Updated: Jun 14, 2021
Ever since I became an advocate of Sustainable Living and our whole household turned full Edenic Living our go-to grocery has always been The Vegan Grocer which is the brainchild of the vegan entrepreneur and visionary, Auggie Yap Suratos. Happily married to Israel who is also a vegan like herself, this 15 year fully pledged vegan lady has been very passionate about spreading a plant-based lifestyle. Auggie loves to teach, help, and guide people on their transition to a healthier, kinder, and more compassionate way of living and would always feel so much joy whenever she showcases to people the available vegan substitute of their favorite meat dishes are. I would always see her in her store very grateful whenever clients would give feedback that the vegan dishes that they have are better than the meat counterpart. She said that the best part is to always see clients come back to The Vegan Grocer and try more products.
As someone who has been experiencing the amazing benefits and physical strength of vegan life and sustainable living (most especially during my quarantine and covid-19 experience), I decided to have a chat with her to know more about her life passion and how these can shift us all for the better as we wait and endure this pandemic that we are all going through.
WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION TO CREATE THE VEGAN GROCER?
The people who are sick & ill inspired me to start The Vegan Grocer because I wanted to help them bring back their optimum health. My vegan lifestyle is also one of the reasons why I put up The Vegan Grocer because it was so hard to source vegan products back then.
The very reason why I embraced a plant-based lifestyle is because of my endometriosis. I was inspired by others who were healed from their disease when they changed their diet and eventually their lifestyle. Remembering how I was placed on a spot where I had no other option was really earth shattering. Fortunately, I learned that operation, loss and death, were not the only option for my condition. There was hope for me to get well. It was really inspiring for me to learn how other people were able to heal themselves who had far worse conditions than I had, and to see how they pulled themselves from what seemed like certain death. Who would have thought that by simply choosing to eat vegetables and fruits could help heal our body, save animals, help the environment? At that time, it was really just for me, but as time went by, I realized the I could affect others by simply being vegan.
After years of being vegan, I was really hoping that someone would establish a vegan grocery here in the Philippines where I can buy what I needed. Being vegan back then was really challenging to say the least, I used to buy from different establishments, delivery service wasn’t the norm then, you would need to personally pick up the vegan items. I would go from one part of the metro for something, then drive off to the opposite part of another city to buy my vegan needs. How I thought, it would be easy for people to transition to a plant-based lifestyle if there is a place where they can get everything they needed. And this is how The Vegan Grocer was born. And here we are today, serving the vegan community, those who are vegetarians, those with food sensitivities, even those with medical conditions. We are just so glad and thankful, that we are able to make a difference to those people.
WHAT ARE THE GOALS AND VISIONS THAT YOU WANT TO ATTAIN WITH YOUR ADVOCACIES AND WITH TVG?
To promote healthy living while making a difference for animals, the environment, and most of all give hope to those who are recovering from different diseases. We really wish to educate Filipinos that “the food that you eat can heal your body”.
We see The Vegan Grocer as a one-stop shop serving vegans, transitioning vegans, those with food sensitivities, people who are more health conscious or people who simply want to experience healthy, delicious vegan food. A place where they can get wide selection of locally made vegan food and international brands as well. They don’t need to go to different places to try those vegan products because they can get it from The Vegan Grocer.
IN THIS CHALLENGING TIMES OF PANDEMIC, HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR EFFORTS IN VEGAN LIFESTYLE AND SUSTAINABLE LIVING CAN IMPACT THE PEOPLE AROUND US?
Well, we think being vegan or health conscious has a very big impact in one’s life especially at this time of pandemic. It is more relevant today for people to shift to a healthier lifestyle. Why? Because we need to build a stronger immune system for us to fight the virus or any disease we may encounter. We really need to stay healthy because it is so hard to be hospitalized. Embracing plant-based diet has a lot of benefits like help lower cholesterol levels, help stabilize blood pressure and can help regulate your sugar too. More and more people are realizing this and are trying it out for themselves.
In addition to that, being vegan can help not only the people around us, but the community, the nation and the whole world as well. Vegan diet uses less resources and has lesser carbon footprint, if we want to lessen the amount of water we waste, and be more energy-efficient, then we need to know that the FOOD THAT WE EAT have human and environmental impact.
