Care of Florence McCambridge
I admit that I’d never heard of Fat Gay Vegan (aka Sean O’Callaghan) before picking up a copy of his book. But after I read a few chapters, checked out his blog and scrolled through his Instagram, it felt like we’d been friends for years. In his book, Sean speaks with a lot of heart and is very candid about a lot of things, including his journey to becoming a vegan:
“In my early years growing up in Australia, animals were close to impossible to escape. As a young person (who was gay but not yet fat or vegan), I was confronted by the existence of animals on a daily basis in the seaside town I often reluctantly called home. They were on my plate, in my lunchbox, in the ocean, on my television and on my body in the form of clothing.”
He not only shares personal insights and funny anecdotes, but he also goes into the history of the word “vegan” and shares his views on what being a vegan activist in today’s world means: “There is nothing more powerful, no better advertisement for veganism, than a calm and collected person who is able to explain their stance on protecting animals in a non-confrontational, friendly and accessible way.”
Like I said, Sean is pretty candid. He makes no apologies for his bold stance on the reducetarian movement, but he’s also quick to point out that standing up and defending veganism isn’t the same as shaming non-vegans. Living life as a vegan shouldn’t be about ridiculing those who don’t.
There is a chapter on vegan travel, something that has definitely gotten easier over the years but can still be quite challenging. No surprise to many vegans, but the trick to travelling while maintaining a plant-based diet involves some prep work. Calling ahead or checking menus online, packing your own snacks. These are the things that will save you time and time again. Sean includes his list of top vegan cities, and while Toronto didn’t make the cut I’m sure he’d be a fan of all the amazing vegan food this city has to offer.
And speaking of food, many of the chapters end with Recharge and Refuel recipes, which are usually super simple and quick. Think kale pesto and taquitos, yum!
I particularly enjoyed reading about Sean’s experience setting up a real vegan community in the UK. He was inspired by a vegan potluck he attended in California and decided to bring that concept to London.”It was mostly my own emotional needs as a vegan that pushed me into creating events and spaces in which plant-based approaches were the norm. I needed a little company as I was not feeling surrounded by a lot of likeminded people.”
He found a space and over time the event grew. He then developed the idea for an event that would take the pressure of cooking off of attendees. London Vegan Drinks allowed a bunch of vegan and vegan-friendly folks to get to know each other and build a community. As with TVA’s annual Veg Food Fest, non-vegans are always welcome. “A fun event is a fun event, whether it is vegan or not.”
If you’d like to read more, make sure to pick up a copy of Fat Gay Vegan, which is available online and in bookstores today.
Fat Gay Vegan: Eat, Drink, and Live Like You Give a Sh*t
by Sean O’Callaghan
Paperback | $16.95