‘Veganism is pure rock and roll’
Jake Hull, a happy vegan, is a member of the band Momentary Prophets from Virginia. Hull has been a vegan for two years.
By Jake Hull
For The Salisbury Post
It’s a remarkable thing to tell people “I am a vegan.”
The wide array of reactions is astonishing, but not nearly as astonishing as the myriad misconceptions that exist about the vegan lifestyle. Instead of delivering a fact-filled, bore-you-out-of-your-seats lecture, I will debunk one of the great vegan myths: “Vegan food is weird and unappetizing.”
I have been vegan for more than two years, and it has been the most enjoyable and rewarding food adventure I’ve had the pleasure to embark on. For the past five years, the average percentage of American vegans is around 1 percent. That may not sound like a lot, but that statistic suggests that around 300,000 Americans agree that veganism is pure rock and roll.
Being vegan is more about developing a new relationship with your food, which for the vegan excludes any food product derived from animal sources. As exclusive as that may sound, the great news is that the standard American diet already embraces so many foods on a daily basis that are vegan, whether we recognize it or not.
My choice to become vegan was initially for health reasons, but over time I’ve come to understand the impact that food production has on not only this planet’s life and ecosystems but the land itself. Again, it’s about coming to a new understanding with food.
It reminds me of the shift that happened when I went to college and I began to interact with my mom in a different way. The parent-child relationship had changed a bit and we were able to communicate on a more even level. It’s been like that with food ó recognizing its importance in my life and honoring it by spending more time with my food and trying to understand it.
It is a lot of fun to spend time preparing your food. It tastes good, listens well and hardly complains.
As a member of a touring band, people often ask if it is difficult to be vegan on the road. I usually reply with a smile and an overwhelming “No way!”
If anything, it’s easier. We can travel with a lot of bulk supplies and focus on buying fresh produce when we spend money on food. We don’t have to worry about dealing with meat or eggs or foods that go rancid. We can go to the farmers’ market in whatever town we are in, buy some righteous produce and go to our host’s house and cook a big vegan dinner without ever worrying about cross contamination or disinfecting this or that.
It’s a remarkably inexpensive lifestyle, too. As long as we are vigilant about the foods we are putting in our bodies and maintaining a healthy balance of nutrients, proteins, carbs and fats, the ease with which we can be healthy on a poor musician’s budget is delightful. When it comes to sharing meals with new friends, vegan cuisine is very suitable for carnivores, omnivores and herbivores alike.
We have been touring around the East Coast and have had the pleasure to cook with and for some wonderful and inspiring people. The recipes I present today help catalog our journey as we have been collecting recipes and memories from each state. I’ll start with New Hampshire, where we spent a week playing shows and living on an apple orchard all while surrounded by mountains and the seared leaves of autumn.
Hearty Sauteed Greens
The cold weather-friendly greens provide a lot of plant-based protein, essential to the vegan diet. They are seasonal and fill our bodies with chlorophyll, which is important for lung health as well as formation of new red blood cells.
Did you know that hemoglobin and chlorophyll are identical except for the base elements iron and magnesium? I thought that was pretty cool. Oh, don’t be afraid of all the garlic; it has strong antibacterial properties and promotes lowered blood cholesterol.
This is a tasty, tasty way to get greens in your diet with flavor, warmth and the stamp of seasonal approval. Well, maybe except for the lemon; I don’t know that lemons are indigenous to North American winters – but that’s OK.
15-20 big leaves Swiss chard, rainbow chard, curly kale, or flat leaf kale (any or all will do)
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped any way you like
1 pinch crushed red pepper
3 dashes of Braggs Liquid Aminos to taste(or you can use soy sauce)
Note: Braggs Liquid Aminos is a liquid protein concentrate, derived from soybeans, that contains 16 essential and non-essential amino acids.
Heat oil in a big pan on medium heat. Add garlic and crushed red pepper.
As garlic and pepper heat and flavor the oil, tear up your big leaves of greens. You can use the stalks if you want, though they take longer to cook.
When garlic starts to sizzle, start adding greens little by little.
Add more as they reduce in size.
When all the greens are in the pan, throw in the Braggs/soy sauce and squeeze in the lemon juice. Allow to cook a few more minutes.
Dessert is a coveted meal by most vegans I know. The allure of vegan baked goods is enough to send any three of us in the band into a cookie- induced stupor. This recipe comes to us by means of West Virginia native Lindsey Bloom.
2 C. flour
1 1/3 C. rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon (a little more never hurts)
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 2/3 C. sugar
2/3 C. canola oil
2 Tbsp. molasses
1 C. canned pumpkin or cooked pureed pumpkin
1 tsp. vanilla
optional: 1 Tbsp. ground flax seeds (I say DO IT)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking pan.
Bowl 1: Mix flour, oats, baking soda, salt and spices.
Bowl 2 (separately): Mix sugar, oil, molasses, pumpkin and vanilla (and flax seeds, if using) until very well combined. Add dry ingredients to wet in 3 batches, folding to combine.
Flatten onto baking pan. There may be extra dough ó eat it, or you can make a small cookie(s).
Bake 16 or so minutes. Just keep an eye on it. Be aware: take it out and let cool for a minute to see how hard the sides are ó they become tougher. Let cool (if you want a pumpkin pie-ish center, I wouldn’t put it in longer than 20 minutes) or place back in the oven (tougher, not as “gooey” a center).
I hope these two recipes whet your appetite for including more vegan food into your diet. Inclusion is the key to any diet change or dietary adventure. Start trying new things and adding more greens and cholesterol-free goodies, then see how you feel. It can be remarkable.
Please enjoy and if you have questions about veganism or want to share recipes or even just chat send e-mails to email@example.com .
Eat well and be loved!
The Momentary Prophets will be performing at the Looking Glass Artist Collective at 8 p.m. Saturday night. They will also display their tie-dye art.