About two and a half years ago I went Vegan, I had been vegetarian for almost ten years and I decided it was time to take the step, take the plunge, go all of the way, do or die. At first I was scared, I only ate beans and rice with spinach. I had dreams about cookies and cheesecakes that floated around me, all out of arms' reach. I didn't know what to do, I was happy with my decision, but I was hungry. I purchased my first cookbook VWAV and learned how to make pancakes and tofu scrambles. They were all delicious but the cake demon inside of me howled for more. "More treats, sweets and delectable eats," it shouted. On a very cool day in Tempeh, Arizona my stomach lured me into Changing Hands bookstore and demanded I buy the prettiest and most scrumptious recipe filled book on the shelf, that book changed my life. It was My Sweet Vegan. I have made almost every recipe in there, and not one is a dud.
Because of this book I have kept the wiggle in my booty and a cavity or two in my mouth, but I honestly can say I would not have it any other way. The author is a mere mortal human, but don't let that fool you as she wields the culinary gifts of the gods. Her name (you already know it) is Hannah Kaminsky. She is bright, talented, adorable and she is my featured Vegan of the week.
Without further ado...
Name: Hannah Kaminsky
How long have you been Vegan?
I decided to go vegan in my freshman year of high school, so that’s about 7 years now.
What made you decide to go Vegan?
At first, I just went vegetarian because I made a number of friends that had veggie-inclinations, and it seemed like a generally good idea. After all, I’ve always loved animals, and had been concerned with how unhealthy my diet had been up until that point. Only after I gave up meat did I actually start doing serious research, and upon discovering the cruelty that was still being perpetuated in the dairy, egg, and all other animal industries, I just went “cold turkey” and became vegan. I haven’t regretted it or second-guessed that decision to this day.
How do you feel health wise with this diet choice?
I think that there is truly no better way to improve your health dramatically than by just giving up animal products. I’m no expert, but it seems like every piece of advice we’re getting these days is against consuming such quantities of animal proteins as has been advocated in the past, if not eliminating them entirely. It kind of seems like common sense at this point.
matar paneer tofu dahl
Are you open about your Veganism?
Of course! Why wouldn’t everyone be? It’s not shameful, it’s not something to hide or be embarrassed of- It should be the exact opposite. I have a bunny with the word “VEGAN” on it tattooed on my right wrist, and I make sure it’s visible whenever dining out.
If so, are you involved in any activism i.e. protests, leafleting etc…I used to be much more active in leafleting around my local area, but I now consider myself more of a kitchen activist. If I can just convince a few more people that perhaps my recipes are tasty enough to forgo the traditional baking staples of eggs and dairy, and thus making the switch to cruelty-free alternatives, then I feel like that would make a much bigger impact than just forcing literature down peoples’ throats.
stuffed zuchinni bites
What does your family, friends, co-workers think about your diet?
Everyone I know that’s close to me is very supportive, especially my family. Although no one in my family is even vegetarian, there is always something prepared at every family dinner that I can eat. I feel that my parents have also become much more open to trying alternatives themselves, even without my prompting. I’m also very lucky to work at a primarily vegan restaurant, where my lifestyle choice is practically a given.
What advice would you give those interested in becoming Vegan?
My advice would be to just give it a shot; You never know until you try, and I’m willing to bet it will be a whole lot easier than you expect. There’s so much more support, online and in person, and mainstream grocery and dining options, than there had been just a decade ago, it’s almost easier to be vegan than vegetarian these days!
raspberry lime sheet cake, I (Rikki) made this last year for my birthday, yum!
Would you eat at Mc Donald’s if they carried a Vegan burger? Why/Why not?
No, and I’ve even stated to friends that I refuse to buy bottled water there. I simply will not support such a cruel conglomerate that cares only about profits, and not its consumers. Only if they dropped meat from the menu entirely would great progress be made, but simply adding a vegan burger to the menu would do nothing to improve the quality of life of the millions of cows and chickens they torture and slaughter every year.
What is your least favorite question that you are asked about your diet?“Where do you get your protein?” I swear, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve been asked that…
delicata panna cotta
What is your favorite dish?
Sushi! I love that it can be pretty much anything wrapped up in nori, too. I’m definitely open to all sorts of creative interpretations, with crazy fillings or even “raw” versions. We serve and awesome raw sushi at the restaurant (Health in a Hurry) with an almond pate, and it’s definitely changed the way I think about this simple staple!
What do you typically eat at Thanksgiving?
Every year is different, depending on how ambitious I’m feeling. Some years I make tofu shaped like turkeys, some years I just make a giant vat of pumpkin soup. As long as I can celebrate with my family and friends, it doesn’t really matter.
If I could make you any flavor cupcake in the world what would it be?
I think I do that on a regular basis! Just take a look at my blog and cookbook. ;)
Please share your favorite Vegan recipe.
Picking a favorite recipe is like picking a favorite child; I just can’t do it!
*This last statement is true, she has hundreds of original recipes, check out her site and I am sure you will find many new favorite recipes there.