I need to address an issue that has devastated me and my team of Serotonin Dealers lately and explain to you all a bit more regarding our decision to serve eggs on the menu at Serotonin. As some of you may know we recently received some really negative and destructive comments thrown our way from some users online who think that we should not be serving eggs, and that we should be strictly 100% vegan. We can understand, but we are really disappointed by the negative comments received and wanted to acknowledge this issue and explain why we do serve eggs, and why we have made the conscious decision to do so.
Firstly though, I wanted to touch on why I started Serotonin, to give you guys a bit of background and understanding about where the idea came from and why I am so passionate about using food as medicine. Serotonin was born out of my own personal journey of healing my mental health and my body.
Prior to going plant based I was dealing with low iron levels, constant bouts of the flu (the year prior to going vegan I had antibiotics 7 times!) poor immune functions, Anxiety, Depression, Parasites which impacted my life so much. I was constantly tired, sick and had no energy. It was going plant based that opened up my consciousness and give my body and brain the energy to find the flow state and create Serotonin. Why didn’t more people know about this? I knew I had to share how I was feeling. Since going plant based I have seen first hand the positive impacts it has had on me in relation to my overall health and wellbeing, and I am passionate about sharing this with my customers in order for them to empower themselves to improve their own health.
Since opening Serotonin, I have faced a whole host of other health issues and these were mainly stress related. 18 months after opening I came to realise I had not yet taken a single day off. I was opening and closing the shop myself each day and I I adrenal fatigue. I noticed how bad my skin had become and went to a naturopath and Chinese doctor. A few tests later we worked out my hormones (estrogen and testosterone) and cortisol was extremely high, and this had lead to melasma (hyperpigmentation) on my whole face. It was actually a moment where a customer asked me what was on my face, and when I looked back at photographs it had been there for months, and I had been to busy to even look in the mirror. I knew in my body something had been up but it was reassuring to have found what it was and I was now on another path to healing this.
With all of this going on in my body I had a few other symptoms so went to my GP for a few more tests. It was 1:01 pm on 25th of April 2017, ANZAC Day and I was in the car before going in for lunch with a friend, I thought I’ll check a few more e-mails (can you say work-a-holic!) and then right there in my inbox was this
Sorry for the delay. You DO have a significantly PRE-cancerous lesion on your cervix which should be removed. I recall we discussed that will need to be a public hospital referral and you could consider a hysteroscopy ... If you pop back in I can do the paperwork for the Royal Women's Hospital.
Regards, *** “
I felt it hit my like a ton of bricks. I tried to call the doctor but they were closed for the public holiday and the e-mail said in capitals “PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS EMAIL AS YOUR EMAIL WILL NOT BE READ - NO REPLY”
Since going plant based I have seen first hand the positive impacts it has had on me in relation to my overall health and wellbeing, and I am passionate about sharing this with my guests in order for them to empower themselves to improve their own health. But I really struggled with the negative comments and resistance from friends and family (even my online family) and this was why I wanted to create an inclusive place where I felt healthy, happy and nourished, and I wanted my community to feel that too. So, I created Serotonin Eatery for this reason. For me, Serotonin has always been about educating the wider population on the benefits of eating a plant based diet.
Our aim is to change minds and lives in order to avoid unnecessary deaths, by encouraging mindful plant based eating. We have successfully been doing this for over three years now, serving over 1000 customers a week and exposing new audiences to our way of healthy holistic and conscious living. My team of Happies and I work tirelessly to create a place that you can walk into everyday and immediately feel a sense of calm, peace, happiness and community, and we are so happy we can share this with all of you.
I do understand why we have had some negative feedback questioning our decision to keep eggs on the menu. This is fair and reasonable, and my aim today is to educate you on why we made this conscious decision. I know that for me going plant based expanded and fast-tracked my way to consciousness, and to feel better than I ever have. It opened up a whole new world for me and dramatically changed the way I think and approach my health and wellbeing.
Very few people are born vegan, and very few change their opinions and lifestyles to become vegan overnight. At Serotonin we are really trying to provoke some thought in our customers about what they put into their bodies. Being vegan myself, there’s nothing more that I would love but to see that a plant-based lifestyle for everyone. But unfortunately this is not the reality of our current world, and in order to share our message with the world, we need to be realistic and accommodate everyone that is trying to make a healthy, conscious change.
