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|Spoiler Alert! Please click off of this page if you haven’t seen the film yet and want to enjoy seeing how the film subjects did on their journey.
Ellen, Brian, and Tesla at the L.A. premiere in October, 2011.
For those of you who have watched the film, we have a few updates since we locked the final edit. These are current as of January, 2012.
Brian is still a bachelor, but now his fridge is stocked with delicious produce since moving back to California, where delicious fresh vegetables and fruits abound. He still loves eating out, but he enjoys getting creative in the kitchen too. Since he started the project, he hasn’t consciously consumed any farm animal products but would sometimes still eat sea animals on and off. Once he attended his first sneak peek screening of Vegucated, though, he was inspired to go from “pescetegan” back to full-on vegan and has been ever since.
He originally came on board with the project so he could lose weight and look good for his burgeoning acting career. He didn’t expect to have a 30-point drop in blood pressure or an 18-point drop in LDL cholesterol. Now 25 lbs. lighter than when he started the project, he’s fit enough to play a leading man, but he’s channeling his boundless energy into his family’s furniture shop and is thrilled about new trends in non-leather upholstery. His father attended the San Francisco premiere and publicly swore off hamburgers, proving that healthy eating can be contagious.
Ellen has added two new hats to the many hats she already wears: single mom, emergency room psychiatrist, stand-up comic, and now playwright and Manhattanite. She has written one-woman shows and one-act plays, including Dream Wedding, which prominently features a vegan character. You can watch clips from her work here, and you can watch a full, hilarious stand-up set in the Vegucated DVD extras.
Ellen came on board to the Vegucated project to avert the threat of “fat middle-aged spread” and heart disease, which runs in her family. In the course of the project, she lost 10 lbs., and her LDL cholesterol dropped 20 points. She’s managed to eat right and keep the weight off despite her biggest challenge, finding the time to prepare healthy food. But with the help of stir-fries and salad mixes, she’s doing quite well and staying vegan in the process except for the occasional slip when, as a self-professed coffeeholic, she may splash some milk into her coffee if there’s no non-dairy milk around in a Moment of Need.
She moved to Manhattan so her daughter Debbie could be closer to the performing arts high school, where Debbie is training to be a professional dancer and speaks openly about her vegetarian/mostly vegan lifestyle. Ellen’s son Mark, now an athlete and also in high school, is extremely careful about what he eats and incorporates many healthy plant foods into his diet.
Tesla‘s biggest challenges in the project were not liking vegetables or beans and lacking social support. Though she’s resigned never to like kale or broccoli, her palate has definitely expanded, and she periodically updates us with discoveries about how delicious foods like lentils or zucchini are. She’s had trouble staying on the vegetarian path but has been back on track since late summer. It helps that Harry, the “new boyfriend” in the film who has since become her husband, now enjoys a mostly meat-free diet after reading books, watching films, and hearing the cries of animals at a live market in NYC. Tesla’s family considers vegan diet less “loco” now, especially given that Tesla’s LDL cholesterol dropped 26 points and her blood pressure dropped 20 points in the course of the project. We were thrilled that her parents drove all the way to Toronto to be part of the world premiere.
As a student in law school now, Tesla doesn’t have much time to cook, but she does appreciate the ample veg options at the school cafeteria and the handy dandy iPhone apps that help her find good eats on her way to and from class.