year. It's going to be so different.” I'm like it's pretty much the same for the foreseeable future.

Izzy Pope-Moore: Yeah. I think like any sort of changes it’s not going to come as quickly as most people would like unfortunately. Like, I'm sort of just taking the year as it comes and just with working in healthcare and stuff, I can just kind of get the feeling that it's probably going to be towards the back end of the year when things really do start to shift. So, yeah, just trying to stay in a positive mindset, focus on the good stuff.

Karina Inkster: It's a good way to be patient, doing what we're supposed to do, keep ourselves and others safe, you know, especially healthcare. Sanitize. Yeah, exactly. Hey, speaking of healthcare, you're at the Peace Arch hospital, right?

Izzy Pope-Moore:Yeah.

Karina Inkster: And, so, what’s your role there again?

Izzy Pope-Moore: I'm an executive assistant, so I support two of the directors that work at the hospital.

Karina Inkster: Gotcha. Right. So I mean, I know this from our conversations, but for our listeners/viewers, can you give us a little rundown of what it's been like working in a hospital during a pandemic?

Izzy Pope-Moore: Well, number one, I'm grateful that I work at a hospital because if I worked at my previous job, which was at Rocky Mountain Air, the train company, I probably wouldn't have a job right now. So extremely grateful. So, I kind of made the right move and I've been at Peace Arch for about the last two and a half years, which I'm grateful to be where I am in my career, because having like a year and a bit of experience under my belt in healthcare was just really helpful going into the pandemic. And it has been crazy. That's the only thing that I can say. Just really realized how much having a good team is such an essential part of work really because, it’s healthcare, so you generally tend to be short-staffed and overworked. It's just the nature of how it is.

But just before the pandemic started, so there's three executive assistants at Peace Arch and I'm one of them. And just before the pandemic started, one of my colleagues, one of the other EAs, he got offered a position with emergency management. So, basically dealing with like, if an emergency comes up in healthcare, like all of a sudden preparedness around that. So, he left about two weeks into the pandemic...

Karina Inkster: Brutal.

Izzy Pope-Moore: Yeah. So, I was trying to learn somebody else's job and also it's like all this pandemic stuff and you just don't know how to deal with that. So, yeah, I'd say for like five months it was, it was pretty rough. Luckily one of the advantages of being in healthcare is we have a gym in our building, so the gym has been my lifesaver. It really has even before that.

You know, I came pretty disciplined and I go quite a lot. Not obsessively, but I like to work out and it's part of my day, it's part of my routine. But just having that stress relief has just been, oh my gosh, it has just been so, so beneficial the last year. I was just reflecting on the last year just as I was logging my workout on New Year's Eve. And I was like, wow, like, I've missed maybe a week, a week and a half of workouts this year. Other than that in a whole year in a pandemic. So when I look at that, I'm like, yeah, I've actually had, other than the odd couple of days where we've just had to close to kind of figure things out, I've actually had gym access the entire time. So very, very fortunate that'd be like that. Because it does really balance out the craziness with the job sometimes.

Karina Inkster: Absolutely. Yeah. And you're one of the very few folks who has had gym access this whole time. I would say anybody else, who's been in a gym, as you know, around the world, they've all had gym closures, and unless they have their own garage gym or home gym, and a lot of people do, there's been no gym access. And so, obviously you've got like rules and regulations and it's not a public gym, right? It's just for staff, and I'm sure there's regulations about how many people you can have in there at once, but just the fact that you have it available is huge.

Izzy Pope-Moore: Yeah. And I do feel like, you know, a lot of people, just in conversations, that I've started going back to public gyms, like they've said to me, “Oh, I’m not really super comfortable going to the public gym,” and I get that. Like I totally get that, I've stopped going. Cause I did have a membership at Crunch Fitness as well in White Rock. But I stopped going. It was like, you know what? People don't always respect social distancing and not everyone is doing what they should do. Whereas, at least at the hospital gym, we do restrict the numbers and we have like a whole process in place that I, along with a couple of other people at the hospital came up with, just to keep the gym as safe as we possibly could, basically. But also just to get in and out of work every day, we're screened twice a day for COVID symptoms and stuff like that. And if you're displaying any little bit of possible COVID-ness you can't come in until you've had a test. So I do feel fairly, I feel safer than I would feel going to a public gym. So that's also just been really good just to put my mind at rest as well.

