Archive for ‘Interview’

December 11, 2010

The Boyfriend

Michael Metzner is not a vegan, or even a vegetarian, but he is well informed on the cruelty-free lifestyle. Michael is the boyfriend of a vegan and has learned a lot about veganism through his relationship.

ME: Has dating a vegan changed the way you view veganism at all?

MICHAEL: I have a better understanding of why people choose to be vegans now. My girlfriend has certainly informed me about what’s wrong with the meat and dairy industries!

ME: Do you agree with her dietary choices?

MICAHEL: I respect her for her decision to try and make compassionate choices, but I don’t see myself becoming a vegan any time soon.

ME: Have your conflicting dietary choices ever caused problems between the two of you?

MICAHEL: Well, I know that she wishes I were a vegan, or even a vegetarian, but she also knows that I am quite stuck in my ways! My girlfriend has very strong beliefs when it comes to food, but I don’t share the same convictions. Even so, I make every effort to find her something vegan, and delicious, when we go out to eat.

ME: Do you find going out with her difficult?

MICHAEL: Not really, I’ve discovered that there are plenty of accidentally vegan dishes out there. If I want to eat meat, it’s usually possible for my girlfriend to find multiple vegan-friendly dishes at the same restaurant.

ME: Where’s your favorite place to eat in Frederick?

MICAHEL: Lucky Corner! They also have an entire section of vegetarian dishes on their menu, which makes my girlfriend happy.

ME: Which is the most important thing!

MICHAEL: Yes, of course!


December 7, 2010

Tales of a Vegetarian Cattle Farmer

There are a wide variety of reasons for people to go vegetarian and even an extensive range of thoughts on what vegetarianism is. Audra is a freshman at Montana State University and has some unique ideas on vegetarianism.

ME: What are you studying at Montana State?

AUDRA: Ranch management actually. My dream is to run a cattle ranch with a bed and breakfast on it.

ME: So, you want to be a vegetarian cattle farmer?

AUDRA: I know it sounds weird, but it makes perfect sense to me. I choose not to eat meat because I don’t like the way the meat industry is currently run. I watched that movie Earthlings and it disturbed me so much I haven’t touched meat since.

ME: That’s very interesting. Would you eat meat if it were raised on your own farm then?

AUDRA: I’m sort of a walking contradiction. At this point, even if I know meat comes from an organic farm and the animals are raised well, I still wouldn’t eat it. I’ve not eaten meat in so long I’ve really lost a taste for it. I guess what it comes down to is that I am very attracted to the idea of supplying meat to people that comes from a good place. If you’re going to meat, no one can stop you, but you might as well buy it from someone who has respect for the animals.

ME: I know what you mean. I wish more people were more conscience of the effect their everyday choices have on the world.

AUDRA: Yeah, the world will never go vegetarian, so I feel like I might as well try to make the industry better. I’ve always loved the idea of the west and I know some people think it’s strange, but yeah, I want to be a vegetarian cattle rancher!

ME: Well, I hope your dream comes true.

AUDRA: Me too!


December 4, 2010

A View from the Other Side

I was raised as an omnivore, it wasn’t until I was 17 that I decided to go vegetarian. In reality, what I really wanted to do was follow a completely vegan diet, but at the time, I was living with my parents and I wasn’t sure how they would take it.

A year later, after moving into a college dorm room, I informed my parents that I had become a vegan. I was entirely surprised at how well my mother took the news.

Since becoming a vegan, every time I return home my mother is very accommodating with the meals she cooks. When we go out shopping together, she helps me scout out non-leather boots, purses and belts.

I’ve always been curious about how my mother truly initially felt about my veganism and how she feels about it today, so I sat her down and asked her about.

ME: What was your first reaction when you found out your daughter wanted to be a vegan?

MOM: Dear Lord! What does this mean and how difficult is this going to make my life?!

ME: Before I so wonderfully decided to become a vegan, did you know much about it?

MOM: A little. I just thought it was so limiting and I was worried about what you would eat.

ME: Has my being a vegan changed the way you view food at all? How?

MOM: Extremely. I learned a lot, and we, the family in general, eat a lot less dairy and meat now. I have changed my diet maybe for different reasons than you. I see how we have made the dairy and meat industries so polluting and how the majority of non-organic food is nutritionally a zero.

ME: How do you view veganism now?

MOM: It is a very limiting diet and I do worry that you get enough variety in your diet. But I have learned a lot and I do agree with you. The family is now more aware of what is in the food we consume and I try to make educated choices. We definitely eat way more fresh vegetables from local farms and our own garden now, something we did not pay too much attention to before. The whole family is healthier because of you! I will live a LONG time!




December 1, 2010

It’s the Thought that Counts

There are many people who would not consider themselves a vegan, or even a vegetarian, yet they are very conscience of the impact the food they eat has on their bodies and the world.

Sami Fink is a senior in college and a former vegan. Due to health reasons, she has recently returned to a mostly vegetarian diet, but she still believes in the principles behind the vegan movement.

ME: What motivated you to become vegan/ vegetarian?

SAMI: I have always been inclined towards a vegetarian diet, so when I made my first vegan friend I decided it might be interesting to take it a step further and challenge myself with a vegan lifestyle. I suppose my initial reasons were mostly based on animal rights, but later on I started to really embrace the environmental aspect of it.

