one who travels indefinitely, with no long-term abode, while avoiding all forms of animal exploitation and abuse as far as is possible and practicable
early 21st century; from vegan - ‘a person who does not eat or use animal products’, and nomad - ‘a person who does not stay long in the same place’
CC BY-SA 4.0
You are free to:
Copy and redistribute our work in any medium or format.
Remix, transform, and build upon our work for any purpose, even commercially.
Under the following terms:
You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests we endorse you or your use.
If you remix, transform, or build upon our work, you must distribute your contributions under this same license.
This is a human-readable summary of (and not a substitute for) the license.
Interviews with Vegan Veterans #2: Shawn Fosnight - "If I Can Go Vegan, Anyone Can."
13 min read
Interviews with Vegan Veterans is an ongoing interview series where I get to pick the brains of long-time vegans and give the world access to the knowledge, wisdom and understanding that they have spent decades accumulating.
This month's interviewee has been vegan about the same length of time most vegans have been alive.
In this interview, the self-proclaimed "grumpy old bastard" shares his vegan-views that some would definitely call "extreme", his experiences growing up in small-town America in the 90's as a skateboarding vegan punk-rocker and the social issues that accompany such an alternative youth.
My name is Shawn Fosnight, I have been vegan 27 years, 4 months and 29 days as of this writing. I am 46 years old.
My vegan story is this: I was already vegetarian and while laying on my couch with a sprained ankle from a skateboard accident, I saw John Robbins, River Phoenix (RIP), Lisa Bonet and I believe Alex Pacheco on Oprah Winfrey (been trying to track down the episode online). Had my local library get Diet for a New America, read the book, finishing on the way to an animal rights march, after the march I went to Subway and got a veggie sub with no cheese or mayo and been vegan since.
I want to thank my longtime friend Warren for driving us to the March in Washington DC from Ohio, he is also a long time vegan!
I was already vegetarian. One of my mom’s friends gave me some 70’s Vegetarian Times, so I knew you could be healthy without meat, but, honestly, I had no idea that you could survive without dairy products or eggs.
Honestly, I was 19 years old, a senior in high school and all I wanted to do was ride my skateboard, go to hardcore and punk shows and find someone to love. I didn't think too far ahead.
Once I found out how animals were treated it never crossed my mind not to be vegan. Once I commit to something, I stay with it. I will never understand how someone can see what happens to the beings we share the earth with and think it's okay to murder them, humans can be really selfish.
I got into the punk scene though skateboarding in 1985, I soon discovered hardcore bands like Minor Threat and later Youth of Today and Gorilla Biscuits. They sang about being vegetarian and punk groups like M.D.C. and Crass also talked about it. The song that most affected me was Meat is Murder, which moved me. Sadly Moz [Morrisey, vocalist for English rock band The Smiths] is a douchebag these days and he can’t seem to not say really terrible things, but that song got through.
It honestly depends on the day. Today I ate for breakfast quinoa with mashed up bananas, blackstrap molasses, chia seeds and almond milk. For lunch, I had an apple, kiwi and pesto pasta with vegetables mixed in (corn, green beans, peppers). For dinner, I had lemon tofu / tempeh with broccoli, onion. Drank a bunch of water throughout the course of the day.
It has changed as I have learned about food over time, And I love trying new fruits, vegetables, grains, beans etc.. and just cooking in general. All the new analog meats and cheeses have made being vegan a lot easier.
I take B12 every day, I have been using vegan D3 to see if helps with minor depression, and a spoonful of blackstrap molasses for extra iron. I live in America and work for a living so I can't afford to be going to the doctor... ;)
Sadly Russell Simmons has admitted to lapses and cheats on being vegan, was really disappointed when I found that out. Diet for a New America is profound, John Robbins is an amazing guy, walked away from the Baskin Robbins money because he couldn’t support the unhealthy food and the treatment of animals.
Honestly, I think he may harm more then help if he makes it look like veganism is something you can just do part-time. I am not a big fan of famous vegans, almost everyone I have ever read about seems to do something that just pisses me off. I am a grumpy old bastard, I will be the first to admit :)
Some people follow trends or give into societal pressures. Many people are lazy and selfish and put selfishness ahead of the animals. I know I sound harsh, but really when it comes down to it, animals don't need your excuses!
I have far less tolerance for half-ass excuses as to why people are not vegan or no longer vegan, some of the nonsense people use to justify murder is sickening. Otherwise, I still feel the same, humans need to stop using, abusing and murdering animals, period end of the story!
