Two Peas in a Pod

Sunday morning, I had the chance to sit down for breakfast with Cherish & Seth to interview them about vegan living and being on a vegan diet. This is my seventh interview, but my first interviewing two people at once. It is great to meet a couple who also share the same passion for vegan food and the welfare of the animals!

Cherish & Seth

Cherish, tell me about how you went vegan? Well, my roommate Monica had been a vegetarian for twenty years before and then we switched to vegan at the same time. She was thinking about it and I was a new vegetarian and we lived together so it made it really easy.  Also  watching “Forks Over Knives” ultimately made the decision for me.  Yes same here. That’s such a powerful documentary. I talk to at least one person per day about that film. It must also have made things a lot easier to have a vegan roommate, as opposed to living with a meat eater. Definitely! Similarly to being in a relationship with someone who eats meat. I think that would be really difficult at this point. Seth asserts, “Yes, after they’ve just gotten done chewing on an animal carcass.” [We laugh at this repulsive thought!] It makes it easy to go out for sure. 

Seth, so you’ve been a vegan for three years? Three years in July. I went vegan in July after watching EarthlingsDo you know the exact date? (I just had to ask!) July 25th. This just cracks me up. Every vegan I’ve interviewed knows the exact date they went vegan. How many people do you know who can say, “Oh yeah, I ate my last hamburger on July 25th, 1997?” We took him out for his vegan anniversary. That’s great! 

Seth continues, Yes, I remember it because I had watched Earthlings that night  on the 24th and made a decision to finish all of the dairy that was left in my freezer and refrigerator and then go vegan on August 1st, but when I woke up that morning I had a little piece of cheese and it was gross to me then. I ended up just throwing it all away and making that my day. I think once you know the pain that’s behind it, the suffering that is happening, then you can’t eat it. I was vegetarian for six months before that. That was kind of like a New Years Eve resolution thing. I remember the last meat that I ate too at Arby’s. [Cherish & I say “Eeewww!” loudly in unison and laugh.] Well, I was on a road trip from Seattle to the Bay area and it was the only thing open in the middle of the night. That is funny! 

What about you, Cherish? The last meat that I ate was. I remember it because I was so ill and that’s when I finally said, “No more!” My dad is a big mid-western kind of meat & potatoes kind of guy, so he’d make this thing that I’d love. It was hamburger with potatoes and some vegetables in foil. It’s like a camp fire dinner. He used to make those for us and so that’s what I had made. A big hunk of hamburger. It was gross! That was the last meat I ate. We made one of those with a garden burgerWe did! We’ve gone camping and re-did it. It was just a garden burger with potatoes and carrots. Yes, lots of vegetables and just cooked it over the camp fire with seasoning salts. That sounds delicious! 

I think a camping trip for next year would be so cool. I actually have a place picked out and everything. [Here I stop and shock them by telling them that I’ve never gone camping. Please remember there’s a reason I call myself an urban chic!] You’re going to laugh! [They look at me with sheer perplexity on their faces] Really? You’ve never been camping, Nina? You’re going camping! Ok! We’ll make it easy for you. He goes backpacking, but I really just go car camping. [Now that sounds like something that I can do!] We set up a tent by the car, there’s bathrooms…Don’t worry! I’m not. I just never had the opportunity. I grew up in the city with a single mom and we would travel to different locations in Europe during the summer, staying in hotels. Right so, the opportunity never presented itself. 

