Through all my memories of existing in a Puerto Rican household, there was one constant that was never questioned. It was always there in our pantries, in our foods, in every supermarket we’d set foot in. It was the secret to delicious meals that I desperately try to replicate today. The bright orange packaging of sazon and the yellow and blue bottle of adobo are as prevalent and loved in my life as for others, but how did this happen, what are we actually eating, and why?
Inside, the beloved Jacob Javits center, hosted some of anime’s biggest fans around. People from all over the world traveled to Anime NYC to cosplay as their favorite characters, peruse the latest in anime, and support over 200 artists from all walks of life. Amidst all of this, I was on the search for vegan-friendly options available at this event in honor of all the vegan otakus out there.
Following the closing of Pizzaniste, the only Bronx pizzeria (to my knowledge) that sold vegan cheese and crust, my dream for vegan pizza in the Bronx was struggling. As with most of my vegan discoveries, it was through a food ordering app where I found the Vegan Pie at Pizza Gusta. I was sure I was going to get a very sad excuse of a pizza, especially because the word “vegan” is present. Instead, what I received was the best vegan pizza I’ve ever had in my life.
Lately, I’ve been feeling the pressure of existing as a fat, body positive person and a vegan. Food consumption is not the only element of veganism, but it is a major part of it. Discussions surrounding what you put in your body are always policed when fat, which is a societal habit that more and more are speaking up against. Yet, by running a platform where I focus largely on food, in some ways I feel that I've contributed to diet culture, which is insanely toxic and not my goal. In this article, I hope to discuss the impact of diet culture, why and how my veganism is striving to not contribute to it, and why weight loss should not be associated with veganism.
When it came to making pastelillos as a kid, I was always on dough duty. Covered in flour and gaining muscle mass by the minute, I rolled out what must be thousands of discos over the course of my lifetime. I loved every minute of it though. The process of making pastelillos was a fun bonding time in the kitchen for whoever was involved. I love when food brings people together and this vegan version allows me to continue doing so.
It's been one year since I became vegan. For a while now, I've been ruminating on what kind of veganism I strive to represent. In a lot of ways, mainstream veganism fails to represent the reality of what this lifestyle looks like for people who live in the Bronx and other communities like it. It is for that reason that I’ve created a structure for my activism, which focuses largely on the consumption aspect of veganism. While food isn’t the only part of veganism, it is a very important element. I hope this outline creates an opportunity for more people like me to take up space in this culture and thrive in it.