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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The "Anti-Vegan", Dates, and the Winner of Heart Healthy Pizza by Mark Sutton

I had an interesting experience recently; I believe I came face-to-face with 'the Anti-Vegan'.  I was really blind-sided by who this person is, as she is normally a very loving person.  I've come to understand over the last day or two that I've had to process my experience, that the negativity exuding from this person is really a factor of ignorance or lack of information more than anything else.  I guess the algebraic formula would look something like this:

Upbringing + Societal Indoctrination *(Mass Marketing Campaigns * 50 years) + Resistance to Change=Anti-Vegan

The back story on this is that I was having a light lunch at my house for a few people and I got wind that there might be an issue when this person expressed concern to my husband over what would be served at my house.  I mean, A LOT of concern.  I really believe she expected to show up and see a chunk of mud with sticks, stems and weeds poking out of it on her dinner plate! 

I made some home-made bread, a salad with about 10 different kinds of lettuce in it plus a bit of fresh spinach from my garden, a fruit salad with mango, blueberries, kiwi and Christy Morgan's (Blissful Bites) Macro Mac 'n Cheese.  My bread did not come out as well as it normally does, nor did Christy's casserole, but both were edible.  The Anti-Vegan was clearly SUFFERING from this meal and it was obvious to me that it didn't really have anything to do with the actual food that was in front of her, but rather her IDEA of what the food would be. 

She didn't want the salad at all, because 'she doesn't like spinach'.  I did talk her into eating some of it
when I explained what a small amount of spinach was in there. 

Even with that, she said, 'and you don't have any cheese???'  With a whining noise made after I said no.

I had all other veggies chopped up and in separate containers so people could choose and add as they wished:  mushrooms, 3 different kinds of peppers, cucumbers, celery and carrots combined in the same, she wants to know what is in with the carrots and complains about the lighting in my kitchen!  <sigh>

She didn't want the fruit salad, because she doesn't eat fruit....except apples.

She didn't want to try the mac not cheese because it was made with squash and tofu, but another person (bless her) insisted she try tofu.

We didn't have real butter.  (I served Earth Balance which is itself a compromise for me). Another whining noise.

The bread was 'missing something'...actually she asked if the bread was the macaroni because it was in a cast iron pan, so she thought it was a casserole....that should have been a big clue to me that she wasn't looking at what was actually in front of her, but rather some weird picture she had conjured up in her mind.

"Don't you eat ice cream" came up in conversation....'no', I replied.  A tsk-ing noise, followed by "I eat that every night".  (Inward sigh to myself as I noted her waist size that has expanded since the last time I saw her and wondered what the inside of her body would have to say about it all!---a quiet muttering from another person at the table '....whether you need it or not'....another sigh to myself).

It went on, but to her credit, she did try the food, and I think that was a huge leap for vegan-kind.

I learned a lot from this experience.  I am so fortunate to be surrounded by supportive people, two extremely good friends that back me up daily, my husband who now proudly tells others of the changes I've made and two sons that are frankly inspirational, that I have forgotten what the 'real world' is like.

I've forgotten that the food I eat can actually be scary to some people and that the responsibility rests on me to bridge the gap between us.

I've forgotten that it is considered NORMAL, my guest even used that word in the form of a question about what my grand-daughter eats...'does she eat normal when she's not here?''s considered NORMAL to eat ice cream every night, slather butter, cheese, fat-laden dressings on eat food that is fresh, clean and unadulterated with these things is the oddity.  To eat for health is ABnormal. 

I was very upset that people couldn't come to my house and enjoy a meal...I felt disappointed and extremely hurt.  I told my son later that it was a character flaw in me that I let this stuff upset me so much.  He said "being who you are is not a character flaw".  I swear if I ever get a tattoo, that'll be it. 

It's true---I am who I am and I do care and want people to leave my house sated in every way.  Hearing those words from him, took the sting out of everything and made it ok to be me.  Lessons.  Life is full of them.  Philosophers.  They are everywhere.


