Q When did you become a vegan?
A I began limiting meat (no pork, shellfish, organ meats) about 15 years ago. I committed to living vegan on May 9, 2010.
Q Why did you become a vegan?
A Since I am approaching the half century mark, I've done some soul searching about what I have done with my life and how I want to live the rest of my days on this earth. I thought about what I truly value and how my daily life choices reflect those values. I really love animals and I read a few books on the topic of Veganism. The more I read and learned the more disgusted I became with how the food industry abuses, mutilates and disgraces animals, all for greed. I don't believe God ever intended for us to disrespect his creatures this way. I can live a very healthy and happy lifestyle with an abundance of alternative food, clothing, cosmetic and household product choices that do not require an animal's life to be taken or made miserable. There are other reasons too, but I'll stop here for now.
Q Now I'm curious. What other reasons?
A Watch the documentary Food, Inc. some time. Also, check out this resource from the Christian Vegetarian Association.
Q What is the most common misunderstanding you face about being vegan?
A Protein, Calcium and B vitamins. People always want to know how I get enough of these nutrients. I ask them how elephants, buffaloes, cows and horses and the like get their protein. These are huge, strong animals and if in a natural environment, all they eat is vegetation.
Q What is your strategy for maintaining a vegan diet?
A Variety. I have a few favorite dishes, but I like to try new recipes to keep it interesting.
Q What is your favorite vegan meal?
A Right now, I love a local Austin wrap by Tom's Tabooley. My favorites are the Thai Wrap (w/ Tofu or Falafel )- Marinated tofu or 3 falafels, zesty thai noodles with lettuce, cabbage, carrots, onions, taratoor and thai peppers. I pick these up at Whole Foods at least every other week.
Q What's taratoor?
A It's a sesame sauce made with tahini, garlic, lemon juice, salt & water.
Q Favorite vegan dish to prepare?
A It's hard to pin down a favorite. I like so many.
Q All right. What about the vegan dish you've had the most fun preparing?
A Cookies & Creme cupcakes using chocolate Newman-O's cookies. And since I made these, I have been addicted to Newman-O's - the chocolate and the ginger-o's are good! I got this recipe from "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World" by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero.
Q Favorite vegan recipe?
A I recently made some really good carrot raisin muffins. These were really good and froze well. I'll be making these again.
Q Favorite vegan cookbook?
A I'll give you two. Vegan With A Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz; and Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero.
Q Favorite vegan restaurant?
A A vegetarian/vegan friendly place I like is Panera Bread. Lots of good choices and they are very accommodating. Starbucks too - most drinks with Soy milk are vegan.
Q Are there any local, non-chain restaurants you'd like to recommend for their vegan cuisine?
A I haven't been to a 100% vegan restaurant. Just vegan friendly ones that serve non-vegan too. One that comes close that I like is called The Steeping Room (in Austin, TX). It's awesome.
Q Which culinary tools do you use most often in the kitchen?
A VitaMix, food processor, Magic bullet, Kitchen Aid mixer.
Q Any advice/thoughts you'd share with people who are considering becoming vegan?
A Educate yourself a little on how to get a good balance of nutrients so you will stay healthy. You can be a vegetarian or vegan living on junk food, but it's not a good idea. Mix it up with a variety of foods so you never get bored or feel deprived. And be prepared if you are dining with others in a place with limited vegetarian or vegan choices. Check the menu ahead of time online if you can, and bring a Lara Bar or something else with you if all you can order is a salad. Here's a book recommendation for anyone considering going vegan. It's an easy read and was informative and entertaining. I loved it - Vegan Freak: Being Vegan In A Non-Vegan World, by Bob Torres and Jenna Torres.
I saw that World Go Vegan Week is Oct 24-31. I'll have to think of something to do that week. There are alot of suggestions here.