NBSV 101

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Transcript of the No-Bullsh!t Vegan podcast, episode 101

Michelle Schwegmann of Portland's Herbivore on vegan parenting, business, and her new book

Karina Inkster:

Introducing our incredible guest for today, Michelle Schwegmann. She and Josh Hooten founded Herbivore, a t-shirt design company, in 2002, as a means of providing stylish clothing to spread the message of animal rights. They opened a retail store in 2006, and in 2007 were one of four businesses that established Portland's vegan mini-mall. Herbivore aims to be a one-stop shop for everything vegan from clothing to accessories, shoes, books, and gifts. Other projects include publishing books and magazines, including the vegan lifestyle magazine Herbivore from 2003 to 2007, as well as organizing and attending animal rights and vegetarian conferences and festivals nationwide. 


Tagged one of 10 vegan power couples by veganweddingshq.com, Michelle and Josh donate design work and products to major and small-scale animal rights and social justice groups. Josh received a Be the Change award from Farm Sanctuary in 2009. Michelle is currently on the board of the National Museum of Animals and Society in Los Angeles. Their new cookbook, Eat Like You Give a Damn, is a must-have for new vegans with recipes that are accessible, delicious, and family friendly. When it comes to Michelle's favorite vegan meal, she says, “I love savory breakfast. Chickpea or tofu scramble, toast, veggies.” Here's our discussion.  Hey Michelle, thanks for speaking with me today. Welcome to the show. 


Michelle Schwegmann:

Thank you for having me. I'm excited. 


Karina Inkster:

Me too. We're going to talk about lots of things, including your new book and your business, and veganism, and parenting, and all this awesome stuff. But first of all, in case our listeners don't know, they should, but in case they don't, Herbivore is like an establishment in the vegan world. You know, like it's an institution. But for those who don't know, can you tell us a little bit about the business, what you do there, what it's all about? 


Michelle Schwegmann:

Absolutely. A long, long time ago in the year 2002, it was a long time ago almost 20 years ago, my partner and husband, Josh and I, founded Herbivore. And we were newish vegans wanting to fly the flag and let the world know that they should all be vegan as well. And so, starting a t-shirt company was the natural choice. That's what we all do is, wear our beliefs on our shirts. So we started in 2002, and over the years we have grown through going to different veg fests and having, you know, Portland becoming this vegan destination. 


Us and a bunch of other businesses in Portland have kind of created this vegan, you know people call it the vegan Mecca and we have our store at the vegan mini mall and we sell our clothing designs and all vegan accessories, shoes, belts, wallets, every cookbook that's vegan. You can imagine all kinds of amazing gifts. So we have a great place that you can shop and, you know, fly your flag that way. But really we want to be and strive to be a place where people can come and get positive information about being vegan, feel like this is a community and a group of people they want to belong with and, you know, make it easier, make it fun, and just make this the natural normal that, that everybody should choose to live their life as a vegan.


Karina Inkster:

Damn! Well, that's awesome. Damn, Michelle, that was a great, great intro. And so you have, you have a large online component as well. I was actually just on your site the other day, looking at like all of your goods that you have on there. Is that kind of, has that been a larger piece of the puzzle during the pandemic? 


Michelle Schwegmann:

What a great question. Yes, it has. If we didn't have the internet, we would not be here anymore. It's such an interesting kind of journey because Herbivore started at the kind of the very beginning of the internet, like our first website, it's hilarious. Oh, my word. I mean, it was just, you know, you think about how far we've come and just how much more sophisticated everything is. Not only vegan cookbooks and recipes and living and stuff like that, but like just how we all present everything. Everything is so polished. But we have always been online ever since day one. The first store we opened was in 2006 and we were in this very small space for just a year. And then in 2007, we moved in where we are now. And it's a little bit more than a thousand square feet. It's still not huge. But now our store and the website are kind of, it's kind of half and half. 


Portland has a huge vegan tourism component, which hopefully will come back when are all vaccinated and feeling good. And then we have a lot of just local Portland vegans that come in a lot. And then we have customers all over the world that we have been shipping stuff to for years. So we're grateful for the internet. The hustle is real, but I'm always like, well, our work is not done. People are still eating animals. And so we're not, we're not finished yet. You know, we haven't been put out of business. 


