The 17 Weirdest Things I Do Now That I’m Vegan
We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.
Let’s face it. Being vegan (or even vegetarian) is pretty weird.
But that’s okay — weird is the new cool. It’s also the new normal, according to Seth Godin (whose post I borrowed the Dr. Seuss quote from).
It seems weird begets weird, though, because in the two years my family has been vegan, bit by bit we’ve gone a little nuts-o in our other habits — many of which have nothing to do with veganism.
And yet, in a way, they’re all tied back to that fundamental choice to be different from 98 percent of the rest of the world in our food choices. Being weird, I’ve found, is not just fun; it’s addictive.
And so — since my brain is fried from book writing and moving and NYC-Vegetarian-FoodFest-ing — I figured I’d write a fun post today about the kinky things we do since going vegan.
1. Live microwave-free. I thought I could never give up my microwave, but it turns out it was a lot like going vegan — I used it less and less over time as it became less appealing, and eventually it was just a matter of making the decision to go all the way. It’s great — lots of counter space, one less big, ugly box in the kitchen, and food that feels better for us (whether it actually is or not, I’m not sure). It’s slightly more work to steam or bake or simmer our leftovers, but it’s work that is somehow joyful.
2. Hand-grind our coffee. More oddly joyful work. After reading Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Chef late last year, I got a hand-crank burr grinder and an Aeropress, and it’s the only way I’ve made coffee since. The combination not only makes the best coffee I’ve ever had; it’s also convenient enough to bring on a plane. I did have a bit of disaster when I spilled the grounds all over my lap on a flight home from San Diego, though. [FYI, links to Amazon here are affiliate links.]
3. Have a freezer full of broccoli stems and strawberry tops. Why? To feed to our Blendtec, of course. Might as well waste one less thing and get some more green in our smoothies. Speaking of which …
4. Drink weird-ass smoothies. It used to be that I could give someone a taste of my morning smoothie, and be met with a surprised, “Hey, this is pretty good!” No longer. Now our smoothies start with a base of pumpkin seeds (lots of iron), chia seeds, flax seeds, and almond & yellow pea protein, and that’s before the greens get involved. But we’re used to it, and somehow it tastes good.
5. Use pink salt. Since I got heavy into cooking six or seven years ago, it’s been a steady progression from the normal, processed salt to kosher salt to sea salt to real salt. It’s got a pinkish hue, and we keep it in pinch bowl. Sort of looks like a bowl of dirt that we put on our food.
6. Wear trail shoes everywhere. So here’s how this happened. I stopped wearing leather shoes (technically, I stopped buying leather shoes, and the ones I owned wore out). I bought a pair of faux-leather shoes from a discount shoe store (they sell them because they’re cheap, not because they’re vegan-friendly), but I hated them. So then I just started wearing trail shoes around, since they’re grey and look better than Danny Tanner white sneaks. Right now I wear a pair of Merrells that I also run in, and my wife usually wears her New Balance Minimus Trail.
7. Dehydrate things. We don’t do the hardcore stuff like making crackers and breads and fancy raw food — honestly, we got it so we could dehydrate fruit for our son to snack on. Except we end up eating most of it. So far, we’ve done several batches of apples and bananas, but we’re still learning. (Suggestions?)
8. Run with dates. I’ve never been able to stomach energy gels, but now that I’ve discovered dates, it’s not a problem. They’re small and packed with quick-digesting carbohydrate (just like energy gels), only they’re whole foods and completely natural. And they actually taste really, really good. Get fresh ones instead of dried; they taste way better and they’re kind of like gummies. PS — Victoria Arnstein, wife of Michael (the Fruitarian), stopped by our table at the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival last weekend and told me that in her Vermont 100K win and Michael’s 100-miler win, they ate nothing but dates!
9. Make tons of stuff from scratch. From nut butter to dried beans to pizza dough (with some buckwheat flour, also weird enough that I wouldn’t serve it to guests), we’ve gone down a road of making an increasing amount of food from whole ingredients instead of buying it in packages. It’s fun and it brings us closer to our food, even if it takes a little more time. But not all that much time — we’ve found relatively easy ways to do this stuff, like making the nut butter in the Blendtec, dried beans in the slow cookers, and pizza dough in the food processor. No word yet on plans to go electricity-free.
10. Buy everything else Amy’s, Annie’s, Bob’s (Red Mill), Tom’s, Bragg, and Bronner’s. No, these aren’t our friends from the local farmers market (though I’m sure it’s no mistake they chose their brand names to sound like that). These are all brands that just three years ago I had never heard of, and now they represent most of what we buy that isn’t unpackaged produce or bulk goods from our local co-op. We actually refill our Dr. Bronner’s soap bottle from a big pump bottle at the co-op, which is fun. And pretty weird too, I suppose.
11. Put tofu, avocados, and black beans in desserts. Sounds gross, but somehow you can’t taste them. Tofu and avocado make for deliciously creamy cupcake icing and mousse, and black beans, of course, work amazingly well in brownies.
12. Live with very little stuff. I’d feel like a phony to call myself a minimalist, because we still have a bunch of kid toys and dishes and beer and wine glasses and stuff like that. But when we moved last year (more on that in a bit), we got rid of so much stuff, and we haven’t gone back. I’ve been living by my friend Courtney’s Project 333, pushing closer and closer over time toward owning only 100 personal items. Clutter occupies not just physical space in your house but mental space as well, and getting rid of it has been incredibly liberating. (We did get rid of one too many couches when we moved, keeping only a love seat, and we’ve missed being able to stretch out. But we’ll get another one, one day.)
13. Eat weird pastas. Spelt, quinoa and corn, brown rice. Not because we have any sort of gluten intolerance or even a sensitivity, but because it’s fun to try new stuff.
14. Drink kombucha. It’d be really weird if we brewed kombucha and had our own SCOBY, like my buddy Jeff Sanders does, but we’re not there yet. For now, I’m satisfied drinking it, something I didn’t start doing until I got to Asheville, where it’s made locally (like so much else). I’ve found the smaller and more local you get kombucha, the funkier it tastes, which I imagine is how it’s really supposed to be.
