Ava Oliver

1. How long have you been eating plant-based? I have been vegetarian for 37 years. I have been plant-based since January 2013.

2. What made you decide to go plant-based? There are a number of reasons. My father had open heart surgery and Parkinson’s disease. My youngest brother died of a massive heart attack. My oldest brother has had two open heart surgeries, deals with diabetes, and in 2013 was diagnosed with colon cancer. My Ex father-in-law, whom was like a dad to me, had been diagnosed with lymphoma. At the same time my mother-in-law had brain tumors. After all of this I knew something was really wrong. Research showed me a lot was about what we eat, so I became plant-based.

3. What are the benefits eating plant-based have done for you? I began as a vegetarian because of the animals and realized this lifestyle is way bigger than that. It benefits my health, the animals and the environment.

4. What did you find to be the biggest challenge of eating plant-based? I guess I would have to say meeting my husband and his family. They were all hunters and I came from a family of non-hunters. When being vegetarian at the time I did a lot of soul searching and work on how to deal with my involvement and not pass judgement. Never know where love will lead you. Today there are quite a few of my husband’s family who are more plant-based.

5. What are your go to foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Breakfast can be a bagel or english muffin with peanut butter, which I grind my own, yogurt and always some fruit. Lunch could be leftovers from the night before or salad and fruit. Dinner may be my homemade veggie burgers or pasta with lots of veggies and always a salad and fruit.

6. Do you have a favorite cookbook, tip or recipe to share? I love soups and I use the recipes of different soups on our website. I don’t really have a favorite cookbook. I use them all. I do have a favorite book: Why we love dogs, eat pigs, and wear cows by Melanie Joy. It is about our belief system and psychology of meat eating. Tip: We are all here on our own journey. Moving from eating meat to plant-based is a process. You can do it in one big step or you can do it in baby steps. The most important thing is that you are thinking about it or doing it. We are here to support you in that process and journey.