Karina Inkster: Yeah. You're actually among many who have potential gym access. Like technically the gyms are open, but they're deciding not to go because people are not following rules. They generally don't feel safe anyway. It's just, yeah. It's a tough situation. What about the food? So like you mentioned before we hit record that the cafeteria in the hospital is closed, but before that weren't you working on some veganized shenanigans there, like having vegan options on the menu? What's the deal?

Izzy Pope-Moore: So, basically at Peace Arch, we have like a Tim Horton's coffee shop in a lobby, which I won't get into because I just won't get junk food. But we have a cafeteria that right now it's been closed since March. But before that, what I was doing was I was working with the kitchen supervisor to come up with some vegan and vegetarian items to put on the menu because usually there's two or three options a day, but it's really meat heavy and like trying to find like almond milk or non-dairy milk at work was like impossible basically. And I'm like, we need some options here. So, yeah, just working with them and just trying to, you know, get some more healthy vegan, vegetarian food on the, like the daily menu and also getting it so that it was actually identified as that as well.

Like instead of just looking and being like, “Oh, this is like, you know, like a tofu scramble,” it actually is identified as Vegan Tofu Scramble, or it has like a little “V” next to it. So, people actually know, you know, that there is an option. And I know some people, that would put them off, but I also know some people that would also encourage them to try. So, the feedback that we got was like, it was really good. And it was probably about nine months before it closed. We'd been doing that and just making little small changes. And then when our cafeteria did close, one of the local coffee shops, which is really vegan-friendly actually, it's a place called Everbean and it's in White Rock, and they set up like a food program. So, local businesses could donate food to the hospital. As, as part of that, whatever business donated to the hospital, they actually had to provide a vegan or vegetarian option for staff if they were donating. 

So every so often I would get little vegan things across my desk. And because I'm not quiet about being vegan - I'm not like in your face, you know, “meat is murder” kind of thing - but everyone who knows me knows that I'm vegan and the people sort of overseeing the food delivery program, if they found anything vegan or they knew anything vegan was coming, they just put it aside for me. So, I’d get these delicious curries, and chilies and tofu scramble wraps. So I'm like, oh my gosh, this is the best, it really is. And even at Christmas people like at work have bought me like vegan chocolate and things like that.

And it's, it's nice to see people, cause I don't think they were really exposed to anyone that was vegan before. Because it is quite a small, it's a small-ish, medium size hospital, but you know, I've lived in Vancouver and I'm pretty different from, you know, your average Joe. And I think just people being exposed to that, like they've started to sort of change their perceptions and just, you know, people will come in and be like, “Oh, I tried this Beyond Burger and it's cool,” or “We bought to take out and the meal was vegan,” and I'm just like, oh, like when people come up to me and tell me this, and even one of my colleagues, she came and found me, she's like, “Are you vegan?” And I was like, yeah, I'm vegan. Yeah. She's like, I'm vegan too.

Karina Inkster: It kind of blows my mind, like, in a healthcare setting, it's still a thing to be vegan, right? This is what you were just saying about the colleague who was like, “Oh, are you vegan? Like I'm vegan too.” It's like this secret underground a group of some sort, you know? It just blows my mind how it's not talked about more in healthcare settings. And also, like, the cafeteria when it was opened before it closed, how few freaking vegan options there are in the average hotel, cafeteria, food court, whatever they have.

Izzy Pope-Moore: And especially in a hospital setting as well. What baffles my mind is now that our only option is Tim Horton's, which you know, maybe they’ll get an unbuttered toasted bagel, a plain bagel, and kind of it's vegan-ish…

Karina Inkster: Yeah, that’ll keep you going for about five minutes.

Izzy Pope-Moore: I know, but it's like, why? And I’m not going to get preachy about it because people are entitled to their own choices. But why are we giving people the only option of food that kind of feeds disease and creates problems. It's like, in a hospital you would really think that the ideal would be like, you know, let's get like at a minimum, something like a fresh, and that would be great because it's not all vegan, you know, like, but you can have vegan options and it's like, you know, healthy, fresh living food, not like a donut. And I'm just like, and coffee that's laden with cream. And I'm like, yeah, it really, it is difficult sometimes working in that. Cause I do sort of just look at some of the things and think, wow, like I really do think differently from a lot of the people that I hear and that work here and okay, like, I get that. I can't change everything cause I just, I can't, I'm not in that position, but I can try it and I can make little waves. And now, like on ice cream days, we actually have like vegan ice cream and sorbet, and at the annual barbecue we'll have like, Field Roast hot dogs. It's like before that used to be used to be leaves. It's nice that like people are starting to see, okay, this isn’t the only way.