15. Sprout things and buy sprouted things. Sprouting is hippie-dippie, for sure. But we do it, usually with beans and lentils, because it takes even less effort than cooking them and makes them into something more vegetable than bean. As for buying spouted things, we usually stick to Ezekiel Bread, most often for almond butter or hummus (but never both!) sandwiches, which our three-year old eats like it’s his job. Their new Flax Sprouted Whole Grain bread has five grams of protein per slice, and even the plain Ezekiel has four grams per slice, so I don’t feel so bad about giving my kid five sandwiches a day and nothing else. (Just a joke, child services.)
16. Live in Asheville. Asheville is an amazing mountain town in Western North Carolina, and we just signed a lease to stay for another year. And it’s uber, freaking weird. I don’t know how to describe it other than as a mix of art, local beer, food, outdoors, hippies, hipsters, retirees, families, music, and mountain culture. We love it here. You should come visit.
17. Eat weird foods! A lot of the items I’ve listed so far have already been weird-ish foods, but I don’t want to overlook the obvious — we eat so much food now that I didn’t know existed before we went vegetarian. To us, and you, I’m guessing, they’re familiar — tempeh, quinoa, hemp seeds, spelt, tamari, miso … even kale and tofu, which seem so ordinary now, are foods that not too long ago I considered hippie food.
So there you have it. Weirdness. And the best part of it all is that to many of you, so much of this will seem completely normal … just more evidence that, as Seth and Dr. Seuss say, we are all weird.
I’m sure glad we weirdos found each other.
Matt, awesome post. It’s really cool to look back and see the parts of our lives we never would have expected, and are now so rewarding. Very glad to have you in Asheville another year!
Matt you are so funny, me too and when people have asked about all the raw veg , I say I am to lazy to cook it. haha, try freezing bannanas just like icecream.
You gotta try brewing your own Kombucha! It really is extremely easy (not to mention more gratifying since you’re making it yourself…and not spending $4 a bottle). I ordered the beginner/starter kit from Brendan Brazier’s OpenSky store…awesome decision!
I love being weird, and I love your posts! You are such an inspiration. Please keep writing and sharing. And I do not expect a return email or comment. 🙂
Matt, as soon as you’re ready to brew your own kombucha, just say the word. I’ve got spare SCOBYs just for you! Thanks for the mention in this awesome post and I hope we can meetup sometime this spring in Asheville. I love that hippie-mountain town!
Love the weirdness. I’m mostly vegan and mostly raw, and I love my dehydrator and Vitamix most of all. I suggest Ani Phyo’s and Matthew Kenney’s recipe books–they some awesome recipes for crackers and flatbreads as well as loads of other stuff. Also check out the blog Choosing Raw for juice pulp cracker recipes.
If you want to give your dates a bit more oomph, try pitting them and filling them with coconut oil (this doesn’t work well in really hot weather). I swear by them for long bike rides and before and/or after hard weight-lifting workouts.
I never thought about saving my strawberry tops! Genius! I guess I’m weird too!! I’m not vegan, but I do several of the things on your list! Embrace your weirdness. It’s AWESOME!
Awesome post. We are all a little weird. I’m intrigued to try dates on a run. I don’t have issues eating gels, more so with the fact I can’t pronounce half of the ingredients.
Ohhhh I just love this post.
I especially love the comments about eating things you would never serve to anyone else, because that happens at least twice a week in my home. Sometimes on purpose, sometimes because I have 1 slice of exekiel bread left, some hummus, and random other leftovers that become some weird open faced collage of a sandwich.
A plus though? My omnivore husband has totally come to prefer Ezekiel to any other breads, and hummus to deli meat for lunch – Score! I just haven’t explained what sprouted means yet. It’s probably better that way. For now.
I am literally guilty of nearly every one of these things (except for the coffee, as I’ve switch to green tea only (which could also be considered a little weird))! I also got rid of my microwave last summer and I eat Medjool dates like it’s my job 🙂 Glad to see I’m not the only one!
I think I overlap with you on about 9 or 10 or these. Some of them didn’t even occur to me as weird until you mentioned them – pink salt (I also like black, and pretty much any other interesting sea salt), different grains and pasta, whole foods/cooking from scratch. Some of them, like cooking most things from scratch, I grew up doing and had lessened at various super busy points in my life (college, grad school + working ft), and am getting back to again. Current favorite is experimenting with gluten-free and vegan baking. I love dates but haven’t tried running with them instead of a carb drink yet, I’m a little afraid of the amount of fiber in them!
LOL, loved this.
I’m growing (cultivating? Insert-proper-verb-here) my own mushrooms now. But, I think that’s more awesome than weird and am not sure that my fungal love has a direct association with my having been vegan for 16 years.
“Everyone is normal, until you get to know them.” – My Mama…… She taught me to embrace my true particular, quirky, and seemingly strange (yet practical) habits. (I was the kid whose Mom made her own deodorant….) I find that the more I adjust in my everyday life, the more things just keep making more sense and getting more interesting 🙂
I love everything about this article. Including that you’re from Asheville. I visited there last year and fell in love with it. Such a cute place.
I think people who choose to consume dead animals are weird. But that’s just me. Love your dog but eat a cow? Oh well. But YES to dates and even bigger YES to prunes. Yummy! And their not just for the over 70+ crowd.
I’m just about 55, and have been vegetarian for 43 years, mainly because I’m squeamish. And it just seems SO WEIRD that you could kill a deer, a cow, a bird. WHY?? Especially, how could you feed and care for an animal, even name it, and then kill it?? I read The China Study three years ago, and was totally impressed, and it gave me enough courage to go vegan. I thought I’d become deficient in calcium and B12. But, oh yes, we love pink salt, and tofu is to die for (there are certainly different grades of this). Avocado, horseradish and sprout sandwiches are wonderful. We eat Alvarado Street Bakery bread almost exclusively–a sprouted, flourless bread. (I have noticed that the difference between Alvarado and Ezekiel, is that Alvarado has gluten added, which might be why it tastes better, but might not be better.) I’ve never had a microwave–never could believe it was safe. Cooking from scratch is the best. Weird is good.
I was a mountain trail runner, vegan, for 10 years. 2 weeks ago, I had the courage to eat animal products again, and even animals. Ayurveda, perhaps the oldest science of life, helped me in this way.
Why would it be weird to kill a plant and not an animal? Why do we care about our beautiful plants in our house and not eat them?
