Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Anthony Carriuolo. I was born and raised in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. I’m the Chief Operating Officer and partner of the previous interviewee Brenden for Planet Protein Inc. We are working to abate the daily struggle of caring for our bodies in a 24/7 world when so few of us can sit for three square meals or avoid cheap, unhealthy, and sometimes unethical food choices.
Check us out at PlanetProtein.com!
You can follow me on IG @chefoperatingofficer
What led you to veganism? How long ago?
I saw a video of the large machine they use to rotate the whole cow upside down before its slaughter. It was pathetic. Nobody thinks about that when they bite down on that burger, and if they do its so far out of sight it doesn’t matter. The helplessness of the bull and the mechanized simplicity of it really stuck with me. I asked myself, could I do this to every animal I’m going to eat from now until I die?
When you first went vegan how did you phase out your non-vegan food, clothing and other items?
I was vegetarian for about a year before becoming fully vegan, so meat and fish was already a bygone issue. It was less about “phasing” things out and more about improving on the habits I was learning and shopping smarter. Getting over dairy was tough until I realized the culprit behind my 6 AM stomach pains!
As for clothing, I didn’t throw anything away. I didn’t see a purpose to toss a leather belt I had for three years because my mind was changed. If anything, it’s counterproductive to waste a perfectly good product to exact a puritanical transformation.
Do you make any exceptions for yourself or if you are married with kids – your family, when it comes to veganism? For example, how strict are you with your children’s veganism at school or at family gatherings?
Perhaps I’ve undersold how repugnant it is to me to watch my family eat ribs at the table. In my efforts to “keep the peace,” I feel that I’ve made a deeper statement than I ever could by interjecting my views into every gathering. They ask questions, are respectful and were very welcoming to accommodate veganism in my life. For that I’m thankful. However, with everything I know now, it’s hard to watch my family and friends continue to harm everything around them including themselves.
Do you believe we should show children the process of how animals are turned into meats?
We don’t show the candid horrors of war to children and we still manage to raise them peacefully in most cases. I do think it’s very important that we start closing the gap between the petting zoo and the meat market and break that wall of dissonance. I taught in a Christian Pre-K as a closet agnostic and watched how some of the church ladies brought their brimstone message to the children. It made no sense to teach such naive beings from a negative perspective when they’re still developing a moral barometer.
What does being vegan mean to you?
Well, I’m not above taking out a cockroach or mosquito. There’s a certain level where we still have to acknowledge our humanity and avoid being harmed by animals. Veganism was/is very personal to me, despite my involvement with the vegan industry. I like to see my veganism as what I’m not doing more than even what I am. It’s addition by subtraction, a logical means I’ve always used to justify my decisions. My list of companies and products to avoid is extensive and diverse, but I will not restrict my consumption to only vegan products. If anything that creates an echo chamber rather than a market demand which will force companies to act.
Is it every vegan’s duty to become an activist?
No. Nor is it every parishioner’s duty to evangelize. I think it’s risky business to compel members of your own ilk to carry the values in the way you want. Every vegan should have the ability and willingness to shed light or help others understand facts and make changes on their own terms.
How compassionate or empathetic are you towards non-vegans?
I always tell people “the Spanish Inquisition didn’t convert any Jews”. It’s my fancy way of saying, chill out and engage people. How are you going to convince someone to absorb knowledge if you’re yelling in their ears?
Any recommended Vegan books?
I don’t have any! Although there are many young activists creating resource style e-books that are great. My physical library is loaded with reference and encyclopedic style books.
Any recommended social sites, blogs or pages?
Anything Antonio Fernandez and family is responsible for. Gotta love the lethal combo of learned eloquence, physical transformation and the beauty of a unified American family =)
What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?
Hoo boy, this is tough. I’ve been out of the state more with Planet Protein than I did in the prior 5 years, so there’s a lot of vegan food to stack up against!
Please share your favorite vegan recipe?
I don’t have one! I rarely ever use a recipe, and even when I bake I tend to freelance. But, I’ll share my secret behind everything I love to cook: use as much of your own power as possible. Machines and appliances are great, convenient, and a modern tool, but cooking for me is about reaching through to my ancestors and incorporating a holistic approach to what I take pride in.
Some encouraging words for new Vegans?
Don’t let the aches and pains get to you at first, do your best to handle your appetite and use the many resources available to assist in your transition. Think of it like quitting smoking. A little discomfort for a lifetime of freedom.
What is the vegan scene like in your city?
Miami is thriving, while Ft. Lauderdale has growing options in many restaurants but few dedicated vegan spots. We have an awesome group here called SoFlo Vegans that does an amazing job of providing a pivot between businesses and local vegans.
And I’d be remiss to forget the many, many beautiful people repping the plant life down here!
What personal recommendations can you make for people to meet other vegans?
Anyone new to veganism is likely to be surrounded with encouragement if you enter the social scene. For starters, check out any social groups in your town, any small gatherings and if you’re close enough to a Vegfest then hit one up! These usually have speakers and products that will ease your transition.
What does living cruelty-free mean to you? Does it extend to the way you as a vegan treats other humans too?
My personal definition of “cruelty” is intentional malice purported upon an unwilling individual. Humanity has the power of choice that animals do not have when they enter our world. I’ve always been kind, compassionate, and generous. However, I also believe in the death penalty, our right to self-defense, and see no issue with detonating a terrorist camp. We’re all equal when we’re born, but it’s our choices that oscillate us between the absolutes of good and evil.
What are you favorite Vegan non-food products or companies?
I love my Wowe razor! As an Italian man shaving is a painful challenge. Once you overcome that first shave, where you can really feel the sharpness of the blade in ways you don’t with a safety razor, you’ll never turn back. It saves money and cuts clean!
What is the toughest Vegan item to find that you need?
It’s 2018 in America people! We can find anything!Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?I’ve been “recovering” from a major knee operation for nearly 2 years, resulting in constant pain from having such a weak left leg. In the beginning, it was the lack of Omega 3’s that lent to so much muscle and bone ache. I did a little research, made some changes and voila!