Two Happy Campers

How have your families and friends taken it that you have gone vegan? My mom is really supportive. Is she a vegan? No, but I haven’t seen her eat any red meat. Definitely not vegan and she has chickens she gets her eggs from. So your mom raises her own chickens? Yes. What about your siblings? [Seth shakes his head.] Did they give you a hard time about it? Do they think you’re crazy? Any of the usual comments? They say, “It sounds like a big pain in the ass!” [We laugh!] My brother is younger, quite a bit younger, so it’s kind of a teasing thing, but when I do go see him you can tell that he feels intimidated by it in some ways because I think that when somebody who eats meat sees what you’re doing , they feel it’s a commentary on what they are doing, you know. I think it makes them feel kind of defensive. Of course he’ll never be vegetarian or vegan. My parents think it’s kind of a face, i think. My dad thinks it’s pretty ridiculous and my mom is supportive. She thinks it will go away, but it’s not. [We laugh!] My dad actually should be on this diet. He has heart problems, diabetes…all these things that eating a plant-based diet could cure! Sometimes I tell him about it because I want him to get cured. What about having him watch “Forks Over Knives”? I bought it for him and I have a couple of really close girl-friends that I spend a lot of time with every year and they think it is weird too. It’s really bizarre to see people’s reactions. People who have been supportive of you your whole life through everything, through divorces and who are like, “What? What are you doing?” I can relate! [Seth chimes in] No one at work supports me. 

Work and Hunting Talk by Three Vegans

Ok, lets talk about work. How are they reacting? They think it’s crazy. Do you talk about it? I don’t talk about it. You don’t bring it up. No, I don’t bring it up. They all know and all they ever talk about is hunting and fishing. They think it’s weird. Right, and you can’t really say something because it’s not the place. No, it’s not the place. Well on the subject of hunting, I actually grew up in a family of hunters. My grandfather, my dad, my cousins…I definitely don’t agree with it, but in some ways I feel that hunting is more respectable than being so far removed from your food because going to the grocery store and getting this piece of meat wrapped in plastic that you never knew that animal, you never saw that animal…I think it’s kind of a cop out and most people are that way – so far removed that they don’t even recognize it as another living being. I almost respect a hunter more than I do, people like I used to be…going to the grocery store and buying meat wrapped in plastic. Well, that’s what most people do, including myself when I ate meat. I read something recently that really struck a cord with me, I think it was in Peter Singer’s book, “The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter” and he said something like, that the animal lives that were killed during a hunt were better off because at least they had taken their last breath in nature rather than having to endure the pain and suffering in a factory farm. That animal has at least been free until it’s killed.

Anything else in regard to hunters? [Cherish laughs] He has this sticker on the back of his truck. What does it say? I love Hunting Accidents! [I laugh out loud.] It says, “I love hunting” and then in smaller letters “accidents”. That’s hysterical! That’s  because my truck looks like a hunting shag. I think you’re right. If you are going to eat meat, probably hunt. It’s definitely better than getting it in that little shrink wrapped plastic with the preservative on there to make it look all nice and pink, when it’s really all rotting and it’s a month old. Yes, it’s gross! I think because we so easily can go to the store and buy it like that – it removes us from the reality of it and allows people to keep their blinders on from the real reality because it looks so nice and neat. Yes, if they went into just the butcher part of the store. They probably wouldn’t want to eat meat. I don’t know. I have to say that when I did eat meat and would go to the butcher store back in Denmark. There you can buy “fresh” meat every day or every other for open faced sandwiches. Thin slices of meat for your sandwich. I would see these things hanging there, but I hadn’t…You just hadn’t made the connection yet. Right! I remember this gross store in Oakland that had pigs heads and that in there. No that I haven’t seen. That would be disturbing.

I remember my aunt & uncle living out on a farm in Denmark and I was there one time, when they actually slaughtered their pig. I went into the house and I could hear it’s screams. That was horrifying, but I never got to interact with it. Now, I think if I had done that…there’s no way! Probably! Well, I think it takes time to make the connection. Yes, it took me 33 years. I think it’s still a process for me, I started out doing all the food and I had no idea what I was putting in my hair and on my face and it had all these animal products in them. Actually, he’s helped me a lot with that. [Seth grins and adds!] Growing up, I’d never really even heard of vegetarianism or that it was even an option. I remember the first time I heard the word “vegan” – I was at my friend Ann’s house and she brought it up, talking about a friends of hers daughter who was a vegan and said something like, “Oh those vegans!”

We don’t either!

