November is World Vegan Month and we’re going to shed some light on vegan myths by interviewing some of our favourite vegans!
First up is Union Events and Alternative Empire’s Pat Murphy. Currently working as a talent buyer for Canada’s largest independent promoter Union events, Pat gets to book amazing performers like Mackelmore & Ryan Lewis, The 1975, Kelly Tori, Capital Cities (just to name a few) across the country. If that wasn’t exciting enough, Pat also runs a record label and management company called Alternative Empire which represents some of the best and coming talent in the entertainment industry including Crystalyne. Faze caught up with this busy vegan to chat about the vegan lifestyle, myths and his favourite recipe.
How long have you been a vegan and why did you decide to become one?
PM: I’ve been vegan for over four years now. I initially became vegetarian because I heard that is was a healthier lifestyle which really interested me. After doing that for about a year and a half I was continually exposed to more information which further pushed me into veganism. As a vegan, not only are the health benefit tremendous but it’s also substantially better for the environment. Additionally, I found my love for animals growing so I could not support any form of their exploitation through fashion, dairy, meat, etc – no matter how much I may have enjoyed these things earlier in my life.
Is it true that being a vegan also impacts the clothes you wear and the beauty products you use?
PM: It does. A lot of clothing uses animal products – like leather, wool and silk – and it’s something you often don’t think about. Once I decided to become vegan I had to be a lot more careful with what kind of products I’d buy – I got used to reading tags and ingredient labels. A ton of health products are also tested on animals which is not conducive to a vegan lifestyle – I need to ensure I do my homework before purchasing.
Would you say that the vegan lifestyle is constrictive?
PM: I would say that at times it can be constrictive, yes. However it constricts you from supporting things that are unethical and inhumane, so it’s a positive constriction. Our society has grown so accustomed to consuming and using products that harm animals that they often don’t connect the dots. Once you make the connection you realize that becoming vegan is not a sacrifice, it’s the animals that are sacrificing themselves every day for those who eat and exploit them.
We’re hoping that you can clear up a few myths for us…
Myth 1: Your diet is too expensive for the average person.
PM: No way! This is definitely a common misconception. Sure you can eat expensive healthy vegan food the same way you can eat expensive non-vegan food. However if you break it down to the core of foods that a healthy vegan should be eating like fruits, vegetables, beans, chickpeas, lentils and the likes – these are some of the cheapest and most nutrient dense items you can buy.
Myth 2: Vegans prefer to hang out with other vegans.
PM: This is true in the sense that anyone would appreciate the company of others that share common interests and values. Considering most people eat three times or more a day food has a large role in our culture. Finding people that understand the joys as well as the struggles of being a vegan can be very rewarding. That all being said, in my experiences vegans are often very accepting of all types of company and welcome the chance to showcase their lifestyle to those who may not fully understand it. The majority of my friends and family are not vegan and that’s okay. I do hope that I can be a positive ambassador for the vegan lifestyle and that some of my non-veg friends and family will be inspired in some form.
Myth 3: Vegan diets are unhealthy because you don’t consume enough protein and calcium for a balanced diet.
PM: This is definitely a big misconception that I believe will be looked back upon as very silly in the not-so-distant future. The sources for protein are so abundant in a well rounded diet. I eat beans, chickpeas, lentils, seeds, nuts, cashews, tofu, tempeh, seitan, peas, broccoli, quinoa and the list goes on. There are an increasing amount of competitive athletes and bodybuilders that are vegan as well. I believe that for high performance athletes there is no question veganism is the best route. In terms of calcium a well rounded diet will get you lots of this, vegan sources include leafy greens, molasses, almonds, broccoli, tofu, tahini and I can keep going. The only thing you need to supplement as a vegan are b-vitamins, which many non vegans should also be taking as well!
What’s your favourite vegan recipe?
PM: I just started making this smoothie that was inspired by a lemon tart smoothie I recently enjoyed at Bolt Fresh Bar in downtown Toronto. Here’s the recipe:
Lemon Coconut Smoothie:
In a blender mix the following…
- a handful of raw unsalted cashews
- one cup of frozen mango chunks
- half a cup of frozen cauliflower
- half a cup of frozen chopped kale
- half a cup of coconut shavings (unsweetened)
- lemon flesh from half a lemon
- squeeze the juice in from the other lemon half
- a dash of pink Himalayan salt
- a teaspoon of maca powder
- a cup of non dairy milk (I used unsweetened soy)
- one and a half cups of water
Blend and enjoy! This is one of the most refreshing smoothies I’ve ever made.