While it's easy to live a veg-only life in New York City, the Big Apple is not inherently vegan friendly. With a hot dog stand on every corner and our two most famous food being cheesy pizza and pastrami on rye, you might even say that NYC is much more geared to the meat-and-cheese loving types. But what happens when these types decide to give all that up and take on a vegan lifestyle? Marisa Miller Wolfson's new documentary, Vegucated, shows us just that. Premiering in NYC this week, the film follows three very non-vegan New Yorkers as they adopt a vegan diet for six weeks. Lured by the idea of weight loss and a healthier lifestyle, the three soon discover that ditching dairy and meat is about a lot more than just the food on your plate.
Vegucated follows three very different New Yorkers coming from very different backgrounds. Brian Flegel is a bacon-loving bartender who eats out most of the time; Ellen Mausner is a single mother and stand-up comedian who has little time to cook at home; and Tesla Lobo is a 22-year-old college student who doesn’t like vegetables or beans. In choosing the participants, which were found through Craigslist, the Vegucated team carefully considered the challenges they would face in going vegan. And it’s easy to understand why — if a veg-hating young woman with a meat-loving family can go vegan, so can everyone else.
The film follows the trio as they change their diet, learn about the effects animal agriculture has on the environment, and as they discover the disturbing side of factory farms. It also shows them as they take on personal obstacles like family vacations, skeptical parents, and meat-heavy meals. You’ll have to watch the film to find out whether they adopt the vegan diet permanently, but ultimately, they each develop their own path for a greener, more animal-friendly lifestyle.
“I wanted to show the journey from meat eater to veg-conscious person so that people understand that there’s a transformation that takes place and that vegans don’t just descend from outer space,” Wolfson told us. “They’re former meat and cheese lovers who starting asking questions and then came to the conclusion that veganism is a logical and enjoyable solution for them to some of the biggest challenges we face, whether they’re health-related, environmental or ethical.”
Wolfson, a vegan for nine years, once was one of the meat-and-cheese lovers, so she knows the experience first hand. “I hope that showing that journey in the film gets other people asking these same questions, talking to each other and being proactive in their own journeys into finding more healthful, sustainable, and compassionate ways to live.”
Vegucated premieres in New York City this Thursday, October 13th at the SVA Theatre. The film starts at 8pm, but early ticket holders can attend a red carpet reception starting at 6:45pm. An after party will follow. You can purchase tickets here.