1. What inspired you to go vegan and how long have you been?
I’ve been vegan for two and a half years now. I was vegetarian for four years prior to making the switch to a completely plant-based diet. My biggest motivation for going vegetarian, and then vegan, was definitely the animals. Because my mom was a vegetarian for years when I was younger, she often spoke to my brothers and me about the inhumane treatment of animals in the meat and dairy industries. So, this concept was never foreign to me, and I always felt guilty about my food choices before going vegan, but I was able to block those feelings out when the food was sitting on a plate in front of me. I think my brother going vegetarian was what finally caused me to kick myself out of denial and to come to terms with the guilt I was feeling. I didn’t need to feel guilty about my choices if I just ate vegan.
2. Do you have a favorite vegan restaurant in Boston?
It’s tough to choose just one, but I’d probably have to say Grasshopper. I honestly think it’s the best Chinese food I’ve ever eaten, even before going vegan. My favorite dish is the No Name, which is gluten smothered in sweet and sour sauce. It never disappoints!
3. What brings you to Boston?
I’ve lived in Massachusetts my whole life. I grew up and went to college a little north of Boston, so all of my family and friends are in the area. Now, I work in the city, so my whole life is here. Even though I dread the winters every year, I love this area and can’t really imagine myself anywhere else.
4. What do you do for fun?
When the weather is nice enough here, I love riding my motorcycle! I also love travelling and visiting national parks around the US. When I can’t do that, though, I love going to the movies and trying any new vegan food!
5. What has been the most personally rewarding experience or part of being vegan?
I think connecting with other like minded people has been the most rewarding part of being vegan. It’s so empowering to be a part of this growing vegan community. Anytime I meet another vegan, I feel an automatic connection to them, even if they’re complete strangers. As a somewhat introverted person, this is something I had never really experienced prior to going vegan. It usually takes me a while to feel a genuine kinship to someone. Veganism is such a personal lifestyle choice, so to share that with someone just feels really special to me.
6. People hear vegan and they immediately think diet. How has veganism impacted other aspects of your life?
Oh, it’s so much more than a diet. It’s definitely a lifestyle. Veganism has impacted so many different parts of my life – everything from the shoes that I wear to the cleaning products I use. To me, veganism is about creating compassion and minimizing harm in this world. So, beyond eating a plant-based diet, I try to always be conscious of the products I buy, making sure they are cruelty-free and vegan. Veganism has also caused me to try to be more mindful of the environment by minimizing my waste when possible. This is definitely still something I’m working on and would like to be better about, but I believe veganism and caring for our environment go hand in hand.
7. What advice would you give to people who are thinking about going vegan or who have just gone vegan?
I would tell them not to worry about being perfect. You’re going to make mistakes and that’s totally okay because we all have. Veganism isn’t about being perfect. Even if you just decide to eat vegan one day a week at first, you’re making a huge impact – on the environment, for the animals, and for your body. I’d also say that you should create a lifestyle that works for you. People go vegan for many different reasons, so you don’t have to model your life off of any particular person because their values may not completely align with yours. It’s great to get advice from people who have a lot of experience with this lifestyle, but at the end of the day, you’re your own person and you have your own set of reasons for going vegan, so find what works for you and don’t feel like you need to eat and buy all the same things as anyone else. As long as you are not eating, using, or buying anything containing animal products or that used animals in the making of the product, I believe you can make veganism work for you in your own unique way.
8. What is a favorite food of yours that you struggle to find vegan?
This question is going to keep getting harder and harder to answer because I honestly feel like there is a vegan alternative for almost every food at this point! My answer would have been a cheesesteak sub maybe a year or so ago. After visiting Philly a few years ago and getting a vegan Philly cheesesteak, I had been craving another one for so long, but struggled to find a good option in Boston; but recently Veggie Galaxy in Cambridge has added one to their menu. I also got one from Sassafras in Somerville not too long ago. Now, I honestly can’t think of a food I love that I can’t find vegan, and I think that’s an amazing thing!
9. Is it hard to meet other vegans in Boston?
We have some useful resources, like Facebook groups, that at least help you meet other local vegans virtually. I do think it’s a bit difficult to actually meet other vegans in the area though. There are lots of events that happen in Boston throughout the year, but it can sometimes be hard to connect with other vegans at these events since many people come with friends and family. I’m hoping that our Veganizer events will actually help people connect over great food!
10. How do you see the future of Veganizer in Boston?
I’d really like to see Veganizer make Boston and the surrounding cities a much more vegan friendly area. We already have lots of amazing options, but there are still so many restaurants, where a vegan really would struggle to find something to eat. My hope is that Veganizer will influence more restaurants to at least have a small section of their menus dedicated to vegan options. This diet and lifestyle is only becoming more and more common and there is going to be a growing need for more vegan options everywhere. It is up to the restaurants to accommodate these interests, and I hope Veganizer can give them an extra little push in that direction so that these changes can happen faster in Boston!
We're saying it. Veganizer feels the fastest way to #Veganize a restaurant is with our tactic known as "A Carrot Raid". Now we have a "How To" video on it. Grab nine of your closest friends and start #Veganizing.
