vegan tips

An Interview with Amy Rebecca Wilde | Vegan Scene

I have to admit: I’m still consider myself a newer vegan, especially since vegan living encompasses much more than what sits on our plates. I see myself as this “accidental expert” that has been based mainly on my experience, self-education, and leaning heavily on the real experts out there.

With the opportunity of acting co-host on weekly LA Talk Radio show, I’ve had the privilege to meet some of the biggest influencers & real experts in this plant-based movement, including someone else who started from scratch a lot like I did.

This was a long-time, dream-come-true moment getting to meet our special guest, Amy Rebecca Wilde. She not only started a few notable social media & IRL movements, but she’s an activist turned entrepreneur, living the vegan lifestyle for nearly 17 years. Amy spent a lot of her childhood volunteering at pet adoptions, even protesting outside the Los Angeles Zoo, and has also been the one behind the Fur Free LA Campaigns which have been successful lately in banning fur in LA.

Currently, she owns and runs the popular Venice Beach boutique Vegan Scene, and in 2017 launched her own vegan and ethical fashion line called, Legends and Vibes. Amy is the face behind the popular Instagram account, @VegansOfIG where she's taken it upon herself to organize a meet up tour though the account, connecting like-minded activists and vegans and educating the public.

The following is a snippet of what we talked about on the show:

TVW: We’re so glad to have you on! I would first love to hear about you, & your vegan story, as well as what has inspired you to launch these vegan fashion lines & companies.

via  Amy Rebecca Wilde  Instagram

via Amy Rebecca Wilde Instagram

Amy: “Well thank you so much for having me!

Yeah, so I’ve always been an animal lover from an early age. Everything that I did was finding a way to not just have animals around, but to be able to take care them. So for me, the natural conclusion, once I had learned about vegetarianism & then veganism, was to make the switch asap. From there I made it my life’s path, whatever I was follow, to use veganism as a way to influence positive change.

And for me, [in regards to what inspired me], it’s a really simple answer, really: it’s realizing that something has not been done yet & it can be done, I just need to make sure it happens, and with that just going forward with starting it. The simplest answer for starting a vegan store was, I like to shop, and I was having trouble finding a place that was a 100% cruelty-free boutique of curated, cute stuff that I didn’t have to worry about.

There so much to talk about when it comes to a plant-based diet, as veganism expands into every aspect of our lives and how much animals are not considered beings, [in the eyes on most] they are just materials.

I’m so excited that a plant-based diet has come so far in the last few years but of the real push that we need to start making is for the entire lifestyle which means being conscious of the materials that we are using.

[There is] the big myth that the animal agriculture has about ‘leather and fur being a byproduct of getting the meat,’ when in reality that’s not really happening. And to touch on what Paul said earlier about Climate Change, we in vegan fashion like to say that veganism is the future because you simply can’t sustain current animal practices practices and expect a healthy planet.”

TVW: After reading your bio, I wanted you to tell the story about how Vegan Scene came about as well as the community that you’ve created. We’ve talked about this before on the show about how we [vegans] need to create community out of this movement. What is your take on this important topic?

Amy: “Yeah, I will say that I went vegan back in 2002, so I didn’t really have any vegan friends until about 8 years later. That was a big part of social media and being able to connect with more people and spreading the awareness that comes with that. Not only was I able to connect with other people, but I was able to use what I had known as my experience to help others.

For me, I am committed to the cause 100%, but I can see how not having that important connectedness that comes with community, that support system, can be a deterrent. [I] encourage others who become interested to get involved in veganism, as it is really important to make sure you provide a community & support. That could be as simple as sharing a recipe or giving some advice.

I started doing protests & different work and started meeting more activists. This was when Instagram was still in its infancy, but late one night I couldn’t sleep & created the @vegansofig account & just started sharing memes between vegans. Then I started getting comments from other people who that were new [to veganism] or interested [in going vegan]. After doing it for so long, I forget how many questions there are in the beginning. So I kinda started writing more informative posts and started listening to people and what they wanted me to say. “

via  Amy Rebecca Wilde  Instagram

via Amy Rebecca Wilde Instagram

I [also] like to go out and meet people, and one of the things that people were talking about was having events so I started doing Meetups too. It was just in that LA area.

