Ask a Vegan: Wanderlust Moon Duo
Lindsey Bathke and Nik Sheasby share their “joys of life” on the Wanderlust Moon Duo blog—including their commitment to maintaining a vegan diet as they travel the world.
For the pair known as the Wanderlust Moon Duo, as with many people, the transition to eating completely vegan was a process. Lindsey Bathke turned away from meat almost 20 years ago, after college, but kept fish, eggs and dairy on the menu until 2020, after her partner, Nik Sheasby, decided to embrace veganism. “I decided that fully plant-based was aligned with my soul,” Bathke says. “Once I found recipes and acknowledged how easy it is to eat plant-based now, I was in! Finding alternatives, like using one banana instead of one egg in pancakes or using aquafaba (the water from a can of chickpeas) as a substitute for an egg white, is genuinely fun and creative.”
For his part, Sheasby began journeying toward veganism after getting sober, in August 2018. “I was not eating much at all toward the last days of my drinking, so after I was released from the hospital, my doctors told me that I needed to listen to my body—that it would tell me what I would be able to eat or not,” Sheasby explains. “After a good test of my liver, I ate a burger and was immediately sick. I moved to chicken, turkey and fish, but I still was not feeling the best. In early 2019, I gave up meat and started to feel better, eating mostly veg and some fish.”
Sheasby made the switch to 100% vegan early in 2020, and he felt his body immediately respond to the change—in a good way. “It was able to come back stronger, with less sleep; after a long workday or workouts, I would recover more quickly,” he says. “I have found a lot of sober people eating vegan, because it is easier to process in the body. It allows your body to focus on what it needs to focus on, and not on breaking down animal products. I have felt the best I have in my 35 years since I've switched to fully vegan (and sober).”
Bathke and Sheasby began their blog in the spring of 2020 to share their “travels and joys of life,” which includes eating plant-based. “Through our blog, I hope to inspire people to eat in ways that can feel really good for their bodies—a kind way of eating,” Bathke says. “I know it may not be for every body type, but if a few days per week are filled with plant-based meals, the earth and your body will thank you! I love to chat with people about vegan alternatives, recipes, questions or confusions. I simply find such joy in eating plants and want to share that with others.”
Q: What do you think are some common misconceptions about vegan consumers and/or vegan diets?
Bathke: We often hear, “Well, what do you eat?” and “Where do you get your protein?” The misconception may be that our bodies are suffering because of the lack of animal products being consumed. Protein can come from many non-animal sources, such as beans, avocado, quinoa and so much more. And not all vegans are “tree huggers,” but when we get called that phrase, we feel honored! Also, we like to eat more than salads—please offer more than salad!
Q: How can pizzerias and restaurants do a better job of communicating their vegan offerings to customers and reach the vegan community?
Bathke: When traveling, we use Google Maps quite often to find new restaurants, or Instagram. It would really be helpful if more restaurants would state “plant-based” or “vegan options available” at the top of their menu or Instagram profile. For example, there is a cinnamon roll franchise that is vegan but does not state it anywhere in the store, so as not to turn off non-vegan consumers. The company lists it on their website, so vegans who have done their research will know, but common consumers walking by would not. There is a real hesitancy from people to not eat something if it is vegan. We find that very odd! We still live in a country mostly confused by vegan eating.
Nik has written a few posts on vegan snacks and vegan restaurants we have found along the way, complete with photos and how the meal made us feel. As far as pizza, there is one Seattle-based pizza shop, Pi Vegan Pizzeria, that has been stuck in our dreams! The whole shop is vegan. Mac ’n’ cheese pizza—you got it! Build-your-own pizza—they have that, too. Anything your heart desires, truly. What a gift to the pizza eating world!
Sheasby: Oh, man, just as Lindsey said, Pi Vegan Pizzeria in Seattle is a favorite. I crave that pizza! For people looking to get pizza faster, Blaze Pizza, which is a chain, has a really nice vegan build-your-own pizza option that is quite affordable. I love food (I did not for a long time), and I love finding vegan food all over the world. It is out there, and it is incredible. You find out that it is such a clean and delicious way to protect your body.
Q: Why do you see vegan eating as not just a trend but a full evolution of our eating habits going forward (even among meat eaters who are incorporating more plant-based foods)?
Bathke: We see vegan eating as not just a trend but a full evolution of our eating habits for two reasons:
Once people eat more plant-based, they simply feel better. Once the psychology can change and people notice that, honor it and accept it, eating plant-based will become more natural.
The world is suffering due to our animal consumption. We need to make drastic changes. By eating vegan, you can help heal the world. That’s pretty rad. There is weight in that! You are contributing to lightening your impact on the earth while you’re here.
Sheasby: I see veganism finding a wave of popularity. Once you get over the stigma, you find out how delicious it really is, and how you and your body will not miss meat. Your body will actually thank you. Believe me, I know—coming from death’s door and feeling my body through every stage of health to where I am now. If restaurants do not cover up that they have vegan options or feature more options that are not “scary” to meat eaters, I think it will spread around—at least, I hope!
Q: What strides have you witnessed in vegan food options over the years, and what do you want to see or predict for the future of this space?
Bathke: There have been major strides in vegan food options over the years, from snacks to delicious, creative full meals. The vegan meat game has grown beyond soy to include beets, beans and more. Earlier last year, we were on Vancouver Island and got introduced to the magic of The Very Good Butchers, which makes plant-based vegan meats. Their vegan bangers, made with beans, made our souls smile. During our trip, we returned several times.
The vegan snack game has grown as well. While traveling in our van this summer, we found Vegan Rob’s, which has offerings including Cauliflower Puffs, Brussels Sprout Puffs and Turmeric Puffs. Lesser Evil makes a divine No Cheese Cheesiness popcorn that has been munched on through several states. No matter how small of a town we roll through, we will find something to eat, even if it’s the most simple garden-variety veggie burger. Consciousness is expanding.
We want people to keep creating vegan options, outside of soy, and it’s happening! I hope for the future of this space that eating plant-based will be looked at more as a standard of eating wise for your body, rather than as something far-out and devoid of “real” nutrition.