Plants are alive, but they do not feel pain or have any level of consciousness. They dont the project themselves in the future. That being said even if it would be I moral to eat plants, it would still be more immoral to eat animals, starting from the fact that they have to eat more plants themselves…
I think I’ve always been weird. I like being the “only one” of something. I hate fitting it….it makes me restless. 😉
I’m vegetarian and reading your list I thought: wow, I’m doing that! (more than half of your list) but it never occurred to me it’s weird. Weird
Dehydrating: our favorite is fruit leather. Whatever fruit you like into the Blendtec and you might as well throw in some greens as well. (It turns out a bit brownish, but hey, it’s called leather.) I usually fill it out with some unsweetened applesauce which might help with the texture or elasticity.
Sunny — I also sometimes add ground flax to our fruit leather — helps thicken it up a bit and get more good stuff into our kids.
Your description of Asheville made me miss it so much! After my ex-husband and I separated I moved from Asheville to Boone (which is nice, but totally not the same) and now my husband and I live in Jacksonville. When I lived in Boone I could walk to a fresh bread shop and the local organic market. In Asheville I had good friends working at GreenLife (which I have heard is now a Whole Foods…??!) and EarthFare and had a vegan meetup group I had lunch or dinner with once each week. It was great. Jacksonville though, this town has been a culture shock! Their first organic market didn’t open up until I had been here for 3 months, though I’m very happy to say I’m actually the manager there and have been working there almost a year and a half. The few places that have breads don’t have anything vegan except the French restaurant will make vegan croissants if you order a dozen at a time. It’s just so hard around here!!!
I love this post! I stopped eating meat May 31, 2012 as an experiment for 30 days. It’s been just over 9 months and I feel great. But meat eating is the dominant culture and the norm. Its very slow to change… it’s been an interesting time that’s for sure! Thanks again for the great post!
This is a great post, Matt! Fantastic. I partake in just about everything here! Trying to convince my mom to ditch the microwave to make room for the juicer and blender…it’s a work in progress 🙂 I just discovered pink salt, and have been loving it! You’re so lucky to have so many vegan friendly resources around in your mountain hippy town. I am jealous! I haven’t really sprouted anything (on purpose anyway, on occasion after soaking beans I have found some of them to sprout). Do you have any advice for someone trying to figure out how to sprout things properly?
“Sprout Garden” by Mark Braunstein is a good intro-to-sprouting book. My current favorite is lentil sprouts – very easy!
Loved this post! So not weird to me! Filling up the Dr Bronners from the bulk area? Oh yes..and I use it in my shapmoo I make. Many of the things on here that I identify with guided my way towards being veg. My “weird” thing? I use coconut oil for everything- from cooking and baking to making my deodorant, body scrub, lip balm, etc…that one is usually the “weird” in conversations. My current fascination is how fast garlic sprouts grow.
I found myself nodding more than once as I read this. So here’s to being a weirdo and damn proud of it. Now I must Google Asheville rental property. Great post!
Ok well I guess I am just as weird as you and your family 🙂 I overlap 13 things, and even though I don’t live in Asheville I do visit pretty often so you could say almost 14 things to overlap.
You know as you get into doing all of these things it doesn’t seem weird until you are talking to someone living a more conventional life and they give you kind of a strange look…like “Seriously you sprout things in your kitchen? On PURPOSE?”
I wouldn’t turn back though. I am completely in love with this weird/hippie/natural/organic way of life.
Be well Matt and have a lovely weekend in the mountains. I was there just last weekend and even though it snowed while we ate at Mayfel’s it was still more beautiful then any eatery here in Greensboro.
How’s it being vegan in Greensboro? We live in Burlington where no one can quite figure me out-but maybe that’s about more than being vegan!!!
Haha, I love this post…and I agree/can see myself in just about every one of these items.
You get accustomed to the look of friends’ eyes glazing over as you describe any given meal you ate… “and then I drizzled on a little hemp oil, gave it a sprinkle of spirulina, and voila! I thought about adding a pinch of maqui berry powder and some chopped sacha inchi seeds, but you know, it was just a weeknight salad, so I refrained. Hey, where are you going?”
that actually did make me laugh out loud!
Me too, and I’m in a public library and got some heads to turn.
Haha! Yes! Not to mention the constant teasing about certain such foods… 😛 Can I help it that I like to be healthy? 😉
Wow. I can totally relate to all of this. Although the athlete in me is more of a rock climber than a runner. Sometimes It bothers me how weird the things I do are to others. They are so missing out! I lived in Asheville for 4 years (an incredible city that makes being vegan sooo easy) until I moved into an RV and now live all over the country cooking unique plant based comfort food in my little RV kitchen. Everything from scratch, and I couldn’t be happier. Thanks for making the weird feel normal.
I’m with you on most of your list too — as for the dehydrator, just be creative and try sticking just about any fruit or vegetable in there. A few years ago we discovered that if you slice watermelon (I use the 7mm disk on my mandolin) and dry it, it comes out tasting a lot like cotton candy. Yum. Pineapple is another delicious one. And of course — kale chips! The only problem is they take about 6-8 hours to dry and you will polish them all off in about 5 minutes :-).
I loved everything about this post. Asheville sounds a lot like Golden, Co (which I think is the best place to live). We don’t do refined sugar in our house, so we put dates in everything! Blend them up with a little sea salt and water and you have a dreamy sports drink.
Love this post! One question: since you live in Asheville, doesn’t that make you feel more normal? When I moved to Santa Cruz (another hippy, weirdo awesome town), I was suddenly “normal.” I loved how no one at work wrinkled their nose at my food asking in fear/disgust, “What is THAT?” but instead with interest and bright eyes “What IS that?”
Not a month goes by where my countertop doesn’t get a little weirder by extension, also. I’ve got mung beans sprouting by the coffee maker and I had to yell at my husband because he had to resist the urge to shake them…the words “don’t disturb my mung beans!” actually came out of my mouth.
Awesome post!!! My husband called me weird before I became vegan last year, just one more thing to add to the list 🙂
Hey! You’re in the NYC Vegetarian FoodFest re-cap video that you mentioned above! Cool! But how come the grilled vegi-dogs have twice as much screen time as you and Doug?
Bloody hell – quite a lot of this applies to me!