Karina Inkster:

How much of your business is existing vegans looking for, you know, awesome shirts like the one you're wearing versus folks who are veg curious who need resources?


Michelle Schwegmann:

I would say that the majority of our customers are already vegan or are vegetarian or people that are shopping for people that are vegan. There's a lot of that. You know, a lot of like. “My daughter sent me here. She's going to love everything.” Oh, I love it when that stuff happens. We do get people that are new vegans, you know, cause if you remember when you first went vegan, if you first went vegan during the time of the internet, you know, you can find so much information and hopefully people will find us, especially if they're in our area. And we love talking to those customers because somebody comes in and they're newly vegan and you can talk about all the cookbooks, you can talk about all these different issues, whether it's their diet they want to talk about, or, you know, getting rid of leather or, you know, guilt about not being vegan before. Like, it's like we're vegan therapists in a way. You know, when you, when a person becomes vegan, there's this well of information that is just, it's overwhelming and we need to talk it out. So we love doing that with people and we love helping people find something that's going to make their life better. You know, whether it's a book or a belt, keep your pants up, you know.


Karina Inkster:

Quality of life issues here, man.


Michelle Schwegmann:

I know! People come in with like, you know those big rubber bands on all the produce? And they're like, I've had this rubber band for 15 years and it's time to get a new wallet. You know, so many people like that. Yeah. It's fun.


Karina Inkster:

Very cool. You guys carry my latest book, The Vegan Athlete, I saw it on your website the other day. I was like, oh, this is, this is cool.


Michelle Schwegmann:

It’s full circle. I'm like, look at what she's doing. It's amazing. I feel like if you were in Portland, we would hang out. It would be good. 


Karina Inkster:

Hell yeah, definitely. Wouldn’t that be awesome. We were in Portland on route to see the total solar eclipse a couple of years back. So it was like this whole road trip with a purpose and the traffic was insane. So we literally were in Portland for like maybe 12 hours overnight. And our Airbnb actually there was a mix-up and they didn't leave the key and they were out of town. So we’re at 1 in the morning driving around Portland, looking for the last remaining hotel room, which ended up being like a smoking room. It was like a whole thing. But when we're in Portland in different circumstances, it's going to be like the vegan road trip of road trips. It's going to be awesome.


Michelle Schwegmann:

It is. And just this morning I did some last edits for our new dining guide, it’s something we always have, and we put it on our Instagram, which is at HerbivoreClothing and it's also on our website. So look later today or tomorrow, and we'll have our new dining guide. Sort of designed this time by the different areas of the city. So there's like five major neighborhoods or five major, like, you know, north Portland, northwest, southwest. So, you know, so we divided it up by location and there's more than 50 all vegan restaurants on there. It's crazy. 


Karina Inkster:

That’s fricking awesome. I'm from Vancouver originally, which I don't think has 50 vegan restaurants, but it's up there. Like, it's pretty awesome in the, you know, different ethnic options and just like, you know, there's Vegan Supply, which is a totally vegan store. Now I live in a tiny little town, only 13,000 people here and like, yeah, there's vegans, but it's not enough of a population to sustain an entirely vegan business from a financial perspective. So, pros and cons.


Michelle Schwegmann:

I think it's so great though that you're there and people are always like, oh, I want to move to Portland. It must be so great. And I'm like, you know, if you want to move here, that's great move here. But I, but the world needs vegans everywhere and we have enough in Portland. You know, it's like, because when I go visit my mom and dad, they live in Kansas. It's like smack dab in the middle of the U S, there are vegans there. And it's awesome. And, but you go to the grocery, there's vegan stuff at every grocery, not so much at restaurants, but I just think it's, you know, this is where we need people to be vegan. So to normalize it, like to innovate, because that's where, like it's normal here. It's normal in Vancouver, BC. But in Solana, Kansas, it's not as normal. So I'm like, you know, go there and talk about veganism for a week once a year.


Karina Inkster:

You have a point. Well, we actually started the Powell River VegFest of which, of course didn't happen last year. And won't happen again this year for obvious reasons. It will again though. And for a town of 13,000, we had a thousand people show up at the first one. We're like, okay, so that's a pretty small event still in the scheme of things. But as a, as a percentage of who lives here, that's not too bad, right?


