Nancy Fried, affectionally nicknamed Nurse Nancy, is extremely passionate about the health and welfare of both human and non-human animals alike. She is a long-time vegetarian turned vegan, a nurse practitioner, and the “mother” to four chihuahuas, Champ, Chicco, Odie, and Gabby, each of whom she rescued through OSCAR (One Step Closer Animal Rescue) and Fur Friends in Need. She will begin working towards a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree this coming August and plans to combine her passions for helping humans and non-humans in her dissertation. Read the rest of the blog post to learn more about this amazing and inspirational #GUNASGIRL!
When and why did you go vegan?
I went vegan in 2014 after being a vegetarian for 22 years. My decision to turn vegan was largely due to ethical reasons in regards to animal rights, and my strong disapproval of utilizing animals for the purpose of research, entertainment, fashion, and food. I came to the realization that no form of animal consumption is morally justifiable when animal-free alternatives exist. I believe that veganism is a logical choice for not only healthy living, but it also promotes a compassionate lifestyle for animals and the planet.
Are there any vegan/animal activists or organizations who have been particularly inspirational to you?
I respect and admire the organization, Mercy For Animals, for their dedication in helping to prevent cruelty towards farmed animals. Their bravery in conducting undercover investigations and exposing the exploitations of the inhumane abuse that farmed animals endure encourages me to work even harder to help eliminate such brutality.
What is it like being vegan in New Jersey?
There has been an increasing number of vegan-friendly events, businesses, and products that have become available in New Jersey. I attended the New Jersey VegFest last October and I enjoy eating at Veggie Heaven and Loving Hut. I buy all of my baked vegan goods at Sweet Avenue Bake Shop and Skylands Animal Sanctuary & Rescue is located not far from where I live in Sussex County. The sanctuary contains a vast area of land full of rescued animals spared from being sent to the slaughterhouses or sold to live markets, and saved from neglect, severe abuse, and abandonment. They are given their freedom to live, treated with proper veterinary care, have fresh food and water provided daily, and, most important of all, are given unconditional love.
What inspired you to pursue a career as a nurse?
I was inspired to pursue a career as a nurse by my mother, who was also a registered nurse. When my mother was pregnant with me, she told all of her friends that I would become a nurse and had already coined the nickname “Nurse Nancy” for me even before I was born! I have been a registered nurse for the past ten years, and I just recently became a nurse practitioner specialized in adult-gerontology care.
Were you a vegan throughout your entire time training?
I was a vegetarian throughout undergraduate school. I felt extremely uncomfortable when I was taking my Anatomy and Physiology course in college. One of my assignments was to dissect a pig fetus. I felt torn regarding aspects of my field of study, but, unfortunately, performing a dissection was part of the curriculum. However, that horrible experience taught me to value animals to a higher status and have an enormous respect for the sacredness of life. I decided to make a positive change for all animals by becoming an animal rights activist.
Can you tell us more about your career as a nurse and how your veganism influences the work you do?
I love to teach my patients that a plant-based diet is a healthier alternative to a diet composed of meat and animal by-products. The rising costs of health care is a concern nationwide. Unhealthy lifestyles are contributing to the spread of cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes. Thus, cost-effective interventions benefit to improve health outcomes by encouraging patients to adopt healthier lifestyles.
As a nurse, I promote a whole, plant-based diet free of refined and processed foods. I explain to my patients that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in this country, but it can be reversed or slowed down with proper diet and exercise. Moreover, I teach that a plant-based diet is beneficial in combating hypertension, improving cholesterol levels, lowering body mass index and HbA 1c levels.
Additionally, an all vegan, plant-based diet can even help to reduce the number of medication needed to treat chronic disease. I care about healthy living and as a new nurse practitioner, I like to emphasize in my practice the benefits of treating underlying disease with nutrition rather than pharmaceuticals.
What is it like being a vegan Filipino? Have you veganized any traditional dishes?
I am an American Filipino. My mother is from the Philippines, a country where meat and fish dishes are considered delicacies. Veganism is not a concept that is meaningfully present in the collective consciousness of the Filipinos. Therefore, I decided to implement a change by incorporating plant-based ingredients into popular Filipino dishes and substituting meat and fish products with tofu and seitan. Popular traditional dishes that I have veganized are: Pansit (a noodle and vegetable dish), Eggplant Adobo (eggplant in lieu of dead chicken), Filipino Spaghetti (pasta with vegan hot dogs and tofu), and Vegetable Lumpiang Shanghai (spring rolls).
When did you first discover GUNAS?
I first discovered GUNAS in 2015 when I attended the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival. I always wanted to own a luxury vegan purse, but was unable to buy one locally. I currently own eight GUNAS products. My most recent purchase is the Twiggy wallet in Mustard. I also have the What’s Knot to Love purse in black, the Flamingo purse in pink, the Madison bag in red (the first GUNAS bag I bought and also my favorite!), the Koi in white, the Monarch in gray, the Sweetheart in tan, and the Melrose in pink.
What do you love about GUNAS?
GUNAS proves that it is easy to live compassionately and consciously without having to sacrifice style.
How would fellow #gunasgirls describe you?
Fellow #gunasgirls would describe me as smart, caring, and ambitious.