You know those people who are smarter than most other people? You love them because they’re always full of the best advice when you have problems, but you hate them because they give you the advice in that condescending tone they just can’t avoid? But they are always happy to help, and they point you in logical directions toward your dreams, so you keep listening to them. And then suddenly they’re like, “You shouldn’t be vegan,” and you’re like, “Wait, what?”
Look, what I’m trying to say is: Kris Wernowsky is really smart and helpful. He is yards above most other people when it comes to logic and looking at life from a rational perspective. Except, that is, when it comes to food. So, if you need advice, interesting facts or help solving a long division problem, you should call Kris. But if you’re planning to chat about those things over dinner, you pick the restaurant.
Meet Kris Wernowsky.
How long have you been a non-vegan?
I can’t totally pinpoint the exact moment my common sense kicked in, but I’m pretty sure I was really, REALLY young.
Why have you decided not to be vegan? Describe your journey to veganism and where you got stalled.
I was actually a vegetarian once just to see if it was something that I could do. I have self control issues (see alcohol), so it only lasted about two years. There are many principals of veganism that I agree with (that factory farming is atrocious, and that food policy in the country is pretty bad), but I don’t think that means I have to abandon meat. There are places were you can get good meat that’s raised in the most humane manner possible. I lived on a farm as a kid, so I have a closeness with animals (and the animals my family had to raise and eat) that most vegans that I’ve met don’t have. My family was super poor, so the fact that my father, my brother and my step brother hunted deer was a pretty important factor in the fact that I didn’t die.
Plus, I grew up in a family where, if I came out as a vegan, my parents would have told me to go f*** myself. You eat what you have at your disposal when you’re poor (see McDonald’s). And you can say, “But being a vegan is cheaper,” but when you live in a small community where access to certain foods is extremely limited, you’re at the mercy of what you have available. Please see the food desert issue plaguing rural areas and inner-city communities.
Now, your reader(s) can make a million arguments about what I’m going to say, but I believe in the food chain. I believe that, despite the fact that there are examples of non-meat-eating societies throughout human history, the story of man is one of hunting and gathering. I don’t think Native Americans who subsisted on meat to live through long winters were terrible people because they killed buffalo. The only difference now is that my gathering is done at a farmer’s market. Again, there are millions of arguments you can make against what I’m saying, I just don’t think that “animals are cute” or “animals have civil rights” are not good arguments. Evolution has a big hand in why my point of view is more widely accepted. But that’s a whole other animal (that I would gladly eat in a pinch).
If you had to take one step toward becoming vegan, what would it be and why only one?
When I was a vegetarian, one of the things that I learned to appreciate is how it made me consider my options a little harder. I think this, more than anything, is why some people actually see results from fad diets like paleo or veganism (yep, I called it a fad diet). It’s not so much that the diet is successful, it’s that you’re changing the way you approach foods and putting more thought into what you’re putting into your body.
It must be expensive to eat non-vegan food. How do you afford it?
I have a very, VERY good job. Plus, I do a pretty good job of balancing my non-meat proteins with my meat proteins. It also helps that I can cook most vegan food better than most vegans, so I don’t eat meat every day.
What vegan food do you fear you’re missing out on as a non-vegan?
None. I can actually cook vegan dishes very well. It’s one of the benefits (drawbacks) of dating a few vegans.
Do you eat fish? You eat fish, right?
Despite the fact that it’s healthier than red meat, I find fish a little more difficult to consume. It’s a little harder to know the origin of your fish. If I catch it myself from a place where I know the source water, then sure, I’ll eat it. But I experienced the BP oil spill first hand (as a reporter), I grew up on the disgusting Mississippi River and am currently living near the big Lake Erie algae bloom. So, it’s hard to get excited about fish.
Are there any animals in your life, such as pets or funny neighborhood squirrels? Tell us a story about them.
I’ve had pets almost my entire life. Dogs, pigs, chickens, ducks and a goat my father once sent home in a taxi, much to the chagrin of my stepmother. I currently own a dog named Jay Prescott Sherman. You can call him Mr. Sherman because he’s a stickler for formality.
What do you do for fun besides eating meat and dairy?
Is there anything else? Actually I read a lot, I perform standup comedy quite a bit and I spend time with my dog (which would be, maybe, the third or fourth thing I would eat in a Biblical/zombie apocalypse). I also write (despite the fact that writing is also my day job).
Do you have any upcoming projects you want to plug? Tell us about them.
I’m performing all over creation these days. Find me on Twitter.
Make up a question of your own and answer it.
Why did the vegan cross the road?
He didn’t. He died of a protein deficiency due to poor decision making and collapsed as he entered the southbound lane.