The end of a vegan era

The author of Sacramento’s premier vegan microcolumn, The V Word, says farewell

Illustration by Mark Stivers

Attention all vegans and vegetarians! This little corner of the paper will continue to cover all things plant- and animal-friendly in the new Planet V column.

Four-hundred and twenty-eight. Since July 22, 2010, that’s how many V Word columns have been published in SN&R. And No. 428 is the last. In this little corner of the paper, I have written about where to find vegan food and events in the region, provided recipes and spotlighted vegan businesses—basically, a map to plant-based bliss.

I jokingly called The V Word Sacramento’s premier vegan microcolumn, but as far as I know, its been the only regular feature in a local publication dedicated to the topic. I will be moving on, writing for other publications, but for now, how do I wrap up nearly nine years of tips and hunting for all the vegan goodness the area has to offer? I don’t think I can. Because it’s not stopping—there are more vegan-friendly companies, restaurants with vegan options and vegan-business owners than ever. It has never been easier, more accessible or socially acceptable to be vegan.

I used to need to explain what vegan meant to restaurant servers when dining out, but these days, not so much. Now, it’s business as usual at many joints, including nascent eateries The Burger Patch, a plant-based burger joint in Midtown, and KC Kombucha’s vegan taproom in Oak Park, slated to open this spring and summer, respectively. Herbivore-friendly Curry Up Now, a chain Indian-street-food joint, and Good Vibes Vegan Cafe & Herbs are also coming to Midtown this year, and Chay Corner, a vegan Asian-cuisine pop-up store inside boba shop Lazi Cow, recently launched in Davis.

But business as usual for the factory farm industry means killing more than 22.5 million animals in the United States every day, according to Animal Clock. Most of those animals feel pain. Most can show affection and personality, not unlike the dogs and cats who many of us consider to be members of our families. For me, veganism means being able to eat well—in terms of taste, satiation and nutrition—without supporting the cruel treatment of animals by factory farms. I hope The V Word proved to be a resource for readers who had a similar interest—or just liked good food.

Here are some final tips—for omnivores.

When encountering vegans in the wild, if you are curious about why they chose veganism, be gentle. Just listen. Their decision to go vegan isn’t a personal attack on you: For many, chances are they were omnivores at some point too, but discovered how the animals were treated and are horrified they partook in their suffering.

Before asking them what it would take for them to eat meat again, ask yourself, “What am I willing to do for the welfare of animals or the health of the environment?” Can you get involved in community service, reduce your consumption of plastic, or make financial contributions to organizations such as Oceana or Humane Society of the United States?

Don’t rely on taking refuge on Mars—you’re an Earthling, just like those chickens and cows. This is home. Let’s take care of this mother. Thank you for reading any of the 428 columns. Hopefully, you have laughed, felt empowered and found something to eat along the way. For now, I’ll be @thisisthevword. Be well, be kind.