Today’s This Is What A Vegan Looks Like is extra-special for three reasons. One: it’s from one of my favourite places in the whole world: the USA. Two: it features not one but two vegans. A wonderful ‘BOGOF’ husband and wife deal. Three: there are photos of one of my all-time cats, Chester the Magnificent.
Chester the Magnificent is a crosseyed mustachioed tuxedo cat who lives in Palm Springs with his siblings Hazel, Ollie, Moses & Esther. Please, take a moment to look at him:
Isn’t he the best little dude you’ve ever seen? His siblings and the feral-cats that live in his yard are absolute treasures too.
I followed @ChesterTheMagnificent on Instagram a few years ago and got to know Chester’s ‘Dad’ Adam who has been so generous and helpful – giving my husband Josh and I hot-tips for our roadtrips and sending us the nicest American treats in the mail. As I was embracing veganism over the last year it turned out Adam and his wife, Rachel, were too. I am crossing my fingers that I get to visit Palm Springs next year and can assure Adam and Rachel that no matter how tempted I am, if I do get to meet Chester and his gang I won’t kidnap them. Probably.
So here’s Adam talking about his background and he and his wife Rachel’s veganism:
I grew up in the suburbs of New York City, in Oyster Bay, just a few miles away from Sagamore Hill, Teddy Roosevelt’s home. Rachel spent her formative years in a rural town outside of Rockford, Illinois. Rachel and I met at college in St. Paul, Minnesota and became fast friends. Only a quick six years later we finally started dating and were married soon thereafter. We own and operate a pop culture collectibles/memorabilia business called Joshua Tree Sales of Palm Springs. We buy and sell ephemera from sports, entertainment, politics, and just about any other area of historical interest. Our inventory mainly consists of autographed letters, signed checks, vintage ticket stubs, original period photographs, and all sorts of paper items.
We are expecting our first child, a girl, within the month, who we plan to raise as a vegan and crazy cat lady. Rachel’s pregnancy has been very smooth. All of her medical tests have returned flawless. She has had little to no discomfort. There was no morning sickness or nausea. She believes that arrived from having a vegan diet and being a lifelong vegetarian, as the pathogens found in meat weren’t exposed to the baby at that delicate developmental stage. We also have five cats, Hazel, Chester, Ollie, Moses & Esther.
1/ What made you go vegan?
a/ Rachel is a lifelong vegetarian. She chose to be so for ethical reasons, viewing animals as brothers and sisters to us. Before she could talk, she refused meat. When she could speak, Rachel asked her parents to raise her vegetarian. They were previously vegetarian, (and have since returned), so were educated enough to provide her with a healthy diet. She moved more recently to veganism as it was a natural progression, especially with research and awareness of the way the USA abuses its animals on factory farms. Plus, the amount of hormones and other dangerous additives consumed through dairy can really affect the human body in a negative way.
b/ I was a lifelong meat eater and foodie. When Rachel and I started dating, I tried eating vegetarian for a week. I found I had more energy. During our courtship, I slowly eliminated meat from my diet. I lost 25 pounds and felt much better physically. Plus, with the elimination of meat from my diet, I could eat spicy foods, something that was previously impossible. Now that I am vegan, I find that food has more flavor. I’ve always loved animals and could no longer validate the food/animal dichotomy, especially after living with our cats and seeing how remarkable they are as fellow beings.
2/ If you could only watch 3 TV programmes for the rest of your life, what would they be?
If we had to only watch only three shows, they would be Frasier, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and Bojack Horseman. We really enjoy quirky comedies with a unique voice.
3/ Where’s your favorite place in the entire world?
Palm Springs, California is our favorite place in the world. On our honeymoon, we intended to drive from San Diego to San Francisco over the course of two weeks, but once we made it Palm Springs, we cancelled the rest of the journey and spent the remaining days there. This was the middle of August, where the temperature averages well above 113F/45C. We fell in love with the town and had a three year plan to move to the Coachella Valley. We will be celebrating six years out here in December. It’s the only place that I’ve lived that’s felt like home. This photo is from our backyard:
4/ What are the vegan options like where you live?
There are vegan options in Palm Springs. That’s the beauty of Southern California. You are likely to find most businesses understand the needs of the consumer. For example, they understand that chicken stock isn’t vegan. The city has two vegan options, many vegetarian restaurants, including Asian cuisine that will take out oyster and fish sauces out of their dishes. We are only located about 100 miles or 160 kilometers from Los Angeles, so there are hundreds of options, if you want to spend a day in LA.
5/ What is your idea of happiness?
Happiness is being with one another, enjoying a home-cooked vegan meal, and hanging out with our cats.
6/ Which three other vegans would you most like to be stuck in a lift with?
We’d like to be trapped in an elevator with Nikola Tesla, Henry David Thoreau, Buddha, and St. Francis of Assisi, assuming that it’s accurate that these historical figures were actually vegan.
7/ Do you have a favorite motto, if so, what is it?
Rachel’s motto is “Live Without Regrets” while mine is “Never a Dull Moment”
8/ What are your all-time fave vegan things to eat?
Rachel loves her homemade vegan chili. It’s incredibly spicy and filled with all sorts of yummy vegetables. We love all sorts of cuisines to veganify, ranging from Indian, Mediterranean, Asian, and African. The “Ham Roll” at Vinh Loi Tofu in Reseda, California is an epiphany of flavors, Injera from Rahel’s Ethiopian in Los Angeles is remarkable, Native Foods Cafe makes a decadent veggie burger called the Oklahoma Bacon Chesseburger that’s divine, and Frankinbun, here in Palm Springs, has a homemade vegan dog that’s exceptionally satisfying.
9/ What song do you most like to dance to at a party?
We aren’t dancers. It’s not a religious thing or anything, we just prefer chatting to cutting a rug.
10/ Who in the world would you most like to see go vegan?
I’d love to see any hunters or fisherman who only do these awful hobbies for “sport” to go vegan as it would likely cease these behaviors. Rachel would love to have Donald Trump go vegan because of his lack of filter would tell everyone how great he feels, how much sense it makes, and so forth.