 Like there are different things that we can do. And hopefully at some point that will trickle down to, you know, like I know there are a few vegan options on the patient menus because I've been involved in taste testing things, which is really great to be asked. But yeah, I do hope it will start trickling down and we'll see some changes and maybe, you know, even a Starbucks would be better than a Tim Horton's. Cause there is, you know, it's a little bit better.

Karina Inkster: They're further ahead. Yeah. They have like the non-dairy milks and they have some vegan options like sandwiches and whatnot.

Izzy Pope-Moore: Yeah. I mean it's not light. But I'm like, it it's slightly better. But like a local company that that would just do fresh food and smoothies and you know, stuff that actually will energize people.

Karina Inkster: Exactly, yeah. It's crazy. So, the patients who are able to, could eat at the cafeteria, right? And then there's a different menu for patientswho are like basically in a ward or in a bed and then they have to have food delivered to them?

Izzy Pope-Moore: Yes. Different menu for, and one of the challenges with the patients at Peace Arch is that there's not an actual like industrial kitchen to cook the meals on- site. So, a lot of stuff gets brought in and reheated, but now we've got a new long-term care building and that actually has a proper kitchen. So, the residents that are actually in residential care can now actually get better quality and fresh food, which is it's…yeah. 

So, things are changing and we are kind of an old school campus, like it was built in the sixties, you know, and it's kind of difficult to expand, but we all like making little changes. Yeah. It's definitely shifted. Even White Rock itself. I've lived here for almost three years now and I've been with my partner for just over four and just noticing the changes from when I moved here. Like, you know, just how much, like we now have a vegan cafe, which is delicious by the way. So yeah, like we now have a vegan cafe and there's coffee shops that have got things and there's an Afghan place that's opened and yeah. So it's actually nice to see that more places are opening and more people are becoming aware of, you know, vegan options, really.

Karina Inkster: Absolutely. Do you have much interaction with frontline workers? I mean, I'm sure it's different now where they have, you know, more procedures around who's interacting with what, you know, department of the hospital. But do you come into contact with frontline workers so-called who may or may not be on board with veganism?

Izzy Pope-Moore: I do see, like, because I do a lot of minute taking in meetings, higher level meetings. So I do see quite a few people that are in meetings with me and quite a lot of physicians as well, actually. So I do have, I have a little bit of access. It's not like necessarily every day, but there's probably people that I can get on board to kind of, you know, create a petition. The good thing is that I do have access to the higher ups because that's who I work for. So, any changes that do get made will get made at the higher level. So, and I have been really vocal about certain things. Like, before the pandemic started I lobbied for therapy dogs to visit the emergency room because we have therapy dogs on-site, like, you know, for certain things at certain times. And I was like, why don't we just once a week or twice a week, we just get some therapy dogs in just to help with like the morale of the emergency room department. And it’s worked great. It really did. Now, you can't do that which sucks. Just little things like that. It's like, so I am able to make change, it's just getting enough, you know, having the the right approach and getting enough support really

Karina Inkster: That's amazing. I didn't know about that. That's cool. Here in Powell River, there's a really active therapy dog community or association. And of course they haven't been able to do any visits, but they've been kind of creative. And when it was allowed to do gatherings outside, they did a little therapy dog parade in town. All the handlers dressed up and so cool. But it's basically impossible to do in a long-term care facility right now or a hospital. That can be really tough, but hopefully that'll be on the menu for the not too distant future.

Izzy Pope-Moore: Yeah. It's amazing the difference that animals can bring to people's lives, it really is. And like the therapy that I did for me for work actually came out of visiting the cat sanctuary, which is in Richmond, which is in Vancouver, just outside of Vancouver. And there's like, it's basically a sanctuary for cats that generally would have a hard time in a home situation. 

So there's quite a few feral cats there and like cats with diseases and stuff in like different areas and things. But there's like 450 cats. Oh my goodness. You know, it's like cat heaven. It's like, it's manageable, but it's 450 cats. And they're in this little house condo thing, like outside play pens and things. But you can visit or used to be able to visit like every Saturday and Sunday afternoon by donation. So me and my partner, we used to just go visit before we had like foster cats and stuff. We'd go visit and just spend the afternoon with the cats and just the effect that it would have, just on us mentally, was just like so awesome. So, therapy dog idea came from visits to the cat sanctuary.

Karina Inkster: Well, how's it been going? You've had, what now? Are you on your third foster with this new one coming today?