There were a lot of people commenting on having events at certain places. So I setup a tour around the country doing these events, and I brought my dog with me too! I got to meet vegans around the country and it was one of the best experiences I ever had. Which was illuminating into how much of a vegan community we have out there, but also the lack of vegan spaces.

I was having trouble finding places to host these vegan events and was having a hard time finding something that met up to my criteria. So that’s when I started looking into bars & places that have drinks that were “herbivore approved” and have pre-made vegan menus for everyone set up with the restaurant. It was a really big eye opener for me that there is a big group of us out there but not a lot of places to meet up that are completely vegan friendly”

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That’s when I created the first brick & mortar space to house vegan events and house a fashion boutique, Vegan Scene.

Want to hear the rest of the interview with Amy Rebecca Wilde?

Catch the rest of the recorded conversation by clicking HERE, and follow Amy Rebecca Wilde on Twitter, Instagram, and visit the websites for Legends & Vibes and Vegan Scene.

Vegan 101: 5 Things You Need to Know Before Going Vegan

I’ve been on a creative hiatus over the holiday season, rethinking some of the ways that I frame this vegan lifestyle thing. It’s 2019 and seems that everyone is setting resolutions, goals, or intentions with the new energy only a “New Year” can bring. While I’m all for setting goals, I am NOT for setting unrealistic expectations in desperation for change. Been there, done that, it doesn’t work.

Change is a slow process requiring intentional actions while allowing room for failure. If I know anything about change, it can be difficult to say the least. That to say, if you’ve ever thought about going vegan, now is the perfect time to do it.

Veganuary 2019 is off to a running start with people supporting one another in the process. Unlike when veganism made it to surface in the 60s, there are so many options for vegans these days that it’ll have you thinking, “Wow I don’t even miss the ‘real thing’…”

So, with the a record number of you who are pledging to take the plunge into veganism publicly, as stated by The Guardian, here are some practical tips on making the lifestyle transition goes as smooth as possible.

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1.  Add lots of plants FIRST.

Like Leslie Durso shared with us in one of our latest LA Talk Radio State of the Oceans show, “immediately to start adding large quantities of produce into [your] diet.” Adding things to your diet is always easier than taking the once-familiar things out all of the sudden. Improving our quantities nutrients from produce is the best thing we can start doing because you’re training yourself to consume vegetables. As they say, “You are what you eat.”

Related: How to Go Vegan in 2019, an interview with Vegan Chef Leslie Durso

2.  Get to Know Your Kitchen

Teaching yourself how to cook is the greatest skill & gift you can teach yourself. Knowing how to cook recipes on the fly requires expert skill, so make use of the big-fat network some like to call, “The Internet.” Google, Pinterest, & Youtube became my greatest teachers & resources for recipes in this lifestyle switch, and best of all… that education & recipe collection was FREE!

Need recipes? Download my FREE 6 Week Vegan Meal Plan. There’s something for everybody to eat & enjoy.

3. Start Becoming a Label Reading Expert

This was something that can be done simply by doing it. Meaning: read the ingredients of the food you’re buying. Unlike fruits & vegetables that don’t need a nutrition label, processed foods can be tricky to navigate. Learning other names for animal products can help you stay on track & keeping animals off the plate.

Related: Supplement & Nutrition Labels: 101

4. Invest in a Food Processor/Blender

Having the basic cooking tools, like pots, pans, and utensils, is important. However, I’d go a step further to say that investing in a food processor and/or blender will be great for those recipes requiring smooth consistencies. Also, owning a blender is essential for on the go smoothies which are easy to make vegan.

Need a suggestion? We use the Ninja brand of food processor.