I’m ever so glad you made the switch 2 years ago, as your website was one of the first I came across when I made the switch from omni to vegan overnight about 1 1/2 yrs ago…whatever would I have done without all your awesome recipes and great blogs?! Your willingness to put yourself out there and share your experiences and thoughts from the heart is I’m sure sometimes hard, but oh so appreciated. Not sure if I’m ready to give up the big ol black box yet, but a lot of your other items I definitely resonate with! Keep up the good work, and thank you again!
I went Vegan for health reasons, no morals involved. But being this way for a number of years has made me look at the world differently. Now I want a simpler life, can’t stand the thought of factory farms or other massed produced food and started riding my bike and walking everywhere I can.
I would love to forego gels and try the dates for my marathon in May. Don’t they make you go #2 too much? Maybe it’s different during a long distance run?
None of this stuff is really weird. If you are trying to live outside “mainstream culture” and pat yourself on the back for it then I guess you can do that but frankly, you just sound like someone who is a conscious consumer in all senses of the word. There are lots of us out there and it really isn’t weird!
New t-shirt idea….”Runs With Dates” (instead of scissors)! I love them too, perfect for long run fuel!
This post made me crack up! I’m not a vegan, but am a clean eater. I’m also one of those annoying people who posts pictures of their foods on Instagram all the time and everyone says “I’ve never even heard of most of the things you eat” – haha! It’s fun being weird!
For those asking about sprouting, this site helped me get started:
I also just found seeds for sprouting at a local Whole Foods. I worry about what coatings may be on seeds at Home Depot and garden stores, so I was happy to see a local source of seeds meant for sprouting.
I’m with you on 12 of the 17 since going to a 99% plant based way of eating a little over 2 years ago. AND I brew my own Kombucha.
Almond milk I said correcting my sister who thought I said Mommy milk, when I let her know I’m not drinking much cows milk anymore, she then said I eat wierd foods anyway. Since working on becoming more plant-based I’ve done and begun to do a lot of the things on this list and can totally see myself doing the others eventually. I don’t see doing these things as part of a cultural thing or trying to belong to a group or be intentionally wierd but rather trying to become healthier and fitter with less…and with more compassion. If I eat plant based and change nothing else, that’s not worth it to me. So much around us is toxic, contains animals and gets to us in an unethical manner, I want to help reduce that. However, I’m not perfect and I learn new things everyday. The healthier I am the wierder I am – isn’t that strange.
Best thing to do with the dehydrator are these addictive kale chips:
Oh, I have to try those! My current favorites are Ani Phyo’s cheezy kale chips.
I want to make the switch from gels to natural fuel. If I normally fuel every 45 minutes on a long run and eat 1 gel (100 calories) when I fuel, how many dates would you suggest? Calorie equivalent?
While I’m not vegan, I had to laugh at loud at the number of things (14) on this list that describe me. I love wearing my old trail shoes everywhere. A lot of these describe me and my ultra friends, regardless of vegan, veg, or even paleo eaters. Great stuff, thanks!
Great post, Matt. I’m good for at least half that list. In particular, carrying dates instead of energy gels has made a difference for me. Aside from being easier on my stomach, I don’t have to stuff the empty, sticky gel packets back in my pocket until I find a garbage can.
By the way… It’s impressive that you hand-grind your own coffee. But have you taken the next step and actually started ROASTING your own coffee?
I used to be a coffee snob, ordering expensive coffee from gourmet roasters all over the country. Then, I stumbled across a few websites online that explained how to roast green coffee beans in a hot air popcorn popper. I ordered some green, unroasted beans online and dug our old popcorn popper out of the basement… and I haven’t bought a single roasted coffee bean in over 10 years. It’s that good! And the best part is, unroasted green coffee beans are typically half the price of roasted beans.
You can find green coffee beans at quite a few different places online, but I get everything from Sweetmarias.com out in California. Their customer service is wonderful, and they support smaller, family-owned coffee farms all over the world.
You’re well along the righteous track, Matt. Inspirational.
Here’s a good, healthy snack you can make using a food processor or juicer (if it has the right attachment for nut butter making) and dehydrator:
-Soak an even amount of raw sunflower seeds and almonds overnight.
-Do the same w/ 1/4 less of dates or raisins.
-Do the same w/ apple about equal to the quantity of dates/raisins.
-Puree it all in a juicer or food processor, shape it like a thin cookie and put it in the dehydrator till it has the texture you want.
Someone asked me the other day why I am vegan and I said ‘ because I like to be special and get attention’ ( I haven’t honed down my actual reason into a concise soundbite yet 😉 ). If I add some of these, it’s going to make me even more special!
oh that’s too funny!
Great to see you’ve gone vegan 🙂
… and to read how many changes seem to be “natural” for us 🙂
you’re absolutely right about the microwave. since I’ve went vegan two years ago, I don’t even remember the last time I used it. I’m going to stick it in the basement and if I don’t use it in the next 3 months, off it goes..
But, but…I need it to reheat my tea when it gets cold. A couple of times, sometimes.
Dehydrate pears!! Give them a go, they were a surprisingly sweet and delicious win the first time I tried them 🙂
Did you see the amazon photos for the aeropress? Someone put up a photo/review of the aeropress after 6 months and it looks pretty hairy. Have you had to replace yours every 6 months or so?
this is great. i just bought a blentec and my smoothies repulse my kids (though I do make berry ones they love) and have been progressively getting odd looking: kale, spinach, parsley, ginger, turmeric, blueberries, carrots, green powder, chia, matcha, etc… create a muddy looking concoction.
… I love this quirky article and list… I want to have a cabin in Asheville!
and… my suggestion with your dehydrator is to do raw granola… love love love it… and your child will, too! … unless you eat it all beforehand–that was my problem before I could even get some to my husby! I just started a fun blog on stuff and my raw granola was one of my first posts… here you go! http://joiedejane.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/pecan-pie-nola/ If you like the looks of it, I’ll be happy to send you the detailed recipe.. let me know and God bless ya on your weird-o-ness… I love it!
OK, I have to comment on this – I know you’re joking about dirt in your salt, but the reason your salt is pink really is because it has dirt all over it. Sodium chloride on its own is white, not pink. You’re not getting a better product by eating dirty salt, you’re just spending more money. (Source: husband used to work at a salt farm).
You’re a nut – and I love that about you – you keep it real… and yes, we do these things… somehow they don’t sound weird… until someone says — oh look, someone else who eats the weird crap you do! or – what the heck IS that?
