Ask a Bro is a column dissecting bro culture in all its beefy, V-necked forms.
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Two brothers literal of names single syllable, Phil and Matt, have been uniting the apparently disparate concepts of bro and plant-based diet for 11 and seven years, respectively. Having "hijacked the term 'Bro' [sic]," they now run a coaching company and blog called Vegan Bros, seeking to offer readers answers to questions like "How can I go from Chunk to Hunk or Hunk-ess...ok maybe Babe is better?" and "How can I stop being such a weak-ass hippie, vegan? I want to be a Vegan Bro."
Although they came to veganism separately, they answered my questions in unison. This is their story.
BROADLY: How did you guys get into veganism? Did you have reservations about it at first? I know it's fairly common, for men especially, to think veganism is stupid.
Matt and Phil: When we were younger, we bought into the bullshit marketing propaganda pushed by meat industry giants. But as we got older, we watched a bunch of undercover videos showing all the fucked-up shit done to animals on factory farms. Animals are crammed into cages so small they can barely move, mutilated without painkillers, and many have their throats slit while fully conscious.
While the meat industry-manufactured "real men" bullshit has lied to, manipulated, and misled us for generations, men are now waking up in droves and going vegan.
Did you struggle to adapt to the lifestyle at all?
It did take some adjusting, but it was way easier than both of us thought. The approach that seems to garner the most long-term success is easing into it. We did it gradually, and that's what we always recommend to others as well. That could mean eating vegan one day per week, one meal per day, or even just one meal per week. This allows newbies to experiment with different foods and find what they like best.
Eating vegan is second nature to both of us now. It's easy and tasty as fuck. The days of the meat-heavy bros screaming, "But where do you get your protein!?" are fucking over. Even billionaire investors like Bill Gates are getting behind companies like Hampton Creek Foods. The vegan industry has exploded; it's now a multi-billion dollar industry. And the food gets better and better every year.
What's your favorite protein?
Last year Chipotle gave birth to God. Sofritas is God.
Do you find yourself judging non-vegans, who may very well know exactly the benefits of veganism, yet keep eating meat because it's convenient and salty? I know you say you think people should be able to do whatever the fuck they want, but sometimes I think judgment is unavoidable.
Matt was 96 pounds overweight. Tired. Sick. Sad. Always.
He was addicted to food. He used it for emotional comfort. He went from over-full to over-full. He was living, but he did not feel alive. He was numb. He struggled with depression, pre-hypertension, and just about the most negative view anyone could have about himself.
Matt lost those 96 pounds. And doing that not only changed his health and the way he looked. It changed the way he felt, the way he viewed the world, and the way he viewed himself. Phil's story is similar, but skinny to fit.
We are coaches because we want to help people transform their lives, not just in the way they look, but in every way possible.
But we also believe in people being able to do whatever the fuck they want. If you don't want to lose weight, if you don't want to exercise and eat healthfully, that's cool, too. We don't judge anyone who isn't vegan yet, because we spent most of our lives eating meat. We acknowledge that we're all on our own unique journey. Rather than look for ways to exclude people, we try to be as inclusive as possible. If you're opposed to animal abuse you're already 90 percent vegan. Your diet is just the last ten percent.
Are there any disadvantages to being really good looking?
Ryan Gosling hasn't gotten back to us yet. We're very interested to find out as well.
Matt, in your bio, you write that you're "really weird." What do you mean by that?
We like to make fun of ourselves.
But in what ways are you weird?
We read everyday. We like to make fun of ourselves. We grew up hardcore religious, (Matt actually is two credits shy of a minor in theology from Evangel University), but now are both very non-religious. Vodka and whiskey fuel our creativity. Seriously, all of our best ideas come while drinking. Neither of us used profanity at all until we were out of high school. (Profane-laden sentences are way more fun than dangit and oh my gosh.)
Phil has become a language nerd and speaks intermediate Russian and Spanish. Once he reaches fluency in both, he plans to move onto other languages. Matt had a near-death experience in Las Vegas a year and a half ago stemming from his life-threatening nut allergy.
But most of our weirdness is a secret!
Are you guys single?
Are you looking? Would your ideal partner have to be vegan, too?
We are both single. We're not looking. We both have weird opinions about relationships. But vegan women are hot.
What are your weird opinions about relationships?
Let's just put it this way: Maybe each of us will get married one day. But probably not.
Ha! Kissing and going down on meat eaters is different. It's not too bad. But it's not the best.