Plant Powered Shabbat: Nicholas Grubbs

Written by: Nicholas Grubbs
April 2022

Plant Powered Shabbat: Nicholas Grubbs

Plant Powered Shabbat is a OneTable series that celebrates the Jewish values of nourishing ourselves and the world around us through plant-based cooking and eating. Hear from OneTable hosts and guests how they’re bringing these values to the Shabbat table!

We sat down with OneTable NY host Nicholas Grubbs (they/them) to talk about journeys with Shabbat, going vegan, and discovering spaciousness in oneself.

Tell us a bit about you!

I live in Queens, NY, and I have a lot of labels — I’m a queer, sober, vegan, Jewish (with Buddhist proclivities), Capricorn.  I have a past life as a contemporary dancer and yoga teacher, but I’m currently studying to become certified in ASL Interpretation. I’m also involved in “safer spaces” work in the nightlife sector, focusing on the implementation of harm reduction and conflict de-escalation strategies, and I manage and curate parties.

What inspired you to go vegan?

Lots of gentle seed-planting from my best friend Naomi, who eventually convinced me to watch Cowspiracy. I went from carnivore to vegan as the credits rolled! This choice was only bolstered as I continued to educate myself on the many benefits of veganism:  for my body, for the planet, and for animal welfare. It’s been more than six years now!

How is veganism connected to your Judaism?

The main parallel I notice is in mentality. Judaism has always emphasized the importance of questioning and ongoing analysis of the self, our choices, and how we understand the world. Veganism doubled down on this for me. It took something I hadn’t let myself question for my whole life, exposed its very dark underbelly, and quickly made me realize how many of my actions are a result of habit and learned behavior rather than intentionality.

What does Shabbat mean to you?

Spaciousness, a break from day-to-day chaos.  A time to slow down, listen more closely to my body, and make decisions that feel good in the moment.

How does Shabbat relate to your plant-based values?

When I first went vegan, I tried to make it strictly a dietary choice and not a lifestyle choice. It didn’t take me long to realize that every choice you make shapes your lifestyle, and veganism is something you must choose to engage with multiple times per day.

Shabbat is similar: it is a choice, that becomes a practice, that can influence your lifestyle. Becoming more mindful about my relationship with food and my daily/weekly rituals has profoundly impacted my relationship with my body, the way that I engage with people, and my sobriety + recovery journey.

Do you have a go-to vegan challah recipe?

Nope, but my DM’s are open! Challah at me. Oh, and for Shabbat dishes in general, I would recommend just about anything with a potato. I love Minimalist Baker’s vegan mashed potato recipe!