HOW TO HOST A CARROT RAID
Portland Wing Week starts next week (yikes!), so we wanted to share a list of Portland restaurants that offer vegan wings and drumsticks.* Many thanks to all our followers who helped us assemble this list! We're lucky to live in a city with so many vegan options from tofu to seitan, and there's even a buffalo cauliflower pizza.
Please share this list to help get the word out that there are delicious, cruelty-free alternatives available. If we’re missing any restaurants, email us so we can add them. And as always, we love seeing your food photos on Instagram!
*Note: Veganizer and the following restaurants are not affiliated in any way with the official Wing Week that runs from June 25-30, 2018. We decided to compile this list to show that it is possible to enjoy wings and drumsticks without harming animals.
BACK TO EDEN
We've searched high and low on Instagram for a photo of Crush Bar's vegan buffalo wings, but couldn't find one. :( If you have a photo or you've come across one, please let us know!
FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN
GENERAL BURNSIDE'S CANTEEN
NATIVE FOODS CAFE
NO BONES BEACH CLUB
OFF THE GRIDDLE
POK POK WING
RUDY'S GOURMET PIZZA
SWEET LEMON VEGAN BISTRO
white owl social club
A UK chef has admitted to "Spiking" a group of vegans. This one made the news - but trust me when I say this happens
EVERY ... SINGLE ... DAY...
About a year ago, Veganizer initiated a conversation to the public regarding "Veganizer Certifications" in all omnivore kitchens attempting to create a vegan menu or vegan options. Unfortunately, it didn't move very far. Some even said that it would discourage restaurants from attempting to do so. I could not disagree more. As a vegan, I've been in far more omnivore kitchens than vegan kitchens strangely. I've also had way more conversations with omnivore chefs and restaurateurs than the average vegan.
This is no longer the 90s or early 2000s. Chefs have no choice but to offer vegan food. The demand is too high at this point. Perhaps the "beggar can't be a chooser" was the correct method 10 years ago - but not anymore. We can and should raise our standards because even if a chef accidentally uses animal products via sauces and such, they're STILL using animal products. Letting them remain in their ignorant bliss is no longer an option.
What people don't realize is, after working behind the scenes in so many omnivore kitchens, I know just how deep the ignorance of chefs and cooks goes. Even trained chefs that mean well, feed vegans animal products simply because they've never researched the hidden animal ingredients to sauces, spices and processed foods - the way in which vegans do. This chef is bluffing about being innocent. I'm 100% sure she gave the group dairy, butter or gelatin. Not a doubt in my mind.
You see, chefs are artist. They have egos, pride and artistic temperaments - and as vegans, we basically say "we don't like your art"...
To them it is a personal attack on an artistry in which they've committed their lives. They simply don't understand how to incorporate ethics into eating. For the classical (especially European or Latino) Chefs - the only factor that mattered for the last infinity years was flavor. This is not the first time a chef has admitted to feeding vegans animals and I assure you it will not be the last. Perhaps it's time Veganizer started the conversation again.
OR BETTER YET.
Do you know of an omnivore restaurant that is attempting to jump on the vegan bandwagon? If so, ask them if they'd be willing to go through a training with Veganizer. If they're so certain their foods are vegan, what's the harm - right? If they refuse (which many have) you should probably think twice before gobbling down their apparently vegan food.
In November of 2016, Victoria Plourde, returned to Las Vegas after working in retail in China for five years. A friend of hers owned a Vietnamese fast-casual stall in in a local food court. While out to lunch with that friend, the two decided that Victoria would take over the food stall - despite the fact that she'd never owned a restaurant and was not a chef.
Victory called her daughter, Elaine, a long time vegetarian to ask her what she thought and Elaine said these words, "Don't even think about it unless it's vegetarian." and to Elaine's surprise, Victoria responded with, "Ok, then. We'll be vegetarian"...There was one problem. The food court had signed a contracted the stall owner to be a Vietnamese concept. In less than a month, mom and daughter duo created a vegetarian version of the menu - despite the fact that neither one knew about Vietnamese food. Today the concept still stands and provides a vegetarian alternative to an area that sorely lacks vegan or vegetarian cuisine.
Fast forward to May 2017, Victoria moves to Henderson with her husband. One night, they were discussing dinner plans when Victoria got a hankering for traditional Chinese takeout. Low and behold, there was a Traditional Chinese restaurant just minutes from their home. She'd passed it a dozen times and never noticed. She walked into the restaurant and had the immediate feeling that she needed to be doing something in that space. She looked around and saw a stressed out couple trying to manage the 2,200 Square Foot restaurant on their own. They were understaffed and needing help - badly. In that moment, Victoria introduced herself and offered to buy their company and in that same moment, they agreed.
In July of 2017, they opened the doors to VeggieEat Xpress Henderson, a vegetarian Asian Fusion restaurant that still had some dairy on the menu. The vegetarian concept was working well at the first location, but the pair noticed that this location was different. People wanted vegan food and the dairy wasn't doing them any good. In addition, Elaine began thinking about transitioning into the vegan lifestyle as well. These two details led to their decision to eliminate all dairy and become a bonafide 100% vegan restaurant.
Veganizer has inspected every single ingredient on their menu and can definitely state, that VeggiEat Xpress has been #OfficiallyVeganized
On December 14th, all Las Vegas vegans, vegetarians, and food lovers in general are invited to try their newly #veganized menu! Click here to RSVP!