Michelle Schwegmann:

Did people travel probably from other towns?


Karina Inkster:

Yes. We had some people from the Lower Sunshine Coast, like the Gibsons area, and then some who came over from Vancouver Island, but not a ton. So it was, it was pretty cool. It shows that folks at least are open to the concept, even if they're not completely plant based themselves. So it's, it's moving in the right direction.


Michelle Schwegmann:

Exactly. And it's, you know, it's not about perfection, it's…I want animal liberation, I want the world to be vegan, but I'm also going to be super stoked when, when somebody is like, I'm doing less meat.


Karina Inkster:

Totally. So speaking of less meat and perhaps cooking, we can transition into this whole food realm. You have a new cookbook out, you got lots of other exciting projects too. I want to talk about this YouTube project you've got going on, but let's talk about your new book Eat Like You Give a Damn, which is the best title in existence. I have a copy right here. Obviously, if you're listening to this, you can't see me holding it up, but if you're watching the video it's amazing. There is like delicious looking photos in here. I was looking at the beet burgers earlier today. I'm thinking like, that's probably going to be my next little dinner option here.


Michelle Schwegmann:

That’s one of the most popular recipes in the book, it really is. And it's even people that don't like beets. So do you know Milton Mills is? 


Karina Inkster:

No, I don't think so. 


Michelle Schwegmann:

He's U.S. cardiologist and he talks about, you know, using diet to cure heart disease and stuff like that. And I was at an event once with him and we were in the kitchen and I was demoing a bunch of stuff. And the beet burgers were one of the things and the volunteers are making these little tiny beet burgers and everything's happening. And, and he's like, what's that? And I was like, oh yeah, I'm making it, try that. And he ate it and he's like, “Oh, it's so delicious. What is that?” And I said, it's a beet burger. He's like, “You just fed me beets? I hate beets.” like, well, you don't anymore.


Karina Inkster:

You officially don't anymore. 


Michelle Schwegmann:

And if you hate beets still, you can try it, but you can make it with sweet potatoes. 


Karina Inkster:

So you and Josh worked on this book, right? It's a joint project?


Michelle Schwegmann:

We did. And it is, it was very much as you know, from writing a book, it is very much a labor of love to, to write. But we wanted to write a book that would be like kind of a one and done for someone that just went vegan or that wants to go vegan. So it's recipes, you know, for any time they're all simple grocery store ingredients and accessible and fun. A little story about each one. I grew up eating the standard American diet. I loved eating meat, but I don't love eating animals. I love delicious food. And cooking is literally, it's like my stress relief, it’s what I do. I love it. That's where I belong, in the kitchen or at my store basically. And so this book is just a collection of what we have been eating for the past 15 years. And it's funny, I do, I cook from this book every single day. It's kind of like, and it's funny. It's like, you'd think I'd know all the recipes. It's basic food that any family will love or a single person. We we want it to be friendly and delicious and accessible. And I think that's what it is. 


Karina Inkster:

That is awesome. So it is, it is aimed toward folks who might not have delved into this, like fully plant-based eating before. Obviously someone like me, I'm going to be making shit out of this book. For sure. I can't wait.


Michelle Schwegmann:

The idea is that you don't have to have skills in the kitchen. You don't have to know a lot. And we do introduce like classic vegan concepts, like nutritional yeast is delicious. I love that flavor, that nowadays we have so many more like amazing cheeses and things like that, but I definitely pay homage to like the, you know, hippie food of the early veganism. I love it. And there's always a time and place for that. But you know, eating vegetables and beans and real food is actually delicious and easy to, you know? That's kind of the, the idea so, well, yeah. I don't know what, like what else do you want to know about the book? I don't want to keep talking about too many things.


Karina Inkster:

Well, you said just now about, you know, it's not that you didn't like eating meat, but you didn't like eating animals. I'm with you on that. Like I always tell folks, I always liked how meat tastes. I didn't go vegan because I didn't like how animal products taste. And I went vegan in 2003. So it's been a while. So this book, I think, caters to those folks who don't necessarily enjoy the textures and the taste of animal products, would you agree? Like all the kind of mock faux meat products and cheese products and things like that?


