Showing posts with label The Gay Vegans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Gay Vegans. Show all posts

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Gay Vegans: My Third Half-Marathon

By Dan Hanley

It’s been four years since my last half marathon, five years since my first. I remember the day well. Well, the day of the run and the day I decided to do the run. My nonprofit was fundraising through the Colfax Marathon in Denver and I came home telling Mike that it would be great for us to run and fundraise for the half marathon portion. Neither of us had ever run nearly that far (13.1 miles) yet we decided to go for it. I was 47.

Two months later we crossed the finish line. I loved everything about it. I felt super healthy training for the run and I was honestly shocked that I finished.

In three weeks I hope to cross another finish line, this one for the Encinitas Half Marathon in Encinitas, CA. The route of the race is what drew me to this one, with most of the race being along the Pacific ocean. I know the area well, one of our favorite spots in southern California, and I can’t wait to run.

The day of the race I will be 52. Training this time has not been as easy mainly because my life seems to be busier than last time and training takes time. I recently finished a ten mile training run so I am definitely getting close. And to say that I am excited is an understatement. I am super stoked.

One of the great things about training is that there are so many people out there who inspire me. They send encouraging notes and share advice. My training runs are at the LA Arboretum and the morning walkers have gotten used to seeing me several times, offering waves and thumbs up as I run by. And I feel good. I feel good, both physically and mentally.

To all of you out there who have supported me in any way, thank you. To anyone thinking about training for a run, it’s definitely an experience that will add to your life. It has added so much to mine. There is a of support online, especially in the vegan community. I will let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Gay Vegans: Calling All Activists

By Dan Hanley

I know there is a lot going on in the world. I’ll say that right up front.

Today I can post a tweet attacking the government, Congress, the Nunes memo and a whole host of things I disagree with. I can then logoff and enjoy family time with my husband. Later I can meet with friends and neighbors who are part of The Resistance and walk home without fear. This could change in our country, and for many it already has. Indeed, activists are in jail in the US right now. Unlike their fellow activists in Iran, they do not face immediate execution.

Meanwhile, activists just like me, who have taken very similar actions in speaking out against their government, are sitting bloodied and beaten in jail cells in Iran. They may have protested in street protests or taken their hijab off in protest of the mandatory wearing of it. They may be a Kurd who is fighting for rights for the Kurds. Regardless, they are enemies of the state and are dealt with in a brutal fashion.



All of these activists I have learned about from social media threads on Twitter. They include Ramin Hossein Panahi (above right), Atena Daemi (top right), Golrokh Iraee (top left) and Hedayat Abdollahpour (above left). I admit that I know only very little of these four. What I know for sure is that they are in jail and could be executed.

Will you please help me spread the word about these activists? I know they are not alone, and if we as a world-wide activist community spread the word and speak out, these four and others may have a chance to live.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Gay Vegans: A Healthy Addition - Beets

By Dan Hanley

I have always loved beets.

On my journey to eating more whole foods and to embrace a more healthy lifestyle, during my last grocery outing I bought more fresh veggies than processed food. Don’t get me wrong, I love processed foods. And at 51, I am once again trying to fit them in as a treat and not part of my daily eating ritual.

The fresh veggies I purchased included beets with the greens still attached. I knew beet greens were good, and was reminded of how delicious they are when I cooked them up as a side for dinner. Simple really, just a little oil, salt, pepper and garlic and voila!

With the beets themselves, I cut them up and steamed them and added them to a few dinners during the week. Super easy and in my readings I am learning that beets can do my body good.

Check them out next time you’re in the market. 


If you have a favorite beet recipe, I would love to know about it!

Friday, January 26, 2018

The Gay Vegans: 22 Years Vegan

By Dan Hanley

As in many things, if you don’t die, you get to celebrate more and more anniversaries.

This week I celebrate 22 years of being vegan. If you stay vegan and don’t die, this is what can happen.

I became vegan because of animals, in that I wanted to be as least complicit as possible in their torture and suffering.

