VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — A local middle school teacher has been crowned PETA’s “Sexiest Vegan Over 50,” beating out contestants from all across the country.
Tim Medearis, 54, has been vegetarian for about 18 years and went fully vegan four years ago when he and his wife watched the documentary “Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret.”
“The reasons that we went vegan was for the animals, for compassion,” Medearis said. “But also, when you start looking into the health issues, dairy is terrible for us.”
Medearis teaches special education at Laurin Middle School in the Battle Ground school district and spends his free time volunteering at a a farm animal sanctuary in Washougal. He is also a member of numerous animal activism groups.
Medearis wasn’t the only local to make the ‘sexy six’ final round. Omar Ordonez, 50, was one of the top vote getters. He won hearts with his story of rescuing numerous pups while riding his motorcycle in South America, and bringing them back to his home in Gresham.
For winning, Medearis gets a three-night stay at an all-inclusive wellness retreat in Florida. But he told KOIN 6 the real goal is just to raise awareness.
Tim’s favorite vegan recipe
Vegan Cuban Picadillo (courtesy Daniela Medearis)
- A splash of water or oil to sauté
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- A pinch of ground cloves
- A pinch of nutmeg
- 2 bay leaves
- A can of whole tomatoes, drained (juice reserved if you want a sauce)
- 3 medium-large sweet potatoes, diced
- 2 red peppers, diced
- 2 to 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 4 cups cooked lentils or soy crumbles or vegan chorizo (you can get them at Winco or most other grocery stores)
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1 cup green olives, sliced
- ¼ cup raisins or cranberries
- 1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
- 1 small bunch of cilantro
- 1/2 bunch of green onions
- 1 small red onion diced for garnish
- Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add a splash of water or oil, the onion and garlic and sauté until soft. Add the tomato paste and all the herbs and spices and fry for a couple of minutes, stirring, until the tomato paste darkens in color and the spices are fragrant.
- Add the whole tomatoes and break them up a bit with your spoon. If you have diced or fresh tomatoes they work too of course.
- Add the sweet potatoes, pepper and vinegar and cover the pan. You can also add a little bit of vegetable stock at this time.
- Simmer until the potatoes are tender.
- Uncover the pan and add the cooked lentils (or soy crumbles or vegan chorizo) olives, raisins, salt and pepper and cook for a couple of minutes to warm everything through. If you like a bit of a sauce, you can add some of the reserved tomato juice or more vegetable stock.
Daniela said she and Tim like to serve the Picadillo with rice and beans.