Michelle Schwegmann:

The people that don't like those things or that do like those things?


Karina Inkster:

That aren't really into those things. 


Michelle Schwegmann:

I think both kinds of people would enjoy this book because I enjoy the mock stuff too. I gotta be honest with you, like. We use that in our home a lot. I don't, I don't make recipes really that call for a lot of ones, unless like you want to make seitan, which I'm going to, which there's, you know, a couple of recipes in the book for that. I kind of feel like, like the recipes that I'm going to develop are going to use mostly like whole foods, and then I'm going to show you how to take beans and mix it up with things to make a burger. You don't need a recipe to make a Beyond Burger. I mean, although you would be surprised, some people might, that's not what we're going to do. But it's like, if you want to make a delicious burger out of beets or a delicious burger out a beans or you want to make your own roast, like if you had, if you grew up having like a Sunday roast, you know, there's a recipe in here for that. 


And so it's like, I like being able to take plants and mold them into vegan versions of what I love, which I agree with you. Like, my mom always is like, you love meat. She has shown me a photo of myself sitting in a high chair when I had like curly hair gnawing on like a steak bone, you know, like they would give me that like as a teething tool. And so, you know, that was very much what I loved to eat. And so that kind of delicious, you know, sometimes decadent food is definitely part of my life and there's no reason that it can't be made out of plants.


Karina Inkster:

Oh, a hundred percent. I just bring it up because we have, we have a minority, but still a significant number of clients who are not into the texture. They're just like, well, you know, I don't eat meat and I don't want to be reminded of it, which is totally fine. But I mean, I'm someone who most missed beef jerky when I went vegan. I mean, come on like that, that's some gnawing on a stick of meat right there. So yeah. And like you just said, if we can do all these things with plants, why the hell not?


Michelle Schwegmann:

It's true. And I mean, I know exactly the kind of person that you're referring to because we have people that come into the shop too, that are like, I need shoes, but I don't want them to look like animal. Like I don't want them to feel like leather. Or do you have belts that are not vegan leather that are like hemp? And you know, it's this funny circle, right? Where like vegans were made fun of for wearing hemp belts and you know, canvas shoes. And now everybody, you know. Then there's this whole group of people that want all the, you know, it's vegan leather and I can wear it. Nobody knows. And then there's this other, then the cycle keeps going back to the people that are like, I'm so vegan. I don't like any, you know, imitation meats. And I want to make sure I'm wearing canvas shoes. So people know that I'm not wearing leather shoes.


Karina Inkster:

I know it's a weird, it's a weird balance because like we can make things that look exactly like leather and tastes exactly like beef and et cetera, et cetera from plants. But on the other hand, to the outsider who doesn't know, you're not exactly showing the world that it's made out a plants.


Michelle Schwegmann:

Yeah. That's true. And it's, you know, I see two sides of it. It can open a conversation where someone's going to go, oh, oh, you're wearing leather shoes. I thought you were vegan. And it's like, you know, that's a whole other topic about talking about judging. But you know, it's a great way you can say, well, no, these actually are vegan. And it just goes to show that it's so realistic and they look so amazing, you didn't even think that they were, that they were vegan. So, you know, it just depends on what side of it, what side of it you wanna argue.


Karina Inkster:

Totally. And I think you can be on both sides simultaneously.


Michelle Schwegmann:

That's true. That is true.


Karina Inkster:

I'm all about the gray areas. Like I'm not very in a box anywhere, you know, at least I try to be.


Michelle Schwegmann:

It gets very confining if you're, you know, and I am more of the kind of person that I want to expand, you know, I'm, I want to be open-minded and I want to learn new things. And I think that we need to all be trying to do that, trying to communicate with one another, because there's communication is so fraught right now in so many ways. So just practicing, listening and not judging right away. 


And you know, that's something that comes up so often about veganism because just people hearing that you are vegan, it can be perceived as an immediate judgment of them not being vegan. And that's something that we as a company have always tried to minimize that because I don't want there to be judgment. You know, who am I to judge anyone else? Right. I wasn't born vegan and it's not about who's better than, it's just about, you know, doing what you believe. And I really truly believe that people don't want to hurt animals, but they just haven't accepted yet that when you eat them, you actually are hurting them.