The world has obviously changed since I became vegan. I recently heard ona podcast that from 1996 to 2016 dairy milk sales dropped 25%. That’s intense. And that makes me happy.

The bigger changes in my life since becoming vegan are not so drastic. I’m married to another vegan, although he was not vegan when we started to date. We cook more at home than going out. We try, and mostly succeed, in eating more whole foods and less processed foods, although I must say that I love some processed foods. And desserts.

I’m not a perfect vegan and that is not my goal. I want to be the best I can be, be an amazing husband, be a voice for the voiceless, and share things I learn through this blog. I want to do as little harm as possible to animals, humans, and the earth and I want to be of greatest service to others.

My veganism continued beyond a few weeks because of kind people, vegan potlucks, learning to cook, and keeping in mind that my veganism is bigger than me, that my food choices prior to being vegan included paying people to kill animals who did not want to die just for my taste buds.

On this blog I try to provide some helpful websites. If you’re interested click the page at the top.

Thanks for reading.

P.S. The photo is of me and Lilly, the day we adopted her from the Pasadena Humane Society in September of 2017. She is not as terrified these days.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Gay Vegans: Iran Protests

By Dan Hanley

It is difficult at best to get accurate news about what has been happening in Iran in the last week. I do my best to find credible threads on Twitter and pass them along.

What I know, and the sole reason for this post, is that thousands are protesting even though they know they can be jailed, tortured and even killed.

The least I can do as a blogger is to help spread the word.

If you are on Twitter, search #IranProtests for current updates. Then retweet what you find. As fellow activists, we can support those risking their lives by spreading the word on the protests.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Gay Vegans: The Best Things of 2017

By Dan Hanley

I skipped a couple of years of doing this and am super excited to once again share some of our favorite things. Some of these you may know, and hopefully I will introduce you to some new things/places. All of these are based on what we love. Just to be clear, we are not paid by any group or company nor do I as a blogger ever accept free items. I feel this is important to say so that you, the awesome reader, know we just simply love these favorites. Please be patient with the randomness of the list!
Best Non-profit – Toronto Pig Save

Best Non-profit you might not have heard of – Animal Help Now

Best breakfast at home – Isa’s Puffy Pillow Pancakes

Best lunch in LA during the work day – Happy Family on S. Atlantic (Monterey Park)

Best treat in LA – Sweet Kale Shake at Sun Cafe

Best Mexican food in Denver – Tarascos

Best social media chef/cook – Christina Cooks

Best beach in LA area – Zuma beach

Best beach in San Diego area – Torrey Pines State Beach

Best brunch in San Diego – Bar Kindred

Best vegan creamer – Ripple

Best vegan pop up – Cena Vegan

Best “I need a sweet tooth fix” place – Donut Friend

Best veggie burger – Gardein’s beefless burger

Best vegan cheese – We have two here. Seriously tied. Miyokos and Punk Rawk

Most made recipe this year at home – Fava Bean Risotto in “Vegan Pressure Cooking”

Best meal when anywhere near LAX – Stuff I Eat

Best hotel for a Denver visit – Hotel Born

Best audio book – “Black Detroit”

Best song – “Demons” by Imagine Dragons

Best hike in LA – Griffith Park

This list is not complete. I’m sure I could keep adding, and as the new year is approaching I think I really need to post this.

Monday, December 4, 2017

The Gay Vegans: Another World AIDS Day

By Dan Hanley

Every year I write about World AIDS Day and every year it is the least read blog post I write for the year.

Yet I keep writing them. I guess I keep writing them so that the world doesn’t forget about amazing people like my dear friend Felix Godinez who lost his battle against HIV/AIDS, along with 43,000+ others, in 1992.

If you are any type of activist, especially if you are an activist for the liberation of anyone, HIV/AIDS is an important issue. Even if you don’t know anyone who battled HIV/AIDS, it effects you.

If you work against poverty, racism, prejudice, white supremacy, bigotry and/or hate, HIV/AIDS is an important issue for you. If you work towards total liberation, HIV/AIDS is an important issue for you.

