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: Becky Brooks
Where do you live? NYC
How long have you been vegan? ”2 years and a few months”
What inspired you to take on a plant-based (vegan/vegetarian) diet? “I initially went vegan at age 16 after watching “Meet Your Meat.” After subsiding on a diet of french fries at a local diner in Red Bank, NJ, I reverted to being a vegetarian who ate dairy for over 10 years…
Then I met my now fiancé (we’re having a vegan wedding in mid-August at the Water’s Edge in Long Island City!). He wasn’t a vegetarian when we first met, but he had attempted it for about a week in the past. He is a personal trainer who reads-up on health and also is into a lot of hardcore bands like Propagandhi and Gorilla Biscuits who sing about animal rights. So, the idea was appealing to him from a health and ethical perspective always.
He soon went vegetarian after we started dating since I started to introduce him to good vegetarian restaurants/cooking. I quickly became a full-fledged vegan after that since it seemed easy to do given the restaurants we ate at and the type of food we ate. Then Greg went vegan a year after me!”
What do you love most about being vegan? “I love knowing nothing I ingest or wear was once a living, breathing thing. I also love the food and exploring new vegan restaurants with Greg! I love opening other people’s eyes to veganism (which is one of many reasons why I’m excited for my wedding!) and I love being part of a movement that will help save the world and seems to be getting more and more traction in the last few years.”
What three items do you always have in your pantry? “We own a Vitamix, so bananas are always in our kitchen (although not in our pantry). We recently started using Yeast in our smoothies and our smoothies have never been yummier. And of course peanut butter!”
What is your favorite vegan comfort food? “I love “accidentally” vegan things like dark chocolate peanut butter cups from a company called Justin’s. But if I had to choose just one… it’d probably be the seitan slice of pizza at Viva Herbal Pizzeria on 2nd Ave in the East Village.”
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about taking on a plant-based (vegan) diet? “Ease into it. I know when I first made the decision to go vegan, I did it very spontaneously and without researching it (I was also 16 at the time). It’s fine to not declare yourself anything for a while and just see what you like eating, what’s healthy and go by how you feel. Try new foods, have an open mind, and educate yourself!”
Do you find anything difficult about being vegan? “I used to get really hung up on whether it was annoying to accommodate for my veganism at outings with friends or things of that nature. I’ve started to get over that though.
I had a brief moment leading up to the wedding where I started to worry about whether people would like the vegan food at our wedding and how important it was for me to make a good impression on the guests in terms of what vegan food tastes like since so many of them had never eaten vegan before. Then I realized it didn’t matter because it was my day anyway. When we had the food tasting, I was also calmed. We went with a non-vegetarian restaurant, the Water’s Edge. Their chef made some of the most amazing hors d’oeuvres and entrees. Our wedding coordinator even said he may have missed his calling as a vegan chef! I kind of believe her.”
Any other comments you or words of wisdom you would like to add? “Greg, my fiancé, is in the midst of revamping his health/fitness blog and turning it into his personal training site. He’ll continue to blog about fitness though. He’s a personal trainer, Pilates instructor and… a vegan! http://ikillfat.com
Becky was kind enough to send along a copy of her finalized vegan wedding menu. I thought it might be awesome to share that so people can see how accommodating places can be when planning for such events. I am also a HUGE fan of the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival and am grateful for Becky and the other coordinator’s drive and insight to bring Vegetarianism and Veganism into the mainstream!