From Nutrition Counseling to Vegan Activism

Some people just don’t like vegans. The fact of our ethical veganism, even if we don’t say a word about it, can be an affront to those who are still eating animal foods. We challenge the way others eat and live just by being vegan. And, understandably, most people feel discomfort when their way of life is challenged.

But it’s more than that. People expect to be scolded by vegans. How many times have you heard that vegans are judgmental, superior and unkind? Is that an unfair assessment or do some vegans alienate the very people they want to convert? Most of us are passionate, after all, about animal rights. It can be hard to keep that from turning into something that is condemnatory and ... Read More >

Vegan Food: Deliciously Different

I have no problem with the fact that some people don’t like tofu or beans. There are plenty of foods that I don’t like. It bugs me, though, when people make fun of vegetarian dishes just because the ingredients are foreign to them.

When I was growing up in the 1960s in West Orange, NJ, we had a wonderful neighbor, Mrs D’Atrolio, who was a fantastic Italian cook. We ate Italian food at my house, of course—mostly spaghetti and meatballs—but the dishes that came out of Mrs D’Atrolio’s kitchen were well beyond anything my mom knew how to make.

Every once in a while, as suppertime approached, Mrs D’Atrolio would cross the narrow walkway separating our houses and knock on the door. “I thought you’d ... Read More >

How I Became a Vegan Dietitian

When I first decided to be a dietitian, I had no particular interest in vegetarian diets. Rather, I was simply interested in food and nutrition. I liked the puzzle of creating diets. Vegetarianism wasn’t even a blip on my radar screen as I went through my dietetics program and then graduate school as an omnivore.

At the same time, I was very much an advocate for animals and pretty sensitive to animal rights. What a big disconnect, huh? But while I had a tender heart for animals, I knew absolutely nothing about factory farming.

When did that little light bulb go on over my head? I know I was 28, recently married, and had just obtained my RD (registered dietitian) credential. I also had purchased ... Read More >