Voting With My Fork


This fourth interview is with Dan who’s a cool young tattoo artist. Today we got together so that I could officially become “cooked” as Dan informed me. Apparently, up until now, I’ve been [one] “uncooked” [piece of meat] since I have never gotten a tattoo. I was a bit apprehensive about this. I mostly feared the pain of it, but it really wasn’t that bad. I had chosen a “V” for vegan and ended up choosing a design that Dan had come up with for me. The final product is now wrapped up neatly in Saran wrap making me feel a bit like a piece of meat.

Here’s the interview/conversation from earlier today:

When did you go vegan? I think it’s been about two years. And why did you decide to go vegan? We had been vegetarian about four months or so and then went to Veg Fest in Portland. Veg Fest in Portland is predominantly vegan instead of just vegetarian and seeing all those people and all the available products we decided that we could do it and go all the way. That’s great!

Was Veg Fest your main inspiration for going vegan? No, I would say that the process started by finding different videos and information like Earthlings and Food Inc. and all those kinds of films. And just reading about how animals are treated and the health benefits. I guess it came with education to go vegetarian and then the support of a larger community the strength to go vegan.

What has the reaction been from your friends and family? Has anyone given you a hard time about it? Well, I definitely don’t think my family really understands it. I think they are seeing that I am healthier and happier than I ever have been before. They probably thinks it’s extreme and I don’t know if they ever will understand it, but that’s OK. Right.  I have a lot of friends. All my vegan friends, of course thinks it is awesome. I have a lot of other friends who respect it and my friends definitely wouldn’t give me a hard time about it. Have any of your friends joined you then? Have any of them gone vegan? I don’t think any of my immediate friends have, but I have a couple of acquaintances that have gone that way and have said that I was the inspiration.

What’s the best thing about being a vegan in your opinion? It’s nice that you don’t have to completely sterilize your entire kitchen every time you prepare a meal, like having some dead pig sitting on top of your countertop with knives. It’s TOFU. It’s Broccoli. It’s OK! [We laugh!] It’s true, I was reading something about   how much cleaner your toilet seat is in comparison to your kitchen counter if you’re a meat eater. Yeah, right and anything that now touches anything else now has to be quarantined.

That’s kind of a funny one, but I think another benefit is that if I eat a hearty vegan meal I just eat and eat and eat. I still feel good! [Dan emphasizes “good!”] I still feel good half an hour later, instead of being passed out on the couch digesting this huge steak…weighed down. I just feel healthier and happier. It’s better on my conscience that’s for sure! Because once I was really aware of where the food came from and how it got to our plates for that 99 cent cheeseburger. It just kind of grossed me out and participating in that system was not an option any more. I couldn’t do it! [Sigh!] Yeah, same here! 

Yes, so we vote…at least three times a day with our meals and with our forks. You can cast a ballot every four years for a president, but then every single day you can choose what you eat and what you buy. Your money shows what you support! It directly does, so you can alter at least a bit of your pattern. The things that you are endorsing with your dollar. Yes, that’s true! So I think it’s a simple way we can do it too. Sure, we can all start riding bicycles and never drive again too that would be great, but that is not feasible. This one you can do!

A couple of people have asked me, “Why are you vegan?” And I answer, “Because I can be. Because I live in a society where it is totally possible to do. It’s cost effective. I feel healthy. I can go to Safeway and I can buy Tofu or I can buy whatever animal product I want. That’s why I am because it’s possible and it is a better choice.” DONE! [We laugh!] Definitely!

Is there any other advice you’d give to someone who is thinking about going vegan? I’d say, “Seek a support group would really be beneficial – whatever that is.” There are so many groups, Meet-ups and internet groups. You can find people out there, so if someone was thinking of going vegan and was hesitant for any reason I would say, “Find other people that are!” Yes, especially if they’re on their own like I was. I went at it on my own, so meeting you guys [my new vegan friends] was huge to me! To meet people I could relate to and who knew more than I did. Yes, it would be nice for someone who was just starting out to just skip through a lot of the product trials to try to figure stuff out and substitutions – not knowing how to substitute things for baking or whatever. With friends you can just say, “Hey, this recipe calls for this what can I use instead? Who can help me?” Yes, exactly! And like what restaurants secretly have good vegan things that might not be on the menu. Things like that are nice to know. Right, the vegan insider tips! 

