Category Archives: Guest Editors

Guest Editor: Alexis Farah – Founder of

After nine years in New York City — and beauty editorial gigs at a magazine and website under my belt — I packed up and moved to the West (best) Coast to launch my own brand, In my “free” time I love to explore the city by way of paddle board, hiking, biking, and sitting in hours of traffic (just kidding, I don’t actually enjoy the latter but it’s certainly a right of passage for Los Angeles!). I never leave home without the perfect red lipstick and SPF 30+,” Alexis Farah

Find out more about the powerhouse behind after the jump!

What do you do?
The beauty of my job is that no two days look alike. As a freelance writer, I create lifestyle content (think beauty, nutrition, and relationships) for websites like,, etc.
I also spend quite a bit of time helping brands with social media strategy (if you’re not on Snapchat – stop what you’re doing and sign up now!) and work with beauty companies on different video campaigns. 

My passion project — and hopefully my full-time job one day — is my spanking new site, On the website I curate content that combines beauty + giving back and even have a shopping experience for users to help support a cause close to my heart, New Alternatives for Children (, while also scoring an adorable classic-meets-glam tote with the RAOL logo.

Why did you start your blog?

Because I’ve been in the beauty industry for so long (and am still stimulated by it 10 years later…), I knew I wanted to start my own beauty-related company. The challenge was how to differentiate it from everything else that was out there. A friend suggested I narrow down the topics that moved me the most, which lead me to focus on beauty brands and influencers who also have a socially conscious mission (like you, Love Goodly!). I’ve spent much of my life supporting nonprofits in both New York and Los Angeles so fusing the two into one online destination made perfect sense. 

[One of Alexis’s LOVE GOODLY faves? S.W. Basics gentle, non-drying cleanser that contains no alcohol. Next to cleaning your face with water, this is as simple as it gets! Cleanser, $22.00]

What’s the best part about your job? 
Raising awareness about the beauty brands or influencers doing really cool things to make the world a better place. It’s refreshing to uncover the ones that care about more than just the bottom line. 
What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?
The most challenging part of my job is trying to juggle all the freelance and consulting work with keeping Random Acts of Lipstick up to date while also brainstorming new ways to reach bigger audiences. But nothing motivates me to post more than wanting readers to know about these brands (which they may already know and love), who are leading the charge as activists. 
What’s the most under-rated thing about LA? 

Daybreaker dance parties (, which have recently landed in LA. They’re basically 6 am yoga classes followed by sober dance parties that take place during the week. They’ve gotten some pretty decent DJs too! I’ve been several times with my friend Alexis Wolfer of and we agree that it’s one of the best (and most energizing) ways to start the day. 


 [Be stylish and make a statement at those Daybreak Dance Parties in this limited edition Vaute Couture tank designed exclusively for LOVE GOODLY. The best part? 100% of the proceeds go to our partners at Farm Sanctuary! Special Edition Tank, $29.95]


Why do you love LOVE GOODLY?
Love Goodly takes the guesswork out of finding safe and healthy products. It’s a relief to know that whatever I’m getting in my monthly box or ordering straight from the site has already been vetted for eco-quality by Katie and Justine. Plus, like me, the brand is committed to using their voice and influence to raise awareness for causes they feel strongly about like Farm Sanctuary and Cure Cervical Cancer .
Where did you go to college? 
I went to Bucknell University. It’s a small liberal arts college in Pennsylvania … in the middle of the corn fields (ha!). But I loved every minute of my time there. 
What is your favorite movie? 
A League of Our Own. I’ve seen it a couple thousand times and it never gets old. 
What’s your favorite restaurant? 
In LA, True Foods. In New York, Stanton Social (try the french onion soup dumplings … you’re welcome!).
What do you have for breakfast?
Nothing too exciting. Sometimes I have eggs, sometimes I have fruit and oatmeal. But if I’m feeling especially hangry I’ll go straight for chocolate!
What’s one beauty tip you can share?
Just one? The best way to distribute hairspray through your hair is to spray it in an upside down “U” in the air and then flip your hair through it. It’s my top secret weapon for a perfectly even application.  
Coffee or tea?