Last year just over 1,000,000 people died due to HIV?AIDS related causes. “Getting to Zero”, one of the themes this year, will take work from all of our communities.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

The Gay Vegans: Easy Home Cooking, Vegan Style

By Dan Hanley

The idea of cooking meals at home rather than going out to eat could be met with a simple “of course” from some while being completely foreign to others. And to clarify, cooking in this post means actually cooking, not putting something frozen into a microwave.

I have a long history with fast food and processed food. When I started dating Mike my typical meal consisted of frozen Amy’s burritos or veggie burgers with tater tots. Whenever we do a meal similar to that these days we call it a “Dan’s meal”. For us, some days it’s perfect for us to just cook up some veggie burgers and add a salad with dark greens to it. Or even tater tots! But there are also several quick meals that we can prepare.

One I talk about all of the time is super simple, super affordable and super good for you. Note: I am not a dietician or nutritionist. There are three components: beans, rice, dark leafy greens. In a skillet I start with garlic and onions in olive oil, then add a can of beans. For me it’s usually black beans but pick a bean. I add cooked rice to this, again your choice. You can also add quinoa. Then it gets even more fun! Your choice of greens! My go-to greens are spinach, Swiss chard or kale. Once the greens are added you can go for it and personalize it even more with more veggies and spices. I add a little cayenne pepper and if I have peppers or broccoli that needs to be used I toss those in.

The diversity of this dish means you can switch around all of the time. Once the rice is cooked it takes about five minutes in a skillet. Cost wise, it’s tough to beat. I get three bunches of greens for $5.00 at our market and am always looking for beans on sale. You can also buy whole beans in bulk and soak them.

Try this and let me know what you think! Remember, you can take this idea and make it your own with your own favorite beans and veggies.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Gay Vegans: Danica Roem Is A Rock Star

By Dan Hanley
With the elections on November 7th, Danica Roem became front page news.

What I love most about her is that she took on someone who spent his life demonizing people like her, and taking away rights from people like her. She had had enough when he decided that he should control where she could or could not use the bathroom. Although I do not know her, she comes across as someone who is kind, very intelligent, and one who cares about other people.

I remember reading about her months before election day and thinking how wonderful it would be if she could win. I sure didn’t think she could at that time.

Her opponent had held his seat for over 20 years. He continued his bigoted ways throughout the campaign.

Danica rocked her campaign. She actually knocked on doors and spent hundreds of hours speaking with voters about issues important to them.

I could go on and on. I will leave you with a couple of points:

Danica Roem was pissed off and took action.

So did others in Virginia and around the country.

In one state delegate race in Newport News, VA, over 10,000 more people voted than two years ago and the difference between the two candidates is 12 votes.

Register to vote. Vote. Get active. Run for office.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Gay Vegans: Going Vegan (Part III)

By Dan Hanley

If you don’t die and you stay vegan, you eventually end up having spent years of your life being vegan. This has been the case with me. Before I knew it, I had been vegan for 21 years and was about to turn 51.

Veganism has changed, or evolved, quite a bit since my early days of being vegan. And life changes. Two years ago Mike and I moved to the LA area, or the place I call the vegan capital of the world. If you want to blow your mind with vegan options, come to LA. Whether you are grocery shopping, in a vegan restaurant, or trying one of hundreds ethnic cuisine restaurants that offer incredibly tasty vegan dishes.

I am totally fortunate to have so many people who read this blog actually connect with me. I love that! Most do not live in the vegan capital of the world or have vegan options all over the place. Regardless of where you live, you can create a vegan community. It can start with something as simple as a neighborhood potluck where all dishes have to be vegan (or plant-based if that is easier to go with where you live). Mention your veganism on social media, and search for social media outlets in your area that include anything about veganism. Go to your favorite restaurant and ask if they’ll add more or better vegan options, or if they would consider doing a meatless Monday special every Monday.

There is honestly so much going on in regards to veganism. Google vegfest and your state and see what pops up. This might mean you going on a road trip but it could be a blast. If you live where there is a small, local paper, see if you can send in a favorite vegan recipe that might draw others in your area to your new community. Host a potluck. Go to a local run or race and wear your favorite vegan tee. The ideas are endless.