Dried fruit: REALLY my fave… Pineapples… no sugar needed! They’re as addictive as crack. Seriously. Mangos are also high on the list… and funny enough… strawberries… which are a LOT of work – but hey, it’s strawberry season here in Florida… naturally sweet – and you can toss on your Ezekial Granola… maybe you should come down.
Great read! My family is eerily similar to yours. It’s nice to know we’re not the only vegan weirdos out there. Asheville sounds amazing.
i brew my own kombucha, because you can’t buy it here that I know of (Australia) and also because I’m a cheapskate and there’s no way I’m going to pay for black tea with sugar!
It’s not weird at all. Maybe because most of my friends brew it too, and we all tend to have veggie gardens, and chickens, and preserve our own food, cook from scratch etc. And I live in our Capital city, not a small country town or alternative lifestyle area! Pick your friends well, and what is weird becomes normal. 🙂
Yea, I’d like to say I do all of there things…but then I realize I do most of them! I am also supremely jealous that you are in Asheville! I’m only 4 hours away in chapel hill NC but we dont have trails like you do out there! I try to get out there for some ultra trail training runs from time to time…the mtns out there are beautiful!
This post is fantastic! It is so true that once I chose to become vegan I started making changes in all areas of my life. I think one of my favorites changes is that my eyes have been opened to so many new and wonderful foods! I’ve also made lots of new connections on line with other “weirdos”. In real life the only people who truly “get it” are other health nuts, my triathlon friends, runners, juicers, etc. Love this post!
Sprouting beans and lentils? I must learn how to do this. Everything else, I totally have. Love it!
I’ve been vegan or what I like to classify myself plant based, for 5 months and I am a few of those. You also forgot to add that you like shopping at cool vegan stores and secretly wish you worked there not for the discounts just because it would be cool. The people are so pleasant.
15 out of 17. I didn’t know we could fit in such a nice neat bundle lol
I was lured over to read this post because of the title and I really enjoyed it – just tonight was talking to my partner about how our 4 year old asked if she could go to McDonalds because she just liked the look of the playground – I explained the restaurant had lots of meat and she just lost interest – I wondered if that was unusual among 4 year olds – maybe even seen as weird! I have always put down my weird foods to blogging maybe because blogging makes me aware of them but the veg thing has gone so long that every now and again it just seems really weird that people eat meat!
Being vegan makes us weird but so does being Quaker, being lesbian, being in a bi-national marriage and just being me. 🙂
And yes, nowadays it is MUCH easier to be weird than it used to be. I was raised vegetarian and I was the only one in my entire school. Some teachers had never even heard of vegetarianism! I remember when fake meats first became invented and believe me, the earliest products tasted terrible, like fabric really. I remember growing up where the choice of a treat was ice-bean or rice-dream! But this all made me strong…strong enough to put myself in awkward situations and be able to stand it – strong enough to get on a plane and with a small bag, move to another country on the other side of the world. All this because I was weird! 🙂
oh my gosh… so funny!!! I do so much of this!! People think I am a weird extremest. Thank you for making me feel a little “less” so!!!
Oh, good golly, this could be our list…I’m not sure why/how Project333 fits into it, but it certainly came along at the same time as my total food weirdness.
I love the idea of saving strawberry tops and broccoli stems. What about kiwi skin?
SOOOO nodding my head along with this! A lot of it resounds with my weirdness, and other parts inspire me to take on new habits & get back into ones that were great but have gone by the wayside. Thanks for your outlook on the joy of this weirdness – our world would be a better place if way more weirdness like this existed!! Enjoy your weekend 🙂
Number 13 is huge. I used to be a massive packrat. I had a house filled with all sorts of stuff I did not really need. I recently moved to South American and was forced to get rid of most of the stuff because shipping containers of stuff overseas is not financially viable. Now I am living with basically stuff I can fit in a car. It is a lot more freeing. I know I can move from place to place with ease and be more mobile. You find out what you really need, and can be efficient. People really do become slaves to their possessions.
I’ve eaten dates before during training but I’m not sure how many I should eat and when. I’m a 120lb, 5’7″ woman. Any tips?
Dehydrated applesauce (home-made of course!) is great! I’m not a vegan or a vegetarian, but it was interesting to read your points. I also believe in using brands like Annie’s, Bob’s, etc., and making as much food as possible from scratch, and using different kinds of flour. Spelt flour pizza dough is great too, and something you could totally serve to guests!
Wow, I have been an avid fan for a while now. However, I am loving the last two post tonight! I love all the “weird” things you are doing. It isnsired me to get even weirder!! Also, the whole gluten thing has been a recent issue with me and i didn’t know if I was making it up…! Thanks for the share.
Great post! I am just like you on the microwave…we do not touch it. We have been microwave free for 4 years and vegan for 8. Keep up the great work, love your posts.
I’m using pink salt right now as well, the Himalayan Mountain stuff, but only because I ran out of my beloved Celtic Sea Salt, have you ever heard of it? Its incredible!! In my opinion its the best salt money can buy.
Heres where I first heard of CSS,
we have been using the Himalayan for years now. The one down side is of coure it’s not produced locally so the carbon footprint to get it here may be a downer. Take the good with the bad.
I am nodding my head and chuckling at every single one of those weird things because I do the same! Take yesterday’s breakfast smoothie – I ran out of tofu (weird enough?) and so used chickpeas instead. Chickpea, banana and blueberry smoothie – slightly pasty texture, but y’know, delicious all the same 😉
How about eating entrees for breakfast? I’m not vegan anymore, but when I was, the worst thing was trying to get breakfast in restaurants. With the popularity of non-dairy beverages like almond and soymilk, maybe it’s easier now to at least get a bowl of house-made granola (as long as there’s no honey in it), but a few years ago if I wanted to go out for breakfast/brunch with friends I had no options at all on the breakfast menu – it was all granola and yogurt, pancakes/waffles/french toast, porridge cooked with dairy, or some eggs/bacon/sausage/hashbrowns combo. I either had to order off of the sides/extras menu (eg. side of potatoes or toast with side of fruit salad and side of grilled tomatoes), or I had to order a bowl of vegetable soup or a veggie sandwich/burger (with substitutions and/or omissions for the cheese and mayo). Now I’m used to eating that way and I eat dinner for breakfast all the time, especially soups and stews; everyone else says how weird my breakfasts are.