I love tea. I think I was probably British in a past life …

One of my current favorite teas.
[One of Alexis’s favorite teas: Pukka Vanilla Chai Tea, $6.95]

One tip to women entrepreneurs? 
Accept every invite you can for social gatherings, nonprofit events, and networking nights. You never know who you’re going to meet. People I’ve met at some of the most random gatherings ended up being supremely helpful as I launched
And always have business cards on hand for these occasions. 

Guest Editor: YouTube’s Cruelty-free Beauty Expert, Leticia Costa

You, too, can look this flawless without the big-name products that test on animals. Photo from Instagram: @xoloveleti

You might think you’ve finished Spring Cleaning, but are you sure you haven’t missed a spot in your beauty cabinet? Popular brands and common products could be lurking there that are harmful to your health, the environment, and animals they are tested on. Our May guest editor, YouTube vegan beauty star xoloveleti, is here to help! An expert in all things vegan and cruelty-free, Leti’s combination of integrity, approachability, and on-fleek everything make her YouTube channel and Facebook group a top destination for product reviews and beauty advice. Here she shares with us her three dirty products you need to ditch ASAP, fave resources for vegan veterans and rookies alike (including a must-have checklist!), and all that’s in between.

– First three products in a makeup kit to switch out for cruelty-free ASAP:

I am a firm believer in a balancing act with makeup for those not quite ready to take the fully “green” beauty collection plunge- and going cruelty-free is the perfect opportunity to do just that!

I would definitely start with your foundation, mascara and lipstick. I can get away with wearing just that most days, and there are endless vegan and nontoxic options that can work for anyone! I personally swear by the Illuminare foundation as there are formulas to suit any skin-type as well as great undertones. You can find gorgeous vegocentric lipsticks BY LIPPY GIRL in the LOVE GOODLY shop that add just the right amount of tint and moisture to your lips, as well as the Juice Beauty lash defining mascara (I’m dying to try their new products, including the foundation! You just can’t go wrong with JB).

Start your cruelty-free journey off right with a perfectly pink pout! Pictured: Lippy Girl Vegocentric Lipstick in Hot Diggity Yam 

Healthy and ethical beauty is so easy, it’s nothing to bat an eyelash at! But go right ahead with this Juice Beauty Mascara.

– Favorite stops for cruelty-free and vegan info:

I definitely use as my beauty bible. I do not trust anyone else’s list/certification process more than LH’s! It’s holy grail. The blog is also filled with vegan lists and more. Of course I must shamelessly plug my awesome Facebook group Bunny Lifestyle where like-minded cruelty-free people everywhere join in a positive space to help one another and participate in giveaways, swaps and more. My close friend Katie Petix helps me run it and is a huge reason why it is still alive today.

I also have a 30 days to cruelty-free pdf which you can find on that I created after years of experience in becoming cruelty-free and finding a good balance that (hopefully) doesn’t overwhelm others! I definitely plan on doing a shoutout video on my channel soon to showcase more awesome creators!


Find Leti on Youtube:

– Something you always run out of: 

I’m going to answer with what I am always SCARED to run out of that I repurchase the most, which is my brow pencil. I am scared to leave the house without having my Anastasia Brow Wiz ready to give my face some life. As a child of the 90s, I suffered through the unfortunate overpluckyourbrowsaritis syndrome, and my sparse (already light) brows now suffer for it. Thanks to the pencil it now takes me seconds to create the brows I’ve always dreamed of, and I love having fun trying out different shapes & techniques!

– Lately you’re always:


I’m hungry right now. Seriously. I’m going through an awkward stage of moving out, where a kitchen isn’t easily accessible and a few lunches have consisted of french fries and pickles (no, I’m not pregnant!). I can’t even begin to talk about how much the Purely Elizabeth muesli in my previous LOVE GOODLY box saved my life. It was so, and I mean SO yummy and nutritious but low maintenance.


– Your morning routine in four words:

Minimalistic, refreshing, reflective, and……… coffee (I’m just not a morning person).

Refresh your own mornings with a light facial cleanser, like Blissoma Fresh Mild Rice Facial Cleanser!

