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February 04, 2005



Good luck! There are some very good vegan cookbooks out there, especially those with Mediterranean, Asian and African food.


Congratulations on a very ethical life decision. I am a vegetarian myself, and know some of the issues that you will face. Some have a more difficult transition than others. I was a single father when I made the decision, and my children rebelled very loudly. At least you won't have THAT problem.

Note - my youngest daughter, who protested the most, became a vegan as an adult, and now she loves to tease me about my "unconscious" eating habits. I love it.

Good luck with the dietary adventures that await you!

Stephanie S

I think this is why I have such tremendous respect for your views. You seem to possess a remarkable ability to look inwards, rather than impose outwards. This and your passion - it's very inspiring to me.

Hotel Rwanda is an amazing film. Bring kleenexes.


The vegetarianism transition was easy--did it at 15 on a whim and never looked back. Several attempts to move to veganism proved much more difficult, and were scuttled in a matter of weeks, and on one particularly successful/difficult occasion, months. Best of luck though.


i'm vegan too, but i try not to equate it with an "upward journey" towards "that more just and more excellent life" (in case they discover that God is a potato)

bon apetit!



The Birdwoman

I don't have a problem with eating meat (having been brought up in a pragmatic household and trained as a biologist) but I do have a problem with intensive methods of modern farming. I don't tend to buy a lot of meat, because I'm uncomfortable with the conditions experienced by the animals that find their way into our supermarkets. When I have a bit more money and a more stable life I will buy only organic, free-range meat (in this country, to be properly certified organic a farm has to meet certain animal welfare standards).

Good luck with your new meat-free existence!


One of my best friends is vegan, and I've been making her recipe for tofu brownies for almost 10 years now. It makes EXCEPTIONAL brownies. It's also very simple, which is why I can manage to make it. :) Also good with various things swirled into it, like berries or even peanut butter.


I am a vegetarian, too, though my reasoning is close to Birdwoman's thoughts. I don't protest the eating of meat per se--we are all animals and it's part of life--but I think that in this country at least, people eat far too much meat and it is an enviromental disaster. If people could limit themselves to once or twice a week, that would be one thing. But people, especially here Texas, eat meat 2-3 times a day. I know it's a bit hippy-dippy, but I refrain from eating meat in order to counter-balance the destructive gluttony of my countrymen.


Although re the tofu brownies, I'd note that white sugar is bleached by running it through charcoal made from animal bones.


Mythago, there are expensive but widely available (at least in deep blue coastal cities) alternatives to sugar processed in that manner.

I'd also suggest that we take a broad view of veganism. I'd consider the minimum standard for "veganism" to be the non-consumption of meat, dairy, and eggs. The non-consumption of any trivial ingredient or additive that might contain some sort of animal by-product (refined sugar, table salt, mono and dyglicerides, hell, anything with "natural flavors" means you can't be sure) should have it's own term, "ultra-vegan" or something.

As with almost any subject, there's an apropos Simpson's line. Lisa has a crush on a radical environmental activist, and he puts here "mere" vegetarianism to shame:

"I'm a level five vegan. I don't eat anything that casts a shadow."


Find an Indian grocery store for the various beans and lentils, and spices/mixes for same. Recipes that don't use yogurt or ghee (clarified butter) should work. I have even seen some instant vegan dinners which are pretty decent. I am not vegetarian, but don't eat much meat, and do like beans/lentils as a protein source. Turmeric and asafoetida, two common spices in Indian cooking, are said to reduce the - um, gas-forming nature of a bean-rich diet. Turmeric is the yellow stuff, found in grocery stores. Asafoetida is used mostly in Kashmiri style dishes and is only found in IndoPaki stores. It looks like bow rosin and smells noxious in the concentrated form, but the smell doesn't carry through in the final cooked food.


There's also Beano for that, which works wonders.


I apologize to any vegans I may have offended by offering Hugo a recipe given to me by a vegan, that contains scary sugar bits.


Hugo, when you posted so many times so vehemently against fur, i kind of assumed that you already didn't wear leather.


djw, it wasn't meant as a criticism, just an FYI for those choosing veganism for ethical reasons.

It's estimated that only a third of those who buy certified Kosher products actually keep kosher; a lot of the remaining 2/3 are vegans or vegetarians who want to be *very* sure of what's in the food.


Good for you, Hugo and good luck!

I've been off meat for almost a year (excepting fish) and it hasn't been nearly as hard as I anticipated. I do think it can be an eschatological sign of the world we hope for (I found Stephen Webb's book "Good Eating" instructive on this score).

Anyway, as a Californian you should have ready access to all kinds of delightful veggie cuisine! (I do miss the Bay Area sometimes...)

Hugo Schwyzer

Well, just got back from a very productive trip to the health food store!

DJW, thanks for the wise admonition.

JM, thanks for the recipe!


I've had several vegan roommates, and they were always bringing home recipes, etc., from various manifestations of the vegan conspiracy - it seems to be a very supportive community. The only thing any of 'em complained about was the lack of a good fake cheese.

Southern California is a great place to be vegan in! San Gabriel / Alhambra have a wealth of little all-vegan Buddhist joints, and there's always Orean's. Mmmm, soyadillas...


I got hungry just reading this topic. I think I will go cook myself a nice, bloody-rare steak, so rare that the blood drips off the plate after I cook it, and then I will wash it down with some white wine. It also reminded me to take my black leather jacket to the cleaners to have it waterproofed and cleaned again, the leather being so thick that the one jacket I have must have taken a full cow all by itself to make. I love that jacket. It makes me want to go out and buy 1,000 of them to give to all my friends.

Even my pet turtle loves the bloody beef I feed him. (it could be a her though, because I have no idea how to tell the difference between the two turtle genders)



Despite all that, your dick will not be a bit bigger. Sorry.


Hugo, if you're interested in the environmental side of things, and you don't do this already, you might want to consider introducing a high quantity of organic and local food into your diet as well. It is more expensive, but you will save money if you're not eating meat and dairy. The chemicals and the gas required to transport food are as harmful to the environment as the animal-based industries. California must be a sweet place to be dedicated to organic. I live in Quebec and fresh organic and local produce is almost non-existent this time of year.


Found your post via referral links to my log since JM linked to my vegan brownie recipe. I applaud your ethical movement towards vegetarianism/veganism -- I think living a life of doing no harm is a good first principle -- however one can fulfill it given one's position & means. Which to my mind also involves not judging/condemning others for their choices (whichever level of food awareness they might be at, etc). (Directed not at you but towards some of your commenters.)

Some cookbook recommendations: a good all-purpose vegetarian & vegan-friendly one is The Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbooks -- good basic reference on cooking just about anything. The New Farm Vegetarian cookbook has easy vegan recipes that transitional folks often like. For more impetus leading you towards veganism, John Robbins's books were very motivational for me when I became vegan 15 years ago.

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