Jaden is 13 years old, lives in the US and has been vegan for the past seven years. He has inspired many friends to eat less meat and think about how their food got to their plates. Jaden’s dream is to eliminate all animal suffering and encourage others to eat healthily and reduce their environmental footprint through plant-based eating.
At what age did you become vegan?
I was born vegetarian and became vegan when my mum read a book about Veganism called, “Skinny Bitch.” Our family of six became vegan instantly and I am now proud to say that I have been vegan for eight years. I will always look back on that day with pride and happiness.
Why are you vegan?
My mum and dad made the decision to raise four vegan kids. I have a fifteen year-old brother Dane, Cody is ten and my sister, Madison is eight. I am the strictest vegan in the house because I stick to my policy and always remember the cause. Compassion and kindness are what I promote and what motivate me.
What is your favourite vegan meal?
I love my mum’s tacos. She uses taco shells with pinto beans, brown rice, diced tomatoes, Daiya cheese, black olives and guacamole… delicious! A dessert I like to make is Coconut Ice Cream Sundae with ice cream, topped with soya whipped cream.
Which is the best vegan restaurant you have been to?
My favourite vegan restaurant is Veggie Grill in Westwood, L.A. They make great American style dishes like their Mac and Cheese and Sante Fe Crispy Chicken. All the dishes at Veggie Grill are 100% plant-based and vegan. I love the food there so much. I had a completely vegan bar mitzvah there. [http://bit.ly/1GcouIv]. Friends and relatives made comments about the idea of having a vegan bar mitzvah at a casual plant-based restaurant, but our family was thrilled at the idea that our relatives would get to try new vegan foods. The guests who gave me the hardest time before the event contacted me after the party to say how surprised they were at how tasty the dishes were.
Where is the most vegan-friendly place?
My house is the most vegan friendly place. Most of my friends and relatives aren’t vegan and it’s really challenging when I am at a barbecue and I have to endure the odour of burning flesh on the grill. Not fun.
What has been your worst experience as a vegan?
My worst experience is when waiters at restaurants or friends tell me something is vegan and there is no meat or dairy in the food and I have to find out on my own by researching the ingredients that this is not true.
Can you recommend any good vegan resources?
I enjoy searching the internet and I love the videos on VegTV: vegtv.com and blogs on The Food and Health Alternative: ecomii.com/blogs/food
What is your signature dish?
I love to make split pea soup for my family. I start with 2 cups of organic green peas (rinsed) and add four cups of water in a slow cooker. I like to add onions and carrots cut up with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt. I let it slow-cook for 2 to 3 hours and it turns out really delicious.
Follow Jaden on Twitter @TheRealVeganKid.