Izzy Pope-Moore: We're getting our third foster today. So, me and my partner, Carl, we foster cats through a Vancouver organization, which is called VOKRA, which stands for Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association. And basically there, the goal is to just sort of find homes for feral and, you know, abandoned and, you know, surrendered cats. So, they do a lot of work with primarily with mom and young kittens. But they do get other cats from other situations as well and quite a lot of feral and street cats as well. But yeah, we've been fostering with them since the end of May. We're on our third cat and we're picking her up this afternoon. Her name is Buttercup and I'm like, I already love her.

So yeah, she's just over a year old. And she's had, she had five kittens a few months back. So they're all fully weaned and off to their forever homes, so she's going to come and live at our house and enjoy, just enjoy the space that we have and she'll probably be with us for a month or so. Cause she needs to be spayed and then she'll get adopted to like a forever family. So we're involved in the process of just finding out about her, finding out her quirks and what she likes and what she doesn't like. And then we work with volunteers at VOKRA to find how the right home. So, what will likely happen is when she's ready for adoption, she'll basically have a series of virtual Zoom cat interview.

Karina Inkster: I've been wondering about how that works in a pandemic, right?

Izzy Pope-Moore: Oh, it's tough. So, like I said, Buttercup’s our third foster. The first foster we have Mila was this outgoing tuxedo cat full of energy. But she was a feral cat. So, like, there's definitely like a lot of like little quirks that she had. But we were lucky. The first people that were interested in her it was sort of summertime and it wasn't like full on pandemic. So, they actually came to visit her and they spent a couple of hours with her and got to know her and asked us a whole bunch of questions. So, that is generally the process that would happen. But with Honey, our last cat, it was all done by Zoom. And it's a challenge, because it's not like you can really keep a cat still, you know?

Karina Inkster: I know this from doing Zoom calls and attempting to show off our cats. It lasts for like two and a half seconds.

Izzy Pope-Moore: Yeah. So it's kind of like, it's interesting. Like we usually just try and set up like a little area, like a play area for them. So, like we can just show the potential adopters just how the cat interacts. And we just answer as many questions as we can. Sometimes it can take, like, we were lucky with Mila, the first people that saw her took her. With Honey, we went through five interviews before we landed on the right adopters, but that was a little more complicated cause she was partially blind. So, and she definitely had some behavioral quirks because she was abandoned. So, and she was just left by her owners like on the street. 

So, it took a lot for her. Like she was with us for four months and it took a lot for her to chill out and for us to kind of read the signs that she was getting overstimulated, because if she got overstimulated, she was like a little Ninja, basically. And the thing is like, one of the big cues of cats is like, you would notice the pupils dilating if they’re getting wound up. Well, Honey’s pupils were always dilated because she had vision issues. So, it was definitely a bit of a rocky road with her. So, finding her the right adopter was really, it was really paramount. And one of the people that were interested in taking her, I wasn't, like Carl and I, we were just not comfortable. We thought this person doesn't quite have the right experience because you kind of need like a pretty knowledgeable person to be able to handle that.

Karina Inkster: Maybe not a good like first cat kind of.

Izzy Pope-Moore: No, it was definitely someone with cat experience. And we finally, we got, we chatted with the last couple that we interviewed. They wanted her and they had experience with like feral cats and difficult cats. And we were like, okay, this says, like this, we got a really good feeling about them. And they were like, yeah, we really want them. So, she's gone to live in North Vancouver with a new family. But we get updates and things. And it's, it's interesting with fostering and veganism as well. It's like, cause you're, I'm sure you've experienced this as well, yourself Karina, you’re feeding the cat meat, you know, there's no way…

Karina Inkster: I would like to do a whole pod on this.

Izzy Pope-Moore: Count me in like, it's been like this whole internal debate that I've had with myself and VOKRA as well. Like, we're limited. Like they prefer you to feed like X food because that's what they believe is best for the cat. And I’m totally, totally on board with that. No problems at all. Honey was the fussiest cat ever. And we went through every brand of cat food. You could imagine. 

So if you ever need tips on cat food, you know what, but yeah, just this whole like veganism, the fact that I'm feeding the cat, primarily me, you know, like how do I, how do I deal with this kind of thing? And I I'm doing what I can to help a cat and to get the cat to the right home. And it's not a perfect process. In an ideal world there would be a vegan option and the cat would be getting a vegan option, but it's not an ideal world. It doesn't work like that. And all I can do is the best that I can do. So. Yeah,

Karina Inkster: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. I feel like it would be kind of cool actually to get like a panel of cat owners on the podcast and just be like, okay, so how do you, there's a lot of cognitive dissonance, which is totally understandable. Right. And I'm the same, I mean, I had my 18-year vegan anniversary, whatever you want to call it yesterday. And you know, so long-term vegan, no issues at all there, but we have always had cats and they have to eat meat products. And so, you know, it's one of those things where yeah, you're essentially saving the life cause we have rescues, right. We're not getting cats from breeders. 

