Q Where are you from? What was your food background before becoming vegan?
A I’m from a suburban town in between Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas. I ate fairly healthy. My father would cook for us every night (each meal had a protein, starch and veggie). I always loved vegetables, but often they were from a can. He wouldn’t allow sweets or sodas in the house, but we did have Blue Bell ice cream. I ate in the cafeteria at school, which didn’t have the most healthful options. It wasn’t until I turned 16 and got a car that my eating habits went downhill, and I started eating fast food regularly. My grandparents had a farm with cows, and I ate meat just like everyone else.
Q What inspired you to become a vegan?
A A friend showed me a horrible video on factory farming, and I went vegan overnight. I did not want to contribute to all that cruelty and suffering. I wanted to have a life and a career that was filled with love and compassion, so I went to a macrobiotic culinary school to learn more about food, cooking and nutrition. Eating a plant-based diet helps me feel true happiness. I’m not consuming death and violence, and I’m not contributing to the destruction of the planet. All these factors are important to me in my practice.
Q Tell me a little more about what a vegan lifestyle is like. Was it difficult to change your lifestyle? How big of a commitment is it?
A Being vegan is not consuming any animal products or derivatives, not wearing any animal products and not using any products that contain animal ingredients or that were tested on animals. It’s actually not that hard today. Even nine years ago when I went vegan it wasn’t hard. You have to change the way you look at food and learn a new way of cooking. You may have to choose different places to eat or take extra time asking questions at restaurants. For me this lifestyle is so important that I’m fine taking more care with my food choices or having to spend a little extra time reading labels on products. Now it’s just second nature.
Q What would you say to those who think that a vegan lifestyle is too complicated to follow?
A If it seems too complicated try doing it a few days a week and work up to more days each week. Then commit to a full 30 days to see if you can make it work. Whole plant foods are very easy to prepare, affordable and available at any grocery store. Grab a few vegan cookbooks and go on a food adventure. Make it fun and get the whole family involved.
Q What is your favorite dish right now?
A I always get asked this question and I don’t really have a favorite dish. I love food way too much to pick a favorite! But I am loving soup right now! I try to eat seasonally whenever possible and almost always organic. Blissful Bites is divided into seasons to encourage people to eat what is available in their surrounding environment. The food tastes fresher and uses less resources to get to your plate.
Q What fuels your passion for teaching others the benefits of vegan nutrition?
A When I see someone transform a serious health condition or someone that is so healthy and happy because of the plant-based diet it warms my heart and brings me hope that we can conquer the serious health problems affecting people today. All the while saving billions of lives and causing the least harm to the planet. Purchasing food that will nourish you and then preparing it (and sharing it) is one of the most powerful things we can do in our daily lives.