7.1.20 UPDATE: Hi, if you’re reading this, it means you’re probably aware that Austin Aries is a dipshit COVID-conspiracy theorist/anti-masker. Maybe you Googled him and ended up here, or maybe you were here for a recipe and you found this and were like, “Oh god, not you too, Natalie!” No. Not me too. I, like you, and getting real sick of vegans doing embarrassing shit like denying the existence of COVID-19 or claiming it was created by Bill Gates, or crying about having to wear a mask. I’m leaving this post here because I’m not going to pretend like I had nothing to do with giving this person credibility, but please know that this guy is a total kook, COVID-19 is real, you should wear a mask, and also grocery-shaming other people is classist and shitty. OKTHXBYE!

I’m gonna talk about Austin Aries in a sec. But first, let’s talk about me. When I was pitching the idea for my cookbook, the one question every publisher came back with was, “What do vegan food and pro-wrestling have to do with each other?”

When I finally found a publisher that got it, it was time to promote the book. Often times my intro on the afternoon cable news segments went something like, “Her name is Natalie Slater, and she’s here to show us what on earth vegan food and pro-wrestling have in common!”

I dunno, to me it’s always made perfect sense. Professional wrestling has always been for weirdos, outsiders and drama queens and what is veganism if not also a safe haven for people who look at the world a little differently than everyone else?

So when people started talking about this vegan guy in the WWE, Austin Aries, I was a lot less curious about where he got his protein than I was about how he put up with answering the same stupid questions over and over again. Is wrestling fake? What would you do if you woke up on an island that had nothing to eat except pigs? What do you eat, like, tofu and stuff?

Aries’ first book, Food Fight: My Plant-Powered Journey from the Bingo Halls to the Big Time just dropped in June, and I had a chance to chat with him about dumb questions, the specific struggles of a Midwestern vegan, and what the difference between plant-based and vegan means to him. His book answers a lot of questions non-vegans are bound to have and will have long-time vegans nodding in agreement. You can grab a copy here!

Thanks SO MUCH to my friend Matt Barnette for editing this video – check him out on YouTube!