5. Have Grace. It's a Process.

If you’re new to the enlightened lifestyle of veganism, I have good news for you: you’re not alone! With the 300,000 people estimated to go plant-based this year, be assured that failing in the process is completely normal. Be kind to yourself in the process because the impact you’re making by trying is not going unnoticed!

What to  learn more  about this topic?  Click here  to listen to ThatVeganWife on LA Talk Radio have this conversation about her own journey.

What to learn more about this topic? Click here to listen to ThatVeganWife on LA Talk Radio have this conversation about her own journey.

Happy 2019! Eat more plants this year on me.

Happy 2019! Eat more plants this year on me.

An Interview with Leslie Durso | How to Go Vegan in 2019

Instagram:  @lesliedurso

Instagram: @lesliedurso

It’s that time of the year again where people start to make their “New Year’s Resolutions…” and while I could go on a tangent about how you can make the switch to plants any time of the year, or share my favorite recipes, I’ll let the other vegan bloggers do that.

Some of you are choosing to go vegan in 2019 and I applaud you… but can I give some solid advice?

Actually, the following advice comes from a conversation we recently had on the radio show with our friend & vegan chef, Leslie Durso.

I love having Leslie on because she really knows what she’s talking about and she has expertise to back it up. Once simply known as Leslie the lab girl with Bill Nye the science guy, Leslie took her love of education and shifted from science to plant-based food. After establishing herself as a private chef for the NYC and Hollywood elite, Leslie emerged as a public persona, hosting cooking segments on television and online.

I took advantage of having her on the show to ask her, “HOW people can make the switch to a vegan lifestyle go more smoothly, and how to navigate holiday/public gatherings with people that don’t understand what vegan is.”

  • Listen to the entire LIVE recording of our interview with Leslie here.

For those of you who just here for the advice, here’s a little bit of our conversation…

TVW: For the newbie vegans out there who are just starting out, how do you stick to being vegan? Especially around the holidays? What do you do?

Leslie: "Yeah, the holidays are a tough time because going home, people can be very defensive about their beliefs, especially when it comes to how you eat. I'd say that you have got to be super respectful. Everyone is in a different place in their food journey and everyone deserves to be respected. So, the holidays might not be the best time to make a big scene at the table and tell everyone that 'meat is murder…' You might want to just play it a little bit more low-key.

Usually when you go vegan, things start to happen to you physically. Your skin gets brighter and better, your hair gets shinier, and you'll notice that people will just [naturally] ask you about it.

Let them spark the conversation as opposed to being the one that's preaching to everybody.

As far as what to avoid and how to get through it food-wise. You know, it is tough, especially when you're new and you don't know what's in everything. You might be eating something and your Aunt Betty says, 'Oh yeah that doesn't have any animals in it," except that she forgot that there's actually eggs in it. Don't beat yourself up, do the best that you can. If you can cook for everyone, even better. It's a great way to inspire conversation when someone tastes your delicious appetizer or cookies and says, 'Wow! These are really good," and you can show them that you don't need to put the eggs & dairy in them. It's just as delicious without!

Bring your own food with you so that you're not without when there's appetizers of cheese & crackers and you can't eat anything. Go get your favorite snack and keep a smile on your face!”

Instagram:  @lesliedurso

Instagram: @lesliedurso

TVW: “I know a lot of people that will be trying to go vegan this year in 2019 and a lot of those people are used to having animal products. While some of those things are addicting because of the chemicals found in them, it can be hard to start. Where do you start when you tell people to start [going plant based]? Is it taking dairy out first or should you go all at once? How would you suggest a smooth transition into veganism?

Leslie: "Well it depends on the person and where they're at, but I tell them to immediately to start adding large quantities of produce into their diet, so that you're substituting with really healthy food. I was mentioning that there are a lot of the plant-based cheeses and plant-based meats and those are so fantastic, but if you just sub out meat for those items, you're still not getting the foundation of your diet. The foundation of your diet should always be whole plants. So I encourage people to first do that and then to eliminate things out.