Oh, and dehydrators are the BEST! I depend on mine to provide me with healthy, portable, nonperishable snacks and to preserve surplus and free up fridge and pantry space. Crackers and flatbreads aren’t much work at all, actually – pretty much any paste or puree becomes a cracker when its’ dehydrated, so you can use pretty much anything as the base for a cracker. I like mixing flaxseeds and TVP into vegetable soups and purees and dehydrating them to make a protein-rich savoury cracker. Fruit purees with no added sugar will dehydrate to a brittle consistency, too. I attempted to make banana leather with some pureed bananas, but I left it too long and it dehydrated completely, but the results were amazing – it was like toffee brittle. I started dehydrating banana puree with toasted almonds and other nuts, and the result was almost exactly like almond brittle. Highly recommended! Also – dehydrated watermelon. Possibly the most delicious thing ever.
My boyfriend and I just moved to Asheville a few months ago! And it really is super freaking weird, in the best way possible. I’m afraid if I go anywhere else it will be shocking that vegan options aren’t on the menu in abundance everywhere and I swear this is the only city where you can get Kombucha on tap. Speaking of which, you SHOULD brew your own Kombucha. It’s so easy once you get a SCOBY started and you can start one with Buchi or G.T.s (and it is soooooo much cheaper this way!).
One of the best posts you’ve every written. My wife and I do a few of those things, but not nearly/weirdly as many as we should. Like you, I never ate a lentil or quinoa seed or chia seed until going veg. Now I can’t imagine my life without it. I’ll have to Lougle (Hot tub Time Machine reference) Aeropress and Blendtec.
I think a vacation in Asheville is in order for the wife and I. I bet there’s lots of great hiking/trail running and mountain biking there.
Thanks Matt. You Rock!
How about figs instead of dates on a long run? Lower glycemic index. I don’t do either. hard to give up my Gu gels. I’m suck a gross sweaty exerciser I would’n even know how to carry the fruit with me without getting all gunked up.
Love this…love the weirdness! Thank you again, for a great read…:)
I know what you mean, i feel a little weird sometimes. I am not totally vegan but just working towards eating more and more fruits and vegetables. I get so much energy from raw foods, I can see going vegan someday. Thanks for the tips.
Welcome! I am so excited that you are here! I have been following you for awhile, and although I am not vegan, I share the same weirdness traits as a Paleo freak. I am down the mountain in a little town called Tryon, NC. We have a great little running community and would love to hook up with you sometime. We are holding our second annual Tryon Half Marathon in November and would love your support. Maybe you can join us!
All true. Funny to see it all listed out, but I’m guilty of most of these… 🙂
We just read this post and howled. Not only is it hilarious but ever so true. Don’t you find “weirdness” is contagious though? People come over and try something “weird” and then go home and incorporate it into their house. (Perhaps this doesn’t apply to the weird-ass smoothies. Not sure I have converted anyone on that front!)
Thanks for what you do!
This was the visit time I’ve visited your site and I’m definitely coming back. What a great post!
My mom said to me once “I must not have taught you well growing up because you eat nothing like I do!” She meant it with love but a couple months later she found out she couldn’t have gluten or dairy and now she eats like me!
I love this, everything about it and I find myself nodding in agreement with 99% of everything (I’m still a secret hoarder and need to learn to get rid of more things).
I find myself getting weirder and weirder (even though I tell myself I’m “normal”) and for some reason, I feel like everyone else around me are the weird ones.
Perhaps it’s time for me to find another weirdo to appreciate this life with. Yes, I do believe that will be the answer and for now, I will just appreciate the weirdos from other blogs and places around the world.
Here, here to weirdos!
Yes! I have a dehydrator on what was formerly the microwave stand. In it now are some buckwheat crispies (Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen). Yesterday I made flax crackers for the first time, really not hard at all, should have tried it sooner. Kale chips are the best. (Ani’s Raw Food Essentials).
If this is all weird, then I dont’ want to be normal. Bravo, Matt, and keep living real / really living.
Don’t worry, your weirdness resonates with a lot of us. I’ve been a vegan for 3+ years and found myself nodding at at all of your observations. Amy, Annie, Bob (Red Mill), Bragg, and Bronner are some of my best friends, haha. The only one I didn’t recognize is kombucha – I’m going to have to try that!
Can’t wait to try avocado mousse icing 😀
Ha ha, I hear you on the Bob’s Red Mill. I had heard of them before I made the switch to vegetarianism (I’m now a vegan).
I long to visit Asheville. I’m hoping to do so within the next 2-3 years.
I don’t use my microwave as much, but I still use it: oatmeal, warming up pasta dishes when I don’t feel like heating it in a pot or skillet, and melting Earth Balance when I’m making cookies.
These really are not all that weird. 😉
I am like you and keep my dehyrdating very simple for now – my one gem of wisdom in dehydrating is eggplant – just peel it, slice it into about 1/4 inch slices and dehydrate (doesn’t take but about 6 hours or so at 115). It tastes great and you can use to dip in hummus or any dip you’d like, or use them as “raw bread” – love avocado, sundried tomatoes & sprouts with a little pink salt between a couple pieces :). YUM! Love the article – love us weirdos have good company :).
Totally laughing! I think I love you! 🙂
I’m vegan and do pretty much all those. (Also a green tea consumer rather than coffee.) In addition to having no microwave, I don’t have a stove or oven. I cook everything in my rice cooker and toaster oven.
Homemade fruit roll ups/fruit leather in the dehydrator is delicious! Our favorite last summer was mango/peach. I followed this basic recipe, subbing honey with agave. I suspect you could leave the 3 tbsp of refined sugar out entirely and it would still be plenty sweet.
I love everything about this post! I am the youngest of 3 children & am totally the vegan weirdo who eats tempeh & drinks sea green juice at family gatherings. It’s frustrating at times (especially because my sisters are so out of touch with what’s “healthy”) but I enjoy doing weird things and learning about new weird things to do. I grew up not far from Asheville and always thought it was too “crunchy” for me. As an adult, I am trying to re-locate there as soon as possible! I love your message & enjoy hearing about so many cool things close to home!
It was like reading a check list- yep, yep, that one too, uh-huh, yah. Great post!
This cracked me up. I can totally relate and you’ve confirmed it’s not only me that’s like this. Especially to 4, 9, 10, 11, 17.
