Being Vegan, Vegan Being: Corey Buckner – The Dean of Big Strong U.

My name is Corey Buckner, I live in the south suburbs of Chicago and I stopped eating meat in 1996. Since then, in a not so directly related manner I have lived a fairly interesting life. I’ve been an athlete, a musician and performer, worked in politics, worked in corporate America and currently dib dabble in the Internet and websites. In 2015, I launched colexions which is an international community of collectors who share their collectibles with one another and help find and acquire collectibles. In 2016, I launched “Bring Your Own Vegan,” which is an international community of vegans who share our meals, recipes and lifestyles with one another. For 2017, I am currently launching Big Strong U (BigStrongU.com) which focuses on the Powerlifting lifestyle which I am also deeply engrossed in.

To the best of my abilities I do not consume, wear or use products that come from animals. This is primarily a health decision for me, but I am also deeply concerned for the treatment of animals and the damage that animal consumption is doing to the environment and the world’s food supply, but I’ll spare the details of that for a more appropriate venue.

What was the moment you realize that you wanted to go vegan?

I stopped eating meat in 1996, and have flirted with veganism since then. It was February of 2016 when I finally converted to a full vegan diet and sustained it. In fact, for most of 2016 I lived on a raw BigStrongU.comvegan diet, and to date I am still primarily raw vegan.

How long have you been Vegan?

I’m coming up to my one year anniversary.

Why is being Vegan important to you?

Well, there are many reasons; most of which I am sure people are full aware of. For me, it is first and foremost a health decision. I am a power lifter and love cardio; and spend large portions of the year seeking to optimize my body for optimal health. For the record, this does NOT include the holiday season. As such, I have done ample research that leads me to believe that humans were created to live off of a plant-based diet. So, in seeking to optimize my health I decided that going plant-based was the way to go.

That’s not to say that issues like the strain the cattle industry puts on the world’s food supply isn’t a major concern to me too. I can’t justify eating a “product” that is not profitable without massive government subsidies and cannot be produced without taxing the world’s food supply to unsustainable levels. People are literally being subsidized by the government to over consume an otherwise plentiful, inexpensive food source by feeding it to livestock thereby producing a less plentiful, more expensive food product that is more difficult to reproduce. Ever wonder how the world is full of food that literally grows out of the ground yet we deal with global food shortages every year? Stop feeding plants to the cattle overproduction industrial complex (livestock industry) in order to feed animals to humans and feed those plants directly to humans and everyone eats. Economists have proven this multiple times over, that it’s just that simple to solve to global food shortage.

Finally, as a Black American it hits very close to home that my ancestors were once treated as sub-human livestock right here in the United States. Look it up, the same tactics that are used to forcefully control and restrain livestock were used on African slaves in America. The forceful reproduction, the forced physical restraint, disregard for our sentient nature, and the use of Africans as tools for forced labor are not similar to the livestock industry; they are identical because it is the exact same industry. Slaves (African and others) are livestock; see the current Isis livestock price guides that list entrapped female sex slaves right alongside cattle. That hits too close to home for me to support an industry that whose list of animals that they benefit from exploiting STILL includes human beings. Sorry, I can’t in good conscious support the livestock industry in anyway.

Do you have a blog or favorite vegan blog you read?

I run BringYourOwnVegan.com. It’s a very positive, non-controversial celebration of vegan food. It’s an intentionally non-political, non-activist, and inoffensive (to non-vegans) celebration of the vegan diet. People always ask, “You’re a vegan, what do you eat?” Well, BringYourOwnVegan.com is answering that question every day.

Any recommended Vegan books?

Hmmm… that’s a tough one. I honestly haven’t read many books on the topic of veganism. Most of the books I read these days are either programming-related, deal with the Soviet Russian Revolution or are faith-based. Otherwise I do most of my reading via the internet.

Any recommended social sites, Facebook Groups or other?

Well, I hate to toot my own horn again; but BringYourOwnVegan.com is a social network. Otherwise I love Vegan Instagram. My feed is a non-stop supply of beautiful vegan meals from around the world, and I’m all about that. I am a member of Marlene Hobbs-Jones’ “The Vegan Runner” Facebook group which was the first Vegan Facebook group I ever joined. I recently joined the “Vegans United” Facebook group which is HUGE, and a great resource as well as a lot of fun. I also recently just joined Kristen Emily Kerr’s “How to Vegan” group on Facebook too.

Also, I have to acknowledge that Vegan twitter has been a huge source of innovation and support since day one of my vegan journey.

Do you have a favorite movie or videos or your own media that you want to share?

Absolutely! My absolute favorite is probably “Fat Sick and Nearly Dead”. Of course, I also like “Cowspiracy” and “Forks over Knives”, but what animal-loving vegan doesn’t love those, right? You can add “Vegucated” to the list as well. Man, there are so many to list that I feel like I’m doing an injustice to just name those; but I think in the interest brevity I will limit it to those choices.

Do you actively promote veganism? How? Please share any stories you would like.

Absolutely. I wouldn’t consider myself an activist; but I am fairly well-known for being a vegan powerlifter. I run the BringYourOwnVegan.com community, as I have mentioned on a few occasions… and openly share my vegan lifestyle there, on Instagram, on Twitter and on Facebook. I tend to let my lifestyle do my talking for me. I am a notoriously private person, but doing things like sharing my meals, my powerlifting videos and pictures, progress photos of my physique, etc. does a little to promote veganism in my small corner of the world.