ME: What do you believe the true meaning of veganism/vegetarianism is?

SAMI: I don’t think there is a “true” meaning to veganism and vegetarianism. I think the reasons and values vary so much from person to person that it’s hard to put a definitive value on what it means. That being said, I (personally) see vegetarianism as a way of rejecting the culture of valuing economic benefit over reasonable living. I am no longer vegan (and I have broken my veggie diet a couple of times in the past year) but I am still very passionate about ethical consumption and living. It’s about making the right choice, not the easiest choice.

ME: Do you think it’s important to be militant about hidden animal ingredients or trace amounts of hidden animal products?

SAMI: I don’t think it’s necessary to be militant at all, for me, anyway. I stopped being a vegan because after three years of my best attempts to have a healthy diet, I realized that it is not a feasible diet for my body. Everybody’s body needs different things, and some people do great as a vegan- I, however, do not. I still eat vegan a lot of the time, but I feel like I need dairy sometimes. I don’t think it does animal rights or environmental justice movements much good to nit-pick. I think its more about eating healthy, supporting local diverse farms, and nit-picking more about where your products come from, not if they have a possible slight trace of milk in it.

ME: How do you choose which products that contain hidden animal products you use? For instance sugar and rubber.

SAMI: I actually try to minimize some of the hidden animal products that are out there from my diet. I get non-processed and bleached sugar, I avoid gelatin, etc. Still, there is SO much that it is nearly impossible to avoid. My bike has rubber tires, but I try to get everything for my bike recycled or second hand so that I am not consuming brand-new products. It’s also another reason to shop secondhand or vintage!

November 7, 2010

Interview with a Vegan

It seems that a large population of vegans and vegetarians are college students, which is not surprising to me, as college students tend to have some very progressive ideas.

Kristen Lambert is a 20-year-old vegan who attends Utah Valley University. She follows a vegan diet and has interned at the Vegetarian Resource Group, an organization dedicated to educating the population about vegetarianism.

In order to gain some insight as to why other people my age chose to be vegan, I spoke to Kristen about her dietary choices.

ME: What motivated you to become a vegan?

KRISTEN: The idea first manifested itself with animals rights, but has grown to include environmental and human rights.

ME: What do you believe the true meaning of veganism and vegetarianism is?

KRISTEN: Being a vegan or vegetarian is an attempt to prevent as little harm as possible. This is not just a dietary change, but affects your entire lifestyle. Not partaking in animal products or bi-products is as important to me as making sure that the system responsible for dispensing misery is destroyed.

The true meaning of veganism in my opinion is a philosophy of compassion that provides a voice for the voiceless, whether that be animals who are human or aren’t.

ME: Do you think it’s important to be militant about hidden animal ingredients or trace amounts of hidden animal products?

KRISTEN: My mom has always given me great advice; pick your battles. That is to say, I’m not against people being militant about hidden animal derived ingredients, as I for one have been called the “vegan police” on numerous occasions, but I also believe that seeing the forest for the trees is important and small issues are usually symptoms of larger underlying problems such as improper food labeling.

ME: How do you choose which products that contain hidden animal products you use? For instance sugar, rubber.

KRISTEN: I don’t believe that it is possible to be 100% vegan, so in order for me to feel content with my actions I try to do the best I can. The products that people use (even if they don’t directly contain animal ingredients) have likely destroyed a living creature’s habitat, but if you are in any way able to reduce suffering through something like not supporting a subsidized meat and dairy industry that inflicts pain, you should.

If I am able to avoid purchasing products that are known to contain animal ingredients, I will. In regards to a product like rubber which I am assuming is most likely referring to shoes, I either buy them second hand from a thrift store, or snag some from a dumpster, neither of which supports that industry or a wasteful society.

ME: What do you most consider when making dietary choices?

KRISTEN: First and foremost, is it vegan? I would prefer the food to be from alternative sources (like a dumpster or maybe Food Not Bombs) that don’t support an agricultural system in desperate need of worker’s rights, but those options aren’t always available. If I am buying food I try to stay with organic, fair trade and local if possible.

ME: Has becoming a vegan made you feel healthier?

KRISTEN: In terms of mental engagement and social activism, definitely. If you are asking about physical health, that depends on the day. I still fall victim to what seems like my eternal enemy- sugar.

ME: How do you make sure you get proper nutrition?

KRISTEN: Any nutritionist talking about a vegan diet will likely tell you the same thing: eat a varied diet. I am fortunate enough to love vegetables and other whole foods. However, if you aren’t able to find all of the necessary nutrients you need in your food (which is something to strive for) then supplements such as vitamins can be important. One nutrient that cannot be derived from plants is B12, and thus it is important to eat foods fortified with it (nutritional yeast, soy milk, an some cereals) or consume lozenges or drops containing it.

ME: Do you make an active effort to introduce the vegetarian and vegan lifestyle to other people?

KRISTEN: I certainly try. I am fortunate enough to be a decent cook and baker, so I offer to make vegan food for people to show them how tasty it can be. None of that unseasoned tofu out of the package nonsense!

If someone wants to talk about issues concerning veganism and ways they can become vegan I am more than happy to talk with them. In the past I helped pass out pamphlets at events with Vegan Outreach, and would like to start up again soon since I am a strong believer in changing people’s minds through education. Usually if you are passionate about your beliefs and open to communication with others, sharing your ideals isn’t too difficult.