To nourish your mind as well as your body

Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.

-Mahatma Gandhi

Friday, October 8, 2010

VAM Questionnaire: Alex

I sent my vegetarian/vegan questions to all the corners of the world. Alex is a friend of my good friend Yuhan who generously sent this response across the digital sea from Australia. :) Thanks again, Alex!
Hey there,

I'm Alex. I'm a fairly normal Aussie guy living in Sydney. I work as an online campaigner, which means I write web sites for progressive political groups. It's great fun, and it's awesome to be able to use geekery to make the world a better place.

I've been a vegetarian for three years, and wouldn't go back to eating meat for anything. Since I changed my diet, I'm healthier, happier and have more energy than I ever did as an omnivore.

People are often a bit wary of discussing my diet with me--I think everyone's had a run-in with the "vegan police" and are playing it safe. You know, the judgmental army of unwashed hippies who can sniff out a leather belt at fifty paces.

Really, I'm not like that: I'm vegetarian because I'd prefer to tread lightly on the world--it's a personal choice that I'd never try to push onto someone else. I've been lucky, it's been very easy for me to give up meat--I love veggies--so it's been a really easy way to minimize my ecological impact.

In terms of strategy, it's not terribly hard: I just don't eat meat. I've bent the rules at weddings where the host hasn't known (only twice so far), but so far that's it. I've yet to go to a restaurant that hasn't had a great vegetarian meal on the menu.

My favorite meal is a gorgeous lentil dahl, made by my favorite vegetarian cafe in Collingwood (Soul Food). It was actually my watershed into vegetarianism: it'd been my favourite meal for months before I noticed it had no meat at all. That dish taught me that good food really doesn't have to have meat in it.

I love making pasta dishes, just because they're simple and easy and tasty. Brilliant comfort food after a big day in the office. I make a great primavera sauce, which is essentially roast/fried veggies with a little tomato or white sauce to hold it together, loaded up with chilli and wine, and with a few strands of pasta just for form.

Being an Internet nerd, I really don't have a favourite cook book. I just surf the web when I'm hungry. Google's the best cookbook around, I find.

In terms of culinary tools--aside from the usual knive, pan and chopping board, I'd starve without my Magimix. There's simply no food processor like it.

I'd encourage anyone to experiment with vegetarianism. Do make sure you're getting enough iron and protein--that's important--but it's a great way to eat cost-effectively and sustainably. I love it.


- alex

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