Sonya graduated from the masters class of Main Street Vegan Academy with plans to start coaching and to write a book.
1. How long have you been vegan? I have been vegan since June 2012.
2. What made you decide to go vegan? What lead up to it was attending the vegfest in Madison, Wisconsin where I live. The night before attending I felt like I would go vegan the next day. I became vegan for ethical reasons but now I continue for all the reasons…for the animals, for climate change,and I sleep better at night.
3. What are the benefits eating vegan have done for you? When I gave up dairy my congestion unclogged and I opened up. At the time I was using an inhaler and now I don’t need to use it anymore. I have an overall happy mood and an increased awareness of my contribution and I feel more spiritual.
4. What did you find to be the biggest challenge of eating vegan? The sadness from becoming aware of the animal suffering. I didn’t have any challenges with giving up meat or dairy/cheese. I had more issues with social issues…setting boundaries, creating a vegan home and when eating out with others while seeing dead flesh on their plates is painful for me to see.
5. What are your go to foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Breakfast: A mixture of quinoa, lentils, and rice with different sauces. And I will eat nice cream for breakfast. Lunch: I will have a big bowl of tabbouleh, fruits and nuts. Dinner: Might be another mixture of rice or quinoa with lentils and vegetables or I will have pasta and beans in a tomato sauce with Light Life sausage. I also eat lots of big salads. I am not afraid of salads. I have a garden tower that is growing kale and parsley.
6. Do you have a favorite cookbook, tip or recipe to share? Any books from Virginia Messina and Jack Norris are great. Here is my recipe for tabbouleh salad:
· About a pound of dried coarse bulgur (vary based on desired ratio of bulgur to salad ingredients)
· Store bought pico de Gallo—my favorite is Trader Joe’s mild pico de Gallo—add 3 16oz containers of it
· Three bunches of parsley
· Fresh mint-several leaves
· Freshly squeezed lime juice (to taste)—probably 3 limes
Soak the bulgur in water to achieve a softer texture. Note that it expands as water is absorbed. The bulgur will also absorb the liquid from other ingredients as they are added. Once the bulgur has a soft and chewy texture, add the pico de Gallo. Use a food processor to shred the parsley and mint leaves. Note that you can include some of the stem material from the parsley if you verify that it does not have a bitter taste. Retaining all or part of the stem makes the parsley easier to process and adds nutrition to the salad. If you are processing the parsley in several rounds, be sure to include a mint leaf in each round—cutting it up into a few pieces and dispersing in the food processor. The goal is the evenly distribute the mint within the parsley as it is being shredded and then mix in with the bulgur/pico Gallo mixture. Finally add the lime juice and salt to taste and mix thoroughly.