Karina Inkster:

Oh, that old disconnect there, you know.


Michelle Schwegmann:

Cognitive dissonance.


Karina Inkster:

Exactly. Yeah. So what's the deal with your new YouTube series? What's it called? Cooking the Books? This sounds freaking awesome. So tell me about this.


Michelle Schwegmann:

Thank you for asking about it. I'm very excited. We just this morning uploaded our third episode, so it is new. Our third episode is where we do our own book. I love a good pun. So “cooking the books,” you know, it's like I'm not betting or anything, but I'm literally cooking from cookbooks.


Karina Inkster:

You’re not trying to like evade paying taxes and whatnot?


Michelle Schwegmann:

No, I am not, just so we're clear if the IRS is listening now. I have a serious cookbook addiction and we have this wall of them at our store, which is you know, I have about half that many in my own house, which is kind of sad. And I just, I love them. And, and at the same time, I don't ever hardly cook from a recipe. I follow the outline. But for the YouTube series, we're taking our favorite cookbooks or my favorite cookbooks, and then I talk about why I love the book. And then I make a couple of the recipes from it and my husband shoots everything and edits. And it's not like a recipe demo. It's not like first put the oil in the pan. It's not, it's not that, it's more just some talking about the book and then showing a bunch of the recipes and then the finished product.



And, you know, people are really responding more and enjoying the videos so much. So we wanted to talk about products that we sell, but also, you know, it's something that I'm passionate about, this vegan food and feeding people and encouraging people to cook for themselves and to make food at home. You know, it's one of the big ironies that I'm making this dining guide that I'm like, I could never eat in all these restaurants. Like I don't, there's not enough meals in the day or the year here and, you know, eating it, every one I'm like, oh, I love cooking. There's not enough meals. Like, it's so hard to be like, yes, we'll go out tonight. And then, you know, I'm trying to figure out where to go. But so yeah, the series is, we've got three episodes and we'll start on our new one tomorrow. And we put one out about every two weeks and just a different cookbook and it's fun and inspiring and pretty to look at good food. And hopefully it'll get people excited about getting in the kitchen and trying out some of the amazing cookbooks that are out there because there are so many good ones. So that's the thing. I hope everybody likes it. 


Karina Inkster:

So about every two weeks-ish?


Michelle Schwegmann:

Yeah. This time, I think it was three, but you know, it's like.


Karina Inkster:

Well, yeah, you've got enough going on, you know, not a lot else. You know, just working 300 hours a week.


Michelle Schwegmann:

And you know, it's a lot with like a store and the website and a dog and a kid and a husband and, you know, coming out of this pandemic and business stuff. There's never enough time, but always learning something new every day. 


Karina Inkster:

That's so awesome. It would be cool to get our book in there somewhere. You could do like a, like a vegan active person's episode or something.


Michelle Schwegmann:

Well, I need to cook the books. I was like the super healthy breakfast cookies. I'm like, that's my jam. So I need to get in there and start cooking from it. Cause I got to know the book. So, but yours is so new, it'll be a favorite, don’t worry.


Karina Inkster:

Well, the thing is it's technically the second edition. So it has been around. Yeah. It's been around since 2014. It was used, it used to be called Vegan Vitality, but we've, we've updated it and rebranded it to be The Vegan Athlete. So it's like a little confusing, but the recipes are essentially the same with updates. So we've like tweaked some things and like Karina's Chile is now Murray's Chile. My husband who made it better.


Michelle Schwegmann:

And that's, and you know, distribution too, like, was the first book distributed all over as well? 


Karina Inkster:

Mmm hmm.


Michelle Schwegmann:

Okay. And sometimes it's hard to know, like as you know, we do so much book buying. It's hard to know all the titles that are coming out and you know, it's like, yeah, right now it's a great time for that book to come out again rebranded as The Vegan Athlete, because it's such a huge and growing like side of veganism and [unintelligible] my profile too, which I think is exciting.


Karina Inkster:

So Robert Cheeke and his new book, I'm going to assume you'll have that in your store coming out this month. It comes out on the 15th. I think.


