The odds seem stacked against Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich becoming our first vegan president. But a few years ago who would have predicted he’d marry an Englishwoman 31 years his junior? Here, Elizabeth Kucinich—who admits to indulging occasionally in dairy—discusses the couple’s diet at home and on the campaign trail.
How much of you and your husband’s decision to live a vegan lifestyle is influenced by sustainability issues?
EK: I think it’s a combination of three things. One is compassion. A vegan diet is in line with what we’re trying to create in the world. Equal to that is sustainability. We understand feeding all of our plant-based foods to animals is an inefficient way of feeding people. Then there’s health. We’re constantly traveling through different time zones. The vegan diet just gives us energy. We’re not trying to convert anyone, but we do talk about the benefits of the choices we’ve made.
How do you two eat at home? Who does the cooking?
EK: Dennis makes breakfast. He’s an oatmeal fan. He eats it for breakfast with nuts and dried fruits and whole-wheat toast. But I do the cooking, normally. My mother taught me to cook from an early age. Dennis’s favorite is pasta, but I like grains and nutty things. Couscous. Lots of vegetables. Dennis also loves going to the Middle Eastern store. He likes hummus, baba ghanoush and all those wonderful Arabian dishes.
Is it difficult to find good vegan food on the campaign trail?
EK: We have what we call a vegan underground network, with people who pop up at events with wonderful home-cooked meals and packed lunches. But it can be difficult in certain states. In those cases we have spaghetti with olive oil and garlic.