Q&A with Brian Patton, Author of The Sexy Vegan Cookbook

| 4/5/2012 11:04:58 AM

Brian PattonBrian Patton is author of The Sexy Vegan Cookbook and is executive chef for Vegin' Out, a vegan food delivery service in Los Angeles. As the quintessential “regular dude” vegan chef, he started posting instructional cooking videos on YouTube as his witty, ukulele-playing alter-ego "The Sexy Vegan" and quickly gained a large following. Visit him online at thesexyvegan.com.

How did you come to write your book? 

I was just a guy in his little apartment, with a crappy camera and limited editing skills. I gained somewhat of a following by making silly cooking videos and posting them to YouTube, my sexyvegan.com website, and various other social media outlets. Then one day I got an email from someone claiming to be a book publisher asking me if I wanted to write a cookbook. After I verified that this was indeed a real person from a real publisher, and not one of my idiot friends messing with me (which wouldn’t have been the first time), I agreed to let them pay me to write a cookbook—and here I am!

What was the defining moment that helped you decide to be a vegan?  

For me, there was no one moment. I switched to a vegan diet as an experimental kickstart in hopes of losing weight. I was around 260 pounds, and I felt terrible all the time. And since I was the only meat eater working for a vegan company (Vegin’ Out, L.A.’s premier vegan meal delivery service, where I’m now executive chef), I thought I’d give it a try for a month. I started to feel better and lost a few pounds, so I went another month, and another month. Ten months later, I had lost 60 pounds and felt better than I had in my entire life. But just because I had adopted a vegan diet didn’t mean I was a full-on, level 10 vegan. I had been gradually becoming conscious about the other aspects, like not buying leather belts or wool socks. And let me tell you, my silk underwear collection took a big hit that first year. Then one day, I instinctively trapped an interloping spider with a cup and a piece of cardboard instead of stomping on it. My roommate walked into the room while I was escorting it outside and said, “Dude, what are you doing?” I said, “I don’t know, but I guess I don’t kill spiders anymore either.” My perspective had shifted. In that moment, I saw a being just trying to go about its day, like we all do. I thought, “We earthlings don’t really know what we are in the grand scheme of things—maybe we’re just a lucky spider that hasn’t gotten stepped on yet.” I finally saw what it meant to “do no harm.” And I think that was the moment when I reached the top of the vegan pyramid. My “spider moment.”

What advice do you have for people looking to transition to a healthier way of eating?