My dad is an avid hunter. It would be a work of miracles to convince of the benefits of a vegetarian diet. I don’t know what it would be like for my family if they stopped eating meat. It’s my dad’s staple food for supporting his life. He’s a hunter. Hunters do not understand, nor do they support what I do which I totally get. It can be hard when you feel like you’re constantly defending your choices, explaining yourself and making a scene.
You may not be eating gourmet, but as long as you’re getting the right nutrients in and able to make it work, you’re heading in the right direction. There’s just ways to make it workout, I guess. I found them myself.
There’s so many different many angles to diet and variations on vegetarianism. Some people continue to eat seafood—which is obviously an animal. Others go completely vegan. If you want to eat vegetarian for a while, or maybe just not label yourself as anything and just say, “This is my goal, to eat completely plant-based and if I am at a place where I have no food, I have no money and the cafeteria has cheese pizza, I’m going to eat it.”
No one should come down on you for that. The whole point of being vegan is being healthier and to help the animals and the environment. It’s about making a positive change. So, none of the attempts should be perceived as negative. My whole goal is that people feel accepted and know that they’ve got support, regardless of what happens.
When I first went vegan, I was vegan at home but when I went out, I let myself be vegetarian because I was worried it was going to be too restrictive to be vegan while I was out.
In New York City, especially the way I lived, I was out all the time. What I remember is finally, 1 day, I was like, “Okay. I’m going to try to be vegan all the time now. I’m just going to see what happens and if I can’t be, I won’t be.” To this day, I’ve been able to do it.
It’s interesting. Once you make that decision you never go back. If I can’t be vegan, I will cut myself a break and I will let myself be vegetarian. I have not had to do that to this day but it hasn’t been a problem.
If I ever get to a point where I have to eat animals just to stay alive, okay, I will, like the desert island scenario. People will say to me, “If you’re on the desert island with a cow…” I say, “Well, if I’m on the desert island with you, I’ll eat you too if I have to survive.”
I’m a big fan of citizen radio. They do a lot of vegan advocacy. They get a lot of listener mail. One young college student, said, “Look. I’m trying so hard to be vegan but sometimes, all I can find at school is the popcorn and the French fries. It’s all they have so that’s all I’m eating.”
If really the only food you’re able to put in your mouth is popcorn and French fries, then eat the cheese pizza and drink the milk and do what you have to do. It doesn’t mean you can’t go back to being plant-based once that’s possible for you. It doesn’t mean that that was your choice. You have to live.
You have the animals in your heart and in your mind. You’re not going to forget about them because you had a slice of cheese pizza.