Have you tried Saucony’s Bullet shoe? Saucony makes a whole line of vegan shoes and their Bullet design is the perfect casual-athletic shoe. They also come in a handful of really weird (and exciting!) color schemes.
Gr8 article. Try being vegan in the rural mountains of Arkansas. It’s like weird on steroids but my wife and I wouldn’t go back to eating poison for anything in the world. Plus we just gave our microwave away to a neighbor after 3 years vegan. Better late than never.
I wouldn’t call this one weird, but I noticed that I am more disciplined than I thought I was. I have been Vegan for almost three years now. The discipline I show towards my diet, made me realize that I could apply that to other aspects of my life that certainly need it. I’ve always been straight-edge, and into fitness, but being vegan actually helped me with saving money, and not being late to work.
Though I think it is wonderful when anyone becomes a vegan, I left out a very important aspect for those researching it (as I did) before embarking on this new journey. I want you not to experience the disappointment of (really no better health than when I was eating meat).
What in the world was the problem? My wife figured it out before I did; or came across the information.
A fully cooked vegan diet is not that much healthier (and in some cases less healthy) than a vegetarian diet or even being a carnivore.
Raw is the goal, and I’m not there yet. The science is in; and there’s a lot of it. My wife is at about 95% raw vegan and I’d say I’m somewhere between 85-90% raw and we are both at about 98% organic raw.
All those factors play such an important part in really seeing the health benefits of a vegan diet. Of course there are many other reasons people go to the vegan lifestyle than for their own health. Some want to do their part in saving the planet, others offering animals a more humane life, and there’s a myriad of other very valid reasons.
And I share those with you. I only share this so you won’t run into the same disappointment that I went through, and so many others did too, when the trick is the % to be as mostly organic raw (and eventually all organic raw. I’ think I’m about a year or two away from that, but I keep trying. Thanks.
I never thought if it but we are also becoming weird. We have been vegan for just over a year now and it’s funny. I only WISH we could move to Ashville, it would be awesome to be around more people like us.
Strawberries!!!!!!!!!! Strawberries are loaded with pesticides. LOADED.
After reading your list of 17, I agree and felt compelled to share with you the wonder of wearing Vibram 5 finger shoes!!! You will love them and it is the next stage of weirdness, plus your feet will truly thank you. You will feel like you are only now learning how we were meant to walk!!! Try em!!! <3
I just came upon your blog/website! so interesting!
I’ve been in this vegetarian, vegan, raw food eating way of life for the past 7 months now and I love it! Just like you’ve said; I have never run this fast or felt so healthy ever before!
Can’t wait to try your recipes and tips for nutrition during runs. Although I may not try anything new now since I’m running NYC on a total vegan diet in 5 days!!! We’ll see!
Btw, weird is the nicest thing I’ve been called so far!!! It’s good to know I’m not alone.
It’s like you read my mind…this is me and my boyfriend Steven. Vegans for about 5 months and recently gone like 95% raw/fruitarian!
Well, goodness – I think you described us! (even down to the loveseat vs. the couch, we’re currently going “simpler”). Although we don’t drink coffee…and I have a dormant scoby in my fridge, since I haven’t made kombucha in awhile. But I used to brew it, so much so, that I had scobys in huge thick piles. What to do with all of them! So glad we’re not the only ones with these trends. Thanks for sharing!
This was great…. And all too familiar.
As far as dehydrating things, I take the bushels of zucchini that appear in the garden every summer, and make zucchini chips in The dehydrator. I often marinate them briefly in a bit of olive oil/vinegar/Italian herbs- mostly just coat them well… I have done cinnamon with a tiny amount of raw sugar on them.. That was definitely weird, but good, and even just sea salt and vinegar. I dry them till they are really crisp, and store in a glass jar with one of those desiccant packages. I like them for snacking, and they also add crunch to salads.
Another great easy thing to dehydrate is mushrooms. Just slice and dry. When you need mushrooms for a recipe, soak in a bit of water to rehydrate, and use like you would fresh. Nice to always have mushrooms handy for cooking. I keep a couple quart jars full in the pantry.
And best thing, tomatoes. Especially the Roma ( plum) tomatoes. Slice and dry till crisp. My favorite thing to do is then grind them in a food processor till they are a powder, seeds and all. Store in glass jar. This makes a wonderful, instant tomato sauce or paste, by adding water, or use to add flavor to soups, chili, or stews.
And lastly, peppers! Either hot peppers, like green chilis, or jalapenos, or sweet bell peppers. Chop and dry. They are great to add to recipes.
hate to be that guy… but New Balance shoes aren’t vegan. apparently they use animal glue, still.
Grow your beard !! 🙂
When I went vegan, I switched to Lavilin deodorant. All-natural!
I love this website! I’ve been Vegan for just about a year and am slowly starting to add in some great receipes I’ve found on the Silk website. I have a lot to learn about preparing my food and making sure I get enough protein but to tell the truth, what I didn’t start sooner. I’ve never really meat. So I’d be happy to join such a weird group since I’ve been weird for quite a while.
I been trying to eat healthy for the past 6 months but cant stick to it mostly because my wife don’t like the idea of me losing weight. You would think i’m kidding but i can sometimes feel her jealousy float around the room if you know what i mean. Any idea how to get my wife on board so she can stop sabotaging what i would like to be my new life style. I’m pretty sure i’m not the only that had this problem before.
Awesome article! I do most of these things as an omnivore, too 😉
This is awesome. I do all of these things and I know they’re weird because my roommate calls each one “hippie hooey bullshit” . I make my own kombucha and when I visit my family, my brother makes vomiting noises when I drink it from the jar. Also my family asks questions about it as if it is a weird gross alien. They could never believe it is delicious even though I TELL THEM. I am gluten intolerant and blame being thrown into the world of being celiac at 17 for my hippie hooey bullshit. At that time I had to shop at the health food store where the only gluten free things I could eat were museli and corn tortillas. I started eating organic not by choice but by necessity. Now it is my lifestyle. I became a farmers so I would know where my food comes from. Now I enjoy giving a shit what I put into my body because it is all I have, it is our only vessel, the health of which is the only thing bringing us through this life. More people should be as weird as we are. My favorite is the food we would never feed to others. Priceless. I eat this way all the time!!!!
