Well Being

How Brian L. Patton Lost Weight, Got Healthy, And Became ‘The Sexy Vegan’

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the sexy vegan cookbook

Brian L. Patton is not a sexy vegan the way that PETA presents sexy vegans. He doesn't, for example, wear a lettuce bikini. No, Patton is the Sexy Vegan, a joke that started when, after making the switch to a plant-based diet, he started a YouTube series for his friends, which featured him cooking easy vegan recipes. Now, what started out as a plan to lose some weight and make people laugh has turned into a cookbook (aptly named The Sexy Vegan Cookbook: Extraordinary Food from an Ordinary Dude)–and a new philosophy on health.

Patton, who is a professional chef, says he became a vegan to get healthy–but even though he's lost a substantial amount of weight (you can watch his progress over the last six years in the YouTube videos), he says it quickly became less about pounds and inches, and more about energy and inventive cooking.

I got to chat with Patton about the path from internet mini-celeb to published author, the recipes in the book, and breaking down stereotypes about uptight vegans. It was probably one of the most fun interviews I've done in a while. Behold:

Can you tell me a little bit about how you got from where you started to having a book? Because I know YouTube was a big step along the way.

The whole YouTube situation started because sometime in 2006, a friend was telling me “You need to check out this YouTube.com thing.” And I was like “What is that?” And then they explained it to me and I was like “Woah! You can do what? I need to do something with this!” so I got on it.

And I had also just become vegan right in that  area, and I watched cooking shows all the time, I was addicted to them, so I was like “Oh, I'll just do a little funny cooking video, and I'll send it to my friends, and maybe they'll laugh, or maybe they won't, but whatever, it will be entertaining either way.”

So that's how I did it.

I started with my very first episode, which was just a simple guacamole, and I tried to make it a little bit offbeat.  And then, somehow, shortly after I posted it, it got featured somewhere on one of the main pages of YouTube, and it started to get like, 1,000 hits a day. So then I had people emailing me, and making comments–some nice comments, some not-so-nice comments–it was very interesting to read. And so then, I was like, ok, I'll just make some more videos.

I made a little website for it, and a MySpace page (may it rest in peace), and now I've graduated to Facebook, Twitter, and all the things we have today. But really it started with someone saying “Hey, you can do this” and me saying “Cool, I'll do that.”

And then, somewhere along the line, I got an email from a publisher. And once I'd researched the publisher a little bit, I said “Yes. I will let you pay me to write a book.”

That was kind of you.

I'm a nice guy like that.

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