What it is like to be vegan in: United States of America
In this fifth article in the 'Vegan in the World' series, in which vegans from all over the world explain what it is like to be vegan there, Kim Giovacci tells about her experiences of being vegan in the USA.
Interview with Kim Giovacco from the USA
How many people live in the USA, and how many of those people are vegan?
There are approximately 334 million inhabitants, 10 million of those are vegan.
How long have you been vegan?
I have been vegan for 6 years.
Why did you decide to become vegan?
I became vegan for the animals. I was a vegetarian for 30 years becoming vegan.
Tell me a little bit more about your family. Are they vegan? What do they think about you being a vegan?
No one in my family is vegan. At first, they thought it was a phase with me, but now they know I'm serious. Some of my family members will try vegan food, and they often enjoy it.
Is it easy to be a vegan in your country? Why (not)?
In most parts of the US, especially in urban areas, it's quite easy to be vegan. When not in cities, it takes some planning ahead. There are so many options in grocery stores now, if vegan restaurants are not available.
What are some of the challenges you face in your daily life as a vegan?
I am very fortunate to live in a "vegan bubble." There is a strong vegan community where I live. First, I live in a tiny house village, and 20% of our residents are vegan! Second, the small city I live near has loads of vegans and vegan activities. The first year I moved there, I met about 100 vegan people.
It happens to be that all the friends I hang out with on a regular basis are vegan! So I would say I have no challenges in my daily life whatsoever.
Is it easy to eat out with friends or visit family? Do you have to bring your own food?
It's super easy to eat out with friends. When I visit family I have to bring my own food.
“I am very fortunate to live in a "vegan bubble." There is a strong vegan community where I live.”
Can you describe what you eat on a normal/average day for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
For breakfast every day I eat oatmeal with bananas and wild blueberries. For lunch, I often have something like tofu scramble with spinach, red pepper, and vegan sausages mixed in. My favorite dinner is pasta Bolognese (I use seasoned tofu for the vegan meat) and broccoli.
What kinds of vegan products are available in your country besides vegetables? Are they affordable for most people?
Where I live, we have all vegan products, although I feel the selection is a bit more limited than in European cities. In some stores, the vegan products are quite affordable, but I tend to buy only organic products, so then naturally they're more expensive.
Can you tell us about some of your country's traditional dishes?
Typical food across the US would be burgers, hot dogs, chili, sandwiches, and pizza. For healthier food, bowls with grains, vegetables, protein, and sauce are popular. In the area where I live, barbecue is popular. It's pretty easy to find vegan barbecue foods.
Are they easy to veganise? Which is/are your favorite?
Yes, I feel everything is easy to veganize. My favorite is vegan pizza, but I try not to eat it too often.
Can you recommend a restaurant where you live?
Rosetta's Kitchen, Asheville, North Carolina. This restaurant has what is called Southern comfort food.
Please share a recipe if you have one.
Is there an active vegan community where you live and are you a member?
Yes! In our city of 100,000 people, we have two or three active groups. Meetings take place through Meetup.com. Usually, it's a hike and dining out, or a cultural event and dining out.
If you have a vegan business or work at a vegan business, can you tell us something about it? What is the business, when did it start?
I started a vegan tour and travel business in 2017. I take small groups to vegan-friendly destinations in the US and Europe, and I also take small groups to the US national parks, where it can be difficult to find vegan food. My business is called Veg Jaunts and Journeys.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us about being vegan in your country?
In the US veganism is becoming more and more popular every year, and the options are always expanding.