Then I usually ask them to start with dairy because dairy is the thing that people find hardest to cut out. I also believe that it's one of the most unhealthy things, so that it should go first. So, if you can get that out of your diet then everything else seems much easier."

Listen to the LIVE recording by clicking      here     .

Listen to the LIVE recording by clicking here.


So there you have it: solid advice about how to go vegan in 2019. Please take some time to read through more of my beginner’s advice on how to have the best experience of going vegan in 2019 like…


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How to Host a Vegan for the Holidays

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One of your friends or family members just recently decided to go vegan and they’re coming over for the holiday feast. You’re gut drops as you realize you have NO idea what to do to accommodate them, but you would hate to miss their presence at dinner. You’ve heard how sensitive they can be, but inviting them would just be rude right?

So what do you do?

Hi there! Experienced vegan here with more tales of how to survive the holidays with people who’s eating habits differ from yours. This time, I’m talking to my fellow non-vegans on what to do when a vegan comes to dinner and how to accommodate without offending them or their lifestyle choices.

1. Breathe

It can be daunting the idea of hosting someone who eats completely different than you, but trust me: this is not as hard as you think. There are probably a lot of things you’re eating that could be considered vegan, so we’re in the same boat here.

2. Ask them what recipes you can make

One of the most courteous things our weekly (non-vegan) small group has done to make us feel welcome is when they ask what kind of recipes they can make that we like. If you want to get ahead of the game, go ahead and get a Pinterest account and start saving some stuff. Google is also your best friend and is loaded with thousands of vegan recipes every day. Holiday favorites can easily be converted to vegan and tastes equally as delicious for anyone to enjoy!

3. Ask them if they can bring a dish to share

I don’t ever walk into a gathering expecting a whole lot of selection which is why I like to offer & bring something to share. Desserts are often easiest to create and become instant crowd pleasers. We want to share our food with you!

Click here  to read my latest Thanksgiving recipe list find!

Click here to read my latest Thanksgiving recipe list find!

4. No “Vegan” Talk at the Dinner Table

This one is obvious, but can often be forgotten about once diets are on display for all to see at the dinner table. A vegan plate will look different than the traditional non-vegan holiday selection, so it’s easy to vomit out the words, “Whhhhyyyy are you Veeeegaaaannn?” But trust me, for everyone’s sake, diet-talk should be kept below minimum...which is none at all. Holidays are times to enjoy and celebrate what we have in common, not what divides us.

5. Make sure your vegan guests have a dessert (whether you made it or they bring it)

I’ve said this before, but it is always a sad day when the vegan in the room becomes excluded at dessert time. Everyone sitting around… enjoying their sweet treats, while their sitting with nothing to enjoy. It’s a big bummer, but converting non-vegan recipes is pretty easy these days with replacements for dairy & eggs readily available. Review #2, if you need more guidance.

Check out this dessert idea for Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes:

6. After Dinner, Get Curious

If you happen to be curious, after dinner is the time to ask questions. Most vegans are compassionate people & eager to talk to you about it, so after-dinner questions are more than appropriate. Start by asking why they’ve made that choice and conversation usually starts from there.

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7. Stay Open Minded

There are many different kinds of vegans out there who chose plants, and all of their “whys” will be different. Whether or not you agree with what their reasoning is, please keep an open-mind and do the research for yourself if you want to know the truth. Everyone’s journey into plant-based living is different, but every experience has something we can learn from. Asking questions & staying open minded is the kindest thing you can do for people now days.


Did that help? Are you still stuck? Need some resources on where to go for vegan holiday recipes this season? I’ve got your back. Listed below are several amazing resources for you to read up on before your guests arrive.

Need some vegan recipe ideas? Check out my VEGAN Board Collection on Pinterest.

Need Holiday recipe ideas? Click here for the staples.

Download the FREE 6 Week Meal Plan for 6 weeks worth of plant-based shareables.

