October 17th, 2018 | By Alicia Silverstone
Brothers Matt and Phil Letten have built their lives around animal advocacy with a focus on mainstreaming veganism through online courses, e-books, social media, videos, blogging and more. Phil became vegan as a teenager and Matt followed a little while later, loosing 100 pounds! Over to Phil and Matt!
How long have you been vegan?
Our transition to become vegans was very unexpected, particularly because we were raised in a community that was very anti-vegan. Phil came around 14 years ago after watching a video that showed how horribly farm animals are treated—it only took one video and he was converted for good. Matt made fun of him for about 5 years before realizing that veganism was a healthier, more intentional, liberating way to live…and he soon followed suit.
Why did you make the change? Following the shift, did you notice impacts it immediately had on you?
Most people are opposed to animal abuse, whether they eat a vegan diet or not. And when they learn about the insane abuses animals endure before becoming meat, they freak out for a second and then move toward a vegan diet. And that’s what we did too.
How has your family, friends, and co-workers responded to your diet?
Phil was a bit abrasive at first. Once he calmed down it was like dominoes. Our entire immediate family, and a constantly growing percentage of our extended family are all vegan. Parents, cousins, aunts, and uncles. We hear from friends from all walks of life who are going vegan on a consistent basis now. Police officers, investments bankers, pastors, stay-at-home-moms, entrepreneurs, hunters, and everyone in between.
One of the things we’ve been excited about recently are many of our friends we grew up with have started going vegan. It’s cool to see the impact exponentially growing in front of our eyes.
When your diet comes up in conversation with non-veggie friends, do you have a favored elevator pitch to encourage them to eat more plants? If so, what is it?
We’ve found that grace, acceptance, and friendship can do more for any one person than a lifetime of guilt, shame, and judgement. The reality is we’re all flawed human beings on a path to figure out who the hell we are, and why the hell we’re here. Rather than picking sides, we like to think of ourselves joining people and supporting them on their journey any way we can.
A few things we like to point out:
In the past, there was a stereotype associated with vegan eating. But today, people from all walks of life are exploring this lifestyle. And celebrities and professional athletes are going vegan in droves.
Most people are opposed to animal abuse. And when they learn about the insane abuses animals endure before becoming meat, they freak out.
If you’re opposed to animal cruelty, you’re already 90% vegan. Your diet is just the last 10%.
The billionaires of the world, like Richard Branson and Bill Gates see the writing on the wall. The future is vegan, and they’re cashing in. Even meat giants, Tyson Foods and Cargill, have begun investing heavily in plant-based protein.
Eating vegan is not some all-or-nothing proposition. We give you permission to explore this lifestyle as little or as much as you want.
Don’t get bogged down in the minutia. Focus on the ingredients that cause the most animal suffering. Meat, fish, dairy, and eggs.
Allow yourself to make mistakes. Failure is part of the process.
This isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. You don’t need to go vegan overnight. Start off by picking up a package of Beyond Burgers, or another vegan product, on your next grocery shopping trip. Then go from there.
What is a typical?
Tofu scramble with Tempeh Bacon
Sofritas Bowl from Chipotle with beans, rice, fajita veggies, mild and hot sauce, and guac
Beyond Burger with all the fixins + a splash of Just Caesar dressing (trust us, it will change your life)
A shot of vodka (because obviously…it’s on brand J)
What are some of your favorite spots to dine at (in whichever city you spend the most time)?
We love Veggie Grill in LA! If you’re a meat eater, but are looking to explore vegan food (or are curious about transitioning to a plant-based diet) Veggie Grill is the place to go. Make sure you order their Buffalo Wings!
The Vegan Bros, Matt Letten and Phil Letten, are brothers who have transformed their lives by adopting a vegan lifestyle. Their new book Vodka is Vegan: A Vegan Bros Manifesto for Better Living and Not Being an A**Hole is now available wherever books are sold.