Meet the Teachers: Michael Federman prioritizes healthy lifestyle, chooses veganism


As seen in the Oct. 25 issue
Marguerite Alberts, graphics editor
When art teacher Michael Federman and his wife, Elizabeth, decided to have kids, they began to look at a piece of their lifestyle choice: their diet. Mrs. Federman had been a vegetarian since she was a child and had since lost her taste for dairy products.“She really wanted to learn about it [veganism] so she could make her own baby food and so that she could really investigate how she could be a responsible mother and save some money on things we don’t need to buy,” Federman said.
One of the main reasons for the Federmans to make the change to veganism was due to the incidences of cancer, diabetes and heart disease in younger people they knew.
“The incidents and the prevalence of all three of those major killers are happening to people earlier and earlier in their life span,” Mr. Federman said.
Since becoming vegan, Mrs. Federman has been certified by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) on foods and cooking that relates to solving and reversing cancer, diabetes and heart disease, and is now a Food For Life instructor.
Federman himself saw a huge change in his health after becoming vegan. Federman had always been a distance runner but had been dealing with asthma and allergies until he was 38. After changing his eating habits, he no longer needed the chronic medications for the asthma and the allergies that he had been taking since he was 12.
“When I went vegan, it [asthma] was gone,” he said. “I dropped 30 pounds and I don’t have any congestion and I don’t have this chronic condition.”
Unlike some people who choose to make the lifestyle change, the Federmans found the switch to veganism was very easy for them.
“Most people have a difficult transition because they don’t have the support at home,” Federman said. “My wife was a vegetarian so I would always come home to really wonderfully cooked meals.”
Federman gradually became a vegan as his wife would do little things such not buying animal products and telling him to use separate pans when he did have chicken.
“She was nice about it,” Federman said. “I didn’t really feel a need for a lot of the meat in my diet anyway. We always had a lot of vegetables at dinner time.”
Additionally, Mr. Federman found that he cooks more often now that he is vegan.
“I enjoy it because I feel very empowered to know that I can provide food for my kids when she is not home,”  Federman said. “I make a great vegan pizza that is made out shredded eggplant, carrot and zucchini.”