Happy Friday, everyone! I apologize for the delay in posting these Friday Feature interviews – I fell behind during the day-to-day chaos of life (personal matters and projects), but we’re back in full swing. Today, we’re chatting with Laura of @vegan.healing.chef. Her Instagram page is filled with beautiful vibrant photos of her food creations and she usually shares the recipes right there in the post. Laura is multi-talented and has a heart filled with compassion when it comes to people, animals and the earth. I won’t ramble on anymore…let’s hear from Laura herself!
Interview with Laura…
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Originally, I am from Tempe, Arizona. I am a daughter of three, the middle child, so it’s a given that I am the most extreme when it comes to anything in my family. I am very much a free spirit. I love to travel, draw and paint, read and learn new things, experiment and create new recipes, listen to music, practice yoga, watch movies, and hang out with my friends and family. I truly enjoy helping people discover their health; enjoy food abundance, and educate them about healing cuisine. Also, I am very passionate about yoga. It has saved my life in many ways. It made me see who I am, and it has healed my body. I am a lover of the outdoors; walking, running, hiking, camping, spending time at the beach, swimming in the ocean, picnicking, bike riding, and gardening. I love animals and I have great deal of respect for their place on this Earth. Oh yea, and I love to cook!
When did you go vegan? What was your “Aha” moment?
My “aha” moment was back in early 2013. A good friend of mine had invited me to her birthday party. She wanted me to meet a group of her friends that were very much into health and wellbeing. I had been working on a vegan cookie recipe, and I knew she loved them, so I baked a huge batch and went to the party. The woman who was hosting the party happened to be the Director of UCSD’s Center for Integrative Medicine. Long story short, we got to talking, she loved my cookies, and I loved her meal so she invited me to attend the Natural Healing and Cooking Program that was starting the following week. Thankfully, I helped run the classes by volunteering which turned into my training to teach the program! With no previous chef experience or teaching a cooking program, I successfully taught the program, created a holiday series, and trained new volunteers and instructors. During my training, I ate the cuisine that was prepared; macrobiotic, vegan and gluten-free, and it healed my mind and body within six weeks! Prior to this program, I had been searching for a higher level of health. I had been a vegetarian since the age of fourteen, but fell off the path a couple of times. I thought I had lived a healthy lifestyle, but deep down I knew there was something more. There was something better. The program is based on George Oshawa Macrobiotics and the China Study. I had never eaten a full-blown plant-based and gluten-free diet over a period of time. The plus side to the cooking program was all the leftovers. Every week, I was gifted with at least a week’s worth of food that truly set me up for success and consistency. After the end of the sixth week, out of the eight week program, I knew, I could never go back. My health problems that I had been treating for many years had healed.
What is the hardest part about being vegan?
Based on my experience, I think it’s the psychological. Your mind ‘thinks’ it’s missing out or is being deprived of meat and animal products, but in reality, our bodies never miss it. If you are having “deprivation” cravings, you’re just not eating enough, and you’re not consuming an abundance of healthy vegan food. Daily, we are bombarded with excessive meat and dairy advertisements. Plus, animal products are found in so many food items. Our family and friends are not vegan. Many restaurants are not vegan, or the cooks do not have experience to prepare delicious vegan meals. Most simply, one does not know or understand how to live and thrive in a vegan lifestyle. Education is key. Support is very important as well. For myself, Instagram has helped me tremendously with experimentation, support, and different realms of veganism. I am so inspired. On the plus side, veganism is gaining popularity, and with social media, cooking programs, and culinary schools cheering us on, it is so easily accessible that the information is at our fingertips.
What does natural health mean to you?
Health means that one can thrive in life without any hindrance of illness within the mind, body, and soul.
What is your favorite cruelty-free product (cleaning, beauty, etc.) and why?
Call me a weirdo, but I go for anything all natural. I love essential oils, fresh herbs, sea salts, baking soda, white and apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, and coconut sugar. You can easily clean anything without harming yourself, loved ones, and nature. The possibilities are endless with basic elements from the Earth. This past holiday season, I created a body scrub, sold it to friends, and they loved it!
Who or what inspires you?
This is a tough one. Anyone with heart, soul, truth, and wisdom. There are too many. To name a few, Einstein, Gary Yourofsky, Freelee the Banana Girl, Durian Rider, George Oshawa, Max Gerson, Neal Barnard M.D., Jennifer Cornbleet, Alicia Silverstone, Ellen Fisher, Amy from Fragrant Vanilla Cake, Angela from Oh She Glows, Ricki Heller, Amanda Bradley, Eduardo Longoria, Lauray MacElhern, Ella Woodward, Gordon Saxe M.D., Jean Richarson, Rachel Hosler, and all the beautiful vegans I follow on Instagram!!
A kitchen gadget you cannot live without?
Number one is my tea kettle. My food processor and blender score second. But my pure basic essentials would be my chef’s knife, paring knife, and bamboo cutting boards.
What is your favorite meal?
Hands-down, brunch, because you can eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes all at the same time!
Three of your favorite cooking ingredients.
In this moment, I would say, Oshawa Ume Plum Vinegar, Oshawa Tamari, Japanese Mirin, and Ginger.
Favorite resources regarding a plant-based lifestyle?
Macrobiotic Guidebook for Living, The Kind Diet, Skinny Bitch, Rawvolution, The China Study, 801010, Wheat Belly,
Vegucated, OMG GMOs, Origins, Earthlings, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, The Gerson Effect, Forks Over Knives, Super Size Me, Food Inc., Black Fish, The Cove.
Any tips or words of advice to anyone considering a plant-based lifestyle?
Perseverance is key. Seek others that model what you desire. Stay open, be humble, don’t be afraid to ask questions and for support. Change is always uncomfortable, but the long-term results are limitless, bountiful, and inspiring.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Hippocrates
Three words to describe you.
I had to ask this question for a school project. One of them said, “Amazing, hard-working, courageous.”
Where can we find you via social media? IG, FB, blog address, etc.
Facebook: Vegan Healing Chef
Thank you, Laura for sharing with us!!!
Thanks for stopping by!