As part of our ongoing How Do You Vegan? blog series, this week Vegan Outreach’s newest Outreach Coordinator, Lori Stultz, conducts an interview with her grandfather Joe Stultz, who went vegan last year at age 90! Read on to learn about Joe, who proves you are never too old to try something new!
Describe your lifestyle a little so we can get to know you better.
I am a 91 year-old, healthy, happy vegan. I live by myself in an apartment complex designed specifically for retired individuals like myself. I have low-vision (I am what they call “legally blind”) due to a degenerative eye disease called Macular Degeneration. Despite the difficulties my low-vision creates, I live independently and maintain a social and active lifestyle.
How long have you been vegan?
About one year.
What made you decide to go vegan?
Last summer my granddaughter, Lori, sent me CDs and DVDs that had information on the widespread animal abuses that take place today. These were abuses I was not aware of, I quickly decided that I did not want to take part in those torturous acts.
It was very easy for me to transition into a vegan diet because preparation of meat-free meals was simple for me. Having low vision, I need the easy meals that I can I fix for myself. In adopting a vegan diet I did not have to deal with the grease or muck that comes with preparing and consuming animal products. Dicing potatoes, opening up cans of beans and bags of frozen vegetables, and throwing it all together in a crock pot requires little to no clean-up, and that was a huge selling point for me!
What were the easiest and hardest parts of going vegan?
The easiest part of going vegan was the meal preparation. It has gotten to the point where I just don’t have to think about my meals anymore! Knowing that I was making an impact for animals also made going vegan very easy.
The hardest part about being vegan is when I got out to restaurants with a big group of friends and they all order pizza and hamburgers. Fortunately for me, I have a friend who chooses to abstain from alcohol, so when we go out to eat, she and I like to remind each other of the importance of our choices; we are simply saying “no” to foods and drinks that are not in line with our values.
Why do you want to contribute to this series?
The short answer, I chose to contribute because my granddaughter asked me. I take a great deal of joy in it, though, because outside of discussing veganism with Lori I am not presented with many opportunities to talk about why I eat what I eat. I like to tell my friends about my vegan lifestyle, but most of the time they do not ask many questions.
What does a normal week of eating look like for you?
Because of my low vision, my meals are quite simple. In the morning, I like to eat a couple pieces of whole wheat toast with a glass of soy milk or bowl of Cheerios with soy milk (I enjoy having a bowl of cheerios for lunch sometimes, too).
For lunch, I like to have a couple slices of whole wheat bread with vegan cheese slices in the middle. I will eat that alongside a big glass of soy milk. And, on occasion, I will heat up a veggie burger or a veggie hot dog, but, quite frankly, my hunger is satisfied just as well with a vegan cheese sandwich!
For my evening meal, I dice up potatoes and dump a few cans of beans and frozen vegetables into my crock pot. I do this earlier in the day and let it sit for a few hours until the potatoes are cooked and I am hungry for dinner. I pour myself a glass of soy milk and enjoy eating a hearty helping of healthy carbs, protein, and veggies!
What tips can you give to a person who identifies with your lifestyle to make eating vegan easy, fun, affordable?
The crock pot is a useful tool to make various types of protein/carb/veggie combinations. The different meal combinations you can put together using canned and frozen food are inexpensive and easily accessible. And, I personally think it is fun because there is very little clean-up and/or preparation needed to make good, healthy meals.
What is your favorite thing about being vegan?
For starters, my favorite part of adhering to a vegan diet are all the health benefits I have experienced since making the transition. I lowered my overall cholesterol levels from 300 mg/dL to 160 mg/dL. I am no longer on the blood pressure medication I was taking when I was consuming meat and dairy, and the inflammation in my joints, which was causing a notable amount of pain at night time, lessened significantly. Overall, I do not have to worry about my health as much I see my friends worrying about theirs.
Another one of my favorite things about being vegan is that it is inexpensive. Since I have gone vegan, I am not buying as much food because the meals I am making are keeping me feeling fuller longer. Overall, I am eating less quantities of food then what I was eating when I was consuming meat and animal by-products.
I also like knowing that I am a part of a very important and necessary movement that is growing and is going to improve the world on so many levels.