Gone Vegan

Lindsay Hutton discovers the politics and pragmatics behind a meat and dairy-free diet.

Vegan or not, most self-respecting foodies have heard of Sarah Kramer. This Victoria-based cookbook author's first outing, How it All Vegan (Arsenal Pulp Press), became essential reading for vegan and non-vegan foodies alike. Known for her signature vintage style and accessible yet cheeky writings, Kramer's books are an excellent start to vegan cookery and fundamentals.

Last week, I had the pleasure to speak with Sarah about her first wanderings into veganism. 

How long have you been vegan?

I’ve been vegetarian since birth and vegan since my early 20’s. 

Briefly outline the biggest reason that made you want to turn vegan.  

I wrote about my journey from vegetarian to vegan in my first book, How It All Vegan, but long story short I've been vegetarian since I was a child. My mother raised my brother and I veggie since birth and when she passed away when I was 10, my Dad continued to raise us vegetarian, even though he was a meat eater.

I did a little "experimenting" with meat when I was a teenager and quickly went back to vegetarian. Eating animals was never something I was comfortable with. The transition to veganism was a natural one for me. I have always been a lover of animals but didn't fully understand how much they suffered until I saw a documentary called "The Animals Film" which was an eye opening experience for me. I walked out of that movie a changed person.

When you went vegan, how did you feel? More specifically, did you  have any trouble with things like food preparation, adverse physical  reactions?

The transition from Vegan to Vegetarian was pretty smooth. It’s not like it was a giant leap. I never had any troubles in the kitchen because I come from a foodie family. My Mum used to make all our meals from scratch and my Step-Mum and Dad are foodies and Gourmet magazine was always lying around. When all my friends were eating Kraft Dinner we were having Cold Cucumber Soup. Ya dig? 

What resources (if any) did you use to learn about veganism?

Well, back in the day there wasn’t much information out there. The internet wasn’t around yet and you actually had to read books to get your info (laughs)!  Laurel's Kitchen [a cookbook by Laurel Robertson] was a big inspiration for me in terms of the writing. That book is more than just a cookbook book, it’s a wealth of information.

When you made it know among your friends and family to go vegan, what were some of their reactions? Did eyes roll? Warm claps on the back?

Because I’ve been vegetarian almost my entire life, going vegan was not a big deal.

Next on Gone Vegan: Lindsay discusses her veganism with a nutritionist, and her doctor's unenthusiastic reaction to her going vegan!