I had a friend who said, vegans were uninformed and that was really funny. I’m sure there are some uninformed vegans, but for the most part people are vegans because they are informed. Did she say this to you? No, she said it to this other friend. Was this kind of a jab at you? Yes. It’s interesting all the assumptions that are out there because really I feel like I was the uninformed. Right!  I was the one who wasn’t getting it and I finally got it. Me too! I know that I’ll never go back to eating meat or consume dairy ever again. When I hear about someone who goes back to eating meat, after being a vegan, that just dumbfounds me. Tell her about the button you got. Oh, I have this button that reads, “Never trust an ex vegan!” I think it’s so telling, because when you know all this and you’ve done this…How can you? Right! Right! Maybe I’m going to be a hypocrite one day…I doubt it, but…How can anyone be an ex vegan? Especially if they’re an ethical vegan? My co-workers are actually super supportive, they are like my sisters and are always curious and accommodating. 

I was actually up at the market buying something and I met this woman, who was giving out food samples and she told me that she had been a vegan and now she was back to eating meat because her doctor had told her that this is what she needed and she had gotten sick. I was puzzled and a bit disturbed as I walked away! This was my first encounter with someone who had actually said that. I think a lot of people who stop being a vegetarian or vegan will say, “Oh I got sick!” And that was one of the excuses that I used personally when I quit being a vegetarian that one time. I had traveled on an overnight flight and I hadn’t eaten correctly. I have a sugar thing. I got to my parents house and I passed out. And of course my parents were saying, “Oh, it’s because you’re a vegetarian.” So then I stopped, but it didn’t agree with me health wise. It’s a really easy excuse. Right and it’s probably because you just hadn’t eaten. Correct, I hadn’t eaten. I think that eating meat would make you a lot sicker. Well, yeah! [Cherish laughs!]

Yummy vegan food Seth & Cherish had in Victoria, B.C.

For someone who isn’t a vegan or who is thinking of going this route is there something you think that they should know or do you have a question for each other that I’m perhaps not asking? [Cherish laughs & looks at Seth] Wow, is there something about you that I want to know? Why should someone go this route? [Seth answers] Because it’s better for your health, better for the environment and it’s nicer to the animals too. It’s trifective. One of the things that I have said to people. I have a really close friend who really likes to argue with me about it. He will argue the religious stand point and all of these different things and finally I just said, “You know, it just makes me happy in my heart to be vegan and that’s why I’m vegan.” And just leave it at that. Who can argue with that? [I laugh] No, who can argue with that? I finally found something he couldn’t. Is it because you talk about it? No, I find it really bizarre. It’s my friend’s husband who likes to talk to me about it. So he bring it up? Yes. I try desperately when I’m out with carnivores to dinner not to talk about it. I don’t want to talk about it when I’m at dinner. Right, yes. [That’s not exactly the time to be talking about it, but interestingly that’s often when friends or family want to sit and talk about it. I find it to be a bit of a balancing act once you know the truth about the disgusting circumstances, the health risks involved and you care about your friends and family.] I had dinner not too long ago with my ex husband and he shows up wearing this t-shirt that says, “Praise the lard” and it got a pig on it. [Cherish laughs] I’m like, “REALLY?” Does he know? Yes. Do you think he did it just to irk you? Yes, I’m sure he did. Praise the lard…that’s disgusting! [Good thing that is not what we had for breakfast!]

I ask if there’s anything else they want to share and they both responded “No, we’re good!” But on the way out they talk about a trip they made to Victoria, B.C. where they came upon Sarah Kramer’s shop, “Sarah’s Place”. Sarah Kramer has been named “The World’s Coolest Vegan” by Herbivore Magazine. She is also the author of “How It All Vegan”. Here’s a photo of Sarah & Cherish.

Cherish & Sarah Kramer

Thank you so much, Cherish & Seth for meeting up with me! Your love & enthusiasm for veganism & each other is truly inspiring! You guys ROCK! I look forward to my first camping trip! Cheers! 

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

3 responses »

  1. Pingback: The Urban Vegan Chic « The Epigenetics Project Blog

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