Vegan Interrogated: GiGi

Name: GiGi
Location: Berkeley, California originally from Brooklyn, New York
Website/blog: Http:// Veganville on Facebook

A little about yourself:
I have been a Vegan for eight years and a vegetarian since 1972. I currently have a vegan baking and cooking business in the San Francisco Bay Area and online store at Etsy. I currently supply five cafes with our vegan sweets and savories. I have been happily married to my best friend and partner in crime for twenty one years. We have two cats named Satchmo girl and Zule boy. Over the years I’ve worn many hats. I’ve made a living as a tennis pro, actress, Cabaret singer (with my husband who is a pianist) and writer before entering into this incarnation. Thank you for having me on your lovely blog.  

What made you decide to go vegan?
t started in the seventies. Yep I’m kind of old, but I don’t really look it because I use good moisturizer and I don’t wear old lady clothes. Nooo, silly. I’m a vegan, that’s why. Anyway, the parental unit was eating chicken, and Dad said, “Hey Gi, pass the leg”. For some reason I never gave much thought to a chicken having a leg, but that was it and my vegetarian/vegan journey began. In the beginning, my mom chased me around the dinner table with a hamburger. I was a competitive athlete and my mom thought I would faint on the court if I did not eat dead flesh. Once my mom saw that my vegetarianism was not a phase, she bought me vegetarian pate’ and Morningstar bacon, made me hard boiled eggs, salad plates and a yummy carrot cake which is actually more like a side dish than a cake. I lived on graham crackers and fresh PB from the only health food store around. Once in a while I had a scoop of tuna at a local diner. Oh the shame that’s not vegetarian! This is true but in the early 70’s really, who knew what a pescetarian was? I was vegetarian enough.

The years brought greater commitment and love for the world’s creatures. Giving up dairy was simple. I was a performer/vocalist and I didn’t like the phlegm. The thought of what little yolks could be made of made my tummy hurt. Sure, the egg on the plate was gone, but I had to compromise, didn’t I? I mean I was a baker after all and I didn’t want my baked goods to suffer. But what about the chickies? What about their suffering? All of a sudden, being “mostly” vegan felt like being a little bit pregnant. I would find a way to make these baked goods taste good without sacrificing taste and most of all not sacrificing a living creature. I read about factory farming and other miserable atrocities and that was it for me. I made the leap to veganism.
Favorite meal to make:
Are ones I can share with my fantastic friends. My husband is a vegan as well and we love entertaining at home. We’ve had dessert parties, pizza parties, chili and potato parties where I asked people to bring their favorite potato toppings, and I always have some kind of fun dessert bar.
Favorite restaurant & why:
I am so blessed to live in an open minded community (San Francisco Bay Area, California) There are three vegan restaurants within a 1 mile radius of my house. Lately, I really love the deep dish stuffed vegan pie from Zachary’s Pizzeria. This is saying a lot, since my husband and I grew up on NY Italian food and his family owns pizzerias.
Who/what inspires you?
Kindness inspires me. Dignity in the face of adversity inspires me. I am a Winston Churchill fan. His perseverance in spite of so many obstacles inspires me.
Dumbest question someone asked you about being vegan?
It’s not so much dumb questions as redundant questions, like “don’t you miss cheese, butter, eggs, ICE CREAM?!” What about ice cream?

What was the reaction from your friends/family?
My friends are my friends because they are kind and open minded. I also married a very smart guy who also loves animals. Two of my close friends are vegetarian and two of my other very close friends eat vegan with me and love it. My husband has been vegan for two years and before that was vegetarian for five.  

What are the biggest misconceptions people have about you being vegan?
I think the biggest misconception people have about me being vegan is that I am an extremist. I think if people were not so blind to the truth of rampant animal abuse and how poorly animals are treated and sacrificed they would see their carnivorous viewpoint were in fact extreme and perverse. I don’t understand how people can’t connect the face on the plate. One of my favorite quotes is, “There is one trait that will keep man in everlasting ignorance, and that is contempt prior to investigation”.

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