Lastly, be kind to one another. I say this a lot. Everyone is on their own path and that is totally evident in the vegan community.

By the way, the photo is of me in one of my favorite tees. Purchased from Action for Animals.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Gay Vegans: 'NYC Vegan'

By Dan Hanley

Before I begin I’d like to give those of you new to The Gay Vegans blog a friendly reminder that I am not a professional book reviewer. I hardly ever will review a cookbook, in fact this is only the second one in six years of having my blog. I write this not to lower your expectations for what you are about to read but to put a spotlight on this specific cookbook, one I am ecstatic to still be exploring.
“NYC Vegan” is full of recipes that make me salivate while turning the pages. Before agreeing to support the book’s blog tour, Mike and I had already pre-ordered copies and were super excited when our copy came. We wanted the cookbook because we have been following Michael and Ethan on social media for years, paying special attention to all of the amazing food they would share. Another reason we wanted the cookbook was because Michael and Ethan are two of the most compassionate people we know, and we have been fortunate to have spent a little time with them. We knew their new cookbook would be a great addition to anyone who includes compassion while cooking.
“NYC Vegan” brings me to New York City. It also brings me into the lives of Michael and Ethan, which is awesome. I love the personal notes from them that are scattered throughout the book. With these and the little bit I know about them, I all of a sudden had a list of the recipes I wanted to try.
It won’t be a surprise to anyone who knows me that of all of the recipes in the book I chose the Diner-Style pancakes to try first. I am a pancake guy. Recipes on my list to try next are the Lasagna, the Shepherdless Pie and the Colcannon. I loved reading the Colcannon recipe! I’m Irish and have never heard about it. Reading through the cookbook I learned so many other things, always a treat.


Important factors about a cookbook that I would promote to friends and family include the ingredients (would I already have them in the house and/or are they easy to find) as well the ease of the recipe. Most times I just want to make a meal so it has to be easy, and easy for me means really easy.

The Diner-Style Pancakes in “NYC Vegan” meet both of these factors. We had all of the ingredients and I think most of you will have them. The recipe was easy to follow and I never felt that I was lost or couldn’t understand something. The last thing you want to feel when trying a new recipe is stupid.


Before I knew it, I was handing Mike a plate of pancakes. I added blueberries, which is usual for me and pancakes. They were delicious and I will try their suggested additions of chocolate chips, strawberries or bananas in the weekends to come.

Aside from the recipes, the layout of the book, the photography and the information on culinary New York City all added to why I love this book. “NYC Vegan” provides an escape to the flavors and cuisines of New York City.

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Gay Vegans: Vegan for the Animals - Some Thoughts

By Dan Hanley

As I ecstatically watch the number of vegans grow substantially, I see all kinds of people deciding to go vegan for a variety of reasons. I love that, and thought it was a good time to put out there again why I am vegan.

Simply put, I want to have as little to do with animal cruelty as possible. Being vegan doesn’t mean I am not 100% complicit in cruelty, it just means to me that I do everything I can do to be as least complicit in cruelty as possible.

After 21 years of being vegan, I’ve learned a lot. A few simple thoughts I have held onto are:

Pepsi and potato chips are vegan.

I can spend $50 for dinner at a vegan restaurant or $10 (or less) at home.

I’m not going to agree with or get along with every vegan. There has to be more than veganism for that to happen.

I don’t settle for fitting in. I want to belong.

I have so much more to learn about veganism and nutrition. (I have a couple of links on the Helpful Websites page to people I learn from regarding nutrition)

The world wide web is chock full of recipes, action alerts, restaurant reviews, vegfests, animal sanctuaries, activism sites,potlucks, meetups, speakers and vegan products.

Veganism is not easy for everyone.

And, as the day I went vegan, billions of living beings suffer every year just for someone’s taste buds.

By the way, the photo above is from Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Gay Vegans: Easy Home Cooking, Vegan Style

By Dan Hanley

The idea of cooking meals at home rather than going out to eat could be met with a simple “of course” from some while being completely foreign to others. And to clarify, cooking in this post means actually cooking, not putting something frozen into a microwave.

