Growing up as a girl with a boy's name, I got picked on A LOT. I was called Ricky Ricardo and often asked if I was truly born a female. As an adult it is funny to think that I found these things so hurtful when really they are quite silly, but I also know what it was like being that six year old girl who was ridiculed for her name. For the longest time I wanted to change my name. When I turned 18 I was so happy that I could vote, raise hell and legally change my name to something ore "feminine" but I didn't and I am glad that I grew to appreciate and yes, even like my name. Over time I met other girls with boys' names like, Jeri, Jimmie, Stevie and many more. All of these girls were unique and tough women who all said they thanked their name for that. They too were picked on and had to grow a thick shell which in turn helped them develop into the awesome ladies they are today.
I am always super excited when I meet girls with boys' names, and I was particularly happy last week when I stumbled across a blog written by a Vegan lady with a boy's name, and not just any boy's name, her name is Rikki. Another super rad girl named Rikki who also happens to be Vegan like me? Incredibly radtastic! I decided this Rikki must be cool if she is both named Rikki and is a Vegan, and my hypothesis was spot on! She agreed to be featured in "Ask A Vegan" and her answers are insightful and intelligent. She is doing the Rikki's of the world proud. Check her out!
Name: Rikki Carter
Location: Orem, Utah
Website: read rikkis thoughts & twitter.com/broomhat
How long have you been Vegan?
I have been a vegan for just over a year.
What made you decide to go Vegan?
Like many vegans, I had been a vegetarian for years. The more I learned about the factory farm and food industry and the effects they have on the environment and on health, the harder it became to claim I was an ethical eater while contributing to these industries. After reading the book “The China Study” by Dr. T. Colin Campbell about nutrition and health, while at the simultaneously reading about the benefits of veganism in “Skinny Bitch” by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin, I decided to commit to the ‘vegan thing’ for one month and see how I felt, and I have never gone back!
How do you feel health wise with this diet choice?
When I began and committed to a vegan diet for one month, I decided to pay special attention to how my body felt. I could honestly feel the difference that this lifestyle choice made, both internally and externally. Not only did I lose weight, have more energy, healthier skin and hair, I noticed that my attitude became more positive and my confidence rose. I felt good inside and that was reflected outwardly.
Are you open about your Veganism?
If so, are you involved in any activism i.e. protests, leafleting etc…
I am open about my veganism and regularly participate in vegan events. I feel that the best sort of activism though is leading by example. Showing those around that a vegan lifestyle is both functional and rewarding has been far more effective at cultivating change and getting people to examine their own ethics than other actions.
What do your family, friends, co-workers think about your diet?
Those around me have been very supportive of my vegan lifestyle choice and this has made things a lot easier. Having a supportive community is always a plus. In turn, people feel comfortable asking questions about my choices and I happily and confidently answer their inquiries. Many have made changes to their diets, eating less meat or opting for vegan products.
What advice would you give those interested in becoming Vegan?
Educate yourself. Going vegan affects many parts of a person’s life, not just what you eat. That said, really critically think about your personal reasons for choosing veganism. If you can identify those for yourself, it makes sticking to it much easier. Also, enjoy it! Cooking, eating, and shopping vegan can be really fun if you embrace the challenges instead of looking at them as negative things to overcome.
Rikki (on right) and her friend Kaycee from Vegan Machine
Would you eat at Mc Donald’s if they carried a Vegan burger?
I would not! McDonald’s to me represents a lot more than just unsavory food options. Their disregard for both human and animal life is enough to keep me away.
Do you have a Vegan celebrity that you find particularly dashing?
I don’t really pay attention to what celebs eat, but if knowing celebs are doing it helps other make healthy life changes, I’m all for it!
Do you have a favorite Vegan blog or website that you follow?
There are a few that I frequent- My friend Kaycee at Vegan Machine has great recipes and vegan posts that are relatable, easy to make, and delicious. The Vegan Stoner is another favorite. Their recipes are quick and easy and don’t call for ingredients I don’t regularly have on hand, making it easy to whip up their creations in a jiffy! Plus, the drawings are adorable.
What is your least favorite question that you are asked about your diet?
I am happy to answer questions, but when people don’t really think about it before they ask, that is bothersome. When I am eating something and someone proclaims “You can eat that?!” I just want to pull out my sarcasm card, but I try to take the opportunity to educate instead- usually :).
What is your favorite dish?
I am on a quest to find the perfect vegan pizza at a restaurant! The quest continues though…… (oh Rikki I too love pizza, my fav place so far to find Vegan pizza is Whole Foods, they use Daiya and have faux meaty stuff, if ever in Portland Dove Vivi is the place for pizza, they have two Vegan pies and they are over the top!)
What do you typically eat at Thanksgiving?
At Thanksgiving I try to make vegan versions of staple foods to take to events, generally mashed potatoes, desserts, sweet potatoes, even tofurky on occasion. Last year a friend put together a pretty elaborate Vegan Thanksgiving and invited both vegans and non vegans. The food was fantastic and sitting down with a group for the shared experience of eating a vegan meal was accompanied by a pretty unique feeling of community. I would recommend hosting or attending an event like this to anyone and hope to make Vegan Thanksgiving a tradition in my social group.
If I could make you any flavor cupcake in the world what would it be?Cupcakes have never had the appeal to me that they do for so many other vegans. COOKIES on the other hand are the one dessert I can never pass up, the book “Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar” is my bible. So, maybe if I could make a cookie dough cupcake, all would be right in the world. (make a vanilla or chocolate cupcake and drop a ball of cookie dough in the center, then bake. Bake cookies to put on top, or make a cookiedough crust by lining the cupcake wrapper with cookie dough then pouring in cupcake batter. It is fantastic, another favorite I do is Newman's Own peanut butter cookies (similar to Oreo cookies) and put those in the bottom of the cupcake pan and pour batter on top, my grandma loves those!)
Please share your favorite Vegan recipe.
In my family, we have the tradition of eating doughnuts for breakfast on our birthdays. This year, my sister and I made our own vegan doughnuts when my birthday rolled around. We just found the recipe online but here it is-
Vegan Chocolate Glazed Doughnuts
What You Need-
-1 cup non-dairy milk (we used soy)
-1 t lemon juice
-2 t vanilla
-3 T maple syrup
-1/4 c brown sugar
-2 cups wheat flour (we used 1 cup of wheat and 1 of white to diminish the wheaty taste)
-1/4 cup cocoa
-1/2 t salt
-1/2 t baking soda
-1/2 t baking powder
-1/4 c of chocolate chips (chopped fine)
- 1 c powdered sugar
-1 t vanilla
-1 T maple syrup
-1 T non dairy milk (again, we used soy)
Preheat oven to 350. In a small bowl, whisk milk lemon juice maple syrup, brown sugar, and vanilla until foamy and bubbly. In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and chocolate chips. Pour wet mix into dry and mix well (mixture will be thick). Roll between hands and shape into doughnuts. (if the dough is a little sticky, put flour on your hands before rolling) Place on greased cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool completely.
While doughnuts are baking, mix glaze ingredients. Once doughnuts are cool, submerge in glaze and place on wire rack to drip, dry and harden.
Makes 9-12 doughnuts