– Guilty pleasure you’ll never give up:

Gilmore Girls, Britney Spears, and those OHMYGODYES vegan dark truffles from Nicobella LOVE GOODLY blessed me with. Oh. My. Glob.


– I’m in love with:

My rescued cat Waffle, snapchat, liquid lipsticks, great thrift scores (I officially sound like a hipster but LET ME LIVE MY BASIC LIFE OK), and… VEGAN DARK TRUFFLES! Oh and LOVE GOODLY, of course 😉 No, seriously. I love LOVE GOODLY.


Meet Katie.

Meet our cofounder, Katie. As head of merchandising, she’s responsible for selecting the brands we feature in  our boxes. A FIDM graduate, she is a serial entrepreneur, a passionate advocate for animals, and a longtime vegan. About to have her second baby, Katie is a role model for women looking to balance career and family.

What’s the most under-rated thing about LA?
Having a mix of nature and city all in close proximity is amazing.


What animal would you use to describe yourself?
Cat –can be calm and collected but can also pounce!


How long have you been vegan?
Vegan 10 years, vegetarian for 24 years


Where did you go to college?
Gettysburg College (small liberal arts college in PA)


Name one thing did you learn from FIDM?
Importance of networking— and that the pesky merchandise math class does come in handy every day


What is the country you most want to visit?
Been around the world literally but have not been to Australia. From diving to their fashion and music scene, it is a must see for me.


What is your favorite movie?
Lost In Translation– I love to travel and the movie is just beautiful

What tip do you have for working moms?
You do the best you can. Set your computer aside at home for a block of well deserved quality time with kids and family.

What’s the best part about your job?
Getting to try new brands and products while making a difference in animal lives and the environment

What’s your favorite restaurant?
Herbivore in San Fransciso- Real Food Daily here in LA, Bloom in NYC

What do you have for breakfast?
Oatmeal with blueberries and chia seeds–everyday with my son

What’s one beauty tip you can share?
A dedicated nightly routine of beauty oil or pure argan oil on the face really refreshes, moisturizers and re-energizes so you can glow the next day.

Coffee or tea?

Favorite dessert?
Strawberry Vegan Shake

One tip to women entrepreneurs?
Confidence and determination are integral to all parts of your journey from idea, to launch to daily business.

Guest Editor: Top Youtube Vlogger, Cornelia Grimsmo!

Meet Cornelia. Photo: Instagram @grimcorn

While you’re wearing green and hunting down four-leaf clovers this month, LOVE GOODLY is here to bring you a guest editor who knows a thing or two about creating your own luck. Her beauty and brains may have you thinking that she’s just #blessed, but actress, model, and vegan advocate Cornelia Grimsmo is completely responsible for her own mega success as a vegan social media personality, and she recently put in the work to add a new title to her belt: author. 

Cornelia’s e-book “How to Build Your Inner Home” is a culmination of the big-sisterly lifestyle advice that brought her to YouTube fame, and created a loyal, ardent fanbase across Instagram, Tumblr, and beyond. So put down that leprechaun and read on while we chat with Cornelia about her favorite things, the best thing that’s happened to her this year, how she feels most confident, and what makes her feel lucky.

Best thing that’s happened to you this year?
-“It’s not about what happens to you, but what you make happen for yourself – I finally published my first e-book!”

What do you want to happen to you this month?
-“I want to move back to LA.”

Cornelia spends her time between LA and Norway. Photo: Instagram @grimcorn

Three things that are always in your bag? 

-“My phone, some kind of fruit or energy bar and a notebook.”
Check out our vegan accessories like the Deux Lux NYC Shoulder Bag

For your own purse stash: shop vegan snacks that are easy for on-the-go, like Rise Bars!

Two things you always splurge on?
-“Food and scented candles.”
Create your own paradise with this LOVE GOODLY exclusive scented candle: Tahitian Grapefruit Vanilla

I can’t get enough of

-“Videos of baby animals being cute.”

Cornelia with her dog Sunday. Photo: Instagram @grimcorn

What is your perfect meal?

