- You have written half a dozen books of vegan recipes and you give many talks advocating a vegan lifestyle. What is your motivation for doing this?
For me it has always been about the animals. Many years ago I read “Slaughterhouse” by Gail Eisnitz and it had a huge impact on me. The book included interviews with workers at slaughterhouses and their stories revealed not only the cruelty and torture these places inflict on animals, but also the dehumanizing effect the work has on workers. The work ate away at their natural human compassion and empathy. I came to realise the relationship between love and food. Even being a consumer requires us to turn away from compassion.
At about the same time, I read John Robbins’ book, “Diet for a New America”. This book also highlights the animal suffering caused by the meat, fish and dairy industries. As well as this, it looks at the environmental impact of these industries and examines the health benefits of eating plants rather than animal products.
After reading these books, I came to see that food, love, compassion and health are all related.
- You call yourself a “joyful vegan”. Why do you think a vegan diet is more joyful than a diet with animal products?
This follows on from the last answer. Eating in a way that is compassionate and healthy isjoyful. If the only way I could do that was to eat beans and rice every meal I would still do it.The fact that a plant based diet can be rich, diverse and delicious is a bonus, adding more joy. Also, I am a naturally joyous person. I find hope and joy in everything. Life is aboutawakening and living according to our values. When we realise the importance to us ofcompassion, then to live that value consistently every day is joyful.
- In Hong Kong and China, as in most places, family and social life is largely built around food. Here are a couple of facts about Hong Kong: seafood consumption in HK is 71 kgs per capita per year and, according to a USDA report, meat consumption is the highest in the world at over 150 kgs per capita.
The urge to fit in is strong in all people. Do you have any suggestions for Hong Kong people who feel the step to veganism is too difficult socially?
This is an issue in western countries as well. In fact the growing consumption of animal products across Asia reflects a western trend. So all of us who decide to go vegan are going against the social norm.
I think there are two ways to face this. First of all, accept that part of growing up is finding ourselves, discovering the values we want to live by. As an adult, we must be true to ourselves.
That is the starting point. Do not compromise yourself.
The second factor is respect. We must be respectful to others. What does this mean? Well, one way to be respectful is to accept what others offer. If we go to a banquet and everyone else has five dishes to enjoy while we get a salad or some steamed vegetables, we accept this joyfully and respectfully. If someone invites us to dinner, we focus on the thing we both want, to enjoy dinner together. We can offer to help, saying, “Yes, I would love that. Can I help by bringing a vegan meal along to share?”
Finally, we must not see our beliefs as a problem. We do not need to be apologetic. If we are apologetic, people may see us as a problem that we need to apologise for, but if we do not see ourselves as a problem, if we are certain, joyful and respectful, others will not see us as a problem either.
- In the past fifty years the consumption of animal products has multiplied tenfold in China. In the same time the incidences of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes have risen by a similar amount. Is it simply a matter of not eating animal products or are there other needs for a healthy diet?
There are substantial improvements in health to be gained by simply going vegan. Myexperience is that once people have made the thoughtful step of eating a plant based diet,that thoughtfulness leads them naturally away from processed foods and towards organicfruit and vegetables. The important step is to start the journey by going vegan.
- Your books, such as “The Vegan Table”, are very accessible. The recipes use ingredients that are easy to find and they are not time consuming to prepare. Is there a secret or secrets to becoming a good vegan cook and meal planner?
Anyone can learn to be a good cook. My “qualification” for being a writer of cookbooks is a Masters in English Literature. I had to learn how to do this for myself and so can anyone else. Start with what you are familiar with and what you like. Examine what you enjoy in food- do you like it spicy, fatty, salty or creamy? Do we like it crisp, soft or chewy? Then look for ingredients to give you these things. For this you need to know your ingredients, so physically get to know them: taste them, smell them, feel them. Get to know all your herbs, spices and vegetables by your senses of touch, taste and smell as well as by sight.
- Which of your books would you recommend to people who are either new to plant eating or new to cooking?
I would definitely recommend “The Thirty Day Vegan Challenge”. As well as having a collection of easy recipes, this book addresses the important questions that people new to vegan cooking typically ask. It is a very easy starter book.
- Do you have a favourite recipe that you often eat at home that you would share with us?
My pleasure. This one is called “Green Goddess Salad”:
Green Goddess Dressing
Enjoy this delicious homemade version of the popular commercial dressing, believed to be a San Francisco invention from 1923. Play with your own herb combinations and make it more or less garlicky.
2 cloves garlic, peeled
¼ cup (60 g) raw tahini (sesame seed paste)
¼ cup (60 ml) apple cider vinegar
¼ cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice
¼ to ½ cup (60 to 120 ml) water
2 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup
¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
1½ cups (25 to 125 g) any combination of mixed herbs and alliums (parsley, chives, green onions, basil, tarragon, cilantro)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
In a food processor or blender (high-speed or regular), add the garlic and tahini, and blend/process briefly to combine.
Next, add the vinegar, lemon juice, ¼ cup of water, agave nectar or maple syrup, olive oil, herbs, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes (if using).
Blend well (at least one minute) until the dressing is emulsified and very green. Check thickness, and add the remaining ¼ cup of water (or more) if the dressing is not thin enough to pour.
This dressing will keep well in the refrigerator for several days, though it may become discolored over time.
Yield: 1 cup
Suggestion for Serving
Pair with your favorite salad greens; my favorite are arugula (rocket) or coarsely chopped curly or lacinato kale. Massage the kale with your hands for about 5 minutes to tenderize the leaves and make them less bitter. Add tomatoes, avocados, carrots, bell peppers, sunflower seeds, and other favorite raw veggies and nuts.
Soy-free, gluten-free, wheat-free
Per serving (2 tablespoons): Calories: 127, Protein: 1.8 g, Fat: 10.5 g, Carbohydrates: 7.6 g, Fiber: 1.2 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg
版權2015. 可以通過The 30-Day Vegan Challenge的批准進行複印：健康飲食和慈悲生活的終極導航。
Copyright 2015. Reprinted with permission from The 30-Day Vegan Challenge: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Healthfully and Living Compassionately