Time for a new post in the “My Vegan Story” series!

Today, Dan Hanley of The Gay Vegans is joining us to share his vegan story.  I randomly discovered with The Gay Vegans a few months before I went to Vida Vegan Con.  Dan’s compassion and drive is so touching, it was hard not to fall in love with the blog immediately.  Then on the first morning of Vida Vegan Con, Chris and I met Dan and we could not get over the amount of love and kindness and positivity that this man exudes.  His warm smile feels like a big, comforting hug.  A couple months later, Chris and I were lucky enough to meet up with Dan and his equally warm and friendly husband, Mike, on their Southern California vacation and we had an epic meal at Crossroads in West Hollywood.  I am so in awe of Dan and his never-ending compassion, kindness and his dedication to being a voice for the voiceless, regardless of the cause, is downright inspiring.  I hope you all are just as delighted as I am to hear about Dan’s vegan journey!

MY VEGAN STORY

Dan Hanley of the Gay Vegans

WHAT FIRST INSPIRED YOU TO GO VEGAN?

I looked at my dinner plate and realized that it did not match with the compassionate, animal-loving person I was.

DESCRIBE YOUR TRANSITION TO VEGANISM.

My transition went pretty smooth. I held onto Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream as my last holdout. That lasted a couple of weeks and then I was 100% vegan.

WHAT RESOURCES HELPED YOU IN YOUR TRANSITION?

I wish there had been blogs and more web resources. This was 1996. I was just barely online and the resources there were sparse. I got literature from PETA and found a monthly vegan potluck where I lived which was a huge help.

WERE YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY SUPPORTIVE OF YOUR CHOICE TO GO VEGAN?  IF THEY WERE NOT SUPPORTIVE, HOW DID YOU DEAL WITH THEM?  ARE THEY MORE SUPPORTIVE NOW?

No. Not at all. There wasn’t outright meanness just a lot of disbelief and petty joking. Sometimes that still happens. We have family who will not come visit because they can’t get “real food” in our home. If you’ve had my husband’s cooking you know that it’s a big loss for them! Negative reactions and judgments just don’t have much of an affect on us.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN VEGAN NOW?

17 years.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT BEING VEGAN?

The wide variety of food choices, flavors and textures. Veganism incorporates so many different kinds of foods, many that I would probably not have ever tried if I was still eating meet. And now that I am 47, I am super stoked about the health consequences of being vegan (and eating right and exercising) because I feel incredible.

HOW DO YOU TRY TO MAKE THE WORLD BETTER FOR ANIMALS?

I constantly try to be a voice for the voiceless. I get involved politically and make sure those I vote for know how I feel about animals and animal cruelty. And then there is The Gay Vegans. That is huge for me in getting the word out about animal cruelty, veganism, compassion, and what individuals can do every day to make the world a better place for animals.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE VEGAN RECIPE?

Funny, I just wrote a blog post about this for Vegan Mofo!  My all-time favorite food to make at home is blackened tofu sandwiches! They are easy, delicious, and can be served and any side dish, or none at all!

Three ingredients: tofu, blackening spice, bread and veganaise!

You’ll need a skillet and a spatula, and a knife to slice the tofu.

I set the heat on high for the skillet. Ours is one of those cool, German skillets so no oil is needed. You can still use it if you’d like.

Take your tofu and cut into slices, the thickness depends on what you like for a sandwich. Place the pieces of sliced tofu in the skillet and sprinkle your blackening spice on all of the pieces. At this point I usually lower the heat to medium. Flip the tofu slices, sprinkle blackening spice again and keep cooking.

Meanwhile, place your sliced bread (Dave’s Killer Bread of course!) and spread veganaise on each piece.

Once the tofu is browned on both sides, use your spatula to remove it from the pan and place slices on the bread. For me it works out to two slices per piece of bread.

This should make four sandwiches depending on how thick you cut your slices.

So delish, and almost a weekly meal in our home.

Note: It may take you a few tries to find a blackening spice that is perfect for you. Most grocery stores carry a couple, and certainly spice shops.

IF YOU COULD GIVE YOUR NEWLY VEGAN SELF ONE PIECE OF ADVICE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Find a popular-selling vegan cookbook and go for it. Being able to cook at home makes it so much easier as a new vegan.

The Gay Vegans

Thank you so much, Dan, for sharing your vegan story with us today!  If any of you want to get to know Dan even more, you can find him here:

website: thegayvegans.com

facebook: The Gay Vegans

twitter: @thegayvegans

instagram: thegayvegans

pinterest: TheGayVegans

If any of you are interested in sharing your vegan story, please check out the “My Vegan Story” details page.

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