Lisa: "I started the Boulder (and Beyond!) Vegan Meetup almost 6 years ago because I wanted to meet like- minded and hearted folks. It has evolved into a wonderful community of vegans along with pre- vegans and everyone in between ;-) I see the meetup as a support system for people in many ways. Often times when we have our own vegan awakening our partners, friends, family and colleagues may not follow suit and it can be isolating and challenging at times.
My experience of working with new vegans for 30 years tells me social situations are the hardest for new vegans especially. Meeting other folks that make you feel supported and good in your compassionate choices is very helpful (and healing!) for people. I know it is for me and I am not a new vegan. My world, like for most of us, is full of pre-vegans so coming together with a vegan intention and knowing the food will be all vegan is very comforting and supportive. People also have a lot of questions as they travel a vegan path. Some can be as basic and comprehensive as "what do I eat?" or "how do I deal with my family and friends who don't understand my new way of life". I love answering questions from our members as they travel along their vegan path. Our meetup has a 'Vegan Mentor" program where I match new veggies with experienced vegans that have similar paths: ie- A new vegan runner that has questions specific to his running would gt paired with an experienced vegan runner.
At almost 800 members we have a diverse crowd of folks with their own set of circumstances and situations but the fact that everyone joined a vegan meetup is certainly a common bonding. And let's not forget that the food is always fantastic! We have some incredible cooks/bakers/chefs amongst our group. The potlucks blow not-yet-vegans away. "Who knew you could have so much variety and deliciousness from plants?!" is something I hear at every potluck.;-) " My mantra is: Making vegan choices has never been more urgent, more necessary or more delicious. Please join us at our next potluck or outing and join an amazing community of friends and support and expand your dining options...along with your heart ;)
I also asked Lisa to tell me about starting and running her vegan-based business, All Things Vegan and to share with us the latest trends in veganism. Again, her words are better than mine !
Lisa: " I started All Things Vegan, my natural products consulting business, almost three years ago to work with vegan food companies on their branding/messaging, sales and marketing efforts, and I help raise capital/funding when needed. The mission of All Things Vegan is "To promote quality vegan products, while expanding awareness of the positive impact of vegan lifestyles on animals, people, and the planet." I believe if we can make more vegan products more widely available more people will make vegan choices and consequently more animals will be spared. Until people have their own vegan awakening we need to make choosing vegan as effortless, convenient ( and delicious!) as possible. I spent most of my career (almost three decades) being a purchasing director for national retail chains. Time and time again I would see fantastic vegan companies launch only to be gone in less than a year because they didn't understand the challenges of retail on top of the challenges of creating a vegan product people will want. Often times creative entrepreneurs lack the full understanding of what it takes to operate a profitable business. All Things Vegan works to serve the vegan business community and help vegan companies become as successful as possible.
The latest trend in vegan food news are all the fantastic vegan cheeses that are soon to be hitting the market in the next 6 or so months. Plant based eggs like those created by Hampton Creek and The VEGG are creating quite a scramble. Beyond Eggs (Hampton Creeks) is now replacing all the egg mayo in Whole Foods nationally. Plant based meats like Tofurky and Beyond Meat are continutng to have mushrooming sales and gain wider reach as distribution and placement continues to grow. Veganism is no longer a trend but rather is being incorporated into a part of mainstream culture and that is great news for the animals that needs to continue to grow and take hold in mainstream culture."
And since Lisa has seen a LOT of potlucks, I asked her what was her favorite dish to bring to a potluck, and would she like to share a recipe.
Lisa: "Oh my goodness, I dont think I have ever repeated a recipe for any potluck I have ever gone to. There are just too many creations to try. I do go a bit crazy on desserts because they lend to such creativity in their creation and presentation and that seems to be an area that new vegans assume they will have to forgo. Anything made with animal cruelty can be made vegan. I say that confidently after eating my way through vegan eateries throughout the country. My vegan cheezecakes always disappear and anything chocolate is pretty much a given to be lauded. turning people on to vegan food is a great vegucator so I am an avid baker/cook and never tire of experimenting with the abundance of plant-based ingredients. "
Lisa has graciously offered the recipe for Stuffed Tofu, aka The Tofu Love Bomb, which had been previously posted in Steve Jones' Boulder Benign Blog, and where you can find it even now :) I made it last year...it makes a fun central dish, is beautiful to look at, you get to carve it, no bird had to die AND it's extremely tasty...a win for everyone, and back just in time for the holidays !