Hello from Zombie Land. That is how I feel after a day of entertaining 4 kids. I’ve never appreciated my calm, sweet dog more. I LOVE being a doggie mom. Don’t follow instructions-go in your CAGE. OH and he can NEVER SAY NEVER or No. He just huffs a little when he disagrees.
Enough about the Sherms.
One of my goals/ideas for happydally was to include interviews from friends/cool people who inspire me or who I just find fun.
Long ago in a faraway place, I attended a high school with some fun people. I never hide my love of Facebook, and that is how I found one of my old school mates who now lives in a lovely place called Seattle. While reading his posts I realized he was not only hilarious, but also a vegetarian (ok at first I thought vegan, but he explains more later).
High School is a funny place. I am sure I’m quite different than I was in those days. As is Josh. He had really long hair, and I seem to remember he wore a lot of sports jerseys. Little did I know he was a budding film director. He probably didn’t know I was a budding pain in the @$$. lol jk Everyone knew that.
A few weeks ago I got this crazy idea to try vegetarian bacon. I know, what was I thinking. It was a shocking experience, and it made me think of Josh. How did he get into this and does he eat veggie bacon? I had to know.
The picture is so deceiving
So here is my interview with Josh. A super cool dude. He only agreed to be interviewed because I told him 20 hot Texas teachers would read it. So to the 5 of you who read it, please pass it on to 5 of your friends so I am not made to be a liar.
1. OK, first things first. When did you cut your hair? (I’m still stuck in 1998 and want to know)
Just kidding- Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My family is originally from Illinois, but I grew up for the most part in Broken Bow, Oklahoma. I attended Broken Bow Public Schools from kindergarten through high school. Additionally, I attended Eastern Oklahoma State College and the University of Oklahoma before moving out to Seattle and finishing my BA at the University of Washington (Go Huskies!). I’ve lived in Seattle since 2003. I am currently a free-lance film and video editor and student in a digital filmmaking program at Shoreline Community College. I tend to keep fairly fit. I work out three times a week and do cardio 4-6 days a week. I ride my bicycle a lot, including commuting to and from work, to and from the grocery store, and to and from pub quizzes. I have a tendency to make self-summaries sound like cover letters or resumes, so let me sum up by saying I am a hugger, a high-fiver, a fist-bumper, a wearer-of-many-hats, and a good guy to know.
2. How long have you been vegan? Did you start as vegetarian and transition to vegan?
I’ve been vegetarian since 1999.
The vegan label is a tricky one for me. I find the term too constricting. I also find that it has many negative connotations to it. Rather, I just avoid eating any food that contains animal products. I don’t wear leather. My wallet and belt are both made from recycled bicycle inner-tubes (shout out to an awesome Seattle company, Alchemy Goods
). I wear canvas shoes. However, I do have a couple of nice wool coats and several wool baseball caps. These are things that vegans wouldn’t wear. By and large, there is an ideology behind veganism to which I don’t fully cotton and that’s the main reason why I don’t describe myself using that term.
I have been avoiding any sort of dairy or eggs for roughly a year now. The reason I am avoiding these things is that they cause severe stomach problems for me. My doctor and nutritionist both said to eliminate those things from my diet. I had never really eaten a whole lot of dairy or eggs, so it wasn’t that difficult to do. However, when I head home to Broken Bow or I’m visiting family in the Midwest, I find that I often have to make exceptions when dining out. It’s a lot easier to avoid any animal products in Seattle and on the West Coast in general. However, I know of a couple of great vegan places in Dallas and Austin.
3. What inspired you to make this change?
Well, my switch to vegetarianism started shortly after graduating high school. I began weening meat out of my diet in the late summer or fall of 1998. I had been doing research about switching. There was a lot of misinformation about how people become sickly after going vegetarian. Turns out, those people did not slowly make the switch. Rather, they dove in head first without accounting for proper nutrition. So I gave myself a year to get rid of the meat and plan my diet well. It became a lot easier to make the switch when I moved out of my dad’s place and into my own apartment that fall. I had more control over what came into the kitchen.
I had never been a big meat eater. My mom always had to pick out the chunks of chicken out of my Chicken and Stars soup as a kid. To be honest, meat, eggs, and dairy always kind of grossed me out. I couldn’t separate the food from its source. I always felt bad eating animals, even as a little kid. I knew that most people didn’t think about this stuff or didn’t care, so I kind of kept this to myself until I reached a point where I had more control over my lifestyle. I then made the switch.
I always have to let people know that I don’t care what they choose to eat. I made my decisions as an adult and I won’t begrudge anyone else their decisions. I would just hope that people make better decisions about where their food comes from. Again, this is a lot easier in a place like Seattle. We have several ranches within 100 miles of the city that raise organic, grass-fed beef and free-range chicken. Several Seattle neighborhoods have weekly farmer’s markets at which you can buy locally sourced produce, dairy, eggs, meat, etc.