I have a long history with fast food and processed food. When I started dating Mike my typical meal consisted of frozen Amy’s burritos or veggie burgers with tater tots. Whenever we do a meal similar to that these days we call it a “Dan’s meal”. For us, some days it’s perfect for us to just cook up some veggie burgers and add a salad with dark greens to it. Or even tater tots! But there are also several quick meals that we can prepare.

One I talk about all of the time is super simple, super affordable and super good for you. Note: I am not a dietician or nutritionist. There are three components: beans, rice, dark leafy greens. In a skillet I start with garlic and onions in olive oil, then add a can of beans. For me it’s usually black beans but pick a bean. I add cooked rice to this, again your choice. You can also add quinoa. Then it gets even more fun! Your choice of greens! My go-to greens are spinach, Swiss chard or kale. Once the greens are added you can go for it and personalize it even more with more veggies and spices. I add a little cayenne pepper and if I have peppers or broccoli that needs to be used I toss those in.

The diversity of this dish means you can switch around all of the time. Once the rice is cooked it takes about five minutes in a skillet. Cost wise, it’s tough to beat. I get three bunches of greens for $5.00 at our market and am always looking for beans on sale. You can also buy whole beans in bulk and soak them.

Try this and let me know what you think! Remember, you can take this idea and make it your own with your own favorite beans and veggies.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Gay Vegans: Adopt Don't Shop

By Dan Hanley

“Adopt don’t shop” is a common phrase in my communities. It basically asks people to adopt a shelter animal when considering the next addition to their family and to not purchase from a pet store. The underlying idea here is that when one purchases from a pet store they are directly supporting puppy mills, and animal cruelty.

It’s difficult to imagine that in 2017 puppy mills still exist. Laws have changed and some big-time animal exploiters have lost their license to breed animals because of activists shining the light on their horrid practices, yet puppy mills are still alive and well.

This topic is not only important to me as a vegan and animal rights blogger, but because one of our family members came from a puppy mill. We adopted Rose almost four years ago after she was rescued from a puppy mill that had been raided. Her first seven years were in a cage, having litter after litter so someone could profit off of her small body. By the time she was placed into my husband’s arms when we first met her, she was a dog living in fear of everything, had lost most of her hair, and had a mouthful of teeth that all had to be pulled due to no dental care her entire life.


Every single tooth.


As is the case with many animals who have been abused, huge doses of love helped Rose go from a life of cruelty to one where she was adored on a daily basis. Those first few months were not easy, yet day by day Rose learned to trust that this was her life now, and that she was safe with her two dads who were always going to protect her and love on her. Our family of friends also helped with this process, always spending time loving on Rose when visiting.


We were so lucky to have found Rose and my wish is that every animal in a puppy mill can know the love Rose knew. I say “knew” because last week we had to have Rose put to sleep after a sudden illness took over her body. Our hearts are crushed and we are devastated, and with all of that intense pain we still are so grateful that she found us and that we got to spend at least a few years with her. Our lives have been forever changed by knowing Rose and having her as part of our family.


As we have mourned Rose, it became clear to both us that we have to do more as part of our animal rights activism to shine a light on the ugliness of puppy mills. Hence this blog post.


If you would like to read more about puppy mills, here is a good article from Rolling Stone: puppy mills.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Gay Vegans: Anti-Racism

By Dan Hanley

So much going on. A few things happening in my head:

It’s not enough for me to not be racist; I must be anti-racist.

I can do more and I need to do more.

I am courageous, yet I want to have the courage of these college students protesting the Friday night of the Charlottesville violence.




If I don’t know everything there is to know about white supremacy, I can learn.

