Name: Emma Caplan
VegHead Status: Vegetarian
Hometown: Portland, Oregon, USA
Current Location: Carlisle, Pennsylvania, USA
Occupation: Undergrad Student at Dickinson College
Companion Animal(s): I currently have one dog, a Corgi named Ruby who I raised from a puppy. She lives with my parents since I don’t live at home. I also have a horse named CC, and when I was younger I learned how to ride her and I rode her for years. We basically grew up together because she has been with me all of my life, and she is the first companion animal I ever had.
Favorite Plant-Based Milk: Rice Milk
Favorite VegHead-Friendly Cafes and/or Restaurants:
In Oregon there is a local chain restaurant called Café Yumm! It is my favorite place to eat on the planet. All of their food is easily vegetarian and there are lots of vegan options for me, too, since I struggle to eat a lot of vegan food because of my allergy. Also in Portland, El Nutri Taco and Sizzle Pie are always on my list when I go home.
While I was studying aboard in the UK for a year I was continually impressed with the number of vegetarian restaurants. London was an amazing place to be for food in general, but it was amazing how many places there were. Some of my favorites were Sons of Seitan, by CHLOE, and Shoryu (best vegetarian ramen I’ve ever had). In Dublin I loved this restaurant called Happy Food, where I had my first plant-based fish and chips.
Favorite Foods: Macaroni and cheese, chickpea and spinach curry with rice, and matzo ball soup
Favorite Place You’ve Visited and Why: That would have to be a tie between London and Edinburgh, Scotland. I loved London because it was so big, it felt like there was always more to discover. But at the same time I spent over a month there and it started to feel very familiar, and I loved it. I also got the chance to go inside Buckingham Palace, and I loved all the different art museums which were all free. I also loved Scotland because it was so incredibly beautiful, full of history, and the people were so friendly. My friend and I traveled there and we hiked Arthur’s Seat, which was a life goal of mine, and it was a perfect view on a beautiful day.
Favorite Veg Influencer/Celebrity: Paul McCartney
Fav Veg-Related/Environmental/Social Justice Books: Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
Fav Veg-Related/Environment/Social Justice Movies: Food, Inc
When did you go vegetarian and why? What, if any, are the difficulties you have encountered? Tell us your story:
My vegetarian story seems a little old and dramatic, but it actually was, because I decided to do it when I was in middle school. I had watched a film called Food, Inc in health class, which was a very graphic and truthful view of the condition of animals in the meat and mass farming industry. And I just couldn’t get the horrifying pictures out of my head. I had always loved animals of all kinds, especially farm animals, and after seeing what the conditions were really like and where my food really came from, I knew I couldn’t participate in it any more. So I quit meat pretty much immediately, which now I wouldn’t recommend to other people because there was no transition period between meat and no meat.
My own difficulty, besides my early tendency to eat pasta every night, has been trying to get enough protein and nutrients in my diet without eating nuts because of my allergy. Over time I have adapted and I am constantly eating beans, and now I am starting to get better at cooking quinoa and lentils. In the beginning I was worried that I would miss meat and give in, but I have now been a vegetarian/former pescatarian for almost 8 years and I don’t miss meat at all!
Tell us about your travels:
I might be on the East Coast, but I am a West Coast girl at heart. I think becoming a vegetarian in Portland was an easier place, because it already had a growing group of vegetarian and vegan restaurants. I’ve been to 17 states, and besides my home state, I loved Alaska. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been and one of the more remote places in the US as well, being there felt like I was seeing something really special. I have also been to Canada, which I love, but I have only been to places in British Columbia, and Mexico where I went sailing for a week.
As for my travels outside of North America, I have mostly stayed in Europe, where I have been to Hungary, Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Spain, Belgium, France, UK, the Netherlands and Italy. The United Kingdom was great for vegetarians and surprisingly so was France. I’ve been to France three times since I became a vegetarian and each time I notice how many more meat-free restaurants are there.
Do you have a favorite veg recipe you want to share with us?
One of my favorite things to make when I’m in a rush but also want protein is this super easy bean salad. It was one of the first protein packed things that I learned to make when I became a vegetarian, also there is no cooking involved, so great for dorm living. You can put in whatever kinds of beans you like, but I usually use two cans worth of garbanzo beans, two cans worth of black beans, some kidney beans, some corn, and then some tomatoes. Then I mix this all with a dressing which is two parts avocado oil, one part hot sauce, then add a lot of cilantro and green onions and maybe some diced avocado on top and it’s finished. I love putting this in tacos, on some spinach, or just by itself.
What are your future plans?
As a graduating senior, I ask myself this question a lot. Right now, I am looking for a job in the field of International Relations, where I can hopefully live in a big city on the East Coast. I’m really just looking to see more of the world and more of the US, because I’m always up for a road trip.
Follow Emma Here:
Facebook: Emma Caplan
LinkedIn: Emma Caplan