Happy Memorial Day to everyone out there in blog land! Today was a pretty typical day for me, woke up before the sun, biked to work and schlepped a large quantity of groceries and came home. I was planning on settling my tired and a bit hung-over body on the couch for a nap when I remembered today was Monday, Ask A Vegan day and my energy was renewed. I have quite an extraordinary chap who is my Vegan of the week who I met through the wonderful photo sharing world of Flickr. It is always nice to see some one's life in pictures and Kieth impressed me from day one. It may have been the photo of his Bonsai plant or maybe his guess what this photo is game. Either way I knew one day I would make a trip to London and have a couch to crash on. (: This guy is my Flickr soul mate. I hope you enjoy hi responses and as mentioned before if you would like to see any new questions of have any ideas on how to improve my Ask A Vegan feature, I am all ears.
isn't he adorable?
Name: Keith Dickinson
How long have you been Vegan?
I've been vegan for about 2-3 years now. Before that I was vegetarian for a year or two, and before that piscatarian (a fish eater) for a couple of years.
What made you decide to go Vegan?
Well, it was as I got into Buddhism that I realised I had to go veggie, when I decided to follow the five precepts for the lay Buddhist, one of which being 'no killing'. Becoming vegan was kind of an extension of that, as I realised by drinking milk and eating eggs I was being complicit in the mistreatment of animals, and karmically that ain't good, so I didn't feel like I had any choice; I had to go vegan.
How do you feel health wise with this diet choice?
I feel great about it. I've never had any negative effects from being vegan, though I am mindful of including a variety of foods in my diet.
Are you open about your Veganism?
Absolutely, but I don't bang on about it. If people ask I'll answer their questions, but usually I just do my thing and let other people do theirs.
If so, are you involved in any activism i.e. protests, leafleting etc…
Not really. I prefer Gandhi's philosophy of "be the change you wish to see in the world". Hopefully as people see the positive effect being vegan has on me, and all the lovely food I still get to eat, they'll decide to give it a go themselves. Kind of like changing the world one cupcake at a time, hahaha.
What does your family, friends, co-workers think about your diet?
Some are bemused by it, and one or two think it's a bit extremist, but mostly they're quite supportive and genuinely interested in what it's like to be vegan.
What advice would you give those interested in becoming Vegan?
Go for it! And above all else, be forgiving of yourself when you slip up. The first six months I kept buying stuff that had little bits of milk or egg hidden in them way down the list of ingredients. Eventually you'll get used to what to look for, you'll know which products are 'safe', and you won't have to think about it most of the time, it'll become second nature.
Would you eat at Mc Donald’s if they carried a Vegan burger?
Hell no! I stopped eating there even before I gave up meat. In fact I don't think I've been in a McDonald's so far this century, that's how little I rate their 'food'.
What is your least favorite question that you are asked about your diet?
"What do you eat?" I mean for crying out loud, what do you want, a list?
Also, when I tell people I'm vegan to "not bring harm" to anything, they take great delight in bringing up the "harming" plants. What do you say to that? These days, unless they've managed to eliminate plants from their diet, I refuse to discuss it with them.
What is your favorite dish?
I'm British, so anything involving chips is fine with me. But if I was on death row I reckon I'd ask for a proper English Breakfast: Linda MacCartney sausages, hash browns, mushrooms, beans, scrambled tofu, facon (see recipe at end), onion, fried bread! Aawwww yeah!!!
What do you typically eat at Thanksgiving?
We don't do the Thanksgiving thing over here, but for Christmas dinner I do an nut roast with roast potatoes, roast parsnip, carrots, brussel sprouts, stuffing and onion gravy. It's the business.
If I could make you any flavor cupcake in the world what would it be?
Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. I'm a man of simple pleasures. :o)
Please share your favorite Vegan recipe.
This isn't one of my own, but it was the one that made me think I'd be ok going vegan (Christmas dinner and bacon butties being the two things that trip most people up). It's for tofu fake bacon, or as I like to call it... Facon!
1 lb firm Tofu, cut into strips shaped like bacon
2 tblsp nutritional yeast flakes
2 tblsp tamari/shoyu sauce
1 tsp Wright's (or other brand) liquid smoke
1 tblsp oil (something neutral, not olive or sesame)
Fry tofu strips on low or medium heat until they are crispy on the outside. The best way to do this is to lay them in the pan in the oil and let them sit for at least 10 minutes, simmering. They should turn easily after that. Turn them and give them another 10 minutes on the other side.
Mix the tamari/shoyu soy sauce with the liquid smoke first, then take the pan off the heat. Pour the liquid smoke/tamari into the pan and stir the tofu so all sides are coated, then sprinkle the yeast over all, stir some more, over the heat, until the liquid is gone and the tofu is covered with sticky yeast. Try it. It tastes EXACTLY like bacon.