I am sending love to all of those hurting right now. I’m in. I’m on your side.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Gay Vegans: Charities We Support

By Dan Hanley

We believe that our money can help many passionate groups work at their mission even better! So we donate when we can. These are groups we have financially supported in the last year:

Espanola Humane Society
 
Farm Sanctuary
 
Max Fund
 
Mercy For Animals
 
Rooterville, a sanctuary
 
Southern Plains Land Trust

Urban Peak

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Gay Vegans: A Quick Thought on Detroit

By Dan Hanley

This photo is from a sign in suburban Detroit in 1942. I found it while searching for a photo of the Detroit riots, or unrest, or actions because of police violence, or however you the reader chooses to refer to the events in July of 1967.

I’d like to ask you to learn a little bit (or a little bit more) about the Detroit unrest in July of 1967. If you are interested in racism, poverty and/or activism you will be especially keen on this. I learned a lot last weekend by following the Detroit Free Press’ twitter @Detroit_1967 which was real-time tweets based on the timing of the unrest, 50 years ago this month. I have also learned more from Detroit writers who have been publishing columns on the new movie “Detroit”.

I was one year old during the unrest. I was in Royal Oak, in the safety of the white suburbs. My dad was at work next to Tiger Stadium and stayed there for a couple of days. Detroit was the city my family immigrated to in the 1920’s, first to a tenement building on John R. not too far from the Catholic Cathedral and then to Hawthorne just south of 8 mile.

I grew up loving Detroit, as I still do. The unrest in the summer of 1967 is still heartbreaking, and not surprising. I continue to learn as much as I can.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Gay Vegans: Vegan Delights in San Diego

By Dan Hanley

We just recently returned from another vacation in San Diego and I have decided that it’s time to share my love for this city with all of you.
I love San Diego mainly for the variety of beaches. Note that if you are not a beach person and you do not like to swim, paddle board, surf, kayak or just be on the beach, you might not love it as we do. Yet before you close out this post, San Diego is also a wonderful place for vegan cuisine, romantic places for date night and perfect weather.

This post is all food. We both absolutely love all three restaurants here. Remember that when I write a restaurant review I base it on not only amazing vegan food, but all wonderful service. All three restaurants here excel in both while being part of the intense vegan food scene that is catapulting all over the country.

Donna Jean is a new edition to the vegan food scene. Right next to Evolution and super close to Balboa Park, we went to dinner one evening during the week. We made a reservation. Upon arriving we decided to sit outside, and we began our feast. As we do when going out in southern California, we brought light jackets just in case it got chilly.


All I am thinking while I write this is “go to Donna Jean”. Go now. Impeccable service and dishes that excited us about food and about vegan food. Everything we ordered was a great experience with taste and flavor. If you haven’t been in a little while, they have a new menu that includes pizza. For more information click here.

Next is Civico 1845 in Little Italy. Not a vegan restaurant but has a vast vegan menu with dishes prepared by their vegan chef who is also co-owner. This place was a pleasant surprise. I mean vegan Italian food? So hard to find! We met friends on a Friday night and were greeted by the sweetest staff. We soon were listening about the menu from our Italian waiter.


We started with the calamari which was made with mushrooms. My entree was the lasagna, although our waiter really wanted me to order the ravioli. The lasagna was definitely the right choice for me. Everything was delicious. To top it off, we finished with tiramisu. Oh my. For more information click here.

Bar Kindred in North Park has been a favorite of ours since they opened. It’s a bar, but so much more. We have had dinner and brunch there and if you have just one spot of time to go, I would say go for brunch. Check their site for times as brunch is only served on weekends.


Our two go-to items at Kindred are the pancakes, which are made with butterscotch and bourbon, and the tofu Benedict. The pancakes will blow your mind. I enjoy every single bite. If you drink they have brunch drink specials and their house coffee is a great cup of coffee. We have always had incredible service at Kindred. For more information click here.

San Diego is an amazing place and we try to go as often as possible. These three spots make it an even sweeter destination.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Gay Vegans: Living In Gratitude

By Dan Hanley

Although I try to live in gratitude every day, being on vacation and on the beach with my husband, a place I love to be, gives me yet another opportunity to embrace gratitude. By the way, the photo is of one of our favorite beaches, Torrey Pines State Beach, in San Diego.

