I work as a freelance TV and film producer, although in the last year or so I’ve dedicated most of my time to creating a vegan food + wellness blog called Carrots and Flowers with my husband, Pasha. We mostly specialize in creating fun, colorful recipes, and vegan cooking videos. I also have a side project called The 30 Day Fun Challenge, which is a social media exercise I started to commit to living with as much joy as humanly possible.
What was the moment you realize that you wanted to go vegan?
I was 15 when I first discovered veganism. I gave it a decent shot back then but didn’t succeed because I was so unfamiliar with what to eat instead of animal products. I spent the next decade or so trying but could never stick with it. Once my motivations for becoming a vegan shifted from health to ethical reasons, it became much easier to commit to the lifestyle.
How long have you been Vegan?
I’ve been vegan for one very fantastic year! I actually started Carrots and Flowers before I became vegan in an effort to become more familiar with plant-based cooking. Now it comes very naturally to me and I love being able to help others transition to a plant-based diet as well.
Why is being Vegan important to you?
Knowing that I am making a difference with my choices means everything to me. In a world wracked with cruelty, it is my desire to live a life that loves and respects all living things. People always say, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” For ME, it’s about that. I could never go back.
Do you have a blog or favorite vegan blog you read?
Carrots and Flowers is my baby, so it’s definitely my favorite! For other food blogs, I adore Oh She Glows for healthy, whole foods recipes. Minimalist Baker is a wonderful resource for both recipes and web development tips. I also really love The Art of Non-Conformity (chrisguillebeau.com) for inspiration on how to create a life you love on your own terms. Of course Vegan Sidekick is also a great one for illustrations that perfectly depict the frustrations of being a vegan in a mostly non-vegan world.
Any recommended Vegan books?
I just love Vegan With A Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Every recipe is delicious, hearty, and satisfying. Not to mention pretty easy to make!
Any recommended social sites, Facebook Groups or other?
One of my favorite FB groups is called The Vegan Food Enthusiast. It’s a fantastic group filled with helpful, supportive vegans sharing recipes, tips, and tricks. I also really love Next Level Vegan and Raw Till Whenever.
Do you have a favorite movie or videos or your own media that you want to share?
We release cooking videos on our Facebook page: fb.com/carrotsandflowers!
Do you actively promote veganism? How? Please share any stories you would like.
The main way I promote veganism is by creating vegan recipes that people love to make! In my blog posts, I also sprinkle in facts about animal welfare and the environment. I find that many people simply aren’t aware of the cruelty and destruction caused by animal agriculture. So my strategy is to entice them with delicious recipes and photos, then offer information that plants the seeds for future vegans! I also wrote an article called The Future Is Vegan. http://www.carrotsandflowers.com/go-vegan/
When I have time on the weekends, I like to volunteer at local farm animal sanctuaries in LA (Gentle Barn and Farm Sanctuary) and share those experiences on social media so people can see how sweet the animals are. It becomes much harder to continue eating animals when you realize they all have different personalities much like humans and deserve the same autonomy.
Do you miss any non-Vegan foods?
I honestly can’t think of anything! I love making vegan versions of my favorite recipes and so far I haven’t been stumped. I’m also fortunate enough to live in Los Angeles where we have dozens of vegan restaurants to choose from. Doomie’s Home Cooking has the most insane vegan burgers and chik’n sandwiches, so when I’m craving food like that I have a place to go.
What is your favorite Vegan stereotype? If someone asks you a question about it, how do you respond?
My favorite vegan stereotype is that we only eat lettuce and carrots! I love to prove that one wrong with the recipes and food I make. The goal is to change hearts and minds one bite at a time!
What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?
My favorite vegan restaurant is Moby’s spot in LA, Little Pine. The food, service, and ambience are absolutely amazing! What makes them really special is that 100% of the proceeds are donated to animal welfare organizations.
What’s your favorite recipe? Please share it.
This is a tough question! I have so many favorites but if I had to choose one, it’s my 20 Minute Vegan Quesadillas. The cashew cheese and chipotle cream are super easy to make and knowing how to make delicious vegan cheese at home has been a game changer for me!
What is the one big stereotype you hear about Vegans that you want to dispel?
The most inaccurate vegan stereotype I can think of is that we’re weak. This is frustrating for a couple of reasons. First of all, it takes a tremendous amount of resolve to live according to your principles in a society that at its best doesn’t account for your needs and at its worse ridicules you. Secondly, plant-based nutrition is far superior in every way to the alternative. So yeah, this stereotype is utter nonsense.
Some encouraging words for new Vegans?
Congratulations! It’s a brave and beautiful thing to stand up for what you believe in. You are the future and your choices matter and are making a difference. As far as advice goes, always bring snacks with you and check menus before you go out to eat to make sure you won’t be left hungry.
Are you a cruelty-free vegan?
Cruelty-free is a tricky label, I think, because there are ethical concerns with many food sources, especially cashews. I will say that I use entirely plant-based products that aren’t tested on animals and always seek sustainable, fair-trade products whenever possible.
What are your favorite Vegan non-food products or companies?
I’m really interested what Piñatex has going on. They’re a company that produces vegan leather from pineapple leaves. 100% vegan and made from materials that would be otherwise discarded, it’s a match made in heaven!
What is the toughest Vegan item to find that you need? Toothpaste, Deo, glue, etc..
I’m still looking for the perfect substitute for Mac liquid foundation. In the meantime, I’ve been trying a lot of different ones that don’t quite have the same effect. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know!
Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?
I think the most difficult thing about being a vegan is living amongst non-vegans. Even walking through the grocery store and seeing animal products is devastating knowing the cruelty that the animals suffered. Eating dinner with my family and not being overly preachy is kinda hard too!