Awesome post! I don’t even think of most of the stuff I do as weird anymore! It’s the norm to me! 🙂
Not telling people about Asheville is how we keep Asheville, well, Asheville. Shhhhh on our state secrets. Had no idea you lived in my home state. Love the articles and like Amy says this all seems about normal, except the microwave thingee.
I love this post! I am just now trying to give up meat, mostly due to environmental concerns. I am glad to know there are lots of athletes who have done the same thing…
Just curious when you moved to Asheville, or if you are a native? I’m asking because I grew up there and left in 2008 (moved to rural western Massachusetts). I left, in large part, because the gritty weirdness I grew up with in the 90s was no longer apparent to me. The divey punk rock music clubs were being replaced by high rise buildings, and the radical youth culture I’d come to embrace as my own was supplanted when retirees with tremendous amount of wealth invaded. By about 2005, many of my friends were intentionally leaving Asheville for Portland Oregon and Seattle, because they no longer identified with the new Asheville culture. When I go back home now, I don’t see anything “weird” about it. I don’t see the granola-hippie vibe that dominated everything when I was coming into my late teens and early 20s, and cost of living is absurd. I considered moving back in 2014, because I missed my family so much. Further investigation revealed that it’s actually more affordable for me to live in the Boston suburbs than in Asheville. When I totalled everything up, moving back would have been a disaster. Asheville was weird 20 years ago -I miss it because the people I love most are still there, but the whole “Keep Asheville Weird” mantra is now just a nostalgic dream.
OMG I am not even vegan but I do 9 of these things. I guess I am weird. I am temporarily Raw right now because I was on a 14 day Master Cleanse. And I am happy this way for now, but I am not committing. I have been vegan, then vegetarian for about a year, but then had a break down… I gnawed the fat and bone from my spouse’s steak he had for dinner when cleaning up. Sad, I know. But I don;t’ know what came over me, that was years ago and had been eating meat since. But it has been a month now. And no animal products and nothing over 116F. I will eventually because somethings are better for you cooked, and tastier. Enough about me, I love your blog. This as the 10 Tings I wish I knew Before Being Vegan was great. Years ago, I came into the kitchen to find my poor Tofurkey shoved into the cooked, real turkey’s empty cavity. It was deeply disturbing for both of the items, and it just seemed wrong. Although it was a bit funny. I am making my first raw brownies with raw chocolate icing this weekend. I hope it is good, I don’t normally eat dessert but I will be this weekend! Thank you again.
It’s funny that in the almost three years since you wrote this that the weird things you mention are no longer weird. Maybe with some people, but overall it is becoming more normal to be vegan. I met up with an ex business partner I haven’t seen in over 34 years and I find out he and his wife are also vegan. It’s more common to find vegetarians, but vegan are becoming more and more.
I also wear my merrell trail shoes everywhere. FYI with eating dates… Michael Arnstein also got over 20 cavities in a single year of eating handfuls of dates.. so have a toothbrush on you too if you’re not into paying for your dentist’s family vacations, or gulp date shakes instead.
Yaaaasss! Currently single and dating and I have started to notice that at one point or another I find myself saying “I know, I’m a little weirdo!” So this totally hit home! Also, coming from a Mexican family, my parents are worried about me because of the way I eat! Lol But I don’t mind at all, I love this lifestyle! Thank you for this awesome article! 🙂
You are my new hero! I am 51 years old at 20 years old I wore a size 1 and weighed 98 pounds. Got married had three kids in three years and at my last way in one year ago I weighed 240 pounds. I decided at 52 years old I will never way what I weighed at 51 years old again . I’ve been looking for help like the help you have given me for many months now. As of November 12, 2015 I have lost 78 pounds by going vegan, juicing and running 3 miles every other day. I now weigh 173.6 pounds. Yes I do way to to three times a day, I am obsessed . I am setting a goal for at least 30 to 40 more pounds down. I Just purchased my own juicer and am excited about doing this on my own without having to purchase juice type bar juice cleanses every week. Thank you so much for giving me the tips that I need to complete this process and allow my grandchildren to see me as looked before I got married to their parents. Ha ha!
To each their own (as long as it’s ethical, of course :). Personally I use the microwave a lot, because I find it really convenient to cook vegetables. I even make quick-breads and cakes in the microwave! And I don’t add tofu to things, but sometimes I add soy powder instead. Way cheaper and it has more vitamins and minerals.
😀 Yes, yes, yes!! This is hilarious (of course, because it is totally true.) My favorite was #… well I was going to say #10, but seriously? How can I pick one favorite! I should print this list out and hang it on the wall at my house.
I’m so glad I found my fellow weirdos, too. Wouldn’t life be so boring without us?
Awesome article, this all sounds very familiar:). Thanks for the tip on the dates, I am training to do a 200 km ride in September and I am always struggling for snack ideas, this is perfect and I always have lots on hand!
Hilarious, and really hit close to home! My wife and I are well on our way to being full weirdos. Now if I can convince her to build a solar-powered tiny home…
Ha! I love this list. Now I want to visit Asheville. I feel like I’m in the middle of the same progression. And loving it. Thanks for the share. 🙂
Every weird thing you posted here sounds perfectly normal and awesome to me. Guess that makes me naturally weird. Then again, “extreme” and “weird” are relative to social norms. As we know, social norms evolve and what’s weird yesterday becomes normal today.
Loved this article! Well written , Fun and informative.
I would try dehydrating strawberries! So good!
Loved your post! Aren’t we living the dream! You had to be talking about my life! Well except for one thing; I actually made Kombucha for about 8 months.
I have been vegetarian 20+ years vegan for 7…this list has nothing to do with being vegetarian or vegan. It sounds more like what a health conscious person would do, there are many health conscious people who are not vegetarian or vegan.
I have a friend who does many of the things on this list and she eats meat everyday.
There are vegans who are not concern with health….we just need to stop miss representing what a vegan is.
I just googled “Why is vegan food so weird?” & found your article. I have just gone vegan for health purposes & sometimes I get tired of the food- even though it’s only been 6 weeks.
I really enjoyed your “weird” article since I am the only vegan I know. It is nice to know I’m not the only one in the world- just here in the Texas panhandle 😂
You asked what else to do with your food dehydrator. Sprout some almonds (get untreated ones directly from a farmer) and dry them in your dehydrator. They become incredibly crunchy with almost a coconut flavor.
Leave a Reply