Saturday, March 27, 2010

Interviews: Adam: No Longer Eating In Ignorance



CYoFC:  Describe your current diet/lifestyle (vegan, lacto-ovo vegetarian, pescetarian, freegan, flexitarian, omnivore with vegan tendencies...etc.).

Adam:  I'm too unconventional to "label" myself. But under duress, I'd have to call myself an aesthegan, a vegan who only eats foods that are pretty. Mostly, I guess, I'm a vegan. But under certain circumstance, like being out of the country, or being taken to dinner by my wealthy Korean boss in Vegas, I will eat what it put in front of me and like it, damn it.

CYoFC:  Aesthegan, that's clever! Getting down to business, though, for how long have you been a vegan?

Adam:  I became your run of the mill vegetarian 9 years ago, at age 25, and have been vegan for the past 2.5 years.

CYoFC:  What prompted the choice to become vegan?

Adam:  I became vegan, like most folks, for too many reasons to articulate, but the decision was one that was always on the verge of being made, mostly by virtue of the fact that many of my friends and loved ones have long been either vegetarian, vegan, or highly conscientious about the food they put in their body and the larger impact that we make in deciding what to eat. It became increasingly difficult to casually dismiss what I've learned about the local and global implications of eating in ignorance.

CYoFC:  Were there any challenges to becoming vegan? What about current challenges of being vegan, or aspects about veganism that you don't like?

Adam:  The most amusing and perplexing challenge that goes with being a vegan--and this was true of being a vegetarian too--is the reaction many people have when they discover that I don't eat meat or dairy. I'd be sitting at the break table at the record store I used to work at, eating whatever, a salad, and someone would invariably comment on my diminutive meal, to which I'd respond by confessing my whatever-ism. Some folks would immediately take on an air of resentment, as if I were implicitly judging him for eating a hamburger, as if he were made to feel embarrassed and resented me for putting him in that position. I'm not judging you by eating an animal-product-free diet. It has nothing to do with you. If you're genuinely curious about why I'm a vegan, I'm happy to share. Otherwise, enjoy your hamburger.

There are no other challenges, unless I'm in Texas, visiting my girlfriend's family, many of whom are old and conservative and want to feed me eggs and bacon and biscuits, and sometimes I cave because I love them and want to make them happy.

CYoFC:  Do you plan on remaining vegan? If so, what motivates you to remain vegan? If not, what motivates you to change?

Adam:  I have no plans to change my eating habits. I don't know what motivates me to remain vegan other than those factors that contributed to my becoming vegan originally.

CYoFC:  Do you have any tips or advice for new vegans?

Adam:  Do your own cooking and take joy in your cooking. If you find that your body is rejecting your new diet, don't stubbornly cling to it out of ideological prejudices. Your health comes first.

CYoFC:  Favorite foods?

Adam:  French fries. Bagels smothered in hummus and layered with avocado and heavily peppered. Seitan jambalaya. Raw kale salad with tahini dressing.

CYoCF:  Delicious! Describe what the giving-up-cheese process was like for you.

Adam:  It was like taking off uncomfortable shoes and putting on worn-in sneakers. I never was big on dairy. I do miss the occasional pizza with garlic, tomato, and basil.

CYoCF:  Great image. One last question: Are you getting enough protein?

Adam:  Yes, thank you.


Adam, 33, is a doctoral candidate in English from Los Angeles. He digs bicycles, records, literature, and beer.

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