Isa Chandra Moskowitz has done for vegan cuisine what Deborah Madison and Edward Espé Brown did for vegetarian food with The Greens Cookbook in 1979: plucked it from the margins and made it delicious, accessible, and appealing to a wide audience -- even meat-eaters. Of course, veganism and environmentalism go hand-in-hand, as you're not just giving animals a few extra years' grazing time -- you're also ratcheting down carbon dioxide emissions by consuming less agricultural land and fossil fuels. SmartPlanet talked to the Brooklyn-based Moskowitz about her latest vegan cookbook, Veganomicon (written with her friend and frequent collaborator, Terry Romero), and the issues surrounding veganism.
SmartPlanet: Was it hard to give up meat, dairy, and eggs?
Isa Chandra Moskowitz: The meat part wasn't. It was the little bits of dairy. I would eat a bunch of Snickers and feel bad. I went vegan twice. The first time, I was 16. Then I stopped being vegan because I felt like, "I want to be 'normal'". But it didn't feel good to be normal. Somebody said once: "If your friend leaves the room, you'd never take a dollar from their pocket." That's the way you feel if you take dairy and cheese from an animal you care about. I became vegan again when I was in my mid-20s.