We actually got our first cat from VOKRA, second cat from the SPCA. So they're always rescues, but still like, technically you're, you're helping out or you're saving this one animal, but then you're feeding into the animal agriculture industry still by supporting this cat for who knows how long, like 15 years. Right? So, yeah. I know it's a tough subject. I'm just thinking, doing my best, like trying to keep it to fish type foods if I can. But yeah, there's a lot of cognitive dissonance and discomfort and just like general weirdness around feeding.

Izzy Pope-Moore: Yeah. And it's not a problem that you can solve either. It's like there's no, there's no, you know, there's no solving it. It's just the way that they are. So, yeah. So yeah, that has been hard. And also, like the other thing I find is a lot of people say to me, “Oh, I couldn't foster because I couldn't let the cat go.” And that's tough. Right? It is like, honestly it feels like, like your soul and your heart has been ripped out. Like, it is terrible. And I realized just from our previous two fosters, but I'm relatively okay once they go, like once they go to their new home. I just try and focus on other things around the house and other things in my life. But before they leave, like the period where I know they’re going to when they leave, it's just like, oh my God, I cannot stop crying.

Like I actually warn potential like adopters now. When you do come to pick the cat up, I will be crying because I just get so, like, you don't not get attached. You can't not get attached. Just, it's just what it is. And I just like, I look at it and think, yeah, like hopefully we found them the right home and hopefully that works for them. And hopefully we've done everything we can do. I can't explain to the cat what's going on. And that's what actually kills me. But it opens the space to help another life. And that's what I try and focus on ultimately. And I know it will be a point where Carl and I decide that, you know what, let's just actually chill out and just have a cat and not foster anymore. But for now, like it's so, so rewarding. And because I don't have kids myself, and my niece and my nephew live in England, like the little kids live in England and I don't really have access to children. And like, I’m like, you know, sort of getting into my late thirties now. And I'm like, there's that maternal drive, but it's not necessarily that I want children, you know? And I find that just having pets and cats actually really helps me with that because it gives me something to just to pull that into.

Karina Inkster: Yeah. That makes sense. And I'm with you on that. Like, I don't have kids, I'm not going to have kids. But I'm not one of those people who calls their pets, like they're fur babies or like I'm a cat parent or like, I'm not going to go that far

Izzy Pope-Moore: I do say cat mom, like, best cat mom ever.

Karina Inkster: Oh, your mug says “Best Cat Mom.” Yeah. Okay. That's permissible, Izzy. I'll let that one go. But you're not, like, you don't talk about cats as your children, you know, like using terms like fur babies and like, I don’t know, that just rubs me the wrong way. Like, cats are not replacements for humans. They're completely different. But I see what you're saying though. Like, that instinct that I'm sure we all have on some level. That makes sense. As long as we're not like, sometimes I'll just joke when people say like, “Hey, do you have kids?” I'm like, no, but I have two cats. But then I realized it's kind of a thing to say, because there's really no comparison. It's more of a joke than anything, but still.

Izzy Pope-Moore: I think it is as well. Like, it gives me great respect for parents is why, just especially with rescue cats. Like, there's a lot of work, especially at the beginning. There's a lot of work in getting them settled and figuring out all the quirks and stuff. Because they do usually have issues. It's not like, oh, this cat is super healthy and it's just going to be fine and fit in. It's like, no, this is actually, like, the first night with Honey. She actually scratched right down my face. And at the end of four months she was like my little best friend. And he used to sleep on my chest at night. 

So, you know, it's great to see that transition. But it is, it is a lot of work at the beginning. And I do look at parents sometimes and just think, you know what, like, and like I can't have children and I'm okay with that now. Like, there's a process behind that and it was difficult for a while, but it gives me a lot of respect for them. It really does. It's like, you know, this is my version of it, which is nowhere near as intense as yours, but good for you for raising that little human. I could not do it.

Karina Inkster: Oh my God. I can't even imagine. Just multiply what you're doing by about 110.. Not, not to minimize the work that you put in, but still.