The excuses that annoy the most are the ones that are just pure laziness and cop-outs. When someone says well I have (insert issue here) and I can’t do it for XYZ reason, having known people with severe issues who still stay vegan makes any excuse seem like nonsense.
If someone got sick it was not related to veganism, maybe it might be a little harder if they have food allergies, but that still isn't okay to use veganism as an excuse, I have known people with Celiac and other food allergies that found a way to stay vegan and thrive. If there is a will, there is a way!
<prominent-img src="interview-grumpy-old-bastard/veganjellobrains-2016" alt="Interviews with Vegan Veterans #2: Shawn Fosnight - "If I Can Go Vegan, Anyone Can."" caption="A more recent photo of Shawn, from 2016, healing hearts through skateboarding and wibbly-wobbly vegan jelly ("jello") on a plate. No eating disorders here thank you very much.">
Nope, never had an eating disorder, sadly it seems like a lot of sick folks are attracted to the plant-based diet to hide their issues and it gives veganism a bad name. I am working on a t-shirt to address this issue.
People with eating disorders should seek medical treatment and stick to a healthy vegan diet, animals shouldn't have to suffer for them. I don't want to sound like I am picking on people with ED, but it's not fair for them to make animals suffer when they blame being vegan for their health issues.
I think for some people they miss certain foods they ate growing up, I grew up really poor and ate a lot of simple foods that were easy to remake vegan, I also had a supportive mom. Anything I ever “craved” non-vegan I have made vegan.
No, I have been vegan since I started, though when I first became vegan I didn't know anyone else so I accidentally ate products I didn't know were non-vegan, people have it so easy now with the internet.
I didn’t have any issues becoming vegan, like I said I grew up poor so my mom made most of our meals, so like if she made chili or spaghetti she would make the whole pot vegan, cook meat on the side, so that I could have as much as I wanted and the family could add meat to theirs if they wanted it. So the transition was easy. I think the analog meats and dairy give people a safety net, something they are used to.
I have gone without food or only had access to junk food on long trips across the U$A riding Grayhound, when I first moved out of my parents home I lived off couscous for a week in between paychecks, had to pay rent. I have also made many a meal out of white rice and beans with stolen taco bell hot sauce packs!
"I'd rather starve than support the murder of animals!"
I broke a dudes ribs once in a mosh pit fight, he hurt a friend of mine and when I got in his face he suckered punched me, so I kicked him in the ribs twice, he was one of the tough guys who called me and my friends "vegan / straight edge faggots" (his word not mine).
From that point, everyone in his skinhead crew wanted to fight me, and I almost got jumped by about 6 of them outside of a local restaurant, luckily I had a head start to my car and got away, this fight was a big reason why I left my home area.
I have a lot of non-vegan friends, it makes me sad they still eat animals, but I don't give up on them as people even if I disagree with their terrible choice.
I have friends who suffer from preventable diseases and refuse to quit eating animals to heal themselves. I just have to keep being a good example and hope they save themselves before it's too late. I have lost friendships over being vegan, but it's their loss, not mine :)
I would say I am a militant vegan, I don't accept excuses people use not to be vegan, I believe the world shouldn't have a choice to murder animals. I think the murder of non-human animals is the same as the human animal. I think the day will come when veganism is the norm and eating animals will be looked at how people look at cannibalism now.
I agree. The science is on our side, the ethical argument is rock solid, the environmental side of things is getting more exposure all the time, indistinguishable fake meats are on the horizon… it’s only a matter of time I think.
I agree, I see a Star Trek-like future, where everything will be vegan but look and taste however we want it. :)
I use to do a lot of protests, benefit shows (punk rock and hardcore). I also was a co-owner of an all-vegan store in Sacramento called Never Felt Better, my ex-wife financed it and I had most of the ideas.
I want to start getting back involved in activism, especially trying to reach macho-men who think you have to harm animals to be healthy and tough.
I would also like to do vegan activism that counteracts the negative activists that hide their racism, sexism, homophobia etc.. behind veganism, the vegan movement should do everything it can to reach all people and expose bigots who harm the movement!
Naw, I don't want to give them free press. They know who they are and hopefully, other vegans will think twice before supporting them, it doesn't matter if their YouTube talks get thousands of views, we shouldn't support oppression :)
Advice for vegans: hold bigots accountable, don't allow them to tarnish veganism!
Non-vegans wanting to become vegan: stop making excuses and just do it, if a 19-year-old kid from small-town Ohio can become vegan in 1990, anyone can with the support of a worldwide community and the internet at your fingertips! The animals are being murdered every moment of every day and they don't need excuses, they need allies!