Megan, aka the “Crunchy Vegan Gal,” is tree-hugging city gal with an intense adoration for a misunderstood city. As a Baltimorean through and through, she lives to capture the untold stories of an urban landscape on the cusp of great change. Her fierce dedication to social justice, animal welfare, and ecological sustainability have led her down a now seventeen-year path of vegetarianism and veganism. She is the creative force behind Crunchy Vegan, where she invites all to join her community, to stand alongside her in advocating for a more just and ethical society, and to make our world a better, more peaceful place.
Yoga and veganism. How did it start?
Nearly 20 years ago, I made the decision to live a compassionate life and remove myself from systems of violence toward and oppression of humans and non-humans alike. I found my voice in advocacy. I turned toward difficult conversations. And, perhaps most significantly, I adopted a vegan lifestyle and removed all animal products from my wardrobe, home, and cosmetics.
Though I initially came to veganism through ethical motivations, over time this lifestyle has had a significant influence on all aspects of my identity—from environmentalism to social justice to views about my physical well-being.
I never saw myself as being vegan for health reasons (my love of nachos and French fries is far too extreme for me to be considered a health nut!). Yet, here I am, finding that balance between delicious, decadent, mouthwatering vegan treats and a healthy routine of physical activity and exercise! Perhaps I came to realize that I can’t very well claim to love all beings if I don’t show my own body that same love.
Why did you choose a long-form content approach, in a world dominated by social media?
I doubt I’m the only one who feels that the velocity of life is increasing exponentially. Expediency has crept into just about every aspect of our day-to-day and I don’t exactly understand why or why most of us continue to go with the flow despite the rapids rising around us. Some people, however, are starting to rebel against this hurried pace and I love it!
Instead of fast food, there’s the slow food movement, and rather than being complicit in a world of fast fashion, people are being conscious about their wardrobe decisions. In so many ways, rather than function at this hasty mainstream tempo, people are choosing simplicity and minimalism. It’s quite refreshing! I think I’m drawn to long-form content for that same reason. I certainly fall prey to the mindless scrolling of our Instagram-focused world.
Honestly, at times I do need that—the scroll lets me switch off my brain for a moment; but otherwise, it doesn’t offer much value. I gain so much more when I read full-length pieces, I can gather insight on what makes people tick, or I can learn new ideas or skills. Knowing this about myself and my own experiences, I realized I needed to create Crunchy Vegan as a place where people can achieve that deeper understanding of the vegan lifestyle because it’s far too important to be abbreviated into a short caption under a photo that flashes for mere fractions of a second on the feed.
How did you stumble upon Loony Legs?
“That’s the way we’ve always done it” or “Everyone else is doing it” are never adequate reasons for anything. Take yoga, for example. I find yoga extremely problematic and appropriative. To be clear, the practice of moving my body through flows and poses on a mat feels amazing, and I do it as often as I can! I question the movement, though, when it has to fit within a framework that exploits and misrepresents Indian and South Asian cultures.
It’s hard to find a yogi or a studio in America that honors the real roots of yoga. And as if cultural appropriation weren’t bad enough, you can add in the bougie, fast-fashion legging brands that everyone wears as if to fit in, and the whole experience just feels dirty. If I were forced to exist in that world of fitness, I’d take no part in it. Fortunately, I rarely do anything conventionally, and fitness is no exception!
I’ve carved my own space out of the fitness world. In AntiGravity fitness and aerial arts, I’ve found a playful practice that fits my energy and challenges my strength like nothing ever has. At the Movement Lab in Baltimore, MD, I’ve found a studio and community that matches my vibe and accepts everyone as they are.
And most recently, in Loony Legs, I’ve found the athletic apparel that checks so many of my boxes as a sustainability-focused, female-fronted business serving creativity, vibrancy, and (of top importance) comfort! I exercise to feel more alive, so of course, I want my wardrobe to reflect that same energy! The Loony Legs patterns give me an added oomph plus a happy mental boost to set the tone for any adventure ahead. I’ve never met my Instagram crush @Camiyogair before, but if I ever do, I’m going to show her some extra gratitude for introducing me to the spunkiest fitness brand I’ve ever encountered!
What's the next challenge in your journey?
Why must womxn be superheroes? We feel an obligation, expectation, or pressure to be everything ... for everyone ... all the time. My mama taught me that womxn can do anything we set our minds on—and I’m so glad she did! But seriously, who gave her (or anyone) the idea that we couldn’t? Who made us feel a need to prove our capabilities and worth? I don’t need to prove anything to anyone! Even if no one is literally asking me to prove anything, societal norms and narratives play a significant role, and I nevertheless feel the pressure.
I have high expectations of myself, and because I know that I *can* do most things, I say “yes” to most things (whether my schedule or stamina can’t support it or not). My big challenge these days is recognizing and then honoring my boundaries (read: limits) and finding comfort in knowing that we all have limits! No one is a superhero. I’m currently working on pressing pause, identifying my top priorities, establishing and holding better boundaries, and asking for help. Just because I can do something, doesn’t mean I have to, or that I have to do it alone.