Sarah Kramer did not invent veganism, but she has gone a long way to popularizing it through flavorful cookbooks, a punky-cute vibe and — in no small part, we’re sure — an annual pin-up calendar depicting her getting all Betty Page and Rosie the Riveter with various animal-free foods.
Bust Magazine called her the Mick Jagger of veganism, and that’s good enough for us.
She’s in town to celebrate the 10th anniversary of her book How It All Vegan and to preside over a four-course vegan dinner. We asked her if she wouldn’t mind allaying some persistent fears about going full veg.
INLANDER: Myth One: Veganism is hard. Nutritional yeast, xanthan gum — these are not easy to find in Spokane.
KRAMER: It’s not hard, son. Try growing up in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada in the ’70s and ’80s as a vegetarian.
Now that’s hard.
[laughs] You live in the age of the Internet, Spokane! If you can’t find the ingredients you need, you can just hop onto the Google and order it!
There are tons of great Websites out there that carry vegan products.
MooShoes.com, VeganEssentials.com, FoodFightGrocery.com, CosmosVeganShoppe. com — just to name a few.
Myth Two: Veganism guarantees a lack of flavor.
You are talking crazy talk. Vegan food is full of delightful flavors. But like any meal, the flavor is only as good as its chef. So arming yourself with some good cookbooks is a good way to ensure your meals are delicious.
Myth Three: It’s expensive as hell being a vegan.
Again with the crazy talk... It’s not expensive at all. Where do you shop?
If you are purchasing pre-made packaged foods, it can be costly, but I make about 90 percent of my food from scratch. It doesn’t break my bank and doesn’t take up a lot of my time.
Almost all the recipes in my books can be made in under 30 minutes with easy-to-find ingredients that you can get at your local grocery store.
Myth Four: Veganism is a doctrine of sacrifice.
The list of what a vegan can’t eat is very small compared to what we can eat. There is so much out there to taste. Go wild!
I’ve never found that I’m sacrificing any human pleasures in order to be vegan.
But you know — a life worth living (vegan or not) takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of work to learn how to be a doctor or to be a parent, or to keep your room clean, to go to work every day when your job is mundane.
Concentrate on what inspires you, what gives you joy and my advice to newbies or veteran vegans who are struggling with their lifestyle is instead of focusing on the things you can’t have in your life (cheese, eggs, etc.) focus on what you can have.
Myth Five: My dad is worried that eating too much unfermented soy will make him lactate.
The estrogen in soy is not the cause of your dad’s Moobs [man boobs]. The information floating around on the Internet about soy and boobs is based on bad information, aka bullshit.
You know what other foods contain estrogen? Apples, tomatoes, potatoes, beets, grapes, peas, peppers, chickpeas, carrots, cherries... to name a few. That sounds like dinner to me!
You won’t grow boobs, turn gay or suddenly have your penis turn into a vagina if you eat soy — but like all things in life — moderation is the key.
Can you spend a little time talking about how your life has changed — mentally, physically, emotionally, whatever — in the years since you’ve become vegan?
I’ve been vegetarian since I was a child.
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.
For me. the transition from vegetarian to vegan is like everything in life. You’re making a choice. A conscious choice to make a difference in the world and especially for the lives of animals. Either you stick to your convictions or you don’t… but once you’ve drawn the curtain back and have seen how animals suffer for food and fashion. I don’t understand how anyone could fall off the vegan wagon.
The Spokane Vegans present Sarah Kramer and a four-course vegan meal at One World Spokane, 1804 E. Sprague, on Monday, Nov. 16, at 5:30 pm. Tickets: $20; $30, at the door; $15, for children 10 and younger. Visit spokanevegans.wordpress.com.