-“Lots of veggies, noodles and sweet chili saus -YUM!”

What makes you feel most confident?

-“Being aware of my core values. Turning vegan made me more confident. It doesn’t matter if people judge me, cause I know living a vegan lifestyle makes a difference for the better.”

Setting intentions is important! Buy a matching Dogeared “Make a Wish” Bracelet. Photo: Instagram @grimcorn

What makes you feel lucky?
– “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. I’m making a choice to work hard and put myself out there every day. Having that choice makes me feel lucky.”

You may recognize Cornelia from our Eco Beauty Brunch, where she shared with us her favorite gifts to give and receive: The Cellar Door Tokyo Citrus Candle, and the Dogeared Curved Tube Necklace!

While visiting, she also had her makeup done by green beauty expert and author of “The Green Beauty Rules”, Paige Padgett.


Valentine Gift Guide: Amber J Lawson

Introducing Amber J Lawson from Good Amplified, who will be sharing what green goods she loves for Valentine’s Day!

As a supporter of social good, I am honored to be guest editor for Valentine’s Day. Who doesn’t love shopping and selecting their favorite gifts?! By supporting a cause with each purchase, LOVE GOODLY‘s mission is aligned with my personal mission to use technology to affect change. My own company, Good Amplified, unites nonprofits to leverage the power of YouTube. And I love that each brand in their shop is better for you and for the planet. Happy shopping!


Learn more about your new bestie Amber by checking out her Twitter! Curious about Good Amplified? Good Amplified is the first and only multi-channel YouTube network exclusively helping nonprofits build and engage with communities, drive awareness, and create revenue streams through channel optimization, content strategy and influencer matchmaking. Based in Hollywood, California, the company’s goal is to leverage new and existing content to engage and move audiences into action, while creating global impact through storytelling—in short, doing good at scale.

Guest Editor: Madeline Cronin from thredUP!

Meet Madeline Cronin, thredUP’s Organic Growth Manager extraordinaire, and our first Guest Editor!

It’s no secret that the driving force behind LOVE GOODLY and their customers is 100% girl power. We #bossladies have got to stick together! Enter our new blog feature, where the finest female leaders take over as Guest Editors to share their tips for living a glamorous, green, and good life. These ladies will give us the short and sweet on their favorite things, because after all, the things you love most are what keep you at your best!

Our very first Guest Editor is Madeline Cronin, the Organic Growth Manager at the top ‘like-new’ fashion app, thredUP! thredUP helps you update your wardrobe while doing good for the planet. Read on for her words of wisdom about making a delicious smoothie, her current jewelry trend obsession, and all that’s in-between!

My favorite 3 items on the LOVE GOODLY shop:

I add this protein and greens powder to my morning smoothie (I’m obsessed with my Blendtec) – I add chilled green tea, frozen organic blueberries, 1/2 an avocado, a handful of kale, and mango – I’m good to go!

If I am home, then you can bet I have a candle burning – I’m obsessed with all things vanilla, plus the energizing dash of grapefruit scent in this candle is perfect. 

I’m a sucker for understated jewelry and a tiny bit obsessed with both moon phases and astrology – these earrings are so me!

My favorite nonprofit or cause/charity:
Meals On Wheels. To feed someone is to love someone. 

My favorite city:
I think I’ll always be partial to my hometown of New York City but right now I am all about my current city, Oakland. Oakland is a bit of a magical place – the diversity and pride of its residents, natural beauty (shoutout to Lake Merritt), and accessible and exciting food and music scene are unlike anywhere I’ve lived. 

My favorite restaurant:
FuseBox in Oakland, modern Korean fusion with a laidback, welcoming vibe. 

My favorite eco tip:
Eat less meat!! 

Photo from SS16 lookbook

My favorite brand to shop on thredUP:
Stella McCartney for Adidas

My favorite thing about working at thredUP:
The people! We’re a passionate, intelligent, kind bunch. 

thredUP and LOVE GOODLY are helping you treat yourself this Valentine’s Day with a giveaway on the LOVE GOODLY Instagram! Enter the giveaway for the chance to win $100 to shop on thredUP – find us @shoplovegoodly!