Michelle Schwegmann:

I think it might be out. Well, we don't actually have it yet. So it must not be out. I feel bad that, I don't know. Cause we did a partnership with them last year. Vegan Strong. And we still have a couple of items left. We did their clothing all last year because all of the entire, the pandemic canceled all the Vegan Strong events. We kind of had little Vegan Strong Herbivore year, last year, which was good. He's from Oregon too.


Karina Inkster:

Yeah. So cool. He wrote the forward to The Vegan Athlete and also The Vegan Vitality book back in the day. So we've been in touch like for a while, but we never actually met until he came on this show a couple months ago. Great dude, like just an awesome human. 


So you have raised your daughter vegan. Let's talk about this because we have a lot of clients who make the decision to go plant-based later in life. Like for them, you know, they're in their forties, fifties, and they have kids who are teenagers, maybe even younger. And so they're making this transition as a family, which has its own set of challenges. But then what about folks like you? My best friend, Heidi, has a son who's 13 now he's grown up vegan. Like how does that work and how like, how does she now make her own food decisions?


Michelle Schwegmann:

Yeah. You know, it's, it's funny. She's 16 and she's been vegan forever. And how does that work? You know, it's so funny. I thought I knew so much about nutrition and being pregnant and all of that. Now I'm like, I did not know anything. I think most people don't, you know, when you're, when you are starting out you know, being pregnant and all that. And there were a couple of books back then about vegan pregnancy that were really, really old, like from the sixties. Michael Clapper had one, you know, but maybe there was, it was actually like a pamphlet. There was not a lot back in those days. I just read vegetarian pregnancy books and just, you know, substituted everything for vegan. And I had a really progressive doctor and he's like, I trust you to figure out what you need.


And I had a healthy pregnancy and everything went great. And nowadays there are so many vegan RDs and things like that, that you want that professional guidance. And there's amazing books written by RDs and by doctors about vegan pregnancy. Now it's even easier. But you know, as far as having a vegan baby, I mean, it's like, it's so easy because, well, hey, it's just how we are. It's like, it would be hard for me to not be vegan. About that set of habits and how you live your life. The biggest challenges are talking to people, you know, that don't understand. But I found for me, you know, I approach things now, and I did then, when you're first vegan, you can be a little combative sometimes. And I was sort of, I'm sorry, people, if I was a bee-yotch to you, you know, I just it's like, I know what I'm doing and I'm healthy. And my baby is healthy and my doctor agrees and look at her, isn't she amazing? You know? And just making sure that she was visiting the doctor and getting vaccinated or, you know, reaching milestones, you know, sometimes those things can be frustrating for parents. Like, you know, my daughter is in this percentile, it's like this comparing, which I think it can be very detrimental to your mental health. Like I'm not good enough or I don't meet these benchmarks, but they, you know, as long as you're somewhere in the average range of everything, which is what we all are, right. We're all exactly average humans. And then it's going to be fine. 


And she just, you know, you just gotta be prepared when you get to the age of like parties and sending her with her own little treats and, you know, talking to her about, you know, at age appropriate times about why we're vegan and what veganism is, you know. I'll never forget when she learned that people eat chickens.


She was like, literally her face was like, people eat chickens. Like, wow, like that was a mind blowing to her. But like just telling her when she's really small, you, you know, you're like, well, we don't eat animals. So the milk, you know, comes from a cow and that hurts the mother cow. She has to have a baby to have, you know, to have milk, just like I did, just like I had milk after I had you. And you know, you, you make it age appropriate and you have a lot of conversations about what it feels like to be alive and, and who wants to live, you know. Like the dog wants to live. We wouldn't eat the dog just as much as we wouldn't eat that chicken or that pig. So, you know, it's gotten a lot more, I think, a lot easier for people because there are so many more vegan families and vegan kids. But I mean, she's a healthy kid, strong. I mean, she's awesome. 


Karina Inkster:

That's so cool. So what about like, I don't have kids, but if I did, one of my fears would be, well, what happens when they're around this age? You know, 15, 16 when they're kind of going off into the world, doing more of their own things. When it comes down to it, they're always going to be making their own decisions. But, you know, from a, a kind of self-interest perspective, I would want that to be the vegan decision. So like, are you just confident that, you know, she, she gets it, she's going to make her own decisions down the road. She'll be vegan pretty much long term or is there ever going to be maybe like a period of like, hey, I'll kind of want to try animal products and then, you know, like, does that work?


