I myself am not a vegan, or even vegetarian for that matter. But it is an area that interests me. I’m open to learning more about it, and depending on what I learn, I might slowly begin making some more vegan-inspired food choices. My interest in this area really comes down to wanting to eat well in order to be healthy. If veganism helps me to do, it’s something I’ll strongly consider.
I recently spoke with Corey from Mr And Mr Vegan. We talked about some of the misconceptions people have about veganism, why he became vegan and some tips for those looking to transition to veganism.
Little Gay Blog – It seems that veganism has a bit of a PR problem. A lot of people think it’s something that only hippies do. Therefore, many people might not see it as something that they’d like to try. Why do you think veganism has a PR problem?
Corey – Veganism has a huge PR problem. We are often viewed as fanatical and we are even accused of being a cult. But let’s be honest when you challenge the paradigm, people think you’re either a hippy or a know-it-all smart arse. Actually using the word paradigm probably makes me sound like a smart arse… Norms have to be challenged to prove their inaccuracies. I mean the idea of marriage is still being challenged in our country (Australia) as we speak.
I believe a lot of vegans are controlled by their emotions and at times these emotions run high. This gives off the impression that they can be irrational fanatics or meat-eater haters or even viewed as pushing their beliefs onto others.
Mr and Mr Vegan get so much attention from non-vegans. Usually negative at first. They share our posts in an effort to abuse us or discredit us, but really they are the ones who are pushing our beliefs out to a wider audience. We’ve been sworn at, called names and even threatened. And we simply reply with the facts and evidence that supports our lifestyle. When they have nothing left to abuse us about they target us for being gay. So I guess the purpose of Mr and Mr Vegan is to break some stereotypes and improve our PR. Oh and share really awesome cruelty-free food with the occasional hard-hitting pieces of information.
Vegans are definitely not hippies, not all of us. Business owners, mothers, fathers, teachers, personal trainers, nurses, doctors, government workers, celebrities… the list is endless. Even the current Mr Universe is vegan. And the numbers are growing. Rapidly. Research argues that’s it’s one of the fastest growing movements on the planet.
How long have you been a vegan and what made you decide to do it?
My partner David and I became vegan together a little over 2 years ago. We had previously been vegetarian, we had previously been meat eaters. In fact just before becoming vegan we had both been eating meat after a long long time as vegetarians.
During that year we gained weight, we felt sluggish all the time, but overall we felt bad. We both love animals and considered ourselves animal advocates.
The turning point came for David when he watched ‘Earthlings’. I have always been sensitive to animal cruelty and death so I didn’t need to watch the film to know that horrific things happened to animals in the industry. So we decided that we couldn’t call ourselves animal lovers and eat them and that it was all or nothing.
What positive effects have you experienced since becoming vegan?
Becoming a vegan completely changed our lives. Aside from the obvious weight loss due to removing particular food items; fatty processed meats and dairy, we are happier and lighter in general. Lighter in a sense of happier that we are not contributing to cruelty and torture and use of animals. We know that we aren’t perfect. Surprisingly so many things in our daily lives have animal products in them. Things like garbage bags, car tyres and pen ink. But we do the very best we can to minimise animal use.
For someone looking to try veganism, what steps would you suggest they take in order to begin the transition?
If someone wants to become a vegan for a reason such as animal liberation or the environment or their health, they will just wake up one day and decide to do it. It’s not difficult when you believe your ideals.
For others, transitioning can be a one-step-at-a-time process. Cutting out red meat, then meat altogether, then dairy, then working on your life and home being cruelty free – vegan certified cleaning products etc.
it’s not something that we take lightly so we research a lot. We learn a lot. We keep ourselves educated about the big things all the way down to the minuscule things. An example – I wanted to make cupcakes with sprinkles for my students. The sprinkles used gelatin. Gelatin is derived from animal products. White and red wine can use milk and egg product as a fining agent. And so on. We do our best because it’s a decision we do not take lightly.
You can follow Corey on the Mr and Mr Vegan Facebook page.