MJR: What are some positive changes you’ve noticed, in your health or otherwise, that occurred since you started your diet?
Matt: My entire life has changed since I went vegan. My career has obviously changed as well, and I’ve met and had the opportunity to work with some of the most amazing and dedicated people in the world....
MJR: What’s the most awkward food encounter you’ve had in relation to your diet?
Matt: When I went vegetarian, and then vegan, my family didn’t react with, shall we say, the greatest enthusiasm. This was in part my fault. For one, I didn’t know nearly enough about nutrition to convince them that I could cut animal products out of my diet and remain healthy (I’m famous for not liking vegetables). Second, I initially had the fire of the converted, and was rather angry (and preachy) when others didn’t react to the truth of factory farms as I did. It took me quite a while to learn how to deal constructively with situations like that. I talk about it a lot in the The Animal Activist’s Handbook.
MJR: What’s the one food product you can’t live without?
Matt: You know, there really is no single food that I couldn’t do without. There are so many great things out there that if one product was discontinued (or got too expensive), I’d replace it with another. And it might lead me to explore something new – that’s happened in the past.
MJR: ....So, is there any type of situation (e.g. social, survival) that would cause you to cheat on your diet? When?
Matt: I’d like to think that over time, my survival is a net good for the animals, so I think I would “cheat” on my diet to survive. But it also depends on what you mean by “cheat.” I’ll take medicines that have been tested on animals, I’ll drink tap water filtered with bone char, I’ll eat a veggie burger cooked in a non-vegan restaurant, etc. – all things that some vegans consider to be “non-vegan.”
But to me, “vegan” isn’t a diet or a set of rules or exclusions. Rather, my veganism is about trying to reduce as much suffering in the world as possible. To do so requires more than just making the right purchases, but also being an example that leads to more people changing their habits and diets.
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