Photo above courtesy of Instagram: @_lana_mack_
Hello, my name is Kat Checa. I’m a hair and makeup artist based out of Los Angeles and Ventura CA. Some days I’m doing cuts and color at the salon, some days I’m styling hair/doing makeup on a film or photo shoot set or out and about doing house calls or weddings. I like to dabble in all departments of my career as a beauty professional. I also model from time to time. On my free time, you can find me working out, writing, or in the kitchen experimenting new dishes.
What was the moment you realize that you wanted to become vegan?
I was really getting into fitness and struggling with an eating disorder at the time when I was transitioning to vegan. Prior to vegan life, I was eating lean meat with greens, egg whites, and spinach. I rarely allowed myself carbs. Or anything over 300 calories. I was getting the physical results I wanted to see in the mirror, but I also wasn’t doing my body a favor by consuming animal products while depriving my body of real nutrition just for the sake of a nice body.
I knew I couldn’t keep living like that so I had stopped eating meat for about 8 months before going full on vegan. When I really realized how screwed up the dairy industry was and how badly it ruins our earth, our health, and how much the cows suffer, I couldn’t support it and continue to consume dairy. I didn’t care about cheese or ice cream anymore. I cared more about the right thing to do for the earth, my health, the mama cows and their babies.
How long have you been Vegan?
Approaching the 2-year mark
Why is being Vegan important to you?
Being vegan is everything to me. It goes beyond just a diet. It’s a conscious mind frame that affects not only your own health but the lives of other beings and the welfare of the planet and environment. Being vegan helped me see light past the dark tunnel of self-hate and create a positive connection between food, nutrition, myself, and others.
Any recommended Vegan books?
“The Good Karma Diet: Eat Gently, Feel Amazing, Age in Slow Motion” by Victoria Moran. This book opened my eyes to veganism and nutrition in a whole new light. Be good to your body, and it will be good to you.
Any recommended social sites, Facebook Groups or other?
I love Minimalist Baker recipes. Oh She Glows is another one of my favorites.
Do you actively promote veganism? How?
I have a vegan food page on IG with my sister @hermanas.veganas. we share food/recipe inspo and our vegan eats from different restaurants. I have a vegan cooking video series up in the works. Definitely looking forward to that.
What is your favorite Vegan meme?
What is the vegan stereotype you hear the most and how do you respond to it?
I often get asked, “so what DO you eat?!” A lot of people assume I just eat beans and salads. It’s funny cuz I eat more variety of food now that I’m vegan than ever before.
What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?
I have several favorites but lately, I’ve been loving H.O.P.E Kitchen in Studio City. Their menu selection is insane and so so good! Whether you’re craving that or a burger or burrito, they got your back. Everything is fresh and the staff is so friendly.
Please share your favorite vegan recipe?
I LOVE curried lentils. It’s quick, easy, and inexpensive.
Get some chopped ginger, garlic and onion cooking with some red Thai curry paste, throw in the veggies of your choice (i always like broccoli, chopped carrots, and snap peas or green beans.) Give them a quick stir. add the spices: some curry powder, garam masala, turmeric and a little cayenne for a kick. Some tomato paste, Add the coconut milk, let it simmer. Add the cooked lentils and you have yourself the most comforting and satisfying meal.
Some encouraging words for new Vegans?
There is life beyond cheese, I promise. Think of your favorite food whatever you want right now, there is a vegan version! You just have to get a little creative. You got this!
What does living cruelty-free mean to you?
Living cruelty-free means I go to sleep every night knowing everything I consumed or used on my body doesn’t come from a result of suffering.
What are your favorite Vegan non-food products or companies?
Makeup products, I love Kat Von D Cosmetics, Youngblood cosmetics, Cargo, hourglass, sugar pill.
Hair: Amika, Alterna, and Paul Mitchell
Skin and body: I recently got introduced to Saavy Naturals. They’re an artisan body care line made with natural ingredients. Super hydrating and the products smell beautiful! I’ve only tried their lotions. I’m hooked, I bet their other stuff is just as amazing.
What is the toughest Vegan item to find that you need
I must admit, I’m quite spoiled with how accessible vegan items are out here in LA and Ventura. So unless I’m traveling, most things are pretty easy to find around here.
Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?
At the beginning, it was difficult. I was battling an anorexic mentality where I would not want to eat carbs.. or I was bingeing on the worst then instantly regretting it. I knew I had to break the vicious cycle. When I looked into vegan recipes I would see these amazing quinoa bowls and curries then I would look at the nutrition facts and I would freak out at the carb count or the calories. I would think “if I go vegan my cellulite is going to come back with all those carbs and calories”. Back then, in my head, carbs=fat. After several meetings with a dietician and some research, I learned the importance of good carbs. Carbs are energy. They are necessary and good for us.
What do you eat for breakfast?
I love breakfast so I’m always curious to see what everyone else has. For loving breakfast so much I’m pretty basic. Lol, a protein smoothie with banana and almond milk with some ice and I’m happy.