And just recipes in general because it’s inspiring to see what other people do with vegan food. Right, I find it way more interesting and exciting to cook now where I used to not like to cook that much. I realize now that the reason I didn’t was because of the meat. I didn’t like the handling of it, the look of it or the smell of it. What has even surprised me is that now my stomach turns if I drive by a restaurant, like the Outback Steak House, and I can smell it. Yeah or like Burger King, that’s gross!


I had a very similar experience to you on the cooking thing. At first, my reaction, when Joy brought up the whole idea, she was the one who recommended it. She came home from work one day and said, “Hey, I saw this little thing on-line and I’m considering trying a vegetarian diet again. At first I said, “No, I don’t really know. It’s not really for me.” I was thinking, what am I going to cook? I don’t really know. But then after thinking about it I decided to try it and have never really looked back, because in hindsight I realize that my whole way of looking at food was that you have to have this big chunk of protein. Like, I’m going to cook a pork chop and green beans. What am I going to do the next day? The next day I’m going to cook a salmon and some potatoes…and the next day maybe a piece of cow and broccoli. [Laughter!] That was my cooking. It was just so narrow minded! But it’s really fun cooking vegan because you can be so creative and experimental. You can put whatever you have left in your refrigerator and make breakfast out of it, lunch or dinner. What I think is funny is that people on “the outside”, like when I was visiting my relatives in Denmark, they are looking at it as if it is super limiting when in fact it is not. My own diet, before going vegan, was a lot like yours, except I wouldn’t cook up big slabs of meat. It was very narrow, where I now find that it is way more exciting! I use way more spices and different combination of beans and vegetables. Just mixing it all up and trying new things that I would never have thought of.  I found a bigger willingness to get into ethnic cuisines and like to try cooking my own.  Like I’m going to try to cook in a Vietnamese style. I had never really tried that before and it was a bit easier than just throwing a bunch of chopped vegetables in a pan.


Any closing words? I think that it is really important that a person goes to see an animal, in whatever way they can. Go to an animal sanctuary or wherever you can see an actual animal, even in the wild. Just look at them and realize that it’s not different than your dog or your cat or your beloved pet and stop drawing the line between species in deciding that these are food animals and these are friend animals. That is a really important point!  Right, to really see the next animal you see that isn’t a dog or a cat and think about their expression of life and how each living creature has a right to be here. No one of us  are made to just be churned out like a factory to be eaten and consumed by others. That’s completely wrong and ridiculous! I don’t remember who it was, but someone said that “Society can be judged by how it treats its animals.” That was Gandhi.

A few happy cows.

Need suggestions on Tofu? Check this, The Ultimate Tofu Guide with Over 57 Recipes out:


About urbanveganchic

I'm an urban chic woman, who is passionate about educating others about the benefits of a whole foods, plant-based vegan diet, cancer prevention & survival, as well as art & life. I love adventures and travel. As an artist and a teacher, I care deeply about healthy living, being a conscious steward of our planet, and being kind & respectful towards animals. Learning about a vegan plant-based diet has been like discovering a new country and falling in love with it, so if I sound like I'm enamored you now know why! As a world traveler, I truly wish I had discovered this beautiful new country twenty years ago! Better late than never, as they say, cause there's no going back now! Born and raised in Scandinavia. Proud owner of a tripod cat & a foxy little pup. Speak four languages...some better than others. Working on the fifth one. We are all either part of the problem or the solution! Health & Happiness to you! ~UrbanVeganChic

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  1. Pingback: Ten More Noteworthy Stories | urbanveganchic

  2. Pingback: Two Years of Plant-based Interviews | urbanveganchic

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