In the October 2016 (#33) Issue of Vegan Lifestyle Magazine is a six page spread featuring artwork and a written piece by Jay Alders and longtime vegan. The article in full can be read in the issue via iTunes or Google Play. See below for an except of the feature by Alders.
By Jay Alders
I was about 16 when I decided to become a vegetarian after a visit with my bohemian, guitar playing cousin Michelle. I have been compassionate with animals for as long as I can remember but it wasn’t until I was presented with some thought provoking questions from my cousin that I started to realize that our eating habits and consumer choices have consequences.
I decided that being a vegetarian was more aligned with my true self and over a period of a couple of months, I discarded the meat from my plate which thoroughly excited my dog under the table and I started to for the first time ever, to prepare my foods myself. This was around 1989 when veggie burgers were only found as boxed mixes of ingredients at hard to find health food stores. There was no such thing as tofu or veggie cheese options at restaurants. There was no internet community of vegetarians nor a popularized movement. I very much felt like an outcast, but I didn’t care.
I went on for about 17 or 18 years as a vegetarian and over those years, the vegetarian lifestyle emerged into the mainstream. I eventually began dating my now wife Chelsea who volunteered to take a cross country trip to help her friend move to Colorado. On that voyage, Chelsea read “Skinny Bitch” and during the drive, I received many phone calls with her on the other end reading passages to me about veganism. I felt like I was awoken to how hypocritical I had actually been all these years by not taking the full plunge into veganism. I guess it never seemed like a practical option before. I just loved cheese & eggs too much, which I hear over and over now, all vegans hear this. As if we didn’t like cheese and eggs just as much. Chelsea and I learned about the inhumane methods that the dairy and egg industry demanded and ignorance no longer was an option. We decided that cheesecake was to be our last non-vegan consumption, maybe. Let’s see how it goes we thought. I took one bite, both excited and scared to lose this pleasure and with that bite, disgust raced through my taste buds. For the first time, this heavenly treat tasted sour and gross. I was aware of the puss content and blood and the inhumane cost of this desert and I was done. That was about 10 years ago and my wife and I have been vegans ever since.
My childhood dream was to become a world famous, professional artist. An idealistic long shot perhaps, but it never seemed so to me. Just as my path towards veganism required commitment and no turning back, so too has my path towards my artistic goals. I can proudly say now that I never had to succumb to a “real job” except for a brief 2-3 months after college. I earn my living as a creative professional and I have gained a following that reaches all corners of the world. I have painted album covers for international bands, live painted on stage with famous rockstars, exhibited my work throughout the USA, Brazil, in Europe and been featured on live TV, radio, covers of magazines and throughout many web based mediums.