Interview with Victoria Moran of the Main Street Vegan
Victoria Moran is the author of thirteen books, including Main Street Vegan and, with
JL Fields, The Main Street Vegan Academy Cookbook. Featured twice on Oprah, and voted
“Peta’s Sexiest Vegan Over 50” in 2016, Moran hosts the Main Street Vegan podcast and is
director of Main Street Vegan Academy, the exciting week-long intensive in NYC, training
vegan lifestyle coaches, educators, and entrepreneurs. She is also producer of A Prayer for
Compassion, Thomas Jackson’s 2019 documentary introducing vegan living to people of faith.
When and why did you become vegan?
It was a slow process — taking note of the word “vegetarian” when my nanny told me that such people existed when I was five, and eventually going vegetarian at nineteen out of a combined caring for animals and interest in yoga. I heard about veganism a couple of years later, but I was a practicing compulsive eater. Binge eating and veganism weren’t compatible at that time — all the junk food had whey or milk powders or egg albumin in it — and when I tried to pull myself together post-binge, the diet advice of the time was adamant that I had to avoid “carbs” and eat non-fat yogurt and egg-white omelets. I spent several years as a lapsing vegan, but I kept at it, and in my early 30s, 1983, I got into recovery for my eating disorder and was able to go vegan at that time.
What are your goals and intentions with Main Street Vegan?
Main Street Vegan is the umbrella enterprise that grew from my 2012 book, Main Street Vegan. Beneath that umbrella are Main Street Vegan Productions with our first film about to debut, Thomas Jackson’s A Prayer for Compassion, to introduce vegan living to people of faith; and the Main Street Vegan radio show/podcast, with six years of archival programming and a new episode every Wednesday afternoon. Also part of Main Street Vegan are my books, most recently The Main Street Vegan Academy Cookbook (coauthored with JL Fields), and Main Street Vegan Academy itself, a six-day program — and life-changing experience — in person in New York City. The intention is to bring about a vegan world, with a special emphasis on “Main Street USA” — or the idea of Main Street, i.e., everyday people, around the world.
Can you tell us about the program and who is it best geared towards?
During the course, students meet and learn from vegan luminaries, including MDs such as Dr. Robert Ostfeld, Dr. Michelle McMacken, or Dr. Milton Mills; business experts such as JL Fields and the Today Show‘s business correspondent Suzy Welch; animal rights attorney Mariann Sullivan of OurHenHouse.org; noted pastry chef Fran Costigan; and fashion designer Joshua Katcher. We also take field trips to NYC vegan businesses and restaurants. After completing entrance requirements and taking the course, each graduate is certified as a Vegan Lifestyle Coach & Educator (VLCE). Many work one-on-one with clients; others have written books and cookbooks, started businesses (Riverdel Cheese, Brooklyn; V Marks the Shop, Philadelphia; Kat Mendenhall custom cowboy boots, Dallas), and taken jobs with animal rights and plant-based health organizations. Applicants need to be dietary vegans, 18 or over, who want to take their vegan outreach to the next level. All the details are at https://mainstreetvegan.net/academy.
What are the biggest obstacles for people transitioning to a vegan lifestyle?
Two come to mind; the first is relationship issues. When family, loved ones, and coworkers continually question, criticize, badger, and tease a new vegan, or even a not-so-new one, it’s hard to stay strong unless one has a really dependable support network. The other obstacle is, I think, all the competing dietary information. It’s dizzying when the reports and headlines around nutrition don’t just differ on the fine points, but they’re often diametrically opposed, such a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet and ketogenic diet. Until someone embraces the ethical aspects of vegan philosophy and practice, it’s a diet, in competition with all the others.
What are your 5 most important tips on how to live a vegan lifestyle?
(1) Come to know that this is both an ethical imperative and a grand adventure. Do it because it’s right; enjoy it because it’s awesome. (2) Get educated — books, films, websites. (3) Build a support network — in person if you can, or online. (4) Find your vegan food style — for now if not forever; the way you eat can certainly change. For now, experiment and improvise. Make food fun and share with family, friends, and coworkers. (5) Live an aspirational life. Take exquisite care of yourself, go for your hopes and dreams, be loving and accepting of others, and know that you’re the animals’ spokesperson. Be the best one you can be.