I live in Los Angeles, though I grew up in Texas. I’m now an actor and stand-up comic and I tour doing shows throughout the year. Maybe I’ll make you laugh if you go to www.shelbybond.com
What was the moment you realize that you wanted to go vegan?
I was on tour in the Midwest for several months. Often times I would get to visit the major companies in different cities and numerous ones were food processing plants i.e. slaughterhouses. I saw horrible things but, I just thought, “that’s how it is, we have to eat meat.” After the tour, I returned home to West Texas and that following year my mother got breast cancer, both my grandfathers had heart attacks, my uncle got lung cancer and my grandmother was diagnosed with diabetes. Justifiably, I freaked out and started reading everything I could find on nutrition. I learned that not only did we not need animal products, we could be much healthier without them. Then my mind flashed back to all the things I saw on tour: pigs stacked five crates high covered in feces and wounds, cows hoisted up by one leg to have their throats slit etc. I had never been an animal rights person but when I realized there was no reason for such suffering, that I could live a healthier life AND stop some of that misery, my life was forever changed. Also, at the time I was fighting in martial arts 5 hours a day and could really feel the change as I cut out animal products. My stamina, endurance, strength and recovery rate were all increased. I had first-hand proof that it worked.
How long have you been Vegan?
I’ve been vegan for 25 years.
Why is being Vegan important to you?
If I can help the world and my health with something as simple as my fork, I’m in.
Do you have a blog or favorite vegan blog you read?
I have a few things up at www.theveganguy.com. Check out the one about “Bacon Hipsters.”
Any recommended Vegan books?
Do you have a favorite movie or videos or your own media that you want to share?
“Forks Over Knives” is great because it doesn’t freak people out with videos that will make them not want to watch. It’s a perfect video to encourage your family to watch so they can stop worrying about you.
Do you actively promote veganism? How? Please share any stories you would like.
I have learned that people react best to veganism if you wait for them to ask. I just try to be healthy and live my best. If people ask about you being vegan, I think you have to read that person and see the information they are going to react best to. I grew up hunting so, for me, I connected first to the information on health. Some people are more into the environment or animal welfare. You have to be careful not to overwhelm a curious person or they may just turn off.
Do you miss any non-Vegan foods?
Once you know how gross animal products are, it’s really hard to want them. However, I miss how cheap eggs and cheese are. I wish we could cut those subsidies so the prices would reflect the real costs. Or that vegan cheese was $1.29.
What is your favorite Vegan meme?
Defensive omnivore bingo
What is your favorite Vegan stereotype? If someone asks you a question about it, how do you respond?
If you’re a man from somewhere like Texas you better eat your steak and shut up about them veggies, you pansy hippie. Being vegan is seen as being soft and weak. Because of gender stereotypes, you have to fight much harder to be taken seriously than a woman who is expected to be more sensitive. If someone calls out my masculinity, I challenge them to a duel at dawn. Five paces then turn and see which one of us can not get type 2 diabetes.
What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?
I love Veggie Grill because it’s easy for me to take any friend to and have it not be a big, weird deal. There is a reason they are expanding so rapidly. It’s accessible and crazy delicious.
What’s your favorite recipe? Please share it.
I make muffins all the frickin time. They are so easy. You can be super lazy and still make these to impress your friends.
Mash up a banana. Add a tablespoon of oil and ¾ cup of any milk. Mix that
Different bowl. 1 ¼ cup flour ¾ cup oats. 2 tbs. baking powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla, ⅓ cup sugar, a pinch of salt and cinnamon. Mix that
Combine bowls, mix lightly and add anything you want- raisins, chocolate chips, nuts, cranberries…whatever.
Put them in a muffin tin and cook till they start to brown, about 18 min.
What is the one big stereotype you hear about Vegans that you want to dispel?
I’d like to get rid of the notion that vegans are pushy and preachy. I try my best to never talk about it even though I am constantly preached at by meat eaters.
Them- “You gotta have protein. I tried going vegetarian once and blah blah blah…”
Me- “Mm-hmm. Could you please pass the Sriracha?”
Some encouraging words for new Vegans?
The world is changing as people learn more about health and the environment. When I first went vegan people’s first response was, “What the hell would you do that for?” Now it’s often, “I know I need to eat healthier.” That’s a huge shift. You’re no longer a crazy, tree hugging hippie, you’re at the front of a powerful trend.
Are you a cruelty-Free vegan?
I have a long answer for this. I think a powerful thing you can do is avoid buying new things. We have enough stuff already. We have a bit of a disposable mentality so I think you rock if you buy used. Nearly everything I own, from belts to furniture is second hand. That leads me to the question of cruelty-free. I haven’t bought anything leather or wool since I’ve been vegan but I still have and wear things like the same pair of Dr. Martins I had in high school. I think it would be more disrespectful to an animal to throw out old leather than to wear it until it disintegrates.
Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?
Living in LA it’s easy to get spoiled as it’s a mecca of veggie restaurants. But when I am on tour, especially abroad, it can be rough. Much of SE Asia was brutal as it was really hard to figure out what had meat in it (spoiler: nearly everything), in Japan I got yelled at for not eating fish, in Scotland the produce is shrinkwrapped and sad, in Australia I had a Hare Krishna angrily argue with me that dairy was made for humans. So, sadly, I have been known to live on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Also, no matter how much I confirm my special meal on planes they screw up constantly so just to be sure I don’t starve I pack, you guessed it, PB&J. Someday I’ll be rich and it’ll be almond butter and jelly.