My name is Ian Cramer and I live in Rochester, NY. I am a Certified Athletic Trainer working every day with orthopedic patients as well as high school athletes. My web alter ego is Plant-Based Cyclist. I am passionate about helping people become healthier. I am a competitive cyclists, podcaster, YouTuber, public speaker, and health coach. You can visit Plant-BasedCyclist.com for more details and to connect with any of my social media channels.
What was the moment you realize that you wanted to go vegan?
After I watched the movie Forks Over Knives. That was the impetus in 2011 that made me give up animal products and processed foods to become the healthiest I could be, physically, mentally and spiritually.
How long have you been Vegan?
At this point, over 7 years since January 2011.
Why is being Vegan important to you?
I want to be awake, aware and understand my place in the world. I want to understand the consequences of my actions. And so many people are blinded, brainwashed or simply don’t care or don’t know. Where does milk come from? What is the process by which bacon and chicken breasts make their way to the grocery store shelves?
Any recommended Vegan books?
How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Greger. If you could only read one book about food and health, this is it.
Any recommended social sites, Facebook Groups or other?
Let Food be Thy Medicine is a group that is focused on Health via a plant-based vegan lifestyle. Plant-Based Cyclist is another FB page that offers evidence based, simple ideas and information to become healthy while eating a plant-based vegan diet.
Do you have a favorite movie or videos or your own media that you want to share?
I am the host of The Ian Cramer Podcast which seeks to interview Medical doctors and scholars of lifestyle medicine. So far, I’ve interviewed the likes of Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Kim Williams, T. Colin Campbell, PhD., Dr. Michael Klaper and Dr. Milton Mills who were featured on “What the Health”. It’s a free podcast that can be found on the iTunes store, Stitcher or on Podomatic. Learn why foods are the number one cause of premature death and the number one cause of disability in this country by listening to experts who prescribe Lifestyle medicine to their patients every day.
Do you actively promote veganism? How? Please share any stories you would like.
I actively promote a whole foods plant-based lifestyle that happens to be vegan. I do not actively promote the term ‘vegan’ for several reasons.
1) Vegan does not equal health: My focus from the beginning has been on human health. If you look at the top 15 causes of mortality in this country, they ALL have to do with diet and lifestyle, some more than others. So, if you eat a vegan diet, does that mean you’re healthy? Not necessarily.
2) The term “Vegan” turns people off. It has a negative connotation and I have had much more success in promoting the objective health benefits of eating better than also happens to be vegan. So that way, people get healthier and are also saving animals at the same time, sometimes, without even knowing it.
3) People who promote veganism from an animal right point of view, although noble, are not seeing the whole picture. There are many unhealthy vegans out there and there’s a huge different between ‘vegan’ and ‘healthy’. What’s the point in saving the life of an animal when you’re disrespecting your body with vegan junk foods? If we all approached this from a health perspective and educated ourselves on what is healthy for our bodies and adopted a whole-foods plant based lifestyle, we would not only be healthier but we would also reap the rewards of saving animals and the planet, all at the same time.
What is your favorite Vegan meme?
Genetics loads the gun, but environment pulls the trigger. So many people blame their genetics for their health issues. But, people don’t understand how much of a role diet and lifestyle plays in heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and cancers. Even if you were dealt a bad hand and born with a strong family history of a chronic disease, you’re not a helpless victim. You can eat your way to disease or you can eat your eat your way to health, it’s your choice. And that is what I am trying to do with content that I publish on social media, my public speaking engagements and health coaching. Health is a choice, and if people truly understood that, we would be in a very different place.
What is the vegan stereotype you hear the most and how do you respond to it?
Vegan’s are malnourished and protein deficient. There are so many examples to the contrary. I’m a 180-pound competitive cyclist who is 13% body fat. You show me a weak and sick vegan and I’ll show you someone who isn’t eating enough calories and someone who’s doing it wrong.
What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?
The Red Fern in Rochester, NY is a restaurant I frequent often.
Please share your favorite vegan recipe?
Avocado Hummus: 1 Avocado, 1 can of chic peas, 1-2 cloves of garlic, 1-2 tbsp. lemon juice and salt to taste. Process in food processor until smooth and enjoy on rice, roasted vegetables, with carrot sticks or on potatoes.
Some encouraging words for new Vegans?
Be Nice. Treat everyone the way you would want to be treated. Don’t be nasty, it gives vegan’s a bad reputation. Remain open, civil and compassionate. That’s the way we progress a message.
What does living cruelty-free mean to you?
It means being ‘awake’ and understanding the process by which products in the grocery store are created and manufactured. Hot dogs, eggs, chicken, and milk-How did those get to the shelf and what was the process? It’s cruel and unnecessary.
Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?
Early on I felt like I was ‘in the closet’ because I didn’t want to experience the social stigma attached to the term ‘vegan’. Plus, I didn’t know enough about veganism and the various reasons to be vegan to explain or discuss it with people. Now, I’m older, more mature, I don’t care what people think of me and I can discuss all of the advantages with people in an educational way.
What is one question you would ask other Vegans? Please answer it.
Why are some vegans so nasty? The answer in my opinion; because they’ve lost sight of the bigger picture and are so focused on the monumental task of saving all animals from torture that they treat others with disrespect. It feels like everyone who is going about their life is so brainwashed and so blinded to the plight of animals that the passionate vegan is afraid everyone is against them. And that’s not true.
I love the vegan movement and there are a lot of sweet people who are vegan. But we need to choose who we follow more carefully and be more judicious about the people who we allow to be our public voices. I’m thinking of YouTube, in particular, because a video is such an easy way to get a good read on people. Some people within the vegan movement are so nasty and mean and inflammatory. Everyone has to ‘one up’ the other person on social media and it creates this harsh environment and doesn’t create change or progress. Screaming and calling people names only turns people off and creates more of a divide between ‘us’ and ‘them’.
We need to give people facts, be compassionate, engage in civil discussions and educate people. And if they don’t want to change, let it be. We can’t force feed people this information and expect them to change. I always say, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink. In the same way, you can engage in educational, civil discussions with people about any aspect of veganism, animal rights, healthy eating or environmental protection, but they have to choose whether to change. You can’t make them. And yelling, screaming and calling each other names is NOT the way we go about making change. It is the way you go about turning people off the movement and give the term ‘vegan’ a bad reputation.