I have worked in the holistic health field for more than 30 years. For ten years, I managed the kitchen and dietary program at Northern Pines Health Resort in Maine, where we had programs for weight loss, fasting and diets for optimum health and nutrition. I have taught cooking classes and worked with many private clients over the years to assist them with healing through diet and lifestyle changes. I studied yoga and meditation with well known teachers in the U.S., Asia and Europe, including Patricia Walden and Gary Kraftsow. I founded and directed the Nataraja School of Yoga in Kennebunk, which was the first Yoga Alliance registered yoga school in Maine and taught several 10-month yoga teacher trainings there. I am available for private yoga and meditation classes, and I work with people on healing with a whole foods plant based diet and other holistic healing practices.
1. How long have you been vegan? I have been vegan/plant-based for several years.
2. What made you decide to go vegan? After watching the documentaries Cowspiracy and Forks Over Knives I went cold turkey (or cold carrot?) without looking back. As a person who has explored many ways of eating, going totally plant based has made it more clear and simple for me. I have explored vegetarian, raw food, macrobiotic and other dietary disciplines over the years. I was involved with the sustainable farming movement, which traditionally includes raising animals for meat, but it never felt right for me. I don’t believe eating meat or dairy is sustainable, or healthy for humans and the planet. Connecting the meat and dairy industry to climate change and wildlife extinction made it easier for me to drop animal foods from my diet, and the cruelty of these industries is overwhelmingly heartbreaking for me. It is hard for me to understand how so many people can be part of this, and I believe we all have the responsibility to stop supporting this enslavement and torture of other beings much like ourselves. I believe it is part of our evolution as a species to stop killing and eating our fellow beings. We need to find a bottom line where all beings are treated with respect and kindness, and allowed to live their natural lives.
3. What are the benefits you have experienced from eating vegan? I feel so much better, physically and emotionally, than I did as a vegetarian. I have always been dairy-sensitive, yet I continued to eat yogurt, butter and other dairy products, which created problems for me. I love waking up without having to clear my head and lungs from mucous. I’m rarely sick, take no medications, and feel lighter. As a practicing yogi,
my body feels less congested and more free and open. I love that my weight remains stable without having to think about it. My partner Michael and I don’t eat much processed vegan food, preferring whole foods that are produced locally as much as possible.
4. What did you find to be the biggest challenge of eating vegan? Eating out and eating with family or friends at gatherings can be challenging, but I like to be an example of a healthier, kinder and more sustainable way of eating. Sometimes I miss eating fish, but we have found there are plant-based alternatives for everything.
5. What are your go to foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
I love vegetables of all kinds. I don’t have specific foods that I eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Apples are my favorite snack. Simplicity of a salad or steamed vegetables with a whole grain is always satisfying to me. We enjoy a wide variety of seeds, nuts, whole grains and legumes, along with greens, veggies and fruits. I don’t feel deprived!
6. Do you have a favorite cookbook, tip or recipe to share?
I don’t rely on cookbooks. I highly recommend Paul Pitchford’s book, Healing With Whole Foods, which cross references many healing diets and has many plant based recipes.
7. Do you have a website you like or would like to promote?
Forks Over Knives https://www.forksoverknives.com/ and VegNews
https://vegnews.com/ have lots of helpful information and recipes.