Name: Nick Coughlin
City: Minneapolis, MN
Occupation: Founder of Compassionate Man Magazine
What inspired you to switch to a plant-based diet?
Purely animals. The only reason I went vegan was for animals. These days, I'm interested in health and fitness as well.
Sometimes when I'm a little lost or confused about my path, I think about my death bed and looking back on my life, wondering what I'll consider a successful life. I always come back to, 'Did I help make a difference for animals? Did I help reduce suffering? Did I help change people's hearts and minds?'
That's why I'm doing Compassionate Man Magazine (click here for a free issue!). Men have the same capacity for compassion and the problem is that we are so often discouraged from showing that side of ourselves. Our culture has such a warped sense of masculinity, and we need to change that. A whole, complete human being exhibits the whole array of human emotions, but we're taught that there are certain things that are masculine and certain things that are feminine, and I just don't buy that.
Are you currently a member of any organizations?
I do a lot with Compassionate Action for Animals. My heart really lies with farm animals. I cut my teeth at Farm Sanctuary and have a soft spot in my heart for what they do and the approach that they take in meeting people where they are.
My sister is with The Humane Society of the United States, and I have a lot of friends with them. I have a deep respect for Mercy for Animals and for PETA.
What do you do to stay physically active?
4 days a week I work out at home in the morning. I have a set of barbells and a pull-up bar, and I do a bunch of burpees. I'm about to begin training for the Chicago Marathon. I'm excited to get out there.
What film would you recommend to people who are interested in learning more about veganism?
Peaceable Kingdom is one I like a lot. Farm to Fridge is something I do as pay-per-view with Compassionate Action for Animals; it's pretty powerful. It's reality so we should open our eyes to that.
Books that have affected me are Eat To Live by Dr Joel Fuhrman, Whole by Dr Colin Campbell. Wayne Pacelle is an amazing writer. He's got a new book coming out in April, The Humane Economy, and I look up to him a lot.
Favorite local restaurant:
I like Himalayan and Pizza Luce. I love ethnic food like Ethiopian food and Thai food.
Favorite place to buy groceries:
I buy groceries at Cub and I do a lot of produce shopping at Whole Foods.
I love goats. My first profile picture on Facebook was of Neptune and me at Farm Sanctuary. He was a wise, old goat and the oldest at the farm at the time. He would rub his face against your face.
My dogs are my favorite animals. They're my kids.
What's one thing on your bucket list?
One of my big goals is to be completely debt free. I want to owe nothing. And I'd loved to walk across America but I haven't been able to do it because I have bills to pay.
What advice would you offer someone who's interested in transitioning to a plant-based diet?
Connect with people who are already doing it and who can help you along the way. Having a support system is really important especially when you're doing something that's still a fringe thing. Whatever your reasons are, find people who are doing it for those same reasons and connect with them. Someone who you can call and take you to the grocery store is going to make a big difference.