Memoir: I’m Not Your Typical Vegan

As advised by the book, I didn’t try to go “cold turkey.” Instead, I phased things out gradually. Red meat and pork were the easiest as I rarely ate them; next went chicken; and the last thing to go was my weekly Sunday breakfast of sardines on toast. Being used to a varied and vegetable-filled diet, I barely missed any of it. My mom had been feeding me tofu since before I had all my teeth, so I didn’t mind eating a little more of it.

As I got older and learned more about animal agriculture, I found out the egg and dairy industries caused just as much suffering, if not more, than the meat industry, so I boycotted them, too. For example, even so-called “nice” egg farms slaughter most males immediately upon birth; if male chicks are lucky, they get suffocated in huge plastic bags instead of being fed alive through what is basically a wood chipper. An omelet’s not worth giving my money to those jerks when I can make a tofu scramble that’s equally delicious. Pizza, burgers, pizza-burgers, protein, chocolate; I have yet to meet a nutritional requirement I can’t veganize.

In terms of health, I’m doing pretty well, at least according to my doctor. Being vegan hasn’t made me skinny, so you shouldn’t do it just because some nasty little fat-shamer says it will. My curves stand as a testament to the fact that a healthy vegan diet needn’t cause you to waste away, as well as to the preponderance of great vegan restaurants in NYC. On the other hand, I don’t tend to gain weight, either. I don’t know if it’s because of my diet or my genes (people who know way more about this than me are still duking it out), but it’s at least somewhat notable that obesity rates among vegans are much lower than those of the general population.

In terms of social interaction, I try my best to be polite. I don’t want to be one of those sanctimonious killjoys everyone’s always complaining about, but I will definitely discuss my diet with people when asked. I find the best thing to do is to be coherent and non-accusatory, and of course, provide people with lots of tasty proof that cruelty-free cuisine doesn’t have to suck. In that spirit, I’ve gathered links to some of my favorite recipes. If you’re thinking of going my way foodwise, try them out. Or come over, and I’ll probably make them for you. That’s just the kind of guy I am.

Asian style baked tofu
(I like to add ginger, mirin, and hot sesame oil to this one.)

Tofu scramble
(Serve with homefries for a perfect Sunday brunch.)

Vegan eggplant parm
(Some people have told me they like it better than the “real” kind.)

Misir Wot
(Ethiopian food is the shit)

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies, I Kid You Not
(Can’t forget dessert!)

Share This Post:
    • Hugh

      That girl who won the cupcake contest on Food Network with vegan cupcakes has done a lot to dispel myths. I won a chili contest (against 10 meat chilis) with a vegan chili also proving tasty quality ingredients don’t need to come from animals.

    • Sarah

      I am not vegan but vegan-friendly. I have noticed that, for some reason, vegan baked goods always seem to taste better than the non-vegan versions. I don’t know why that is, maybe it’s the absence of feelings of guilt while enjoying a treat, or maybe it just tastes better.

      • Clara

        I’m glad you’re not hostile to vegans.

    • Sami

      This is such a great article! I just recently turned vegetarian and I’m going to slowly make my way over to vegan. I have to agree with you, I really don’t miss much, except for the occasional swedish meatball at ikea! ;)