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Veterinarian Tracy Hurley became vegan at age 14. She stopped eating nuts six years ago, when she learned her oldest child had serious food allergies.

“When I was a teenager, my choice to become vegan was more because I was against factory farming. Me being a veterinarian, it sort of made sense to continue after that. It’s more of a compassion issue. And for health reasons, I just think it’s a good way to eat. I have a lot of energy. I’ve always been a good runner, and think it helps with endurance,” said Hurley, 37, of Snyder, co-chairwoman of this year’s FARE Walk for Food Allergies, which takes place Aug. 9 in LaSalle Park. To participate in the walk – designed to raise awareness of child food allergies, while raising money for research, education and treatment – visit foodallergywalk.org/buffalo2014.

What are the staples of your diet?

Tofu is a big part of it, for the protein. A lot of beans and seeds. I can’t eat nuts at home because of my sons. I do eat sun butter, made of sunflower seeds. That has a similar amount of protein as peanut butter. I eat a lot of pasta dishes and rice. Quinoa, too, because that has a lot of protein in it. I eat veggie burgers, a lot of grilled vegetables. I do a lot of shakes, fruit shakes. I try to throw in some spinach because it’s hard to eat salads all the time. I eat salads, too, but that gets old – especially when you go out to dinner and the servers say, ‘Oh we have a salad.’ It’s like, ‘Uhhhh.’

It’s gotten so much better in the last three years, even at high-end restaurants. I think vegan food options are so much more prevalent now. I make sure I tell them I don’t have food allergies so you don’t have to worry about contaminating things. It’s just a personal thing.

– Scott Scanlon

On the Web: Read more about Tracy Hurley’s family life and the FARE walk at blogs.buffalonews.com/refresh.