Exclusive Interview with Naked Foods Editor-In-Chief Margarita Restrepo!

The editor-in-chief of Naked Food Magazine, Margarita Restrepo, truly walks the talk. Now available in more than a thousand stores in the United States and Canada, and influencing hundreds of thousands of readers each year, Margarita founded Naked Food Magazine as part of a public movement—inspired by a very personal tragedy. She shared her story with LOVE GOODLY in this exclusive interview from her home in Rome.

ell us about Naked Food Magazine and what you do.


Naked Food is a worldwide initiative that proposes the switch from the Standard American Diet (SAD) to the New Authentic, Kind and Enlightened Diet (NAKED). It is a beautiful and entertaining science-based publication that supports the low fat, whole food, plant-based nutrition approach to prevent and reverse common chronic diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and cancer.


What was your inspiration for founding it?


The magazine was founded a year after I lost my boyfriend to a Glioblastoma Multiforme, a rare type of brain cancer. The experience taught me plenty, both good and bad. On the bad side, I learned that our current system is quite a tangled web.


The health care system depends on doctors to prescribe drugs made by pharmaceutical companies. Pharmaceutical companies train doctors to prescribe drugs to both the sick and the healthy. Doctors are not trained in nutrition so they don’t teach us prevention through diet.


I used to eat what I thought was a healthy diet, though closer to the western diet, but I had health issues. Every time I would ask a doctor what I could do to help or reverse my conditions, they would tell me to “Do everything in moderation.” After I was diagnosed with cysts in my breasts and the doctor gave me that line, I smiled and said, “If I get cancer, will it be moderate too?” He didn’t know what to say. I guess I was smiling because at that point I already knew about the power of plants, and I was starting my journey to health, so regardless of what he could have said, I already had the answer.


On the good side, I learned that food has everything to do with our health and our perspective about pretty much everything. I say everything because once we know where our food comes and how it is made or grown, we have the choice to become sustainable, kind, and even a bit enlightened.


I also learned that the human spirit is the biggest treasure we have. My boyfriend wanted to change the world while his body kept giving up. That changed my life. I promised I would do my best to create the same life change he inspired in me.


In terms of creating a non-toxic life, how do you walk the talk?


I am proud to lead my own NAKED movement. People tend to raise their eyebrows when I say that naked relates to food—I am always clothed, in case someone is wondering.


The basics are always organic, local, whole, and plant-based. I also buy organic and plant-based beauty products. I can eat out, but I would rather eat food that I make at home. I’m also very conscious about the things that I bring to my house, and I recycle and reuse everything I possibly can. I feed my dog a plant-based diet as well, and she is thriving.


I live the life that I want to live because I believe in its greatness: one that doesn’t harm others, one that heals, one that breaths respect and power, and one that is pure and in harmony with nature.


What’s the most challenging part?


Eating well while traveling can definitely be challenging, so I try to stock up on fruit and nuts most of the time. They are great snacks. I tend to eat a lot, but I don’t like small meals, so when traveling I also choose basic pasta dishes like tomato-basil. I also choose sides a lot: beans, potatoes, rice, salads, or grilled vegetables. Three or four of these make a meal for me.


The holidays are coming—how do you stay healthy?


The holidays are great but there is definitely a lot I wouldn’t want to eat. It’s a good idea not to leave the house starving. I make a smoothie, or grab a quick snack an hour before or while I get ready. I also like preparing my own dishes, desserts, and snacks, and I usually bring one wherever I go. If there aren’t many things for me to eat, I just eat what I brought! I stay away from unhealthy foods and compensate during the other meals of the day to get my healthy balance back.


Can you share your favorite quick nutritional pick-me-up? 


Fruit is usually my go-to snack. I don’t think I could live without bananas! Even when I don’t have access to organic produce, fruit it is always my first go-to choice. If I am at home or in a place where smoothies are available, that’s my next best thing. Last but not least, I love legumes. When available, I choose peas, beans, or chickpeas and eat them with a bit of quinoa or rice. Lentil soup is probably my most favorite and fabulous pick-me-up.