How to Handle the Holidays as a Vegan

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Three years ago this November, right before the holiday season of eating, I decided to #GoVegan. After an intense amount of self education and exposure to the truth of animal agriculture, as well as experiencing plant-based meals in my own kitchen, I started to get bombarded with questions and concerns from family & friends.

I don’t know why I decided to go vegan at the start of that holiday season when we lived in the very traditional southern state of Louisiana, the heaviest food culture I’ve ever been a part of. It definitely wasn’t to make things difficult for myself or those who knew me, but with it came new challenges socially and realistically which is why I feel I can share some perspective with you now.

Someone asked me just recently, “How do you go home during the holiday season when the rest of your family isn’t vegan?” That’s a really good question that I’ve been waiting to answer. So, here’s my best advice for new vegans going home over the holidays to family & friends who may reject or question your decision to #GoVegan.

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Be Confident In Your Convictions

It doesn’t matter where you go in the world, someone is going to disagree with you. May that be in the form of snide comments around the dinner table, well intended concerns about your health, or straight up name-calling… I’ve been there, and chances are that if you’ve been vegan for any amount of time, you probably have been there, too. Knowing that not everyone is going to agree, I encourage you to practice radical acceptance in releasing control of other people’s reactions while remembering your own convictions about why you went vegan in the first place. Whether that’s for health, the animals, or the planet, you have got to be 100% in agreement with yourself even before you walk to do door & turn the handle to your family or friend’s house Thanksgiving Day.

Prepare mentally and literally for questions & comments. Bring your own amazing food to share. You could even write a list of people whose opinions matter most on a Post-It, stick that in your pocket, and take it out to look at it when ill comments or remarks are said. You got this.

Answer Questions After Dinner

It never fails that any gathering I’m at, someone is bound to be curious of my vegan choices. In the past, I’ve either word-vomited information, started arguments, or taken offense to someone’s comment or question, but now-a-days I save those conversations for “offline.” Meaning, the dinner table is off-limits for discussion about animal cruelty, hard health facts, and a holier-than-thou attitude. It’s not cool when someone tries to shove their convictions down your throat, so don’t do the same to them.

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Cook for Your Family

One of the best ways I’ve introduced my own family to veganism is by cooking delicious recipes for in the form of dinner & dessert. During the holidays you could even make sure to bring a few dishes for them to try (and for you to have for yourself). Just make sure you’re bringing something delicious. A veggie tray doesn’t count.

Don’t Be Judgemental, Be Enthusiastic

With a 600% increase in people who identify as vegan in the United States, someone is bound to tell you about their progress in eating plants. However, there will still be some animal products at the tables of non-vegans and it’s best not to be judgemental towards those choices. Everyone is on their own journey. Your choice by itself, is making a huge impact, so don’t forget that. Celebrate the little victories when they’re mentioned and love people where they’re at!

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If you have any questions, tips, or hacks about this topic, leave them in the comments or send me a private message. I'd love to connect with you!

xo,

Amy Beth





How to Be a Pura Vida Vegan

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What is Pura Vida? Literal translation means “Pure Life,” but when this is said down in Costa Rica, the phrase usually implies a relaxed attitude & simplicity towards life in that moment.

The car breaks down. Pura Vida.

Can’t find the umbrella. Pura Vida.

Plans are changing... again. Pura Vida.

While those are loose examples of Pura Vida, the concept is simple. Things don’t have to go always as planned and the little things we worry about aren’t worth the stress. However, I want to take it a step further but shedding light on what ‘Pura Vida’ could mean for your health.

Living a simple lifestyle here in the States seems impossible to achieve, and now that I’ve seen different, nothing angers me more than when someone tries to over complicate an individual's health. Health products sold by commercial companies & networking marketers with no reputable research backing up their products, paired with a lack of expertise in the health field, are confusing consumers about “what is healthy.”

I see this all the time. In fact, I was once ‘that person’ selling the idea of “fit” to my friends on Facebook because someone told me it was okay. Been there, done that, got selfies in the t-shirt; but oh how I wish that mistake didn’t take a toll on my body. While I usually live a life of ‘no regrets,’ I do regret my lack of personal research into the things I used & promoted in the past in order to make myself lose weight. My lack of research and full trust in my friends’ opinions caused chaos inside & out. You can read my story from my previous blog post.


