True Vegan - Thom Priano
TRUE VEGAN Going vegan is a major life choice. Committing to a plant-based diet can help you lose weight, boost your energy and improve the environment but it takes time, education and dedication. A vegan for almost 10 years, R+Co co-founder Thom Priano shares how he made the choice to go meat and dairy free and how his lifestyle has changed for the better.
WHY DID YOU BECOME A VEGAN? I wanted to get off medication for high cholesterol. I went off the medication and [adopted] a plant-based diet. After a few months, I had my blood work done again and I didn’t need to take statins anymore.
WAS IT HARD FOR YOU TO GO VEGAN? If I put my mind to something it’s done. I just got to the point where I realized I don’t need to eat an animal to survive. This is my lifestyle now. It’s not a diet for me. This is how I live. When I buy clothing I try not to buy leather and I avoid fur like it was the plague. I do not believe that we need to torture and kill animals for our own pleasure and our own sustenance.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS ON HOW TO SWITCH TO A VEGAN DIET? Educate yourself on what it means to be a vegan and the benefits of [the lifestyle]. Watch documentaries about the meat and dairy industry. Take note of what you’re actually putting into your system.
HAVE YOU NOTICED ANY HEALTH BENEFITS? I don’t need cholesterol medications anymore and I just feel more alert. I don’t feel bloated. My skin looks better.
WHAT DO YOU MISS MOST ABOUT NOT EATING MEAT AND DAIRY? I miss the memories of my mother’s meatballs but I don’t miss the meatball itself.
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE? Traveling and eating in restaurants. I was in Spain recently and it’s a horrible place for a vegan. It’s a very meat-based society so I just ate lettuce and nuts for a week.
WHAT ARE SOME TIPS ON EATING OUT IF YOU’RE VEGAN? If you don’t go to a vegan restaurant, order off the sides of the menu. Some chefs will be creative with you.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE VEGAN BRAND? One of the best meat substitutes is called Beyond Meat–they make burgers and sausages. You will not taste the difference.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE VEGAN RESTAURANT? A Jean Georges restaurant called ABCV in New York. And anything by Matthew Kenney, a four-star chef who turned vegan. I would try any of his restaurants.
WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE VEGAN CELEBS? Miley Cyrus, Chris Hemsworth and Stella McCartney. All of her clothing is totally vegan–she doesn’t even use silk or wool.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE VEGAN RESOURCE/BLOG? One Green Planet
R+Co PRODUCTS ARE VEGAN? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? R+Co products will be all vegan by the end of 2018. We are not torturing animals to make our products. We don’t use any animal products or test on animals. There’s three co-founders. I'm the only vegan so I had to convince [Howard McLaren and Garren] to make the switch but they totally understand the importance of it.