Our fourth Real Vegans interview features Jordan DiLapo of San Francisco, CA. Jordan, who is originally from New York, moved to San Francisco about a year ago to pursue his passion for technology! Fun fact: Jordan has never eaten meat in his life! He was a Division I athlete at the University at Albany and has made the transition from being a vegetarian to veganism! Continue reading to learn more about Jordan's story, his views on veganism and, of course, his favorite foods!
How long ago did you become vegan?
I became vegan a year and 4 months ago.
Why did you become vegan?
It's interesting how I ended up becoming a vegan. My entire life I've been a vegetarian because my mom, dad and brother are vegetarian and I grew up with a respect for all life. I always thought it would be impossible to give up dairy, eggs and honey until I met my girlfriend. When I met my girlfriend (who was pescatarian at the time), we made a deal on our first date. I would give up dairy and she would give up fish. At first, I thought she was joking but soon after I found out that I made a deal that was real. I approached it with an open mind and was shocked by the results. For someone who has suffered from cystic acne his entire life, I was astonished when I didn't have any more breakouts after cutting out milk from my diet. I can happily say veganism fixed my skin for good. After my positive experience with dairy, I wanted to see if I could go further and become a full vegan. I started to research the conditions that we subject egg-bearing chickens to and it's shocking. I adopted an ideology that no life should be "itemized" and subject to capitalism. Honey was cut last from my diet after learning about how it is made. It's quite interesting but not for me.
Was it difficult transitioning?
Coming from a vegetarian background, I believe it was so much easier. I've never ate it, so I don't crave it. Cutting dairy, eggs and honey was for health/moral/information reasons and it justified itself.
Were your family and friends supportive?
My family has always supported me with my vegetarianism but my girlfriend is my largest supporter with my veganism. It's funny as my mom still thinks I should eat eggs! I'm proud to say though that I was the catalyst for my family to cut out dairy from their diet besides my dad's random craving for parmesan cheese (can you tell he's Italian??).
Was it difficult finding vegan foods?
It wasn't difficult as there are plenty of options in 2019 (**cough cough** Mylk Guys plug) but there is another level of awareness you need to have when choosing what to eat.
Did you know what to eat?
Not initially. I needed to get very accustomed to automatically checking the ingredients of everything I ate. It is a blessing in disguise though as you become aware of what you are putting in your body.
Do you have any tips for new vegans?
Becoming a vegan with someone definitely helps. It holds you accountable. Also, do research on the world around you - it will give you power to make informed decisions. Sometimes, that's the only reason you need to make the switch.
Anything you wish you would have known?
Personally, I wish I had known about the benefits of veganism earlier. Even if you've never suffered from acne, cutting dairy has had additional positive effects on my life, such as increased energy.
Do you mostly cook or go out to eat?
Does my girlfriend's cooking count? She's amazing!
What is your go-to meal?
What is the one item always on your grocery list?
Hummus and weird enough, purple cabbage. I am obsessed. It's healthier than chips and still has a "crunch" to it.
Is there any food you miss that you can't find now that you're vegan?
A nice cheese pizza. Cheese will always be tough to replicate but you become used to it.
What is your favorite restaurant with vegan options?
Sorelle and Co. Bakery for baked goods. Fresh on Front for dinner. Both located in Toronto.
Favorite vegan brands or businesses?
Favorite guilty vegan food pleasure?
Favorite celebrity vegan?
Peter Dinklage - big GOT guy especially with the final season airing soon.
What gives you hope as a vegan?
Understanding the value of having respect for all life. It is what makes me, me.
What can the vegan community be doing to make it easier for others to transition to a vegan diet?
More and more options, always. As well as understanding that not everyone will be vegan. Education with the goal of limiting, not necessarily cutting out all non-vegan items is best in my opinion. There's nothing worse than a "pushy" vegan. Let everyone make their own choices and come to their own conclusions after a taste of the vegan life. It's a process.
What's your favorite item or items on Mylk Guys?
That's it for this week's Real Vegans Series! Interested in being featured in the next Real Vegans Series? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us why you'd like to be featured!