4. Jenn (a happydally reader) would like to know “How does he keep his protein/energy up?” Any tips?
I get plenty of protein from beans, nuts, and organic/non-GMO soy. I also tend to use quinoa, a grain that is also a complete protein. Protein is important, no doubt. However, we really don’t need as much protein as the government’s food pyramid suggests. Plus, each person is an individual case. It’s far more important to make sure your nutrition is balanced between vitamins, minerals, carbs and proteins. Also, if you’re going vegetarian/vegan, befriend dark green, leafy, and cruciferous veggies in order to make sure you keep your iron levels up. Get outside and move. Get in the sun. Exercise and a healthy, balanced diet are all you need to ensure that you have plenty of energy. You can forget about eating meat if you do all of those things.
5. Do you have any go-to blogs or cookbooks for good vegan recipes?
I have a Vegan Planet cookbook of which I’m fond. Honestly, though, I Google recipes or try to replicate things I’ve had in restaurants around here. The Internet should be your best-friend when it comes to this stuff. Also, if you have a smartphone, you can download a number of different apps that include recipes that help build shopping lists for said recipes. The best one I can think of off of the top of my head is the Epicurious app for either iOS or Android.
Also, I’d recommend people read The China Study. It’s the most comprehensive study into food, health, and nutrition conducted in human history. It’s a scientific study conducted without any sort of funding from vegetarian or non-vegetarian lobbies. The results are actually kind of surprising.
6. What is your favorite vegan meal to make for non-vegans?
Oh man. I make some killer vegan tofu Thai tacos, some spicy Korean BBQ tofu, falafel. Also, when I’m home for Christmas, I make vegan mashed potatoes and gravy for Christmas dinner. But I’ll often take friends to a couple of my favorite vegan restaurants here in town for dinner. Bamboo Garden
are the two that immediately come to mind.
7. You live in Seattle, (Lucky) so I’m going to assume it is a vegan-friendly place (I just picture they are cool like that). Do you struggle when you come back to Texas and Oklahoma to find vegan restaurants or affordable produce?
It is difficult to find vegan-friendly places to eat in Oklahoma and Texas. However, I know of two awesome vegan cafes in Dallas and there are a lot of places with vegan options in Austin. I am seriously considering relocating to Austin next year, so I am researching places to eat there. Also, you hooked me up with the link to Wheatsville Co-op, a place that is right up my alley. They also have popcorn tofu on their hotbar.
Produce is not too difficult to find. My step-dad is actually a produce guy at a local supermarket, so I have an in. My mom also stocks her freezer with vegetarian goodies for me in anticipation of my visits home. In fact, she’ll probably do that in a couple of weeks, since I’ll be heading home for a couple of weeks at the end of August.
8. Would you ever go raw? (I have an obsession with the idea, I just can’t commit)
Oh man, I don’t know! Sprouted grains are delicious. However, there are too many things I like that would not qualify for the raw foods diet. However, go to a Whole Foods now and buy some sprouted almonds. They are a bit pricey, but oh man are they delicious.
9. Do you have a funny story you want to share that is food related?
The last Thanksgiving during which I ate meat, I had a slice of turkey breast from a turkey deep-fried in peanut oil and a slice of turkey breast deep from a turkey deep-fried in jalapeno oil. That’s not too funny. The next Thanksgiving, there was totally vegetarian-friendly dressing. It existed outside of the turkey and was therefore not the tainted stuffing. However, when the turkey was removed from the oven, the cooks mixed the stuffing from the bird with the vege-friendly dressing and thus, I couldn’t eat it. That’s actually kind of sad.
Okay, how about this one! My friends found out I went vegetarian when we stopped at a Fazzoli’s in Hot Springs, Arkansas on our way to a Foo Fighters/Chili Peppers concert in Little Rock. They asked me why I kept asking about which of their sauces had meat. When I told them that I had stopped eating meat, they all looked at me blankly and then one of them said “What are you trying to be, Joshie Greenbeans or something?” The nickname Joshie Greenbeans has stuck ever since.
10. When are you moving to Texas so we can make our movie?
I’m actually considering relocating to Dallas or Austin next spring/summer. It all depends on what sort of steady work I can find in editing and post-production.
11. FYI – Veggie bacon is not so good. It looks like and smells like Beggin’ Strips. Therefore, it must taste like Beggin’ Strips. Soy sausage (soysage!) on the other hand is pretty good…if you get the right type.
JOSHIE GREENBEANS my brain is on overload! Thank you for sharing all this information. I’m going to google the noodle out of the sprouted almonds and cruciferous veggies (wth?) and I will post something delicious!
If you would like to blogstalk Josh and all of his sports lovin, tofu cookin, bicycle zoomin, movie makin greatness you can read more on his blog Unpainted Huffines
He also has an upcoming project directing the pilot for my cable series Nanny Notebook. I’m Serious. My story must be told.
Would you ever consider a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle? What are you thoughts?