Izzy Pope-Moore: Yeah. That's the thing, I know how much work it is. And I'm like, yep. And this is like a whole other level with the raising kids things. Yeah.

Karina Inkster: But you know, you have a point. It's hardest before they're actually adopted when you know that it's your last week or your last couple of days with them. But isn't it kind of like a like you've arrived at your end point? Like yes, job well done. I have succeeded with this animal that's now getting a forever home. Like, that was the whole goal to begin with.

Izzy Pope-Moore: Yeah. That is the goal. It's like, it's just the sucky part is that the goal is that you miss out on the rest of it. But there’s updates with both cats. So we've had, like I said with Honey, we get updates about how she's doing. With Mila, Mila is on Instagram and we get, we've actually visited Mila as well in her forever home. She was like, “Who is you? I don't know you.” 

So, yeah. And just to see them like really happy and you tend to find that they settle a lot quicker than when they arrived at your house. So like, it usually takes them a few weeks and stuff to get used to things, but they generally, you've kind of worked out the little quirks and stuff and we usually do like a whole guide to the cat and like, you know, like what to do with blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

And we send them off with treats and favorite toys. And so, that like they're pretty set really when they leave. It's just, it's difficult. Like, I just wished that there was a way that you could explain it to the cat and just to say, “Hey, you know,” especially with the ones that have been abandoned. Like, with Honey, like it took us so much to trust us. And then it's like, “Oh, by the way, I'm sending you off to a new home.” But you just hope that you did the right thing and then just go from that and that you do get to help another, another life. 

So, I was thinking about this this morning. I was talking to my partner Carl and I said, you know, what's amazing about just animals in general and like fostering and things and just animals in general anyway, is that you're learning to communicate with an entirely different species. Which is kind of like when you think about the world, it's kind of like, it's super interesting. Like the, even the world, like humans are all different, but that animals and humans, like we can interact and we can have bonds. And just, yeah. Like for me, that extends to all animals. And I know that not everyone views animals the same, but it's like, yeah, like it's just, it's a beautiful thing really that we're capable of that.

Karina Inkster: And each one, even within the same species is very different. Yeah.

Izzy Pope-Moore: Yeah. Every animal has its own little personality and it's just, it's so beautiful. It really is.

Karina Inkster: That's one bonus of the foster situation is that you actually get a ton of experience with lots of different creatures, individuals, personalities, you know there's pros and cons though. Cause like you said, you know, I would imagine that to be super difficult, but very rewarding at the same time. A lot of the best work is challenging, but also…

Izzy Pope-Moore: Exactly you learn new skills and you meet new people, even if it's actually like, it's just, it's great to feel like a part of a community as well. Even though like in a part of a pandemic I'm like, I actually do feel like part of the VOKRA community. So that's a wonderful thing.

Karina Inkster: Yeah. That's amazing. Well, Hey, I wanted to ask you about one more thing before I let you go. And that is your new certifications. So, we work together. So obviously I know what you've been up to, but for our listeners, you have been doing a couple of different, awesome things through Main Street Vegan. And we actually had Victoria on our podcast. So we'll link to that as well. In the past she's been, she's been a really great guest. She was talking about being vegan for like many decades.

Izzy Pope-Moore: She's such a star. She really is.

Karina Inkster: She really is. She's like a vegan superhero basically. So, what's the deal? Can you tell us a little bit about that first certification and then where it went from there?

Izzy Pope-Moore: Yeah, for sure. So basically I was part of the Main Street Vegan Academy. So, originally I was a certified vegan lifestyle coach and educator. So the real plan, which got dinged by the pandemic, was that I was going to go to just last October, I was going to be in New York over October, for about a week to participate in the Main Street Vegan Academy. So of course the pandemic hit and then everything went online. So, instead of it being like a five-day intensive in New York, it became a four weekend intensive virtually via Zoom. Which was like super awesome because there was about, I want to say there was about maybe 25 to 30 people in the class.

Karina Inkster: That’s way more than they’d have in-person, right?

Izzy Pope-Moore: For sure. I would say in person would probably be maybe like 15 to 20 max. So yeah, basically. So this certification was online on Zoom and it was, it was a pretty early start. So, we'd start at like 6:45 Vancouver time. On a weekend. And I was fostering at that time. So it was a little bit like five o'clock start. But yeah, basically it's a whole series of, it's a whole bunch of educational series’. So, you have different lecturers come on and talk about different aspects of veganism, like fashion and like nutrition and that kind of thing. And basically, by the end of, end of the course, you're a certified vegan lifestyle coach and educator. 

