Vegan Like Me aims to profile fellow vegans, from all walks of life from everywhere in the world! We’ve all been beginners and I think its important for folks to hear people’s stories in order to motivate themselves to keep going. This feature is intended to do just that. If you are vegan and would like to participate, get in touch with me and I’ll be sure to send our questionnaire along to you.
Name: Ellen Mass
Where do you live? Northern NJ
How long have you been vegan? ”3 years”
What inspired you to take on a plant-based (vegan/vegetarian) diet? ”Three years ago my husband and I visited Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary because I heard how wonderful it was. We were vegetarians for years, but when we took the tour and I saw how the chickens were treated (for eggs) and the cows were treated (for milk) I said “I’m done” and became vegan. When I got home my older daughter, then 17, said she would join me. My husband and younger daughter, then 14, joined shortly after.”
What do you love most about being vegan? “The belief that I am doing the right thing, for my ethics, my health and for the environment. It becomes hard to understand why everyone doesn’t feel the same. I also love that I haven’t given anything up, just found substitutes, for ice cream, cheese, meat, etc. (Who knew!?) I also am vegan in my clothes, so my favorite designer brands are Vaute Couture and Matt and Nat, and favorite shoe store is MooShoes in NYC. Actually, my favorite part is being vegan with my family.”
What three items do you always have in your pantry? “Standard vegan items include nutritional yeast, Braggs kelp seasoning and Marigold vegan vegetable bouillon. Also lots of different grains.”
What is your favorite vegan comfort food? “As a foodie, anything that is cheezy or creamy. We all love Daiya cheese when the soaked cashews and nutritional yeast homemade version takes too long. (Huh? This is why you need new cookbooks!) There is also Vegenaise for a good homemade potato salad.”
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about taking on a plant-based (vegan) diet? “Talk to vegans and read their blogs. Toss your old cookbooks and buy new vegan ones. Read about health benefits. Join Farm Sanctuary and Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. If you are doing it for health, read “The China Study” or “Eat to Live.” If you are doing it for the environment, read “Animal Factory.” If you are doing it for compassion, read the upcoming “The Lucky Ones” by Jenny Brown and Gretchen Primack or “Farm Sanctuary” by Gene Baur. And check out your local farmers market for veggies that you never tried before!”
Do you find anything difficult about being vegan? “People who think being vegan is a joke and like to shove bacon in your face. And restaurants that don’t offer vegan options. And coffee places that don’t have non-dairy milk.”
Any other comments you or words of wisdom you would like to add? “I am 50 and so many of my friends are starting to need drugs for cholesterol, diabetes, etc. It is often as simple as changing your diet. Don’t always trust your doctors. Depending on your current diet you may have to go slowly or your stomach may have issues and you will give up. And always believe in the right thing to do. It will keep you going when no one else does. (Also, have your answer ready when (often unhealthy meat-eating) friends ask you where you get your protein! )”
Ellen offers some AWESOME book suggestions! I just finished “The Lucky Ones” and it was incredibly moving and wonderful read. I also love the fact that Ellen has made veganism a family affair. Thank you so much, Ellen!