WITH THAT BEING SAID, WHAT FOR YOU ARE YOUR TOP 8 POWER PRODUCTS THAT BASED FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE WILL EQUIP US TO FIGHT THE VIRUS AND THE PANDEMIC?
1) EXTRA VIRGIN COCONUT OIL has anti-microbial effect that kills viruses, bacteria and fungi, helps reduce seizures, protects hair, skin and teeth, has vitamin E, prevents liver disease.
We have different brands of VCO and we also have LAURIN MCT OIL which is well-known in boosting immune system.
2) KAYUMANGGI ORGANICS GOLDEN NECTAR, a combination of turmeric and ginger. You can prepare this as a cold drink or hot drink, or take a spoonful of the nectar.
-contains gingerols for protection against degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease
-contains curcuminoids, as a strong anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and for liver function enhancements.
3) GOLDEN MILK, this is a ready to drink turmeric powder mixed with coco milk, coco sugar, ginger, black pepper and cinnamon. This can help boost immunity, prevent cell damage, anti-inflammation, decrease anxiety and a lot more.
4) CAMU-CAMU POWDER, considered a superfood, a rich source of vitamin C, has powerful anti-oxidant, reduces inflammation, has strong antibacterial properties.
5) PURE MALUNGGAY POWDER and PURE TURMERIC POWDER
Malunggay is a rich source of vitamin C and minerals, nourishes the skin, hair and liver, fights bacteria while turmeric contains powerful medical properties, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory
6) Açai is a superfood, loaded with antioxidants, improves the immune system, boost energy, increase circulation.
7) COCONUT YOGHURT a non-dairy culture that has lots of nutrients needed by the body, high protein, helps digestion, has probiotics which is good for the gut, help the immune system.
8) KOMBUCHA has good source of probiotics, antioxidants, helps protect the liver, good for the gut, suppress growth of undesirable bacteria.
WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PROJECTS / PLANS FOR TVG AND WHAT ARE THE OTHER THINGS THAT WE SHOULD WATCH OUT FOR?
We wish to reach more people by opening branches in bigger cities nationwide so people will have easy access on plant-based food.
Once pandemic is over, we will continue to hold talks and workshops on benefits of a plant-based diet, do cooking demo and invite different guests to talk about the effects of a vegan lifestyle.
Please watch out for our website to be launched soon: www.thevegangrocerph.com
I also wish to have an animal sanctuary to shelter the animals. If only we can feel their happiness, their sadness, their fear, then we would be able to see how precious their life is. I think all animals deserve to live freely and happily.
WHAT ARE YOUR MESSAGES TO OTHER ENTREPRENEURS OUT THERE WHO ARE KEEN IN EXPLORING THINGS THAT WILL HELP GEAR US TOWARD VEGAN LIFE AND SUSTAINABILITY SPECIALLY DURING THIS TIME OF PANDEMIC?
Veganism is growing in the Philippines as more Filipinos are embracing a plant-based lifestyle. For those who wish to open vegan businesses, yes, the more vegan businesses coming out, the more animals are saved and more contributions to help heal Mother Earth.
It is our hope, that new entrepreneurs would realize the true meaning of veganism. Veganism is not a fad and most of all, it is not merely a diet. Veganism is a lifestyle that aims to reduce animal suffering.
New entrepreneurs should understand that vegans do not consume any form of meat, dairy, egg and honey. No casein. No lactose. No butter. No whey. No any animal byproduct. Let us all practice due diligence on this matter for the safety of our clients.
We hope that new entrepreneurs rediscover the rich natural resources we have in the Philippines and make it into an industry that can create world class vegan food products and materials. Coconut has a lot of potential, cassava, bamboo and other indigenous fibers like nipa, pine, waterlily to name a few. People should realize that plants are excellent sources of sustainable grass roots industry that are world class materials. Plant based materials can be used for gardening, clothing, protective gear, tools, it can be applied to semi-conductors or drone airframe and even aerospace industry. Its potential is only limited to one’s imagination.
Check out THE VEGAN GROCER
or visit their actual store at