So that was like the first half of my summer and then wonderfully, she decided to hold an online master class and I was kind of thinking about it.

And I was like, I don't know if I can really budget for this right now because as you know, we just, a couple of weeks ago we moved. So, it's been kind of a little bit of a bit of a desire, but yeah, anyways, so it's been a little bit tight financially just with moving to a new rental and a whole bunch of other things that happened in the middle of that. But anyway, she offered this master class and I was like, you know what, there's a couple of scholarships going for this. Like I'll just, I'll put in and see if the universe opens up. And I got a partial scholarship. So, because the original course was sort of like in-person, but then went to Zoom. I actually got a partial refund for that. So I actually managed to do the master class now as well.

And the masterclass was similar, but it was just more high level. And that was about fifty of us, which was like, oh my god.

Karina Inkster: And are these all people who have done the first certificate?

Izzy Pope-Moore: Yeah. So to do the master class, you have to have done the first certification. And there was like, there was just lectures from like just amazing vegans, like Earthling Ed. And I'm trying to think who else we had. I can't remember off the top of my head – Miyoko from Miyoko’s Cheeses. So yeah, so a lot of things like Stephanie Redcross from Vegan Mainstream, who does like a lot of work with like vegan marketing, and your business, and social media. So, just a lot of stuff around like, like in addition to like the, you know, the fundamentals class on how to run your own business kind of thing.

This was just like more, just more advanced really. And I absolutely loved it. It was super fun. It was over four Sundays, like November, December time. Yeah. And it was just amazing to be with vegans from all around the world just to just get different viewpoints on different things. Yeah. So now, I am a Certified Master Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator.

Karina Inkster: That's a lot of letters after your name, Izzy.

Izzy Pope-Moore: I know. So yeah, so eventually what I want to do, and I just, with moving and work, Christmas and the state of the world, actually I need time off like, hey, I need time off to kind of sit down and actually like do some business-related things. But what I do want to do is set up my own vegan lifestyle, coaching business. So, basically helping anyone who's interested in becoming vegan to become vegan and anyone who's sort of struggling or needs a little bit of guidance on the vegan journey.

So, say you were like having a whole debate around like, you know, I want to replace all my makeup, but I don't kind of know what to do, that kind of thing. Just having like the resources to be able to coach people through that. And also like, you know, just like the resources around nutrition and just, you know, general vegan life questions that come up, like cats and veganism, which is a bit different. 

So, you know, so just really looking forward to, at some point, I'd say within the next two months, really just to set up my own coaching business and just, just to go from there really. And like one of the benefits of just the way the world is right now is that so many more people are now used to doing things online. Hopefully I'm not just restricted to like the local area. Hopeful,ly like I'm originally from England, so I'm hopeful, but I could possibly get a couple of clients in the UK or elsewhere in the world. Yeah.

Karina Inkster: Yeah. I mean, we haven't talked about this, but our listeners probably know, but in case they don't, we're working together. Like, you're on the KI team. But how cool would it be to have folks who are new to veganism go through you first or maybe concurrently, you know, people who want to work on their fitness and their nutrition, but there's not a lot of like specific, what do I do about pets? What do I do about my makeup? What do I do about my household products? Maybe a little bit of like swapping out non-vegan food items for vegan food items, you know? I kind of feel like that could work together, so wow. That'd be pretty cool. That's an exciting thought.

Izzy Pope-Moore: Yeah. I know. I just, as well just with like, I've spent six years training with you, which has just like, it's mind-blowing, that went super quick. And we were saying the other day, like I think most of that now has been online. I think it's just slightly more skewed in the online than the in-person, but like we originally started training in person. And I think just from my own personal knowledge as well, cause I can really sort of focus on health and fitness in veganism and that's just kind of where my interests lie. And I think at some point, like I would really like just to do like personal trainer certification just to get more knowledge around things as well.

Karina Inkster:And we’re going to need a third trainer on the team at some point. Nudge nudge, wink wink.

Izzy Pope-Moore: Would be super cool. Everything is just time. And that's what I, yeah, I know it's kind of like I said, it’s been a really stranger year, don't get me wrong. I'm super grateful for the position that I'm in, but I am very aware that I’ve had the opposite year of what most people have had. Like my year has just been nonstop. I don't, you know, and most people have just been chilling out and relaxing. So at some point I think I need to do the chill-out and relax and then stop focusing on it.

