I went vegan in 2014. I did it for the animals. I had an emotional response to a 20 second video of a mother cow on a dairy farm. My boyfriend had done extensive research on all aspects of veganism – Animal cruelty, Health and the environmental impact animal agriculture had on our planet. He followed the journey of vegan athletes transitioning into veganism. After months of research he came to me and said, “We need to go vegan. Here is why,” He started the first video. My eyes widened, Tears poured down my cheeks, horror filled my heart, and I uttered the words, “Turn it off, I have seen enough. ” I connected in that moment with those animals, and the horrifying realities that make up their existence in this world. My heart was broken. Billy had opened my eyes to something I had been able to ignore up until this point, he had given me Veganism. There was no going back for me.
My entire life changed after that. I may have gone vegan for the animals, but the decision directly influenced and improved every aspect of my life. I lost 30 pounds in the first 40 days of being vegan, going from a size 9 to a size 0… And all I did was eat! Pizza, rice, pasta, bagels, ALL THE CARBS! Growing up I had struggled with self-esteem, weight issues, eating disorders and food fear. At one point in college I was on a 1200 calorie a day diet, pure insanity. Now I was eating double that and the weight was just falling off. Going vegan was instantaneously solving a lifetime of problems surrounding my relationship with food and my weight. It felt like my karmahic reward for deciding to no longer harm the most innocent souls among us.
I also found purpose in my life. I found my passion. I found my career. It evolved organically, progressed and pushed me naturally. I came from a family of women who loved to cook. I didn’t really start cooking until college and I really loved it. I was hired to work in my first fine dining restaurant. It was there that I credit learning how to cook. The sous chef at the time, Zach Hunter, was the most talented chef I had ever, and still have ever encountered. His food was like art on a plate. Everything on the plate had purpose, had it's role in texture, or color or flavor contrast. I spent hours and hours watching him cook, asking questions, absorbing everything I could. I started really cooking, and people loved eating it. I started cooking for my friends and family. I hosted holidays, planned dinner parties. I loved bringing people together around the table. People would tell me all the time I should open my own restaurant. And while I loved the compliment, I never saw myself owning a restaurant. Cooking was more for me and the people I loved.
When we went vegan, I was nervous about what this would mean for my abilities and options in the kitchen, specifically breakfast. What about frittatas, eggs benedict, pancakes, French toast…What about lunch? What about dinner without steaks and shrimp? What do I do without scallops and oysters??? Billy had researched chefs on social media, online resources and books. I started googling recipes for things I wanted to make, and adding the word vegan. I tried a lot of products. Some wins, some major misses. And I started experimenting and falling in love with food all over again.
Like most new vegans, I felt like I had found the fountain of youth! I wanted to shout it from the rooftops, and I tried. But it was hard to get people to listen. Some did, and people I knew were going vegan, but I was frustrated still. I thought everyone would want to know this amazing, life changing information and that we would all skip into the sunset as super vegans saving the world. False. People are resistant to change, and that first year I spent a lot of energy on frustration. Then I changed my approach. People from my past, people who knew me unhealthy were responding to the changes they were seeing in me. They were responding with love and support, and curiosity. And then with excitement and hope at the info they were being given. They were coming to me, looking for a change.
I started writing down all my tricks and tips for going vegan, including brands I recommend, must have tools, things to avoid, quick recipes and great resources and cookbooks. I started emailing it to friends and family seeking help going vegan. I then started taking this approach in real life with the people around me. I would plant seeds of information is conversations, bring vegan treats for co-workers to snack on at work, and answer their questions patiently about protein, and our canine teeth, and the paleo diet. One by one people started coming to me asking for help going vegan. It was absolutely incredible, and people were being helped. I was coaching people into healthy transitions. I was teaching them to cook. I was making a difference.
After taking on a few more clients with life threatening chronic illnesses and seeing them through to a full recovery, I decided to launch this side of my career, the online coaching side, in order to reach more people. People all over the world who need help can now have access to me, and all of the knowledge I posses on the subject. So many people have said to me that they wish I was their private chef, or that if I was they would go vegan easily. Now they can be their own private chef. Anyone can be. And I can teach them. Anyone looking to make the change can do it. I can help. Whether it’s for animal rights, a life threatening illness, help with weight loss and health management. I can help. It’s my purpose.tarted taking on private chef clients, and even worked with Yvonne Rodriguez on her retail line of Raw, Vegan, Sugar free and gluten free deserts. A graduate from the Matthew Kenney’s Culinary School, I refined my skills working with Yvonne, and gained immeasurable knowledge about baking and raw foods.
In 2017 my career and purpose once again evolved further when I started cooking for a woman diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I had been asked to cook for her during treatment. She and her husband went vegan right after her diagnosis, and they were looking to me to provide her with the food she would need to stay nourished during chemotherapy, and heal her of cancer. So I began researching triple negative breast cancer. I spent a week reading everything I could about her diagnosis, talking with collogues and other professionals, and looking into recommended foods. I looked into survival rates. I read first-hand accounts from survivors. Then I went to work. I designed menus that were 100% plant based, nothing processed. No oil. No salt. No sugar. Organic. I used all the ingredients listed on the recommended lists. I made grocery lists to go with each week’s menu items. I wrote down my method for each weeks prep and procedures. I did all of this with the thought that one day, I would teach people how to do the same thing for themselves, or people they love.
After my client’s radiation ended, right before starting chemotherapy, they told her she was CANCER FREE! She had undergone 30 days of radiation, on a strict vegan diet, and was cancer free. With that news I had finally found my true calling. Being a private chef had not, until this point, given me purpose. Actually, it mostly gave me stress (it seems glamourous until you are having to battle the opinions of 3 personal trainers on the paleo diet claiming kale is bad for your celebrity client this week…true story). This was different. I had helped this woman. I had been an important part of her recovery. It felt good, and it made me want to help anyone else who needed it. I had to teach people this. I had to teach people how to save their own lives, how to eat healthy, how to prepare meals, and grocery lists, and cook vegan food. What I had discovered was that people were sick. Young people. People my age! Dying of Cancers, Heart Disease, Diabetes…DYING! And they didn’t have to be.
After taking on a few more clients with life threatening chronic illnesses and seeing them through to a full recovery, I decided to launch this side of my career, the online coaching side, in order to reach more people. People all over the world who need help can now have access to me, and all of the knowledge I possess on the subject. So many people have said to me that they wish I was their private chef, or that if I was they would go vegan easily. Now they can be their own private chef. Anyone can be. And I can teach them. Anyone looking to make the change can do it. I can help. Whether it’s for animal rights, a life threatening illness, help with weight loss and health management. I can help. It’s my purpose.
Thank you for taking the time to read a little bit about my story. A little bit about my mission. I am here to save as many animals as possible, preserve as much of this beautiful earth as possible, and assist in the healing of humanity. I am here to help you all with anything you need. Together we can save this world. Give vegan a chance. You won’t regret it. Namas