Part of tweaking my diet has been to remove the processed foods that have squirmed their way back into my diet.  Mostly they are agave and maple syrup.  I will likely still use them, but on a very limited basis.  I'm going with Chef A.J.'s (check her out here: approach, and using dates predominately as a sweetener.  I was thrilled to see a link to this short video, in a comment on Wendy's Healthy Girl's Kitchen blog ( find Wendy here:

I was aware of many of the nutrients contained in dates, but there is a lot going on in this power food.  Check it out.

Heart Healthy Pizza Cookbook Giveaway Winner

The winner of Mark Sutton's Heart Healthy Pizza Cookbook is.......


Congratulations, Ann.  Be sure to e-mail me: and I'll get your shipping address, etc.  Thank you to everyone who entered and a special thanks again to Mark Sutton for taking the time to answer my questions and for donating the book for this give-away.  I hope interested readers will visit Mark's web-site at: where you can order a copy of the book, check out some great resources, see some recipes and more coming soon.


Sue, being myself, in Ohio


  1. I love your son's quote. What a gorgeous man.
    I can relate more than you know to this post. My Christmas last year was pretty disastrous!
    I think the fact that you handled the situation with grace and patience shows your strength. It's a sad fact that eating the food that we are meant to thrive on is considered abnormal but we're so sick and warped as a species that we think junk is normal. I know this may seem sneaky but now I just don't tell people what's in things (unless they have allergies) and wait for the reactions... or when I bring food I try not to let everyone see which one the vegans brought. Most people will support you but for those who don't- try not to give them too much of your time and energy- it's not worth it.
    I hope you can handle it better next time (I know I'm getting stronger with it) but getting upset is totally normal!
    Enjoy your yummy food and spend time with supportive friends :) All the best xxx

    1. Oh my goodness, Claire. What a loving comment from you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.....oh, it means so very much. You hang in there too....

      with deep thanks,

  2. Sue, I always love your real life stories! I would love to feature this one as a guest blog post on HGK. Would you like to do that?

    1. Hi Wendy,
      I would be beyond honored to be featured on your blog. Let me know what you need from me. Wow....thank you so much.

    2. okay, you are live! thank you.

  3. Hi Sue, I just saw your post on HGK - what a lovely quote from your son! And kudos to you for grace under pressure...
    I have encountered negativity on my journey as well, it is such a downer! But the best we can do is keep chugging along and be good examples for this way of life, right?

    1. Hi Amy,
      I totally agree. It definitely can be a downer, but I think we just have to stay steadfast in our journey and let the negativity go as quickly as possible. Thank you for your input!!! It's very helpful to me to know there are others out there with similar experiences.
      Best to you,

  4. Sue -

    I think I've met a few anti-vegans myself. I'm brand new to all of thise, just about 7 weeks into a pretty brand-new lifestyle. It's been great to discover so many other people doing the same thing. Makes one feel very not alone.

    All the blogging (by yourself) and so many others has led me to start one as well. It's called "Sausage Boy Goes Green" and seems to jive with the same journey you've been on.

    I'm adding yours to my links of blogs I follow - I love it!! Thanks!

    1. Hi Salvatore!
      Congrats on your life-changing decision. I'll be checking out your blog soon and greatly encourage you (and others) to blog. It helps so much, I think, and, as you have already seen, the connection in the vegan blog community is wonderful.

      Thanks for your kind words and best of luck to you!

  5. You stick to your guns. Everyone else can get over it. If there is somewhere that serves what you like, we still have a lunch date!

    1. Thanks, Gale! Chipotle is easiest for me, but I've found a way to eat at the old Mexican place and also Boston's. We could grab something at Chipotle and go picnic at the park. Will e-mail you.

  6. Another great story that all of us can relate to, Sue. Once again I love the way you tell a's funny and thoughtful and allows me to knoww what you are feeling in a way that makes it seem like I am in your shoes. Please keep writing so I can keep coming back to read! : )

    1. Thanks, Todd. I have some catching up to do!
      Take care,