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This article was written on 22 Feb 2012, and is filled under Inspiration.

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Punks On Vegetarianism & Veganism: Ian MacKaye, John Joseph, Joan Jett, Mike Ness, Matt Skiba + more!

I’ve been a vegetarian for 12+ years. Since I was young I never really liked eating other animals. For me, it’s something that always felt kind of foreign and awkward to me. When my family would have steak and vegetables for dinner I (more often than not) would have a simple plate of veggies. I didn’t even really try things like roast chicken, lamb or beef until I was around 14; I didn’t eat seafood either. It wasn’t until my late teens that I started to have any idea about the concept of a vegetarian or vegan diet. As silly as it may sound, I didn’t know that it was even an option for me.

I started hanging out with one of my punk friends and his family who were all vegetarian and I was slowly introduced to a whole new way of eating that felt completely natural to me. Becoming a vegetarian opened me up to a whole new world of food and tastes! I had never eaten capsicum, mushrooms, zucchini, cucumber, sweet potato, mangoes, blueberries, lentils and more until I became a vegetarian and started to learn more about different foods and their benefits to us.

A big decision for me choosing to become a vegetarian stemmed from a long period of illness. In my teens I had a lot of stomach problems. After a ridiculous amount of tests, the doctor diagnosed me with a stomach condition and put me on a course of antibiotics which required me to take 21 tablets daily. After a few days, I felt the antibiotics made me sicker than my usual stomach troubles so, I decided to take myself off the medication. I decided to take my health into my own hands and started researching diet and nutrition. I decided to become a vegetarian. Within a couple of months of cutting all meat and animal products from my diet, I started to feel better and the stomach pain etc. started to subside. I went back to the doctor for more tests and they all came back clear. The doctor said, ‘I don’t know what you’ve done but the stomach infection is gone.’ Through my own experience I realised that we have the power to heal our own body.

Later on, during interviews with bands’ whose members were vegetarian or vegan, I started to learn through our discussions about the cruelty that animals endure as a result of our consumption of them and also the impact those kinds of industries have on our planet. John Feldmann (of Goldfinger) first told me about the book, Diet For A New America by John Robbins; that book had a huge impact on me and sealed the deal for my choosing not to eat animals anymore. Now being conscious of the pain another sentient being went through simply for me to eat a meal when there were so many other options and alternatives available just didn’t sit right with me. Over a decade later I’m still really happy with the choice that I made.

Diet is a very personal thing. I’m not writing this to try to convince you to be a vegetarian or vegan. I’m simply sharing my story and the story of people (see below videos) whose creativity I’ve grown up being inspired by. As regular readers of ConversationsWithBianca.com will know, I do a lot of learning and growing in my life through the interviews I do and connections I make with people I chat with. I often find that when I want to learn about something I default to what I know best and that is familiar to me—punk and hardcore music and the people who make it as it has been a constant in my life since I was a teen. Over the years, punk and hardcore has given me a great platform to explore myself and the world.

Ultimately, as with anything in life, you have to experience things for yourself; they have more meaning and value to us when we experience it for ourselves. Each of our bodies and lifestyles are different and therefore require different things. I believe that we know our bodies best and if we take the time to get in touch with our own cycles and rhythms it’s possible to instinctively know what we need to function at our best. That’s one thing I really do urge you to do–to listen to your body and do your own research. How much thought do you give to what you put in your body to fuel it? Make an informed choice…

Ian MacKaye:

John Joseph:

Roger Miret:

Joan Jett:

Propagandhi:

Mike Ness:

John Feldmann:

Matt Skiba:

Davey Havok:

Tim Mc Ilrath:

Wishing you a beautiful day filled with lots of yummy goodness!

Gratitude & compassion,

*Thanks Z (you can find his band here) for sparking the idea for this post by posting the Ian MacKaye clip on FB the other day.

15 Comments

  1. Greg
    February 22, 2012

    Glad to see so many other musicians out there feel the same way I do. I have been a vegetarian for 21 years.
    Rock on!

  2. Bianca
    February 22, 2012

    Hi Greg, Thanks for taking the time to check out the vids and to leave a comment. It is rad to see so many creatives choosing a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle and congrats on your own 21 years of being a vegetarian! Nice work… all the best, B :)

  3. Scott
    February 22, 2012

    Thanks for this. I grew up listening to almost everyone in these videos. And I had no idea Mike Ness was vegetarian/vegan. I’ll be celebrating 10 years of vegetarianism this summer. Thanks again.

  4. Bianca
    February 22, 2012

    Hi Scott, Thanks for reading and sharing that you’ll be celebrating a decade of being vegetarian/vegan! Congrats! I didn’t know Mike Ness was vego until recently too! Warmest wishes, B x

  5. ant aggs
    February 29, 2012

    awesome :)

  6. [...] had such an amazing response to the Punks On Vegetarianism & Veganism feature I posted last week! Thank you to everyone that took the time to read it, comment on it, [...]

  7. Johnny Punx
    March 30, 2012

    Punks are seen as freaks. But we stand up for what we believe in have you? Excellent article. Looking forward to making my vegan chocolate cake tonight or tomorrow

  8. Bianca
    March 30, 2012

    Glad you like the feature :) And, YUM! vegan chocolate cake! I have a book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World that I love! Thanks for stopping by Johnny.

  9. matt
    April 9, 2012

    hey, this is a great collection, really inspiring, well done

  10. Bianca
    April 9, 2012

    Thanks for the kind words Matt, your thoughts are appreciated :)

  11. Punk kid
    July 14, 2012

    you know i am 16 and live in a punk household and we are all vegetarian and its great to see that it is not just us and our beliefs that connect punk and the vegetarian/vegan lifestyle

    ——-Good with being misunderstood

  12. Punks? Hurting animals? WUT |
    September 6, 2012

    [...] A really great article we came across on punks and animal rights can be read HERE. [...]

  13. Ilene
    September 11, 2012

    Great info! Nice to see lots of good company.
    Been a vegetarian about 30 years, never really liked to eat meat, always picked at it.
    Then watched a factory farming episode of what I recollect to be 20/20 or some early 80′s news show. I swore right then, never again.
    Have a 16 year old son, loves music also, plays guitar, bass, ukulele, just graduated
    to vegan. He’s working on me, and I’m almost there, it’s the greek yogurt though damn it.

    Would be great to find a group of like minded teenagers in the Putnam County area
    in NY for him to comrade with.

  14. J.Green
    September 19, 2012

    I’m here to support fellow Punk,Indie,Rock,Metal and any other musicians who support Vegetarians and Vegans.
    We’re few but Mighty!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. [...] 4. Punks on Vegetarianism & Veganism feature [...]

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