Michelle Schwegmann:

Yeah. You know what we do now because she's 16. So we talk about it. Like, I mean, we have, since, you know, like when she was in third grade, you know, some kid was like “being vegan is unhealthy and bad. You need to eat meat” and you know, and she's like, no, you don't. He's like, yes. And so it's like, you hear those stories and then you have a conversation like, well, he's learning from his family, what they believe, and this is what we believe. And we disagree with them. It doesn't mean they're bad people. We just, we disagree with them and this is why. And, you know, so for the way that we've always approached it, and I think what kind of like gets inside of someone, it's like, it's part of her like moral compass, right? She's gonna look at everything through the lens of, I don't want to hurt and I don't want to hurt animals or people, you know. She's a very kind person too, friends and peopleare always commenting on that.


And I think it's because she's, we've just always come from that position of like, you know, not wanting to harm, to cause harm. So it's inside of her and, you know, we've, we've said, do you think you'll ever try meat or when you're over at your best friends, cause they're not vegan? And you know, many, many of our friends are, but, but some of our closest friends are not. But you know, they're really awesome people when they're not vegan themselves, but everything is vegan when we're around. Like, and we have several friends that we share meals with and all that. And they would never serve meat at a table when we were there because they understand that that would be, you know, that would be difficult for us and unpleasant, you know, it wouldn’t be a celebratory meal for us.


I think also it's like surrounding yourself with people, hopefully that get it, you know, like even if they're not vegan themselves and they, they get it, like they get it that we don't want to sit at a table where somebody is eating an animal. Like that's just not going to be. And like, if there's going to be food or an animal, if animals are going to be served, you know, they're probably going to be like, yeah, that's not really the time that we would invite Josh and Michelle and Ruby over, you know? So I digress. I apologize. And like, are they gonna rebel? Because it's like, well, you know, she might want to try something if she does, you know, I don't, I don't want her to, but she could try it and then find out for herself that, you know, oh, well it's just like any other vegan version.


Cause like what is she going to eat? Like a cheese stick or like, I mean, I don't even know. She might try it, and she's said recently that she isn't even interested. Like it's not really food to her. Like it's a cow, it's not beef or it's not, you know whatever, you know, even if it's, doesn't look like the animal that it was, to her, if she knows that that contains animal products, it's not food. You know? And so that's so far inside of her that if I find myself at an airport or somewhere where I can't find anything, I'll just be hungry for a while until I can be around food, you know, and I have that luxury and that privilege and all, you know, I can do that, but that's not really going to happen because I'm not going to be in an airport nowadays with a vegan option either. You know? 


Karina Inkster:

Well, you have an interesting point too, that, especially nowadays, what is she going to try? That's any different from what we normally eat? You know, maybe if we had this conversation 20 years ago, or even, you know, like five to eight years ago, there wasn't any good, like, plant-based cheese that melted properly. And you know, like maybe it would have been different at that point. But yeah, you have a point, nowadays she's going to try, well, I mean, I'm not saying she will, but if she did, if she tries, I don't know, milk cheese, it's like worse or the same as what we have now.


Michelle Schwegmann:

She'll probably like, this is really salty.


Karina Inkster:

Yeah, what’s the deal with all the sodium in here?


Michelle Schwegmann:

Because that's what I find. Like sometimes things that are like more junk foodie, she thinks they're way too salty. Cause she's, you know, that's what it is. It's like fat and salt, right? Like, and she's always like, oh, that's too strong, but she loves her some vegan cheese. 


Karina Inkster:

Well, a lot of the kind of treat foods that we are drawn to, it's not that it's an animal product. It's that it's got a shitload of sugar in it and fat or salt or whatever the case is. You know, it's not that it's vegan or not.


Michelle Schwegmann:

Exactly. It's all. I mean, it's those three things, sugar, fat, salt. I mean, you know, it's the holy trinity, man.


Karina Inkster:

It totally is. I have show notes as always for our listeners where we have all the links to your store and your socials. If someone's listening right now without access to the show notes, what's the best place for them to go and connect with you or learn about what you do.


