Being vegan is not just about animal rights and boycotting meat factories. It’s also about eating delicious food that’s good for the body. It’s about cooking to support health, excite tastebuds, and encourage environmental and social responsibility.
It’s not a diet – it’s a way of life.
George Mirceta wasn’t always a vegan. He grew up in a meat-loving community where veganism was for west coast hippies.
Now he has his own vegan catering company in San Antonio called Vegan Magic.
How does an Ohio meatatarian end up flipping chickpea burgers in Texas you ask? Let’s take a look…
Cooking up with the Joneses
George catered dinners and served as a personal chef for many years.
One day, without telling anyone, he decided to make a 4-course vegan meal for the family he was serving.
The family absolutely loved his meal and asked him what was in it.
He told them that the entire meal was vegan.
They were astounded…in a good way.
The family couldn’t believe that a 4-course vegan meal could be so delicious!
It was that dinner that put George on the culinary map forever.
But there were other places on the map George was interested in visiting.
He desired something new, something refreshing, to help clear his mind and give him a new view on life.
And hot tamale did he get it.
No worries, mon
Following the other love in his life, golf, George ventured to Jamaica to earn a living playing in tournaments.
He expected Jamaica to provide a suitable living, gorgeous scenery, and change of pace. But he never expected his world to be turned upside down.
Not long after he arrived, a Rastafarian man asked him, “What are your worries?”
George didn’t know what he meant.
“What are you worries, mon?” the Rastafarian repeated.
George was dumbfounded. No one had ever asked him that question before.
“He looked into my soul in an uncomfortable way,” George remembers. “I’ll never forget that feeling.”
The Rastafarian told George that there are no worries when you live by color:
- Green represents life and the food of the earth.
- Yellow represents the sun. Without the sun, there is no life.
- Red represents love – love of family and friends and love of God.
These are the colors of the Rastafarian flag and the colors the people live by.
The Rastafarian way of life also includes a particular diet called Ital (pronounced eye-tall), derived from the word “vital.”
“The Rastafarian man told me that what is vital is what you put in your body to be whole with the earth,” George recalls.
The Ital diet is vegan or vegetarian with whole foods and no alcohol.
Now, in America George enjoys fine foods. He loves to explore without limits.
But in his heart, the Ital way of eating aligns with that something new and refreshing, to help clear his mind and give him a new view on life.
Back to the land of the free-range
George made it back to the States, but he was not the same person.
He grew into the focused, driven version of himself and was ready and willing to share what he learned with the masses.
Time passed, George met his girlfriend, a fellow vegan, who found a job at an animal sanctuary in San Antonio.
Together George and his gal ventured to Texas to have an adventure together.
They often discussed how the vegan food they make is delicious and how people don’t understand what being vegan really means.
“People often ask me, ‘So, you only eat vegetables?’ But they don’t realize that they’re already eating vegan foods. I want to show people how to make ordinary food taste so great that they don’t miss the meat.”
George teaches people that vegan foods aren’t limited to carrots and lentils. There’s a whole range of delicious combinations that tickle the taste buds and impress even the harshest critic.
Bringing Vegan Magic to San Antonio
San Antonio is one of the last places you’d picture a vegan living.
Surprisingly, there are currently two thriving vegan restaurants in San Antonio, one at which George is a chef…for now.
George has a vision of opening a vegan restaurant that reflects the Ital way of eating.
He envisions a restaurant that uses the least amount of energy and water possible so that he doesn’t hog the world’s resources.
And he’s ready to welcome all people.
“If you’re a homeless man off the street, you will get food for free,” George states very seriously. “A homeless man is a human and deserves to have food, too.”
Clearly, a big motivation behind Vegan Magic is to take care of the community.
George wants to use his love of food, skillful cooking, and lessons learned from the Rastafarian way of life to feed the people in his community, help nourish their bodies, and influence them to care for others and the environment.
He’s not quite ripe enough to take the plunge, though.
“Is my food good? Absolutely. But I haven’t mastered it yet.”
Well, tighten your bootstraps, San Antonio! George is a force to be reckoned with and will turn anyone’s world upside with his vegan crepes and jambalaya.
What are your worries, mon?
Life is not without worry. But we choose to worry.
If we redirect our focus to ideals and practices that fill us up, nourish us, and inspire us to be better people, then all worries tend to subside.
We might initially predict that George will be worried about getting enough customers in his restaurant to pay the bills, finding suppliers and local farmers that align with his mission, and how to properly feed the people of the San Antonio community without breaking the bank.
But I don’t think it’ll last long.
“I want to do this the right way,” affirms George.
The right way can be challenging, but when we put our faith in our vision and work hard, magical things can happen.
You can follow Vegan Magic on Facebook: Vegan Magic. And if you live in San Antonio, be sure to message George about catering a meal, teaching a cooking class, and tips on eating well.
(photo credit: Vegan Magic)