Can you tell us why you made the switch to a plant-based diet?
I originally started moving towards a plant-based lifestyle because of a few allergies I had acquired over time but it wasn't until 2015 that I made the full transition to being plant-based. I am a huge animal lover and the more I learned about how animals are treated and then consuming these animals was a huge turn off for me. I completely lost all appetite for eating animals and when I stopped, I began to feel so much better and healthier.
How did you start?
At the beginning, it was really challenging. The first time I went to the grocery store, I cried on my way home because I was so overwhelmed reading the ingredient list on every item I picked up. This was back in 2012 when being plant-based was not very easy! Once I began to understand which brands were plant-based, the easier it got and the more I would cook homemade options. These days, it's super easy to find plant-based options in almost all stores!
What are your favorite benefits from eating plant-based?
The way I feel in my body after eating has changed dramatically. I feel lighter and after eating I feel full in the most perfect way. I never feel overly full or uncomfortable from what I consumed. I feel energetic and so content with the products I've fueled my body with.
What are a few hurdles?
Being creative in the kitchen. At times I go through phases where I get sick of eating the same things but I think that's a common theme for everyone! But this is when I begin to browse the internet or find my favorite chefs for exciting new recipes. The beautiful part about being plant-based is that most times the simplest meals are the very best ones.
What does a typical day look like on your plate?
I usually start my morning with a protein shake (a plant-based protein powder) with banana, strawberries, peanut butter (I am not on the almond butter train these days!), a date, handful of spinach and unsweetened almond milk.
Lunch typically consists of some type of toast with avocado, hummus, cherry tomatoes, onion, lettuce, pickles and a Prager's kale veggie burger on top (they're my favorite veggie burgers! Good source of protein and greens). I may add some carrots and hummus or some roasted veggies on the side. I
I'm 100% Italian so it's unusual for me to go a week without some kind of pasta. Many dinners have chickpea pasta with a homemade marinara sauce, maybe a homemade cashew vegan ricotta and if I'm in the mood I'll throw in some steamed broccoli. And then I always sprinkle some vegan parmesan on top (Violyfe is the best vegan parmesan!). I'll have a hefty side salad with a bunch of veggies thrown in and a light olive oil and herb dressing.
I live for dessert and these days I like to finish my day off with a Sambazon chocolate covered Acai Bite. Since I am on-the-go and bopping around teaching classes, GoMacro bars are my favorite while on the move.
Do you have any dining-out tips or tricks for eating plant-based?
Most restaurants these days offer a vegan option. If there isn't one on the menu, I will always ask our server if the Chef is able to prepare a vegan meal. More often than not, they will!
Have you noticed if your plant-based diet has carried into any other areas of your life? (clean beauty products, sustainable clothing, composting, etc.)
Absolutely. 100%! All products I use are environmentally friendly, vegan, cruelty free etc. I regularly compost at home and try my hardest not to buy any kinds of plastic. I think it's extremely important for every human to be in connection with themselves and mother nature. So being conscious of what we consume and put in and on our bodies is a huge component of that!
Can you share a favorite recipe with us?
This Vegan Risotto is one of my all time faves by Nora Cooks. As I said, I am a huge dessert lover so this is one of my favorite Vegan Chocolate Banana Breads (a little tip- I only ever use at most half the amount of sugar the recipe calls for! That goes for most dessert recipes I follow.)
Do you have any favorite products?
Kite Hill and Violyfe are some of my favorite vegan cheese options. And Garden of Life Organic Raw Plant-Based Protein Powder - chocolate flavored! For beauty products, Osea and Herbivore available at O2, and I love Acure and Derma-E available at most health and grocery stores.
When you’re not on your mat or reformer, where can we find you?
You can find me snowboarding, road biking, hiking or on long walks with my two favorite boys- my husband, Wesley and puppy Kodie!
Anything else you wish to share?
Being plant-based is one of the best decisions I have ever made. With that said, I think it's so important for everyone to listen to their unique body and what they need each day!