published Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Sexy vegetarians explain their lifestyle

Kate Veltkamp and Scott Veltkamp are one of the Top 10 finalist couples for PETA’s Sexiest Vegetarians Next Door contest.
Kate Veltkamp and Scott Veltkamp are one of the Top 10 finalist couples for PETA’s Sexiest Vegetarians Next Door contest.

It’s dinnertime at the Veltkamp house. Kate, 24, prepares roasted portobello mushrooms with stuffing, kale and mashed potatoes with cashew cream. Meanwhile, Scott, 28, looks after their daughter, Emery, 18 months.

In 2009, after seeing a news story about three Georgia men who were arrested for allegedly killing and eating a dog, Kate decided to embrace a vegetarian lifestyle.

“It really shocked me,” she said. “It was really horrifying.”

A year later, she went vegan and her husband became a vegetarian. Emery, they said, has never been exposed to meat. They work to maintain a natural lifestyle, avoiding animal products in their food and clothing.

She is stricter than he is.

“Once in a while, when we go out, I might eat some cheese,” he said, “but not usually.”

The couple are finalists in the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Sexiest Vegetarians Next Door contest. Here, they talk about discovering new food, feeling good and why vegans do, in fact, make better lovers.

Q: On the news story that inspired her life change ...

• Kate: Why [was] I so horrified at this, and why are these men going to jail when billions of animals die every year and no one does anything about it? There are a certain few animals that people are supposed to eat and it’s OK to kill them. It didn’t really make sense to me. So I thought if I’m unhappy with eating a dog, I might as well not eat any animals.

Q: Why he gave up meat ...

• Scott: I always felt weird (buying meat at the grocery store). I was unsure where it came from or what was in it. Who knows what an animal was eating or how it was kept. It just really bothered me that I had no idea where anything came from; it just kind of showed up in the supermarket and that was it. Just the idea of getting more basic foods rather than processed foods is something I wanted to try.

Q: What’s sexy about vegetarianism?

• Kate: For me, it’s compassion. I would never date a meateater ever again. Not that I would ever get divorced, but I would never be with someone like that. Since the main reason I am vegan is for moral reasons, compassion is just so sexy to me, because it shows that someone is thinking about other creatures, about other beings besides themselves.

• Scott: Most vegetarians I know look and feel healthier. You feel better on the inside and you look better on the outside. You’re more in shape or fit if you’re vegetarian.

Q: So do vegans make better lovers?

• Kate: Yes, definitely. Definitely, definitely, definitely.

• Scott: I agree, too. It’s definitely something we share together, so it brings us closer.

Q: Exploring the world in the kitchen ...

• Scott: We really got into Indian food for a while. I really like spicy food, so we were on an Indian kick for a long time. That’s very vegetarian friendly.

• Kate: Mexican is great for vegetarians, also Thai food, Japanese, sushi — we’ve learned to make our own sushi now. It’s just a whole lot of fun. Before I would make fish or meat with a couple of vegetable sides, but now it’s more about creating an entire meal that suits all your nutritional needs and is amazing, taste-wise, as well.

Q: On feelin’ good ...

• Scott: I lost 40 pounds. I’ve always worked out, and I maybe stepped that up a little bit, but it’s mostly due to diet. I feel more energetic. I remember feeling sluggish after eating a steak, but I don’t feel that anymore.

• Kate: I feel energetic now. And we never get sick. Maybe once a year, we get a cold. When I was pregnant, that was right around the time I dropped all meat and the whole time ... I just felt amazing. Afterward I was able to recover from my C-section so fast, because I wasn’t weighing my body down with processed food and meat. I felt like a different person.

On May 31, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals announced that Kate Veltkamp has been named "Sexiest (female) Vegetarian Next Door."

about Holly Leber ...

Holly Leber is a reporter and columnist for the Life section. She has worked at the Times Free Press since March 2008. Holly covers “everything but the kitchen sink" when it comes to features: the arts, young adults, classical music, art, fitness, home, gardening and food. She writes the popular and sometimes-controversial column Love and Other Indoor Sports. Holly calls both New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY home. She earned a bachelor of arts ...

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Great story! I tried to go vegetarian a few times after seeing all the videos on the PETA site but that would only last a few days. I just can't resist the salty-delicious taste of bacon as awful as that sounds BUT I would love to try going vegetarian again. I'm eating pigs-n-a blanket as I type so I guess it's too late to start today. Tomorrow is looking promising though! :)

May 24, 2011 at 8:33 a.m.

She looks harmless enough...He looks like a self-absorbed Albino in desperate need of a haircut...They both look closer to 40 than 30 years of age...I suspect Emery will grow up craving prime rib!

May 24, 2011 at 4:08 p.m.
kateveltkamp said...

@ Libertarians for freedom--Guess what? The majority of people on this planet are omnivores who are constantly 'expressing themselves' (whatever that even means). We are finalists in a national PETA contest, so the TFP decided to report on that newsworthy note. For your information, there are plenty of vegan bodybuilders and personal trainers who are just as capable of said professions as those who eat flesh.

@Muhammad_Van_Buren--This photo hardly represents what we truly look like since it is a profile shot. For some reason, in my browser it seems that we are orangey. Not the case. Also, Scott is one of the tannest Caucasians I know. Do you know what an albino is? And do you realize that to appear 40, one must have wrinkles? Neither of us do, so nice try. Emery won't crave something she'll never have. When she gets old enough to make these decisions for herself, she may want to try meat. But the food we provide her with is so yummy and filling that I doubt she'll even want to. Not to mention the fact that she'll probably care enough about animals to not fund the incessant torture and murder of them. Thanks for the concern, though!

May 24, 2011 at 4:56 p.m.
Echo said...

