Have you ever been on a radio show? It’s surreal. On Monday, April 21st, 2014, I was part of the monthly Modern Vegan radio show on Portland’s local 1310 am WLOB. This month’s topic: “Vegan Fitness.”
My Vegan History
Now, let’s back up a bit. I became vegan when I was 17 years old while dating a vegan boy and never looked back. That is, until one year ago. On April 12, 2013, I ate eggs for breakfast, for the first time in 13 whole years. Why? I had been working with a nutritionist for years who’d seen me through many body ups and downs. I respect this person very much, so I take her word very seriously. Hence, after my 2013 yearly assessment, she subtly wrote on a post-it note
“Shhh, don’t tell anyone, but you may want to consider adding eggs back into your diet.”
It DID feel like something I wanted to keep secret. After ALL this time calling myself “vegan,” wouldn’t I be a hypocrite if I just up and scrambled some eggs one day?I hymned and hawed for a week, but reminded myself that I’d always told myself,
“If my body tells me I need to start eating meat again, I’ll do it.” Maybe this was the time. “Just eggs, though!” I bargained with myself.
One year later, when I was asked to be a guest on the radio show, I had that same urge to hide my dirty little secret. I wrote to Chris McClay, the host of the show,
“One thing I must tell you is that I did start eating eggs about a year ago. So, I feel a bit guilty about speaking as a vegan, specifically. I’m still no dairy, meat, etc., but technically with the re-addition of eggs after 13 years without them, I don’t feel quite ‘vegan’ and just wanted to let you know. Let me know if you still want me for the radio show, but I understand if not.”
To her credit, she was still very open to having me as a guest, because of the very nature of my lifestyle. Someone, in her words, whose diet is “comprised largely of fruits, veggies, legumes, and whole grains.” I was super-excited to be invited to speak on her show!
The Day of The Show
I arrived at the small nondescript building, which was situated on a dirt drive near Westbrook. I sat alone in the entryway for a few minutes before the others arrived. The place was a little musty and dark; the kind of place which reminded me how often great things can start in garages. Once Chris and another guest (a friendly nutritionist named Sara Sullivan) arrived, we went into a small room made up mostly of a big desk with scattered microphones and some chairs.
We were taught how to put on our headsets and to speak directly into the mic, even when tempted to look over after being asked a question. It was strange to hear myself back in the headset – like hearing your own voice on a recording.
It’s jarring to me that after 10 years removed from my hometown; I still sound like I hail from Western New York. Questions were asked and I answered as honestly and openly as possible, but I couldn’t help feeling like I was the newbie. Chris immediately snapped into her throaty, singsong radio voice and Sara had lots of very catchy, easily digestible facts to engage listeners.I found myself wandering through my own head trying to find the correct things to say.
I felt my cheeks redden, and fill with self-conscious heat. When asked what I make for dinner most nights, I couldn’t fight the feeling that I was a character on the late 90s’ Saturday Night Live sketch about an NPR radio show called “The Delicious Dish.” If you’ve never seen it, check out one of my favorites here. (Be warned: Alec Baldwin and company get a teensy-bit inappropriate from about minute 2:35 on!) “Fun. Good times.”
Looking back, and after listening to it now, I see it wasn’t so bad. I’m not sure I answered all of her questions exactly, but Chris was an extremely kind and fascinated host, who made me glad I participated. Give it a listen and let me know what you think!