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: Sabrina E.
Where do you live? Brooklyn, NY
How long have you been vegan? 9 years
What inspired you to take on a plant-based (vegan/vegetarian) diet? When I was 12 or so, I went on a family trip to a bed and breakfast/farm in Amish country. I brought along some books for the car ride, and somehow checked out a book from the library called something like 100 Ways Kids Can Save The Earth, published by PETA. Up until that point, I had never thought about how my everyday actions affect animals. I became vegetarian then, and became vegan several years later.
For me, it’s a sacrifice that’s easy to make. I don’t think all vegan foods taste as delicious as their non-vegan counterparts. Boston cream donuts are delicious, and yes, I miss them. However, I think of veganism as something I consciously do everyday that causes less suffering in the world. It’s not a great sacrifice, and sometimes I hardly think about it. I like that I’m healthy and getting the nutrients I need without contributing to the suffering of animals.
What do you love most about being vegan? It may seem petty, but I love being able to eat whatever I want and I don’t have to worry about going on a diet. Almost everything I eat is healthy, and being vegan I’m able to eat as much as I want!
I also feel that the world of foods vegans can eat is much smaller than most people’s options, so it encourages us to think creatively. I’m always looking for new ingredients, new textures, and perusing supermarkets far and wide trying to decipher labels. It’s fun to keep looking for new things that you haven’t tried, and I’m not sure if I would be on so much of a scavenger hunt all the time if I wasn’t vegan.
What three items do you always have in your pantry? Nutritional yeast, dark chocolate, Earth Balance (vegan butter)
What is your favorite vegan comfort food? Peanut Butter Bomb cake from Vegan Treats.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about taking on a plant-based (vegan) diet? Have fun with food, get inspired by blogs and cookbooks, try new things, and don’t be too hard on yourself if you accidentally eat something with a wrong ingredient. Stay rooted in the reasons to become vegan, and the temptations will go away. I now think of my veganism as something like a dietary restriction. For example, I can recognize when non-vegan foods look delicious but I’ve trained myself to avoid them as if I were allergic. When it becomes clear which foods you can and can’t eat, it becomes much easier to feel comfortable and get excited about being vegan.
Do you find anything difficult about being vegan? I’ve had to switch to being vegetarian when living abroad in South Korea and Morocco. If you don’t speak the language and can’t read it, it’s pretty tough to stay vegan. Additionally, going over for dinner at someone’s house (whether in the US or abroad) can be challenging if they’re not used to veganism. I try to bring my own food whenever possible, or sometimes I try to appreciate the host’s graciousness and pick around or give certain foods the benefit of the doubt (ie- this could maybe be made with oil instead of butter?)… Regardless, it can be a challenge when you’re out of your comfort zone and don’t have access to a health food store.
See! Sabrina knows the delight of Vegan Treats, too! Thanks so much for playing, Sabrina.