My Vegan Story

My Vegan Story 2015

Five and a half years ago I got a job at a little vegan restaurant on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with the intention of working there until I received my big break as an actress. I thought it would come quickly, after all, I had just finished playing Princess Tiana of The Princess and the Frog in a live Disney show. Clearly acting success was around the corner for me {insert side eye emoji}.

But you never know where life will take you. I was reminded of that truth when I sat in front of the camera last weekend to share my vegan story with you.

Shortly after beginning my career as an actress in New York City, and getting that job at the little vegan restaurant, I lost my passion for the craft. I floated in limbo not knowing what I should do with myself. I didn’t want to be an actress anymore, but I didn’t feel qualified to do anything else. I wasn’t vegan at the time. I had already started Sweet Potato Soul, but just as a hobby. I loved food so much, but what could I do with that?

Then it happened. I decided to go vegan and my whole life changed!

Check out the video for more more more!! Also, check out the post I wrote a couple of weeks ago for more insight into the good karma that came to me from going vegan.

Do you have a vegan story? I’d love to hear it :)

p.s. Thanks to all of you who shared your amazing suggestions for future Sweet Potato Soul videos on Youtube. I have an impressive list of over 80 suggestions, tons of repeats, and it’s still growing. If you haven’t given me your suggestions, please let me know what you’d like to see on my channel. I’ve got a lot coming down the pipeline in the second half of 2016, and I want to make sure I’m giving you what you want!!

Vegan Chickpea “Tuna” Salad {VIDEO}

Vegan Chickpea Tuna Salad
Can you say delicious?

I say it out loud every time I eat chickpea “tuna” salad. This is an absolute perfect summer recipe for any occasion, from daily lunches, to beach picnics, to a Forth of July cookout. What’s better, it only takes a few minutes to make! MmMmMmmmm.

I’ve never been a fan of processed faux seafood products. Yet, I’ve found that by using whole plant-based ingredients in place of highly processed ones, fakin’ vegan food is so much tastier and more fun. Sure, I could go to the store and pick up some vegan “fish”, but what’s really in that? Could it be any healthier than opening up a can of chickpeas? Probably not. Using whole plant-based ingredients, like chickpeas, to replicate animal based dishes isn’t as creepy, and it’s so much better for you. Have you seen my vegan “crab cakes”? Boy… I used to L.O.V.E crab in every form, but I’ve seen the light. I truly believe this vegan stuff is just as good, if not better.

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Vegan Fennel Paella

Vegan Paella

Yesterday was my dad’s birthday, and Father’s Day is just a couple days away. So in the spirit of appreciation for all the great papas out there, here are three lessons I’ve learned from my daddy :)

1. Love your family.

My dad’s independence is enviable, yet he’s never failed to be there for his family when we need him. Though I didn’t grow up in the same house as my dad, he was always been a strong and loving presence in my life. He has come to every dance recital, every play, every graduation, and every special event. Over the last few years we’ve been able to bond more deeply over our shared love of travel. In 2013 we spent a week in Spain, and just 4 weeks ago, a week in Los Angeles to visit one of my brothers (picture below).

My dad is also the beloved “cousin-brother” of his extended family. He’s the great guy who always shows up, and is the life of the party. Everyone loves and admires my dad. So do I.

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Ponzu Soba Noodles + What I Eat Everyday {VIDEO}

Ponzu Soba Noodles

I’ve always been a big fan of soba noodles. For years I’ve served them with a rice vinegar and tamari based sauce, and then I discovered ponzu. Made from Japanese citrus (sudachi), ponzu is tart, acidic, and the perfect vinegar replacement for a soba noodle sauce. Similar to lime juice, it brightens up the sauce, and adds a level of complexity that just isn’t present when using vinegar.

I’ve already made these delicious ponzu soba noodles 3 times (in a week)! The sauce comes together in 5 minutes, the noodles are ready in 4, and the veggies––the most time consuming part––can be washed, chopped, and cooked in 15. Make a large batch, and these easy soba noodles will keep you nourished and happy all week.

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Very Berry Chia Pudding + Book Giveaway

Very Berry Chia PuddingI remember it like it was yesterday. I was riding the subway home with Victoria Moran after we filmed an episode of the Our Hen House TV show in Brooklyn, when she asked me if I would contribute an essay for her new book, The Good Karma Diet. The book, her twelfth, was going to be an inspirational guide to eating a truly rewarding plant-based diet.

What an honor it would be to share my “good karma” story in the forthcoming book by a respected vegan author!

Of course I agreed. And now I’m holding the book in my hands. Amongst nearly 300 pages of wisdom and inspiration are my words, and my journey of how becoming vegan changed my life for the better.

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