MVP Fridays #1 – Meet Dustin Harder, The Vegan Roadie

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Name: Dustin Harder
Age: 35
Location: Queens, NY

Meet Dustin Harder, aka The Vegan Roadie. We’re so honored to call him our friend. We all just met back in December, at our very first pop-up market for V Marks the Shop at V SPOT Organic in NYC. 

Dustin is such a gem of a person to know. In addition to his wonderful web series, The Vegan Roadie, he’s also a personal chef and graduate of Natural Gourmet Institute. So he knows what’s what with food. Not to mention, he makes AHHHHHMAZING gluten-free cake pops! 

Dustin is also an actor and theatrical dog handler?? (ohh, we need a follow up interview on that)

Dustin and his partner David Rosetti live in Queens, NY with their 16 year-old cat Muzzy, where they enjoy scanning Netflix, try new vegan restaurants (does Muzzy go too?) and listen to Dustin while watching reruns of Roseanne and The Golden Girls (Ok! Maybe we exaggerated a bit, but we’re covering all of Dustin’s hobbies)

He just celebrated his 7th veganniversary on Easter (March 27th)! CONGRATS!

So, let’s get to know a little more about our friend…and your friend…Dustin!

The Food Duo (TFD): What made you go vegan? 
 
Dustin Harder (DH): Initially it all started with health, I read Skinny Bastard and wanted to drop a few pounds. I found the book to be entertaining as well as informative and with that I started my journey bit by bit and with a lot of trial and error.
 
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Eventually, I got so excited about the ways to be creative with food in plant based cooking and I studied in the chef’s program at The Natural Gourmet Institute. Of course it started for health reasons but as I grow and continue do my research it becomes much more personal and about the larger picture of making choices that create a happier healthier lifestyle not only for me, but the world around me.
 
TFD: Why are you committed to following a vegan lifestyle?
 
DH: I can say from experience of years committed to the standard american diet that not only is a vegan lifestyle more beneficial for my own personal health but also for the overall impact on our fellow earth dwellers both with two legs and four. To put it simple, I’m a big fan of that vegan t-sirt I’ve seen that says “Vegan means I’m trying to suck less”. That says it all. I believe we all have the ability to choose to be at least 1% better than we were they day before every time we wake up.
 
TFD: What’s been the easiest part of being vegan? What’s been the hardest?
 
DH: I actually find eating out at a non-vegan restaurant easier than it ever was! While the rest of my non-vegan friends or family are trying to decide what to eat, I can pair it down to a couple items and get back to enjoying the company around me. Also, giving up meat was easy, beyond easy, and I was a meat and potatoes guy so that struck me as strange at first but as years have passed it makes more sense. 
 
Seven years ago, I struggled finding specialty ingredients at times but Whole Foods, health stores and amazon.com have certainly changed all of that. The cooking seemed a challenge and perhaps the hardest thing, but once I allowed myself to be comfortable with introducing new ingredients into my pantry, it was like a brand new exciting world opened up to me in the world of cooking and I was hooked. What was the hardest became the most fun and easiest. 
 
TFD: What are your top 3 favorite vegan businesses (including food & non-food)?
 
DH: Let Thy Food. I love their Queso and the people that run the company are bright lights, I adore them.
 
Field Roast. I can hand this product to any non-vegan, and they always smile with delight and surprise after the first bite, and then devour the rest.
 
Miyoko’s Kitchen, people who say “oh but I love my cheese” finally have a product to satiate that need and it’s Miyoko’s Creamery (products).
 
TFD: What’s the best vegan event you’ve attended to date and why?
 
DH: I haven’t gone to many as my schedule usually has me in the wrong place at the wrong time, I need to work on coordinating that! But I really enjoyed (Natural Products) Expo West specifically to connect with other vegans I had mostly only met online. Beyond that the event was a bit dizzying, that is A LOT happening in once place. It was fun not to think about the expo of it all and just get some hugs in at times!
 
TFD: Share a favorite go-to recipe with us!
 
DH: My Damn Good Caesar Salad. I make this at any dinner party I do that has non vegans. It was the only recipe I was able to fully recipe test my first year on the road with The Vegan Roadie because my only cooking constant was my nutribullet! Tried and true, I love this dressing. 
 
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Photo Credit: The Vegan Roadie
 
 
TFD: What’s going on in your world right now that you’d want to share? Shameless self promotion is HIGHLY encouraged!
 
DH: I am about to embark on The Vegan Roadie Tour 2016, we will be hitting eleven new cities to film season two of our web series and several other cities and towns along the way to do cookouts for free with Field Roast Grain Meat products to hand delicious vegan food to the masses.  The tour launches April 1st with a stop to present at the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival May 7th, and continues throughJuly 1st. After that ,on the schedule, I will pop up in Golden, Colorado at the VegFest Colorado July 23 and 24th to present. 
 
 
Now that you’ve met our friend, why not learn more about Dustin and The Vegan Roadie? Follow all the happenings at:
 
Have a question you want to ask Dustin? Post it in the comments and we’ll get it over to him!