Being Vegan, Vegan Being: Chris Stanley: Founder -Never Not Vegan

Tell us a little about yourself.

Hello, my name is Chris!  I currently live in Monterey, CA with my wife Rose, three kids, and a dog.  My wife and I run the website (Instagram/Facebook/Pinterest: nevernotvegan) to promote vegan restaurants, recipes, products, and events accessible within the United States.  Rose is the Family Manager, Homemaker, and Elementary/Middle school teacher, and I am active duty military.

What lead you to veganism? How long ago?

At the end of a 2015 military deployment, I read the book Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer.  In the book, he posed a very interesting devil’s advocate opinion on why we SHOULD eat our dogs.  This sparked a civil war within my brain, which led to further research, which led to my homecoming dinner on December 25th, 2015 was my last non-vegan meal (it was fish and shrimp).

When you first went vegan how did you phase out your non-vegan food, clothing and other items?

As far as food, Phase I, Rose and I cut off all meats and swapped out our milk for the plant-based kinds.  Phase II, we swapped our cheeses with the Follow Your Heart brand, and homemade versions.  Then stuck to only eating vegan ice creams and chocolates.  For clothing and other items, we stuck to shoes that don’t have leather or suede.  Some products we own contain leather (jackets and car for example), but we’ve owned these items before making the transition and are going to ride them out until the literal wheels fall off.

Do you make any exceptions for yourself or if you are married with kids – your family, when it comes to veganism?

My wife, son, and I make no exceptions when it comes to veganism at events.  My daughters, however, are not vegan and are free to eat whatever they want, with their own money, until they can (hopefully soon) make the connection themselves.

Do you believe we should show children the process of how animals are turned into meats?

No.  I think they will find videos themselves via YouTube and Netflix, at least my son did, and hasn’t participated since.  My daughters refuse to be in the room when I’m watching any animal documentary, so I assume they don’t want to participate in the cruelty, however, they need more time.

What does being vegan mean to you?

My veganism extends to not eating honey.  We also catch and release spiders.  However, roaches and mosquitoes are likely done for the second they touch me.  We prefer companies that are 100% vegan, however, if we are in a situation where those options are not available, we would purchase vegan products from a non-vegan company.  Rarely does that occur.

Is it every vegan’s duty to become an activist? 

I believe there are multiple ways to contribute to the vegan cause without campaigning against animal cruelty.  A method we try with Never Not Vegan is to promote the positive results, benefits, and various options of the vegan lifestyle.  I believe we can fight with activism, education, and entertainment.

How compassionate or empathetic are you towards non-vegans? 

I was once non-vegan, so I understand when a non-vegan is open to trying but does not necessarily make the switch.  However, it is hard for me to understand when someone is suffering from a disease or condition that could be cured or contained with a plant-based diet but refuses to try.

Any recommended Vegan books? 

Eating Animals and The China Study

Any recommended social sites, blogs or pages?

My website and associated social media accounts, and the Instagram accounts of @eyerumm, @chickpeasnchiaseeds, @fromthecomfortofmybowl, and @chloefairchildcooks.

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

The vegan documentaries What The Health and The Game Changers.

What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?

Veggie Castle in Queens, NYC!  Their food options are always different every time I go (even if on the same day).  I also love their burger and juice bar options.  Even though I live nowhere near New York, I’ve eaten out here the most since becoming vegan.

Please share your favorite vegan recipe.

Buffalo Chickpeas because it’s so easy to make, and I love the flavor!

Some encouraging words for new Vegans? 

Cook!  Eating vegan can be expensive if you’re eating out all the time or buying processed items to make at home.  Stock your refrigerator and cabinets with nutritional yeast, plant-based milk, smoked paprika, liquid smoke, chickpeas, lentils, Better Than Bouillon vegetable base (the vegan kind of course), Follow Your Heart brand cheese, and Earth Balance butter.  Read the ingredients, then read them again!

What is the vegan scene like in your city? 

There is one vegan restaurant in my city and some places do vegan options.  However, we drive two hours North to the San Francisco Bay Area when we want to eat at a vegan restaurant.  The Bay Area is one of the U.S. vegan capitals in my opinion.

What personal recommendations can you make for people to meet other vegans?

To meet other vegans, engage with them online via social media and attend vegan festivals, like Vegan Street Fair.

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

The Seaweed Bath Co. because their bladderwrack based lotion quickly healed a dry foot condition I had for years.

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

Gardein Roast

Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism? 

I completed a 7-month military deployment through multiple countries and have yet to have a struggle with my veganism.

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