Annoying "ethical" vegetarians are parasites living off the current and previous hard labor of others made possible through a diet of concentrated animal protein. Homesteads, machines, factories, farms, armies and laborers created the modern infrastructure with sinew and brawn fueled by meat.

To believe that all man-made things that sustain us could be conceived and created on tofu, sprouts and notdogs is delusional. Our teeth, including four flesh tearing incisors proclaim the evolutionary (sorry God Squaders) path that has brought modern man to the point were he is today, a violent hunter when necessary. Where there is widescale vegetarianism, there is poverty, malnutrition, pestilence and chaos. Why? Low protein availability results in fatigue and lethargy. The energy to build civilized societies requires a dense and sustainable protein to feed brains and bodies.

As far as species go, man is not alone in killing as a survival method. Many of the animals that vegetarians are so eager to protect are ruthless killers of other animals.

Slow, dumb, and tasty are the three attributes of what makes one animal the prey and another the predator. If you are slow, dumb and tasty, you are a meal. Chick-fil-a (slow,dumb,tasty), Ribeye (slow,dumb,tasty), Lamb Chop with mint jelly (slow,dumb,tasty), BBQ Ribs (not so slow,not so dumb, but way too damm tasty). Sexy is my feminine and non-flaky wife pulling a roast from the oven and putting Yorkshire Pudding into it.

May 24, 2011 at 10:46 p.m.
dude_abides said...

I understand that advanced yoga practitioners who are averse to eating the flesh of other animals have become fairly adept at tossing their own salads. Sorry, I just realized the previous sentence could, out of context, be considered a sexual inyourendo. I will retract it tomorrow (I am feeling lethargic presently, having just finished a roast beef and gravy open-face sandwich).

May 25, 2011 at 12:06 a.m.
dao1980 said...

Weak, like veggie spaghetti.

May 25, 2011 at 9:14 a.m.
sarahlewis said...

I don't understand why people feel the need to attack vegetarians and vegans who have the audacity to say anything in mixed company about their diet choices. This article IS promoting this couple, it's true. But it is clearly not an attempt at conversion or even remotely "preachy". These two vegetarians are finalists in a national contest run by PETA called "The Sexiest Vegetarians Next Door" and TFP wanted to highlight something this city should be proud of. Given our city's recent national attention with American Idol and Extreme Home Makeover, I don't understand why people aren't more excited over this. Live and let live. And don't drag someone's daughter into your baseless attacks. Sheesh.

May 25, 2011 at 11:07 a.m.
LibDem said...

I'm a vegetarian. I don't advertise that other than to quietly tell the server in a restaurant. I've a BMI of 21 (a shade below the midpoint of 'healthy'). There are some advantages like the unfashionable clothes I buy still fit decade after decade (sometimes they even come into fashion). I never need remedies for acid or reflux. Like L4F says, it's a lifestyle choice. I'm not trying to proselytize. To each his own. It works for me.

May 25, 2011 at 3:02 p.m.
LibDem said...

It's all a matter of definition but I don't consider people who live on chips and soda to be 'vegetarians'. I think 'vegetables' is the proper term.

May 25, 2011 at 5:52 p.m.
mostlyalways said...

Lovely article. It always takes me by suprise when I hear people's ugly responses to something not intended to recruit (or much less, judge), but rather to share information (ahem, NEWS... this is a NEWSpaper, correct?) Why do you suppose people are so defensive... could it possibly be because somewhere inside they realize that we may have moved past a place in history where eating flesh-- animals-- is appropriate, or even right? Just some more "food for thought." Great article about a beautiful couple who has found a lifestyle that suits them.

May 26, 2011 at 4:07 p.m.

My main feeling when reading this article is being sad. Maybe these two young people didn't mean to come across with such language but the vocabulary being used seemed so judgmental with an air of superiority.

After reading it, I didn't feel more informed by the vegetarian lifestyle at all. No facts were spoken, just their ongoing journey and experience. And I have absolutely no problem with their journey. Anyone who has lost 40 lbs, has better sex and feels more full of life NEEDS to be applauded... especially in our society... where the school systems are not only feeding our kids garbage but bars anyone else from educating them how to eat properly (yes, I've been watching Jamie Olivers Food Revolution).

But can you eat meat AND lose 40lbs, have better sex, feel better about yourself and feel like taking on the world? According to them, no. But it's most definitely a 'yes'. I've done it. Obviously it takes a diet change including more fruits, veggies, and nuts but I also changed to lean meats from local farmers at Whole Foods. And the pounds started falling off... without exercise. And I never get sick either.

I guess the thing that got to me is their attitude towards "flesh" eaters. If not eating meat is compassionate then someone who eats meat is NOT compassionate and cruel. In fact, they believe so much it can effect their relationships. If Kate believes what she believes so strongly that she couldn't have a boyfriend (or husband) that eats meat, the underlying statement would be that her other relationships would be effected too. Friendships can only go so far if they eat meat. I mean, if I took them out to eat and ordered "flesh", I'd feel completely uncomfortable that they'd be judging me and think I was at best uninformed or worse, a immoral barbarian.

These two look hot. And I really do hope they win because they've been extremely disciplined. But they're not hot because they're vegans. They're hot because of mostly genetics and secondly, a good diet and lots of exercise.

And according to the photo they took of themselves, they seem like fun people that doesn't take themselves too seriously. As a couple, they've found a path they can both enthusiastically take that brings them closer together as a family and they can learn and grow together. That too should be applauded. I just hope one of them doesn't change their stance of this issue.

I also would think a friendship with them would be limited and awkward because how I KNOW they feel about "flesh" eaters. And that's why I was sad by the end of this article.

If this attitude is what I would gain if I became a vegan then no thanks.

May 26, 2011 at 4:45 p.m.
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