Michelle Schwegmann:

Herbivoreclothing.com, all one word. And our Instagram is @herbivoreclothing and on Facebook we’re the Herbivore Clothing Company and we're the Herbivore Clothing Company on YouTube as well. So, and you can also just go to our website and scroll to the bottom and all the links are there. 


Karina Inkster:

And we'll have them at our show notes as well. Hey, we did this whole conversation with no F-bombs.


Michelle Schwegmann:

What the fuck???


Karina Inkster:

We had a whole conversation before the show. Like, ah, so can I use colorful language? And I'm like, yeah, dude, the show is called the No Bullshit Vegan.


Michelle Schwegmann:

Trying so hard to be like, not professional, but professional in quotes. But you know, to not say uh and um and so. So then I think when I'm doing these, trying to use my words nicely, I wind up having a more articulate vocabulary and I stop cussing.


Karina Inkster:

Well, okay. Here's a thought, I think that cussing can be articulate in cases where you're having a conversation with someone about a topic like this. Let's put it that way.


Michelle Schwegmann:

And like today it's what National Donut Day? 


Karina Inkster:

Oh, I did not know that. How did I not know that? 


Michelle Schwegmann:

You just haven't been on social media yet, maybe. 


Karina Inkster:

Actually. That's true. That is actually true. 


Michelle Schwegmann:

Because all you're going to see when you open up is just donuts, donuts, donuts, donuts. So get yourself a donut. 


Karina Inkster:

Here’s the sad thing. We don't have any vegan donuts in my town, dude. It's so sad. And it's actually, other than all of the amazing, like Ethiopian Vietnamese, Lebanese, all of those amazing cuisines, I miss those like nothing else. But honestly the next thing on the list is fucking vegan donuts.


Michelle Schwegmann:

How far is the nearest vegan donut? Six hours. 


Karina Inkster:

Six hours. Well, okay, I could fly and it takes about 25 minutes.


Michelle Schwegmann:

I don't know. If you're flying for vegan donuts, you're pretty bougie.


Karina Inkster:

I flew back and forth because we, my husband and I actually bought our house sight unseen. So we, we searched for a year. We had an amazing realtor. We bought the house that we'd never seen in a town we'd never visited, but there is this, you know, 25 minute plane ride, which makes it a little easier for like signing documents, meeting the previous owners, blah, blah, blah. 


Anyway, there is one story of me on this tiny little plane. We're talking like 10 people max with six giant bags of vegan ramen, like fresh ramen. And each order is actually two large bowls, like, cause it's the broth and then the noodles and everything else. So I had like 12 giant plastic things that I'm bringing on this tiny little plane. And I put them in our deep freeze and I was just like having one a month until I could get more. So I'm pretty desperate sometimes.


Michelle Schwegmann:

That's, I love that. I mean, to have something that you, that you love and you can't get it, put it in the deep freeze.


Karina Inkster:

You do what you can. I'm waiting until we have like drone deliveries, you know, I would get stuff from Portland, you know, like that what's that donut shop. I think we went there. 


Michelle Schwegmann:

There's a famous one that everybody loves, which is Voodoo Donuts. And that one has like donuts and aren't vegan and then they have some vegan options. But because there's Doe Donuts, which is all vegan, ridiculously creative, amazing flavors. My husband had one, like a mango sticky rice doughnut that was like a yeasted doughnut with like a like a mango glaze and then sticky rice in the middle. They do savory donuts. They had one that was stuffed with mac and cheese with coconut bacon on top. Like it's so good. It's a pierogi donut, and then just so many different sweet ones. Look at their Instagram. 


Karina Inkster:

That's so awesome. Good tip. You definitely sold me.


Michelle Schwegmann:

Next time you're in town. 


Karina Inkster:

Awesome. Well, Michelle, it was so great to speak with you. Thank you so much for coming on the show. I appreciate it.


Michelle Schwegmann:

Thank you so much for having me. This was a really fun, really fun. Come and visit. 


Karina Inkster:

Michelle. Thanks again for speaking with me. So happy to have you on the show and I can't wait to visit Herbivore in Portland when travel is on the menu. Again, check out our show notes at nobullshitvegan.com/101 to connect with Michelle. And thank you so much for tuning in.




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