In each issue Vegetarians in Paradise presents the 24 Carrot Award to an outstanding person or organization that endeavors to practice or promote education, natural health, wholesome nutrition, and ecology techniques for the mutual benefit of humans, animals, and the earth.
Our original intention was to limit this award to some person or organization that directly affects us in our paradise of Los Angeles County. This month we not only step outside of our limited universe to select and honor Michael Traub for the 24 Carrot Award, but we also unilaterally bestow upon him honorary citizenship in our county of Los Angeles.
We first discovered Michael when we accessed his Vegan-L's Most Frequently Asked Questions FAQ on a site hosted by the Vegetarian Society of Colorado. This nineteen-page compendium represented an extensive research effort. The FAQ, while concise, answered all of our questions and thoroughly broadened our knowledge. We were impressed.
With further explorations on the web, Michael Traub's name popped up here, there, and everywhere on numerous vegan and vegetarian links. We knew that this was a person who had so much to offer--we simply had to learn more about him. In an email interview we plagued this patient man with question after question, and now we can share with you some of his views on the vegan lifestyle he has chosen.
Michael is originally from Perth, Australia. He became a vegetarian in 1979 at the age of 20 for health reasons while still attending the university where he studied for his career as a software engineer. Even today, he is still "mad about computers," and considers them a hobby. On his first job working for a British company in Perth he met Josey. When he found out she was also vegetarian, lights flashed and wedding bells soon followed.
In 1983 he moved to the United Kingdom and two years later his vegetarian focus grew into a vegan lifestyle for compassionate reasons. Michael became involved in many vegan activities creating his Vegan-L Mailing List and the Vegan-L FAQ, forming a recommended food list, and compiling a list of foods and additives containing animal products or involving animal testing.
Michael has two adorable little girls, Aliya and Yakira, who provided him and Josey with very special memories of a home birth experience. Michael says, "I would think that a home birth is the only safe choice for a vegan as it gives you back the control over the situation." Josey also felt "in control" and felt more of a sense of sharing the birth. She says, " . . . it was a magical moment. Words really can't describe how we felt." During that time Michael was involved in the Brighton Home Birth Support Group.
Now he still manages their FAQ sheet but finds little time to stay deeply involved in organizations. He still maintains the Vegal-L Mailing List and his own web site where his has proudly posted a photo of his daughters which you can access at http://www3.mistral.co.uk/traub . He receives about two emails a day from people asking about the source of ingredients and occasional off the wall questions like, "Is oral sex vegan?" or "Is breast-feeding vegan?" Because he receives email from many different continents, he sees the vegan movement growing worldwide.
When we asked about pets, Michael told us he has no pets because he disagrees with the concept of keeping animals. "Animals should be allowed to be free and unhindered by humans. Domestication is a form of slavery."
When we first explored the web, we found numerous recipes by Michael. We discovered he has a bent for creating interesting dishes and adapting standard recipes into vegan style foods. A number of his recipes appear in a book of web originated recipes called Tasty Bytes Cookbook published a few years ago. His home page has fifty recipes including Lentil Lasagna, Thai Fry, Spanish Tofu, and Stuffed Courgettes.
We asked him how he would encourage vegetarians to become vegan. "Dairy products are unhealthy and require the slaughter of calves. One might as well eat veal as drink dairy," he replied. Nutritionally, he makes sure his family drinks calcium fortified soya milk. His children take daily vitamin supplements in addition to eating vitamin B12 fortified foods regularly. He expresses concern about little Aliya who finds junk food appealing, but, fortunately, she still wants to remain vegan.
We wanted to know how friends and relatives accept the vegan lifestyle. "Friends are only friends if they are accepting of our lifestyle. Family can be more troublesome, but we've pretty well laid down the law about what is acceptable in our house. When we visit them we basically have to make do. Most of them are pretty good though at providing vegan food." Michael adds that, "if any of your readers are still vegetarian that they should seriously consider becoming vegan. It is a far more logical diet and healthier to boot!"