We are not trying to PUSH veganism on anyone. We are simply trying to open the channels for discussion, to expose more people to this plant based lifestyle, of eating mindfully and thinking about what they are consuming and how it affects them and the planet. I have done this by ensuring every drink, meal and dessert can be ordered and eaten 100% vegan. Even the fact that our customers are coming to Serotonin shows they are committed to educating themselves on what they are putting in their bodies.
We did our research and by catering only to a 100% vegan consumer we were shutting the doors on a huge number of people that are trying to make a conscious effort to eat healthier and educate themselves on the benefits of food as medicine. We are leaving this door open as an entry point to a plant based lifestyle to anybody that wants to be involved. We want everyone to feel included at Serotonin, to fight the stigma of what it is to be ‘vegan’, to make veganism the ‘future norm’, and to encourage our community to live a more conscious life.
Eggs for breakfast is something Australians have grown to know and love. They are a staple on Melbourne breakfast menus. If we didn’t offer eggs, our customers would likely be going somewhere else, where they would not be exposed to our nutrient rich plant based foods and holistic approach to health and wellness. To make the transition easy for our guests I have egg alternatives such as turmeric tofu scramble and maple tofu eggs. Over 1000 people enjoy our plant based menu each week, and only approximately 5% of them are vegan. So that’s 1000 people that would not otherwise be exposed to plant based eating!
All of our meals can be ordered 100% vegan, with eggs available to add as a side. Our guests come for the overall Serotonin experience, but as our meals come vegan they consequently eat plant based purely by being exposed to the environment - This does not happen anywhere else.
At Serotonin everything from the menu, to the atmosphere and our “Serotonin Formula” aim to allow our guests to transition into a 100% plant-based lifestyle. By opening the doors to my guests, I make them feel comfortable and welcome and give them a space to be inquisitive. I am breaking down the stereotypes and opening channels to new audiences that would otherwise not be exposed to this amazing way of life. These consumers are visiting Serotonin because they want to absorb our knowledge on the food we eat, and make conscious and healthy changes and lifestyle habits within their own lives - How can we shut our doors to that? It is about the journey for our customers, and we want to be there to help, educate and support them along the way while building a happier healthier community together.
Yes! Of course, we wish the use of all animal products would cease immediately, and we are not looking to support that, but we can't just close the door on a huge audience that is making the conscious effort to visit and learn from us. As John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods (and vegan himself) says “you have to satisfy the market, you can’t just push your own beliefs onto everyone else if you are to be successful.” We have to cater to what the market wants over our own beliefs if we are going to succeed at changing minds and lives and reaching new audiences that have not yet been or would not have been exposed to a plant based diet otherwise.
We are trying to normalise plant based living and bring it to the forefront of the ever expanding health and wellness movement. We are trying to be as loud as all the other “diet” movements. We’ve been exposed to the likes of Paleo Pete, I Quit Sugar, low fat diets etc. But as I knew when I was opening Serotonin, I’m not doing anything new. I knew all I wanted to do was promote Wholefoods, eating a plant-based diet full of fruits and vegetables. This wasn’t a trend or fad I was following. I was doing what I knew was right, it was coming from my gut.
I want to promote the many benefits plant based eating has, not only to our own well being but to our animal friends and the environment. It’s about a conscious, healthy, holistic living. At Serotonin we want to contribute to creating a conscious, healthy, happy world, and exposing over 1000 people a week to this way of life is helping us get there together as a community.
Veganism is about empowering each other and being conscious of all beings - animals and humans. Remember, “you can't hate someone whose story you know.”
We are all on a journey, and let’s all work together to lift each other up. At Serotonin we all suffer from ‘Tall Happy Syndrome’, which is a tendency to encourage and be happy for those who are doing well, and we want to promote this within our community. At the end of the day, we believe it’s better to create something that others criticize, than to create nothing and criticize others. We want to be the change we want to see in the world.
I hope that gives a bit of clarity as to why we are and will continue to offer eggs on our menu. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out :) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a happy day and remember compassion is key.