A Serious Eats writer goes vegan for a month, and it’s not annoying!  »

López-Alt’s Braised Kale and Chickpea Sandwich with Sumac Onions. WANT!

We’ve had our fair share of journalists who “go vegan” for a short period of time and write about it. Usually you get something pretty obnoxious. But guys, I think we might have something different in our midst! J. Kenji López-Alt of Serious Eats normally writes about hamburgers, but starting Jan. 14th, he decided to try a month of veganism. You can read his first post about it and see that he’s getting sociological on that ass. As an amateur anthropologist (I’m an amateur at a great many things!), I very much appreciate this approach! He’s seeking the “vegan experience” in all its trials and glory.

He starts off well enough. He’s a little uneducated about the health benefits but he seems to be one of the few writers to go down this road who grasps that it is indeed about compassion and not necessarily health. Another point on his side: he doesn’t go for the “humor” many authors try for when they do their obligatory vegan piece. It’s a rare occasion when a meat pun is funny, and it’s almost exclusively when you’re making a penis joke. 

Another pro for López-Alt, he doesn’t mess around with a few weak salads, he dives in strong! Here’s his lunch from Day 1:

Brussels Sprout Fried Rice with Crispy Cauliflower, complete with recipe. Damn, son! As Brussels sprouts and cauliflower are my two favorite things (besides Cinnaholic!), this is calling to me like a healthy, well-meaning vegan siren. 

He quickly learns that veganism requires planning and “there are animal products hiding everywhere.” So true! He also does a pretty great and comprehensive summary of vegan health needs. As he goes forward, there are times that he (very accidentally) “cheats” but I think becoming vegan is usually a process and “cheating” doesn’t render your efforts meaningless. 

Finally, if I may offer some advice to López-Alt (and self-reference!), maybe my 11 Tips for New Vegans would be of some help to him on his month-long mission. Another tip: dude, if there are no vegan options on the menu and you’re at a nice restaurant, you can totally get chefs to make you a custom vegan meal! I’m normally bashful about asking for special treatment but from what I’ve been told, they don’t mind. And I’ve gotten some really awesome and unexpected creations. And, you don’t feel shafted by paying the same price for an entree even though you got it sans ham and gouda! Because that irks me. Good luck, sir!

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