I am an actress living in Hollywood, California. I also work as a yoga & meditation teacher and dabble as a raw / plant-based chef. Here is my IMDB page: IMDB page. And here is an article on a program I taught all the yoga & meditation classes for NY Times Article
What was the moment you realize that you wanted to go vegan?
My journey to veganism really began when I was 13. I was at a Hardee’s one day, having dinner with my mom and younger sister and eating fried chicken. And I remember looking down at the drumstick in my hand and had this sharp moment when I realized – woah, this was an actual animal, a living being, with flesh, bone, blood running through veins, with skin, feathers, a brain – I glanced at my own thigh and suddenly couldn’t take another bite. I then visited a dairy farm across from my sleep-away camp that summer, and seeing the way the cows were living – especially the young ones & how they were treated – really struck a nerve in me (and that was a “nice”, private, smaller dairy farm – I shudder to think of what the large-scale ones are like!). The next year I took healthy cooking classes with Dr. Gabe Mirkin and his wife (www.drmirkin.com) and I learned all about the health benefits of cooking with vegetables, fruits, and whole grains – and that was the nail in the coffin on meat and eggs for me. By the time I was in my mid 20’s I was experimenting with eliminating dairy due to some health issues, and shortly thereafter I discovered I have a triple immune response to dairy proteins. So it was an easy transition from there to go completely plant-based (and I guess technically I am a “beegan” because I do enjoy raw honey in small amounts sometimes!).
How long have you been Vegan?
I went completely vegan nearly 7 years ago with the advice of my amazing naturopathic doctor
Why is being Vegan important to you?
So many reasons – spiritually, it enhances my practice. Mentally & Health-wise, my body is happier & able to process food with more ease & awareness. The more I learn regarding animal product industries and our globe’s environmental health – plus the time-honored spiritual practices of so many traditions not involving meat or eggs – it just seems to be a necessary part of shifting the balance towards creating a better world!
Any recommended Vegan books?
Going Raw by Judita Wignall, Beautifully Real Food by Sam Murphy, and of course the OG Babycakes Cookbook by Erin McKenna. I also have recently gotten into wild foraging in LA & SoCal – and I highly recommend Pascal Baudar’s The New Wildcrafted Cuisine for a fresh, innovative way to uplevel your vegan game!
Any recommended social sites, Facebook Groups or other?
The vegan Internet has come an incredibly LONG way in the last decade! It used to only be the Post Punk Kitchen (PPK) if you wanted a vegan recipe at all, and then for years, my go-to was the awesome Karina and her Gluten-Free Goddess blog. In the past few years I’ve really gotten into Dana over at Minimalist Baker’s recipes, and most recently I’m really loving www.sobeautifullyreal.com. I am also entertained by @veganfatkid’s posts, am super excited to see what @smveganchefs will bring to Hollywood with their new culinary endeavors!
Do you have a favorite movie or videos or your own media that you want to share?
Here are two fun, semi-vegan-related videos I produced. The first was featured on the front page of Funny or Die for a while:
Body, Mind, Spirit And the follow up to that: Body, Mind Spirit – Inner Piece
Do you actively promote veganism? How? Please share any stories you would like.
I do through social media, by posting fav recipes and creations – and I attend Vegan SoCal events
What is your favorite Vegan meme?
What is the vegan stereotype you hear the most and how do you respond to it?
“How do you get enough protein??” Have you ever seen a buffalo? An elephant (see above)? Or a cow? Yep, and think about what they eat – they are giant beasts on a 100% grass & green leaves diet.
What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?
Please share your favorite vegan recipe?
This Mac and cheese (add smoked crispy sage leaves or your fav veg bacon!), and raw tacos (I add jicama slices, and make my “meat” with dehydrated mushrooms sometimes too – you can also use lettuce leaves or dehydrated ‘tortillas’ for the shells!)
Some encouraging words for new Vegans?
Try new things! Eat as much as you want – Spice & oil go a LONG way to making life interesting. And have fun shopping at awesome natural foods markets for incredible meat alternatives
What does living cruelty-free mean to you?
Being conscious of what I buy, consume, ingest, and use on my body. It also means taking the few extra seconds to just being aware of the glorious dance of all beings and the natural wonder of the perfect-ness of nature
What are you favorite Vegan non-food products or companies?
Not Your Mother’s (their vegan products), Pacifica
What is the toughest Vegan item to find that you need?
Shoes and handbags. I may, sometimes, cheat here with second-hand items 😉
Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?
Traveling internationally can be really tricky sometimes – I know a pastry (or three) made with butter has definitely snuck in there over the years. But I get such a strong body reaction to dairy anymore that if I eat any of it I am quite uncomfortable, physically. So it’s pretty easy for me to avoid!
Where do you see the world’s awareness of plant-based lifestyles heading?
I’d like to think it’s growing, in a big way! Peace-In!