When you hear the word "vegan," what comes to mind? For most of us, at least in Somerset County, vegan is not exactly normal. We think of hippies or celebrities; people who want nothing to do with regular society or who can afford personal chefs. We don't think of the girl next door.
When I told my mom I was going vegan, she just sort of stared at me. My little cousins thought I had a disease. My friends thought I'd never drink another beer. They all agreed that being vegan is not for a typical girl from New Jersey who loves the Yankees, beer and summer BBQs. After three years, I still don't always think it's normal.
Despite the social stigma, it's hard to deny the vegan trend happening across the country. It's all over the news, with celebrities jumping on board faster than a runaway train. But it's still not considered "normal"—or easy—in the suburbs. Until now!
This weekly column will track my adventures as a normal girl attempting to stick to my normal life, despite shirking the normal American diet. I'm 26 and a 2003 graduate of Parsippany High School. I played three varsity sports in high school, went to the University of Maryland and spend most summer weekends down the shore.
I didn't know any vegans or vegetarians growing up—although I've since found out that a few of my friends' parents are vegan. I do it for myself, my health, rather than animal rights. I love that my lifestyle saves hundreds of animals a year, but that wasn't my motivation.
As you'll see through my adventures, when I decided to stop eating meat, I never planned on changing my lifestyle or my social circle. Yes, I was changing my eating habits, but I still wanted to go to my favorite local restaurants and fit in with my friends from home.
I'll be reviewing restaurants—normal ones, not just vegan spots—throughout Somerset County. I'll offer advice on what to do if a vegan is coming to dinner or you're a vegan going to a dinner party; how to handle your family's confusion when you don't eat turkey on Thanksgiving and a look inside a million other situations. The column is a general humor and wellness column, with a vegan bent.
Whether you've thought about going vegan, are vegan, have a gluten or lactose allergy, have friends who recently stopped eating steak, or are just looking for a good laugh, I hope this column provides a little insight into the life of a vegan in the 'burbs.