I neglected to order a vegan meal for tonight's dinner banquet at the National Space Symposium. Nonetheless, after I apologized, the wait staff immediately provided this great-looking vegan salad and promised a vegan entree.
I've been a vegan since 2004. I was a vegetarian for many years before that, after being a near-vegetarian for several years. So, it was a progression for me. Being a vegan works for me - for both health and ethical reasons - and I encourage everyone to do what works for them.
My progression began in the 1980s at the University of Southern California, where an excellent group of professors first got me seriously thinking about nutrition, the environment, food policy, and animal rights.
After moving to Hawai`i in the early '90s, I was first fortunate to hear Dr. Terry Shintani speak on the virtues of a vegan diet many times.
I attended a compelling speech on veganism by actress and activist Alicia Silverstone on Maui on April 2, 2004. I became a vegan that night.
So, I'd like to offer my thanks to USC, Dr. Shintani, and Ms. Silverstone.