So, in case anyone is interested in finding out more about being vegan – or “eating a plant-based diet,” which somehow sets off fewer alarm bells in people’s minds when they hear it – I thought I’d include some resources and recommendations. Also, it’ll save me hunting down all these links if anyone should ever approach me with rabid adoration in their eyes and say, “Please, T.J., tell me all you know about being vegan! I MUST KNOW! I adore you and wish to emulate you in every way. MAKE ME OVER IN YOUR IMAGE.”
So. Yes. Info.
My own journey down the vegan rabbit hole began by watching YouTube vids, primarily those of Cheap Lazy Vegan:
She has a lot of delicious, easy, and cheap recipes, and just in general, her personality and style of video-making makes the whole “going vegan” experience a ton of fun. She also has some super-helpful discussion videos talking about some of the struggles vegans face, and so you can get a solid dose of all sides of being vegan, from the fun to the not-so-fun. When I first found her videos, I spent several days binge-watching and enjoyed myself immensely.
Another awesome YouTuber is Laura Miller of “Raw, Vegan, Not Gross.” She’s got a hilarious, dry sense of humor, and she ventures into the raw side of vegan living, which is pretty interesting and opens up a lot of different cooking avenues that I for one had never considered. She also has a legit TV show, also called “Raw, Vegan, Not Gross,” which you can watch over on Tastemade: Raw, Vegan, Not Gross TV Show
There are tons of other great YouTubers out there to check out, but while we’re on the subject of YouTube, it’s also a great place to watch documentaries and talks about being vegan, which offers a great opportunity to learn more about the science behind this way of eating (as well as acquiring some ammo to use against naysayers).
People to search for on YouTube:
Dr. Neal Barnard: Very respected guy, and just in general a good speaker who gives quality presentations with a combo of science and real-life advice. If you watch more than one of his talks, you’ll notice he tends to repeat the same anecdotes and jokes, but (a) they’re still enjoyable, and (b) this just gives you the opportunity to make a hilarious drinking game out of the experience. :P
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: Dr. Campbell and Dr. Esselstyn (check below) are legends in the field of vegan eating and research. Dr. Campbell is the author of the very famous “China Study,” which examined the diets of folks in China and offered some startling findings re: the dangers of meat, dairy, etc. Dr. Campbell has a lot of great lectures out there, and he’s a soothing guy to listen to.
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn: Another esteemed doctor with a lot of credits behind him, Dr. Esselstyn likewise has a great many informative talks up on YouTube, and both he and Dr. Campbell (who are buds) often appear in the same documentaries.
If you want to get a range of views, you can also try searching for “Mad City Vegan Fest,” “The Real Truth About Health Conference” (though beware some anti-vaxxer speakers at that one), or “Vegetarian Society of Hawaii,” as all of these will lead you to great talks about being vegan.
An important thing to remember, as you descend into the depths of vegan YouTube, is that (a) you should definitely not read the comments [this goes for any and all YouTube videos, incidentally], (b) you will definitely find speakers you don’t agree with, and this is both good and fine, and (c) you will also discover that there are a lot of ridiculous videos out there like, “BEING VEGAN ROTS CHILDREN’S TEETH” and “BEING VEGAN KILLED MY WIFE,” etc. Just ignore those and surf on peacefully.
You can also learn a lot about being vegan through some “rite of passage”-ish documentaries, many of which are available on YouTube for free or Netflix for…not free. :P
Here are some of the most famous ones, many of which are disturbing since they venture into the depths of the meat and dairy industries:
Vegucated (This is actually the first vegan documentary I ever watched.)
Earthlings (SUPER disturbing, holy crap. Seriously. Beware.)
I Like It Raw (Prepare to be very annoyed at Dan, who will only eat fruit and carrots and then wonders why he’s starving all the time. :P)
You can also just try searching for “vegan documentary” on Google, YouTube, Netflix, etc. and see what pops up. You’ll likely see some that just don’t jive with you, and other times you’ll find an anti-vegan documentary in disguise as a vegan one. (Run from “The Magic Pill,” which Netflix will undoubtedly recommend and which is a keto documentary lauding meat and fat as the cure to all ills.)
Websites To Check Out:
Another great thing to do is to search your local library’s website for “vegan cookbooks,” or – if you have-a-da-moola, search Amazon for the same thing. There are vegan cookbooks for every variety of cooking, and I myself have ones for Indian, Chinese, and Japanese cuisine, as well as a few general-type-food ones, as well. A lot of vegan YouTube stars have their own cookbooks, as well, such as Cheap Lazy Vegan and Laura Miller of Raw, Vegan, Not Gross. If you like their recipes, you’ll probably like their cookbooks, and it’s always nice to support such folks as these.
Another thing you can do is search meetup.com for local vegan groups, or search GrubHub or Google for local vegan or vegetarian restaurants. This is an easy way to sample some vegan cuisine without actually having to cook it yourself, though of course be wary of the fact that (a) it’s probably less healthy than something you’d prepare for yourself at home, and (b) that stuff costs money, yo.
Anyway, I hope someone has found this page helpful, and of course feel free to comment with questions, comments, or your own suggestions or recommendations for vegan life. And with this, I bid you adieu, for I have two starving cats who haven’t eaten for at least an hour and thus require further sustenance immediately.
(That’s a vegan lasagna, of course.)