I didn't start on the path to my way of eating because of ethical reasons or for health reasons but because I was pregnant with my one and only daughter and the sight, smell and thought of meat made me sick. So naturally after giving birth I thought I would go back to my Corn Beef specials from Koch's in University City and the Stuffed Veal Chop from the cute little Italian restaurant in South Philly where my husband and I enjoyed a couple of our anniversary dinners. But instead I made the choice to stay meat free. When I made this choice I was all alone, there was no social media support groups for my kind and my friends and family had no idea what to feed me. Even my husband was on a Steak and Eggs kick for a while and there I was trying my best to figure out what to I was going to feed me and my meat free child. So when I was thinking about some things to share, I thought it might be helpful to interview people that I know who have plant based lifestyles and ask them 5 questions about their journey to help you with yours and to know that you are not alone.
My first plant based eater is Michelle Johnson a vegan home cook who's YouTube channel VeganCookingWithLove helped me to not be afraid of tofu and how easy it is to make delicious vegan food that you can be proud to serve. I had the pleasure of meeting Michelle through a mutual vegan friend's social media page and finally got to meet her in person this Fall over dinner. We hit it off quickly with our love for food and willingness to order and eat the whole menu while our "dates" talked business.
So here are my 5 questions to Michelle about her plant based lifestyle.
1) How and when did you become vegan?
"I became vegan in September of 2009 after listening to multiple episodes of Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's Food for Thought podcast."
2) What is your favorite "go to" meal?
"I don't think I actually have one. Maybe I need one. It might keep me from having to think so much when I'm doing my meal planning. Pasta with marinara sauce is always easy though."
3) What product can you not live without?
4) What was hard to give up to become vegan?
"It wasn't hard to give up anything because my reasons for becoming vegan were not personal. Once I learned about factory farming, I knew I didn't have a choice. There was no way I was going to continue participating in that horrific business. I do miss seafood and certain desserts that require 3 or more eggs!"
5) What's your favorite vegan restaurant?
"Ipanema Cafe in Richmond, VA is my favorite local vegan restaurant."
Thank you Michelle for all that you do and the inspiration you are to the plant based lifestyle. Hopefully one day we can meet at Ipanema Café, order the whole menu and pick up where we left off.