Do you miss any non-Vegan foods?

No, not at all. I thought I would miss cheese, but honestly I just don’t miss it. The only meat I consume is cold turkey, because I tend to do things that way. I went vegetarian cold turkey and never looked back, and I did the same thing when I went vegan. I guess by the time I made the full transition I was just ready.

What is your favorite Vegan meme?

“But Bacon”… Just kidding. Seriously though, I love ANYTHING that has to do with “But How Do You Get Your Protein”. I also have one I published a little while back that pokes fun of people who ask vegans, “You don’t eat meat? Well what do you eat?” and the guy asking is standing directly in front of a fully-stocked produce aisle.

What is your favorite Vegan stereotype? If someone asks you a question about it, how do you respond?

Oh, by far it’s the idea that vegans are the puny, undernourished, energy-lacking shells of human beings. Being involved in the powerlifting lifestyle I have come across this characterization of vegans on more than a few cases… often by carnivores who were/are weaker than me. When someone asks me if vegans can get enough protein I like to flex and tell them that I am doing just fine.

What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?

Honestly, I don’t have one. Although I live near Chicago it takes me about 45-minutes to get into the city. I’m in a country-ish, farm-ish suburb area of the state and we don’t have a lot of vegan-only options that I know of. So, I have had to become an expert at learning to eat vegan wherever we go. Most of the time my future wife and I eat at home because doing the raw vegan diet was fairly restrictive and restaurant options so scarce that when we went out I ended up just eating a salad most of the time. So, truthfully I rarely eat at restaurants.

What’s your favorite recipe? Please share it.

I think the recipe that people most associate me with is any number of iterations of the strawberry, pineapple, banana smoothie. I have probably made more than a hundred variations of smoothies containing those three ingredients. I also make a mean veggie stir-fry and spring roll dinner when I’m not eating raw vegan. But, my new favorite is one that my significant other recently introduced me to, and it’s fruit salsa and cinnamon chips. You can find that one, alongside the results of our first attempt at making them at http://bringyourownvegan.com/?p=blogshow&b=285.

What is the one big stereotype you hear about Vegans that you want to dispel?

We are not necessarily undernourished, underweight weaklings. Sure, some are but I can deadlift 500 pounds and I am anything but skinny. Vegans come in all shapes, sizes and strength-levels akin to what you will find in the general population. Of course we are healthier than average, but our body compositions vary greatly.

Some encouraging words for new Vegans?

You don’t need general consensus to do what is right. In the last sixty or so years Germans have been convinced to commit genocide against Jewish people, Rwandans were convinced to commit genocide against themselves, and currently groups of terrorists are being convinced to murder innocent human beings around the world. That’s all group consensuses! Therefore, group consensus is no more an indicator of right and wrong than a 2-sided coin. So don’t be moved when the current dominant group of meat-eaters makes fun of you or criticizes your intelligence for not eating or using animal products. They have a multi-billion dollar, government subsidized industry propagandizing them with the notion that they are correct, despite all of the readily-available evidence to the contrary. So, let them be wrong while, conversely letting yourself be right.

Are you a cruelty-Free vegan?

Yup! I’m not as active as others and don’t do as much research as other; but what I am aware of I act on.

What are you favorite Vegan non-food products or companies?

Hmmm…I prefer not to answer. I have SO MANY friends and family that have vegan products that I am afraid I will forget someone. I tell you what; I would like to plug my cousin’s vegan cookbook. My big cousin Lolita Acker-Dawson has an amazing vegan cookbook called “Lola’s Vegan Kitchen” that I personally own and love.

What is the toughest Vegan item to find that you need?

Truthfully, because I am on the go so much and not home as often as I used to be; it’s good vegan fast food. Seriously! I still suffer the frustration of trying to get from place-to-place in a hurry, or being out on a date with my significant other, and not being able to find something to eat without significant inconvenience. I know in bigger, more populated cities this Is not an issue; and I’m not even talking about sit-down restaurants. I’m talking about not wanting to take a long time sitting down and waiting to be served.

Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?

Ummm… it hasn’t really been a struggle for me. I’ve discussed the social frustrations of having an active and busy life; but I wouldn’t consider that a struggle. I don’t take myself too seriously; so I can laugh at the jokes people tell. I get them, they’re funny sometimes. My significant other, friends and family fully support my vegan lifestyle, and I’m not a cravings type person. But, I’ll play fair and say giving up Dunkin’ Donuts’ Vanilla long johns was a bit of a struggle for me.

If you were stranded on an island where vegetation had become barren and it was just you and livestock left; would you consume that livestock?

I hate to answer it right here because this question leads to some deep introspection and provides an open door for vegans and non-vegans to talk freely and honestly about our diets on a level playing field. But, I’ll answer it.

No, I wouldn’t eat the livestock. First, because I would have to kill it myself, and that’s not something I would want to do. Secondly, if the vegetation was already barren; all of the animal life (including me) will be dead shortly, so what would be my benefit in eating the animals. I can certainly understand WHY someone else might choose otherwise, which leads to good productive conversation; but I myself just wouldn’t and couldn’t do it.

1 Comment

A penny for your thoughts.