My name is Courtney Pool, and I’ve been working solely as a vegan nutritionist since 2011, and before that I worked at a vegan retreat center for 5 years, where I held nutrition classes as well as held administrative roles. I specialize in the areas of healthy vegan nutrition, juice cleansing, and healing overeating. I’ve personally been vegan and studying nutrition since 2005. You can find me at www.CourtneyPool.com and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest by my name.
What was the moment you realize that you wanted to go vegan?
When I was researching nutrition but was not yet vegan, I came across the book The Food Revolution by John Robbins. It’s still one of the top books I recommend to others who are curious about going vegan or about getting healthy. It covered all aspects of being vegan: health, animals, resources and the planet, as well as how it affects other populations of people in the world. I cried and cried throughout reading the book and knew in my heart by the end that this was what I must do. It touched me deeply to learn the truth about these things.
How long have you been Vegan?
I went nearly all vegan in 2005, after which I still would occasionally make exceptions for baked goods with dairy or eggs in them. It took me a bit over a year to go 100% vegan and I’ve been completely vegan ever since. So, 10-11 years.
Why is being Vegan important to you?
I feel passionate about all aspects of veganism. Being vegan is more loving to ourselves and our own bodies and health. Choosing not to contribute to the exploitation, torture, and killing of animals is also more loving. It is also more loving to not contribute to the destruction of the planet as we do when we buy animal products, as animal agriculture is the main cause of climate change, water consumption, topsoil destruction, deforestation, ocean devastation, and more. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly to me personally, by not being vegan we are contributing to the misuse and monopolization of resources which affect other people and whether those other people live or die. When land, water, and other resources are used to raise animals for food and to grow plant crops for the animals’ consumption rather than human consumption, this is the main contributor to malnutrition in the world. If everyone were vegan, nobody would go hungry or malnourished.
Do you have a blog or favorite vegan blog you read?
Any recommended Vegan books?
For information on why and inspiration for going vegan, I recommend the book I mentioned before, which turned me vegan: The Food Revolution by John Robbins. I also like The World Peace Diet by Will Tuttle, Ph.D. My favorite recipe books are Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People by Jennifer Cornbleet, Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Crazy Sexy Juice by Kris Carr.
Any recommended social sites, Facebook Groups or other?
Sites which help you to meet up with others in person are the best, such as meetup.com or facebook events. It’s always nice to have some vegan friends! If you don’t have anything going on in your area because perhaps you don’t live near a big city with some vegan happenings, then getting support online is definitely important.
Do you have a favorite movie or videos or your own media that you want to share?
I recommend the often-referenced trilogy of documentaries to go vegan: Forks Over Knives, Cowspiracy, and Earthlings.
Do you actively promote veganism? How? Please share any stories you would like.
My main form of promotion of veganism is through my work in helping people to go vegan, stay vegan, or incorporate more vegan foods into their diet. I’ve had many clients find success with these things and I love hearing from them later on that they’re loving how they feel physically but also—and more importantly—I love hearing that they feel good about making a more loving, ethical and moral choice by being vegan.
Do you miss any non-Vegan foods?
Since I’ve been totally vegan: never. I really mean never! When you’ve had a soul-based, deep emotional shift on the issue of being vegan and how it is an issue of love, ethics, and morals, you’ll never miss animal products and will never go back.
What is your favorite Vegan meme?
What is your favorite Vegan stereotype? If someone asks you a question about it, how do you respond?
I don’t think any of the stereotypes are what I’d call favorites, but the most common one my clients who aren’t vegan are concerned about is the age-old one about protein and having enough strength as a vegan. I often talk about my own experience having no issues with that for 11 years, talk about how there is plenty of protein to be had from healthy plant foods and that many large, muscular mammals are vegan!
What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?
As a person who develops simple recipes for my blog, I don’t eat out very often—on average perhaps once per month. Restaurants I’ve tried across the country that I really loved include Vedge in Philadelphia, Sage Vegan Bistro in LA, Leaf Vegetarian Cuisine in Boulder Colorado, and the chain Native Foods.
What’s your favorite recipe? Please share it.
Rainbow Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce by Courtney Pool
5 rice paper wrappers: you can make as many as you like, ingredients below should be enough for at least 5
1 small head purple cabbage
1 cucumber, grated with a peeler
1 large carrot, grated with a peeler
small bunch cilantro
small head of lettuce or 1/2 cup sprouts of any kind (I like clover and sunflower)
1 large or 2 small avocados
Peanut Dipping Sauce:
1/2 cup peanut butter (almond butter is great too)
1/2 cup water
1.5 TBS lemon juice
3 tsp maple syrup
3 tsp tamari
1/2 tsp garlic
1/4 tsp ginger
1. Make the sauce first: place all ingredients in blender and blend. Add more water as needed/desired.
2. Using a potato peeler/julienne peeler, peel long thin pieces of carrot and cucumber
3. Cut cabbage and lettuce (if using) into long thin pieces with a knife
4. Cut cilantro into small sprigs
5. Slice avocado(s) also into long thinner pieces
6. Put warm water (not boiling, sink-hot is fine) into a large shallow bowl or something like a pie pan. Let rice paper wrapper sit in water for about 20 seconds. Remove and lay flat on a large cutting board or surface.
7. Arrange items in the middle of the wrapper. Don’t overstuff so you can still wrap it all up without breaking the wrapper.
8. Fold both ends of wrapper towards the center and then roll up. You’ll cut them in half once they’re rolled up so you don’t need to leave an end open when you roll.
9. Enjoy with dipping sauce!
What is the one big stereotype you hear about Vegans that you want to dispel?
That it’s hard to go without cheese. 😉 It’s easy when your body has broken the addiction to the opiate effect of animal cheese, when you have vegan cheese alternatives, and when there’s not a compulsive draw to animal cheese, which is quite good for suppressing emotions in a “comfort food” kind of way.
Some encouraging words for new Vegans?
Experiment. Try new recipes. Even if you don’t consider yourself a person who enjoys making things in the kitchen, invest time in trying some new things. It will go a long way towards helping you feel that it’s possible to enjoy being vegan because you have new favorites that you know you can make yourself. Also, be aware of people-pleasing feelings and being concerned about what others think. Many people who struggle with going or being vegan do so because they’re worried about what others will think in various ways.
Are you a cruelty-Free vegan?
What are you favorite Vegan non-food products or companies?
I was gifted a Matt & Nat vegan handbag which I really love, but I’m not a big shopper. I buy a mix of things from vegan companies as well as vegan items from companies that may not only sell vegan products.
What is the toughest Vegan item to find that you need? Toothpaste, Deo, glue, etc..
Artists supplies! Painting is a hobby of mine and I have found that tons of art supplies aren’t vegan.
Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?
In the first year, while I let go of meat and fish within a month and never once, even for a bite, went back, for about a year I did occasionally eat things with eggs or dairy in them. I never ate eggs or dairy themselves as stand-alone products, but a lot of my life I struggled with relatively severe compulsive eating and binge eating. So though I wanted to go totally vegan with all my heart and the eating of things with dairy or eggs wasn’t due to my thinking it was OK or desiring the taste of the eggs or dairy specifically, because I was so impulsive and addictive with eating, if I saw baked goods or carby things, I would find it really hard to stop myself from eating them. As I mentioned before, after a bit over a year, I was able to get to the point where despite my temptation based on food addiction, I still wouldn’t eat something that wasn’t completely vegan. And after this point, veganism never once felt like a struggle. Now, it’s been over a decade!