What’s your favorite eco destination?


It warms my heart to be among nature so it’s hard to narrow it down to one. There is nothing like being a part of nature and letting it be, so my favorite eco-destinations would be the ones that human hands have not conquered. The Lost City in Colombia’s Sierra Nevada is an example of it, and is absolutely gorgeous. I also enjoy the mountains as much as I enjoy the sea.


I love plants and animals and am mesmerized by seeing how they work, how they react, how they eat, and how they grow. I remember doing that since I was little. I am a very sensitive person, and I cry easily. These things make me feel closer to the true essence of life, what really matters, and the reason we are all here. Nature is perfection.


I travel often, so I try to build my own little eco-home around me. I gather discarded pallets or produce baskets and I use them in the kitchen for storage or as home decor. They actually look fabulous. I also plant my own herbs and some veggies, even if I am in a place for only a few months. I believe we can all make our own little sustainable world around us. For me, it’s a joy to do it.


Best eco tip you ever received—and from whom?


I’m not sure if it falls under ecological, but one of the best things I’ve learned has come from kindred spirit and sustainability expert, Michele Lastella. He says that aiming to achieve sustainability as we know it is not possible if we are not sustainable humans ourselves. Being a sustainable human is a choice and starts from within: from the love and kindness we spread around us, the way we treat others, and the small things we do to be better.


The point is that we will not be able to aid the planet and whatever threatens the species, the air, the oceans, the water sources, or the soil if we do not start with protecting and changing ourselves, and the space that surrounds us. Very wise and very true.


What’s your best advice for startups like LOVE GOODLY?


The best advice I can give is to be true to what you love, and love what you do. Starting something is not what’s difficult. The challenge is to keep it going and keep it true to what you envision for it. Planting seeds is easy, but we must care for them to see them grow.


I believe one of the most difficult areas of any start up is usually the start-up capital. Many people have great ideas, but from idea to execution there is a lot of work to do. The thing is, don’t get scared by that– whether you have capital or not. Just go for it and find a way to make it work. Asking for help won’t make you less of a human being… it will actually make you more human. I believe that everything we learn and go through is part of this big adventure, and trust me you will come out wiser, regardless of the outcome.


If the goal of your start-up is just the best way you can think of to make you “get rich quick”, good luck with it. You may or may not achieve financial success, but you will quit the minute it doesn’t work out anymore. What do you have to lose? The years of life you wasted doing something you didn’t want to do in the first place. If the goal of your start-up will simply make you the happiest person in the world because you know it will make a difference in people’s lives, bingo, you have a winner. I assure you, you will have the success you deserve.


Where do you see yourself and Naked Food Magazine in 10 years?


Good question. I don’t know where exactly we will be, though I hope Naked Food sees many glories on its way to greatness! We must make sure this magazine is seen in every corner of the world, so many languages and versions are definitely part of the future plans. I also want to make it a bi-monthly publication with worldwide distribution. Naked Food will be starting many initiatives, most of which I can’t reveal yet, but you will definitely know them all when the time comes.


As for me, I’m sure I’ll be striving to keep up with everything I’m trying to accomplish. No matter what I do, I know it is all in the hands of the universe, so, I’m sure I will be just fine.

Paige Padgett: Green Beauty Guru

When Paige Padgett makes up her mind, there’s no changing it. With more than a decade at the forefront of eco beauty, the makeup artist, author and entrepreneur has tirelessly worked to shift the conception of cruelty- and toxin-free beautypersonal care and skincare from granola to glamorous. Read on for the rest of our interview and a video!


After learning about the effects of petrochemicals on health by watching Ken Cook of EWG’s seminal “10 Americans” talk, Paige was among the first celebrity artists to green her cosmetics kit in 2006. She went on to develop an eco cosmetics kit for fashion designer Randolph Duke, and work with celebrities like Anna Kournikova and Jillian Michaels of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.”


With its smart tips and ample reference guides, Paige’s The Green Beauty Rules is required reading at LOVE GOODLY headquarters, so we were thrilled when she agreed to meet up with Rachel in Los Angeles for this exclusive interview. Paige’s straightforward view of toxic-free beauty is just what we need, especially given the plethora of pinkwashed ribbons we’re seeing this month.