So, how do we take control of our health in a way that’s not complicated?

How do we get our Pura Vida back?

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Start with whole foods.

You cannot get any simpler than something grown out of the ground, washed, cooked, then eaten. We have these things called, “convenience stores” which have stripped away the connection between the consumer and the producer, leaving us disconnected from where our food comes from, and this mindset can be dangerous. Having thousands of options in one store has spoiled our ideas of buying fresh or local. The convenience of being able to “go by the store real quick” doesn’t take much thought. That mindset then translates into the way we eat our convenient food without experiencing gratefulness of the person who picked that produce. I see that this is a problem, and I’m guilty of being a part of this system. It’s easy to pick up the frozen & packaged because all we have to do is open a bag/box/packaging, heat, and eat.

Eating whole foods is not only important to the growers, but it’s vitally important to our health. Tell me the difference between eating a piece of fried chicken and eating a whole orange. Yeah, the chicken probably appeals to your tastes more, but that whole fruit has more nutrients and energy your body knows how to digest than the overly processed piece of chicken will provide for you.

Simply put, our bodies respond better to whole food nutrition more than anything else. Within a whole piece of fruit is the energy and sustainability we need to make healthy jumps forward throughout the day.

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Start with small habits.

Health does NOT have to be complicated. You do not need supplements, wraps, teas, pink-drinks, and intense workout routines to be healthy. While the convenience with these products is…. Well, convenient… most of these options have proven to an unsustainable long term solution for your well being. It’s crap that these companies are pressuring potential consumers to buy their convenient product without regards to the long-term health of the general public. It’s definitely not right or fair to the people spending their money, and you have a right to know what you’re investing in.

Simply, you can start with whole foods, start with walking 30 minutes 3 times a week, and start with not buying junk food and buying lots of whole food. Start with trying a new plant-based recipes once a week for your family. Then once your foundation is built, add on from there.

Start limiting tech-time & start connecting IRL.

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This is the hardest one for me. I absolutely love connecting with people online and it is invigorating to respond to someone’s need for my advice… but these social media apps are tricky. They’re just as addicting in the same way as gambling and a whole generation has been trained to live distracted from what’s right in front of them.

Taking intentional breaks for longer periods of time may sound daunting at first, but I promise: it’s worth the time you’ll get back. Being disconnected due to the elements in Costa Rica required me to get back into things that I had been putting off and allowed me to form new habits.

Things I’ve started doing more of since cutting down on screen time:

  • Housework

  • Journaling

  • Talking to friends on the phone/facetime

  • Working on creative content

  • Reading

  • and Exercise

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Start analyzing your emotional & mental health.

Do you often, “just react” to things and feel out of control about certain tasks or taboo topics? Does your chest get tight when you’re feeling stressed? Does your health suffer because of everything you have going on in your life? Do you feel hopeless about your body’s response to food or lifestyle choices your choosing to hold on to?

Now is the time to look at your mental health. While I’m currently in the middle of a mental health healing journey (which I will share more in the future about), I can say that feeling bad all the time got my attention. If it’s getting your attention, treat yourself well by evaluating your mental health. My friends, if you don’t have this part of health in check first, you probably won’t accomplish the rest. It’s worth the journey.


Start with these mindful practices and I promise you (with help beside you), your choices will start to add up to better health. Please remember, there are many aspects to health and we DON’T have to complicate them.

Need some extra help in making realistic holistic choices? Check out the Realistic Holistic 6 Week Course on ThatVeganWife.com and about Why I Created this Course for you.

Until Next Time--

TVW

Watch the video I created of Highlights from my trip to Costa Rica!

Hey you. It's been a while. Welcome back to my channel. I have loads to catch you up on, but wanted to share some highlights from my latest trip to Costa Rica.