I met a Plant Based Food Chef called Christy online, and then through the wonderfulness that is twitter we were able to meet in real life a few months back. We met when we were both visiting Austin, and I was able to come along on two of her restaurant reviews. Christy has a love and passion for life that shows with out her saying a word. Her love of food comes through as she tries foods. She has unique sense to tell, what I can only describe as understanding for the love that went into the food she is making and eating.
Let’s get to know all about Christy and Plant Based cooking!
So, I want to know how you got here?
I mean you are living in LA, teaching cooking classes and writing recipe books. What was the first step for you and how did you find the strength to take it?
I went vegetarian about 7 years ago. I moved to LA having just graduated with a fashion design degree and thought I could make it big doing wardrobe for movies and television. I went vegan with my friend Sue and we started having dinner parties for friends. I loved seeing peoples’ faces light up after eating my food, so I decided to give culinary school a try. I didn’t want to touch meat so I had very few options for vegan culinary schools. Sue told me of a macrobiotic culinary school in Austin, so I went to check it out.
What sparked your interest in macrobiotics?
I had no idea what macrobiotics meant when I visited The Natural Epicurean. I just knew that it was all vegan except a fish class. I didn’t have to touch it or taste the fish, so that was good enough for me. It was less expensive than the other schools and I was already familiar with Austin. What I learned at that school completely changed my life and the way I understood food.
For those who are not sure what macrobiotic means, could you explain it?
It’s kind of hard to sum up in a few sentences! It’s complex and people study it their whole lives. But the basic principles are eating whole foods, organic, seasonal, no processed foods or refined sugar, eating in balance with the seasons. It’s the most sustainable way to eat and what I find the healthiest for your mind, body, and spirit. It’s a way of life, not just a diet. It’s based in Chinese Medicine so there are many eastern principles incorporated into it.
Was there something/someone that inspired you to become vegan?
Well, I watched the Meet Your Meat video on PETA and went vegan overnight. My friend Sue helped me along the way too. At first I went vegan for animal welfare, then through culinary school I learned about the poor effects eating animals had on my mind, body, and spirit. Now I have many reasons for being vegan, like my desire to live a compassionate life, being kind to the planet and all living creatures, and as part of my spiritual growth.
So many people have a hard time making the first step in changing their lifestyle, what would you like them to know?
Well, your heart has to be in the right place or you won’t stick with it. I usually suggest that people make the transition to vegetarianism or eating healthy as slowly as they need to. It’s best to start adding in the good things (eating more whole grains and greens), then slowly start taking away the not-so-good things (meat, dairy, sugar, processed foods).
Do you have any favorite recipe books or favorite dishes?
My all-time favorite macrobiotic book is The Hip Chick’s Guide to Macrobiotics by Jessica Porter.
For those new to macrobiotics Love, Sanae by Sanae Suzuki and Macrobiotics for Dummies by Verne Varona are must haves.
What is one thing that you wish people could understand about your lifestyle?
I’m not perfect, but I walk the talk, so to speak. I eat well, take care of myself, have a spiritual practice, do not drink alcohol, and try to be the healthiest I can be so I can help others more effectively. I put my heart into everything that I do.
What does a perfect meal taste like?
One that has the perfect balance of the 5 tastes: bitter, salty, sweet, pungent, and sour. I’m a purest so I’m happy with simple food, but also LOVE ethnic food like Thai, Indian, Mexican, Ethiopian, Vietnamese, you name it!
Why should people have hope?
I feel a great energy shift happening this year. People are ready to take a honest look at their dinner plates and see the bigger picture staring back at them. Abusing animals and using animals as commodities is no longer going to be an option. We are moving into a new age of eating healthier for the sake of our own health but the health of the planet. It’s a very exciting time to be in the movement. I have strong hope and faith that we’ll see big changes happening over the next few years and BIG changes in my lifetime.