• Laura Simonson

We Chews Vegan: Julia & Zak

If a dog has ever captured your heart, you deeply understand the human-dog bond. This bond is unlike any other bond. It's a bond, so tight, it transcends our spirit with the slightest wag of our dog's tail. Basically, our dogs, by just being exactly who they are, remind us each day that a better world is possible and that we are loved.


This bond is one of the many reasons we decided it's high time to raise our paws for Veganuary! During the month of January, we're super excited to highlight some of our furiends and their hoomans as they share their "We Chews Vegan" stories.


Meet Julia and Zak!

The Olympic Athlete & An Anxious Rescue

zak a rescue on the beach thinking about his mom julia feeding him virchew plantbased vegan dog food made in vancouver, bc

Canadian Olympic athlete and medal-winning freestyle skier Julia Murray found 9-month-old Zak on the petfinder.com website where he was described as ‘anxious.’ Considering he was alone and confused in an animal control facility, his anxiety was understandable and then alleviated when Julia wrapped her loving arms around him.

Good For Our Hearts


Julia recounts that it has been so amazing to see his personality shine through once he realized he had a forever home and unconditional love. “My heart explodes from his quirky cuteness and the way he shows his personality and love. There’s something so unique and special about rescues and the appreciation they give.”

Good For Our Dogs


At four years old, Zak is healthy, happy, and 39-months vegan. Before meeting Zak, Julia had been vegan for over 2-years, and having studied nutrition, knew that any dog she adopted would thrive on a plant-based diet. Knowing that other animals didn’t need to be harmed in order for Zak to thrive was important.


In the beginning, she purchased plant-based dog foods from various companies, but puppy Zak came with a problem of hot spots on his skin, and they weren’t healing. She then cooked a customized diet for him before learning about Virchew. For the past year, Julia credits Virchew to Zak achieving “the best skin he has ever had. He’s thriving with plant-powered energy, and at a perfect weight.⁠”


olympic athlete julia murray holds rescue zak on a ski slope while thinking about making plantbased vegan virchew for dinner

Julia and Zak are Insta-friendly and with her background as an Olympic athlete and Zak’s incredible cuteness, the duo is always out and about making the most of our incredible west coast hiking trails, beaches, and doggie parks. People are always curious about the vegan duo, and Julia shares that “they’re mainly just curious about how he’s doing and what he eats… they see how healthy he looks and that’s proof enough that dogs can do just fine without eating meat.”

Good For Our Planet


As a vegan duo, Julia and Zak are making change just by how they eat! (Did you know you can count how beneficial not-eating animals can be by using the Veestro Vegan Calculator*). Check out how incredible these two are!


olympic athlete julia murray and her rescue dog zak use vegan calculator to save animals before eating virchew plantbased vegan dog food

It’s The Perfect Time to Chew Love


Julia has three tips for anyone and everyone who has signed up for the Veganuary Challenge.


1. Focus on one meal at a time, and on progress over perfection. Veganize your typical go-to meals and explore the plant kingdom. Have someone do it along with you for accountability. Have fun with it!


2. Eat a diversity of plants, and I’d recommend taking Complement Essentials to cover your bases and ensure you’ll thrive for the long term.


3. Join an online community like the Whole You Plant-Based Facebook group (I’ll see you in there).


“Veganism simply means doing the least amount of harm to sentient beings as humanly possible. It’s about expanding your compassion umbrella beyond your furry family members to all animals. It’s about exploring the plant-based world and replacing all animal products with plant-based versions. Being vegan is the opposite of extreme, and it’s empowering to know how impactful it is to choose plants over animal products for the environment, human health and of course, for the animals.”


olympic athlete julia murray cuddles rescue dog zak before making plantbased vegan virchew dog food from vancouver

Veganism is NOT Extreme

As an entrepreneur, Julia advocates for a whole food plant-based vegan diet, but to get there with the mindset of progress over perfection, and reaches her audience through Instagram. With almost 15,500 IG followers, this RHN (Registered Holistic Nutritionist) Chef, Olympian, and Vegan is an incredible resource for both pet-owners and those who are looking to rescue a furry friend in the future.


“Veganism simply means doing the least amount of harm to sentient beings as humanly possible. It’s about expanding your compassion umbrella beyond your furry family members to all animals. It’s about exploring the plant-based world and replacing all animal products with plant-based versions. Being vegan is the opposite of extreme, and it’s empowering to know how impactful it is to choose plants over animal products for the environment, human health and of course, for the animals.”



We Chews Vegan: Eat the Change - Together is a digital event launched by Virchew to celebrate our human-dog bond through the stories of some really cool people and their pooches who are living and thriving together on a vegan diet. We'll share not only the incredible tangible impact that can be made but also the intangible benefits that warm our hearts and lift our spirits - all of which contribute to a better, kinder world filled with love.


Hungry for more? Fetch more stories and testimonials over at www.virchew.com/testimonials


*Calculations were made using the Veestro Vegan Calculator for humans and this study for our companion animals.

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