Karina Inkster: Do a little reset, you know, a little break for your brain. Yeah. That's exciting though. And, and even just like the connections that you have from having done these programs, I mean, those are valuable in and of themselves, right?

Izzy Pope-Moore: Yeah. Like I didn't realize, like, there's so many, I think there's like graduates in thirty countries for the Main Street Vegan Academy, which is like pretty insane. I know, but it's like, there's been people like in the original class, the fundamentals class that I did, there was people from Finland and there was somebody from the Netherlands and like there was me out in Canada and a few people out in like Brazil, that kind of area. And I'm like, wow. Like it was a real, was a real mixed bag. And I just sort of looked at that as well and thought, you know, what if this was all in person in New York? I wouldn't have met as many people that probably wouldn't, it would have been a bit of diversity, but I don't think there would have been as much diversity as we ended up having. So that was just really cool.

Izzy Pope-Moore: And just also made me realize just how lucky I am to live, where I live, because most of the vegan things that we need, we can get access to. It's pretty easy, you know. Like, I can just go down the street to the grocery store and it's a Safeway. So, it's like, you know, it’s okay. I can find vegan things there. It's not like I've got to go to like a specialty store, which is when I was vegetarian and growing up in England, like I lived in the health food store. So, you know, just to see how things like that have changed, especially like where we live, you know, and just to be mindful of that because not everybody in every country has the same access to things that we do.

Karina Inkster: That's very true. Yep. It's moving in the right direction. I feel like even in places like Brazil, you know, you mentioned you had some folks there, which has historically been hugely meat-eating, like maybe not the meat-eating capital of the world, but pretty close and you know, or the UK, even in the past five to ten years has completely transformed in the vegan scene.

Izzy Pope-Moore: It’s because I left.

Karina Inkster: That's what happened. Yeah. Clearly it's all because of you, Izzy.

Izzy Pope-Moore: Of course. But I've been, I've lived in Canada now for like nine-and-a-half years. And like I do, like, we were originally supposed to go back to England this Christmas and obviously that didn't happen with the pandemic. But just the last time I did visit just to see the changes, I'm like, whoa. Like, it's actually probably out and about slightly more vegan-friendly than Vancouver, just in terms of being able to go to an average restaurant and there’s a vegan option.

Karina Inkster: That says something.

Izzy Pope-Moore: Yeah. And the grocery store is like, now my mum works at a company called Asda and they have like a dedicated vegan aisle now. And that didn't exist like a few years ago, that didn't exist six months ago. But like every other store in England now has like a dedicated vegan section. And my dad, he tells me all about it and it's like so fun and just, it's just great to see. It's great to see things shift. It really is.

Karina Inkster: Absolutely. That's so awesome. I mean, there's a lot of Superstore-type places here. Grocery stores…Superstore is where we used to go, which is actually fairly vegan-friendly. But now we don't have access to it in our small town. But there's not a dedicated vegan aisle in those.

Izzy Pope-Moore: Maybe you should campaign for it.

Karina Inkster: Maybe, that's not a bad idea. That's so awesome. Well, so what are you looking forward to in 2021? Is it taking a brain break of some kind? Like, what's on the menu in the next year,

Izzy Pope-Moore: First and foremost is just taking a little bit of time out just to kind of reset and just reflect on the madness of the year. I think, secondly, just start putting my coaching business together and going from there, really focusing on that. I want to work more on my piano as well, because it's kind of like it's falling by the wayside with everything else. And I sat down this morning and I’ve just been starting to learn some like Rag, like Scott Joplin music, and it's just like super fun to play. And I'm just like, I just kind of want to like really focus on stuff like that this year and just keep fostering and keep on just going to the gym, being healthy and you know, just, just doing what I can I think. And just realizing that we're still in a pandemic, it’s probably not going to change for a little while. Yeah. And that's okay. It's just all you can control is your response to everything. So just trying to, yeah. Just trying to be mindful really of that.

Karina Inkster: Yeah, absolutely. Well, why don't we leave it there for today, Izzy? thank you so much for coming on the show and speaking with me again. We will link to your previous episode and also Victoria's cause we had a good conversation there too, but yeah, it was great to catch up. Thank you so much.

Izzy Pope-Moore: Oh, thank you. I love being on the show. It was great fun.

Karina Inkster: Izzy, I appreciate you returning to the show. Always awesome to chat and thank you so much for sharing your insight on the podcast again. Head to our show notes at to connect with Izzy, check out our previous episode, and watch the video version of our interview if you're so inclined. Thank you so much for tuning in.

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