Get to Know: Jon Rosario, Co-Founder of nooch digest
Dustin Moore: I’m here with Jon Rosario from nooch digest. He is one of the creators.
Jon Rosario: Hi!
DM: So Jon, How long have you been vegan?
JR: I’ve been vegan for over three and a half years now.
DM: Wow! What was the reason you became vegan?
JR: There’s actually a couple reasons. Being able to buy my own groceries was a concept to me that was very freeing. It allowed me to basically choose what I wanted to buy and I was able to be more conscious about food and where it comes from. Once I was able to start paying for my own food, I was able to choose what I wanted to get. I started from eating organic, to becoming more healthy. One thing kinda led to another…
DM: Why was that important to you?
JR: It wasn’t so much specifically about food being organic. To be honest, it was more about weight loss. Not that I necessarily considered myself overweight, but it was about toning my body and wanting to lose weight. A lot of it is partly because of vanity.
DM: Yeah. And insecurity.
JR: And insecurity and societal pressures. And being gay. There’s certain images that get pushed to your face and you’re pressured to look a certain way.
DM: Did you have an "aha" moment or was it gradual?
JR: There was an "aha" moment and it was actually this video that I saw. I remember it, this guy, and I’m forgetting his name right now. He was very brash and very aggressive. I don’t agree with his methods but it was very effective on me because it posed this question of “Why do you want to keep doing this to animals when you can have options that are not only just as healthy but are going to be even more healthy without causing pain or suffering to other beings?” He laid it out. He said, “You have the choice to not inflict pain on others. Why wouldn’t you do it? And now that you have this information, it’s up to you to do something about it." In a way, it was empowering but at the same point it was very much that “aggressive vegan.” I was browsing through Youtube and just stumbled upon it. I’ve learned he’s a pretty famous guy and it’s a pretty famous video. It’s something many other vegans talk about. He’s a controversial figure I’ve learned.
DM: Did anyone help facilitate your transition into veganism?
JR: Yes! I didn’t know about veganism until one of my coworkers actually introduced me to it. She’d come to work with all of these lunches that smelled so good. First of all, she looked great and she never seemed to be lacking in anything. At work, she was always so focused and on top of her shit. It makes you wonder, do you really need animal products to thrive?
"He said, 'You have the choice to not inflict pain on others. Why wouldn’t you do it? And now that you have this information, it’s up to you to do something about it.' In a way, it was empowering."
DM: If you can, name some challenges you’ve faced becoming vegan.
JR: There’s a lot of challenges. Fortunately for me, I’ve only lived in two metropolitan cities ever since I became vegan: New York and L.A. Both cities are very vegan-friendly. However, traveling outside of those cities can be daunting. Even a simple day trip can lead to a ton of research beforehand. You have to do a lot of planning. Even going out can be a challenge because accommodating the vegan isn't commonplace. But these challenges really reinforce my beliefs around veganism. Being able to stick to what I believe in is important to me.
DM: Why a blog?
JR: Well, it’s not something I really thought about. The idea came from you. It was something I dabbled in before but it was pretty short-lived. At the time, I had a bunch of ideas and I was doing it as a side project. I think a blog is a good way to show veganism in a positive light. It can be multifaceted.
DM: How do you envision nooch digest?
JR: nooch digest to me is a "go-to” for people. Right now, there isn’t a lot of resources for vegans. I’ve traveled a little bit, not a lot, and planning is one of the things that has become part of my life now. It really helps to have that little guide or resource to make things easier. It won’t just be a one way format. I want it to be collaborative. A collective. A way to showcase our life.
DM: What do you feel is the biggest stereotype about being vegan?
JR: Um…granola, hippie, crunchy...
"It makes you wonder, do you really need animal products to thrive?"
JR: Also predominantly white focused. It’s seen as a privileged lifestyle and only people of a certain income can afford it. This is not true.
DM: If someone wanted to become vegan, but didn’t know how, what do you think the first step should be?
JR: I think the first step should be to keep an open mind. I would encourage them to try vegan food. That's the easiest way to go about it.
DM: What is your favorite food or dish?
JR: I think this question is always evolving for me but…Pizza! That’s got to be the number one. There’s just so many possibilities with pizza.
DM: What is one fun fact about yourself? Doesn’t have to be about being vegan.
JR: I’m actually an immigrant from the Philippines. I’ve only been here for about sixteen or seventeen years. I’m hoping to travel more because I want this blog to be so much! This is something we have to do. Just gotta jump.