Spreading the Word

From time to time we like to pick the brains of experienced vegans because there’s always more to learn.  When we discovered that Kathy Ryan was presenting The Benefits of a Vegan Lifestyle at the West Maui and Kaunoa Senior Centers, we asked her for tips and recommendations based on her nearly 30 years as a vegan.

Kathy had already been a vegetarian for about 13 years before realizing that becoming a vegan “was the next important step for our health, planet and welfare of animals.” She recently decided to share what she has learned by teaching a class at two Maui senior centers.  “I want to help people and open up their eyes to a better life through a better way of eating – ultimately improving their health,” she explains. “Veganism is good for your health and the health of the planet. You wouldn’t eat your dog or cat or horse, so why is it ok to eat pigs, chickens, cows, deer, fish, etc.?”

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To assist folks in making the transition to veganism, Kathy is about to launch a vegan support group. “I hope it will be a success and can be continued.  I hope to help people start and/or maintain a vegan way of life.  Maybe we’ll pass along recipes and ideas on how, where and what to shop for and offer other important tips.”

Her advice for new vegans?  “Keep it simple, but vegan. I strongly suggest the pcrm.org website. It has a wonderful 21-day kickstart program with shopping lists, menus and recipes.  It is free. There are many websites that offer free to help new vegans. Also, watch the films What the Health and Forks over Knives.”

Over three decades Kathy has assembled a very large collection of vegan cookbooks, and she recommends three: Cathy Fisher’s Straight Up Food, Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Eat to Live and Eat to Live Quick & Easy Cookbook.

Kathy is also an enthusiast of the Instant Pot pressure cooker, which she demonstrates as she prepares vegan food for her classes. “It is easy and simple to use.  It cooks everything quickly. It is also a great slow cooker if you want to use that option.  They sell them at Costco, and you only want the Instant Pot -- no imitations.” (Amazon lists a number of vegan cookbooks for Instant Pot, and PETA offers 12 Vegan Instant Pot Recipes That Will Instantly Make Your Stomach Growl at no cost.)

We asked what changes Kathy would like to see to make Maui more vegan-friendly. She would like all restaurants to offer some vegan options at a reasonable price, “not a sweet potato for $23!  They will comment ‘well, we have salad.’  We are vegan, not rabbits.”

Eric Baizer