Darshana Thacker of Forks Over Knives

Every LOVE GOODLY box includes a recipe from Forks Over Knives’ chef, Darshana Thacker. Forks Over Knives, our healthy lifestyle partner, is focused on empowering people to live healthier lives by changing the way the world understands nutrition. 

There’s nothing restrictive about Darshana Thacker’s concept of vegan food. A chef who helped develop recipes for Forks Over Knives books and apps, as well as those used in the company’s new online meal planning and cooking school, Darshana’s expansive view of flavors and textures has made cruelty-free converts across the nation. Darshana is a Natural Gourmet Institute trained chef who also teaches vegan Indian cooking in Los Angeles and hosts popular pop-up dinners in her Venice home. She’s is currently hard at work creating more than a hundred brand-new recipes for an upcoming Forks Over Knives book for busy parents, but she took time out to share her vision with LOVE GOODLY.

How did you get involved with Forks Over Knives?

 When I moved to the U.S. from India, I was vegetarian and ate only dairy and eggs. But after I met a producer of the “Forks Over Knives” film and began to understand how the meat and dairy industry worked, I realized that was not something I wanted. It was an instant understanding and I just stopped [eating those things]. Then I started teaching vegan Indian cooking and developing recipes for Forks Over Knives.

 Over the years, I was evolving as a vegan. It’s a process. You learn so much about your own preferences, what’s out there, your best ingredients. I began to understood the importance of eliminating oils from your diet. Because oils are pure fat, and it’s empty calories. You can use those calories by adding more fruits and vegetables, grains, beans and nuts into your diet. Then you’re getting more than just fat. You’re getting micronutrients.

So rather than having somebody else distill the fat out of something like a nut, you actually eat the nut and get the full nutritional benefit.

Yes. Exactly. It’s not a fat free diet, it’s a low fat diet. And it’s fat from its original source, like nuts.

So in terms of the transition, many of us have experimented with veganism and vegetarianism or gone back and forth, but it doesn’t necessarily stick. What do you think the turning point is for people who make veganism a lifestyle choice? What was it for you?

For me, it wasn’t a big struggle because the foundation of a healthy, plant-based diet is grains, starches and carbohydrates. We have been taught the opposite—that carbs are bad. But when you bring those back as a foundation of your meals you will find that you have enough energy, food sustains you longer, makes you feel full and satisfies you. People have this impression that vegan means just salads, vegetables, kale and spinach. You cannot sustain yourself on vegetables! That’s just not possible. And that’s one of the misunderstandings. When people try to eat that way that’s why they fail.

Because they’re not satisfied.

Because they’re not satisfied. Exactly. I call it a diet of abundance. If you see my pantry, it’s got so many ingredients. There’s so much that you can play with. This food is what you share with your family—this experience, there’s so much to enjoy.

Where do you shop for those ingredients? Do have to go to farmer’s markets?

I shop at all different kinds of places. Because I teach how to transition to this lifestyle, so the ingredients in my recipes have to be accessible to everyone. There are people who are on a budget, who live in an area where they don’t have access to farmer’s markets. I need to think about how they can be successful. That’s why I go to mom and pop shops, local markets, farmer’s markets, and health food stores.

Are you concerned about the accusation that healthy, fresh food is part of an elitist lifestyle, that you can only choose those foods if you’re at a certain socioeconomic level?

Yes! Actually I took two challenges. One was $1.50 per day for five days, and the other was $5 a day for 10 days. And just living on that budget, and I had so much food that I was sharing it.

That’s amazing! Okay so if I’m going to transition to the abundant diet that we’re talking about, what are the five things that I need to have in my house at all times?

Beans or lentils, and rice—grains—as well as starchy vegetables because they stay fresh and you can store them for a long time. Fresh vegetables and fruits, and a few spices. That’s a good way to start.

Perfect! Thank you so much for sharing with us. I hope this conversation can inspire more discussion of the abundant lifestyle.

Yes! This is a journey, you know? There’s so much to learn.