In the past several months there has been a lot on my plate, a lot on my emotional plate. We moved into our new home which is definitely something to be grateful for, and it came with its own challenges. And although this isn’t a surprise to us, with four senior companion animals, each of them has had their own health issues which have effected us both emotionally and financially.

With so much going on in the world Mike and I try to remember how good we have it. We don’t even worry about the basics, as far as food, water, and a roof over our heads. Regarding the food part, being vegan and being in the vegan capital of the world is something that not only adds to the wonderfulness of our lives but additionally is something we are grateful for.

Living in gratitude for me means to always, or as often as I can, remember all I have in my life. In my recovery program I learned to create gratitude lists, first when life felt tough but later as part of my daily actions. Items that typically make the list are my relationship with my Higher Power, my sobriety, my husband, my activist community/family, etc. I’m not writing about the gratitude list as a suggestion to you, just to say how I incorporate gratitude into my life.

As you read this post, I also want you to know that I am grateful for all of the support and kindness we get from people who read this blog. It means the world to me when a reader says they voted for the first time, tried being vegan for a day, or called one of their elected officials. I have always wanted this blog to be about building bridges and promoting animal rights and human rights, and the feedback I get from you the reader tells me that this is happening.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Gay Vegans: Going Vegan (Part II)

By Dan Hanley

I learned right away that Pepsi and potato chips are vegan. Soon afterwards I learned that Oreos and Nutter Butters could be added to the list.

As I got used to not consuming any animal products, I began to learn more about food than ever. I think for the first time in my life I began to realize that what I put in my body makes a difference. As I learned more about the nutrition side of being vegan, I learned that I had to pay attention to what I was eating and that I was eating things that gave my body all of the vitamins and nutrients it needed.

What?!?!?!

Yes, this was an epiphany. Before going vegan I never really thought about food and the positive or negative effect it could have on my body. Even in my early days of being vegan I didn’t think much about it as I was “vegan for the animals”. Fortunately for me I began to do a couple of things that introduced me to people who knew all about nutrition.

This started by going to my first vegan potluck. I don’t even know what I brought (it wasn’t potato chips) yet I do totally remember being blown away by all of the gorgeous and delicious food I was eating. Oh my. And I met all sorts of people who were vegan for different reasons, many who had been vegan for years. I could go on an don about this first vegan potluck, and the hundred plus I have been to since, but what I really want to let you know is that I highly recommend going to one as a new vegan. Oh, there isn’t one in central South Dakota? Start one.

I became vegan in Norfolk, Virginia and in 1996 there was pretty cool food co-op on 21st street. Yes, a food co-op. They seem to be rare these days and for me at that time going there was magical. I learned all about foods, all types of foods that I had never considered before going vegan. Can you believe this is where I first tried hummus? I learned about kale and nuts and tried a new version of oat milk. I tried my first dairy-free ice cream (nothing compared to what we have now!) and met wonderful people who were so knowledgeable about food and nutrition. Meeting people like this and learning from them was incredibly helpful to me on my new vegan journey. If you are new to veganism, I highly encourage you to find a place like this to learn and experiment!

Within the first few months I was already starting to “cook”. It took me a while to get to the point where I could cook without using parenthesis. My very first vegan recipe was a tofu loaf! I’ll never forget it. It was delicious! Cooking at home makes becoming a vegan so much easier as you learn how many awesome options there are for vegan dishes and you get to learn recipes that will change your life.

Restaurants were hardly friendly to vegans back then. My adversity to portobello mushrooms began here. A portobello mushroom “burger” was typically the vegan option at most places, if they had a vegan option. Ours is grilled, it’s delicious. Ours is marinated, you’ll love it. Ours has grilled and marinated mushrooms on it! Oh my. I’ll just take the fries. In my first several years of being vegan I never made it to an all vegan restaurant. I think it was year five that I was in San Francisco for work and went to Millenium. My goodness!

Suggestions for those just starting to become vegan:
Find a vegan potluck or meetup. If there isn’t one in your area, create one.
Find a food co-op or somewhere you can learn about food and nutrition.