THE MINDFUL VEGAN: Finding joy during a pandemic in a time of upheaval can be elusive.

I turned to vegan chef & holistic health coach @diannewenz and now plot my weekends around trying new recipes. With French new wave films playing in background, I dive in.

A Q&A with Dianne!
1/ Q&A:

HSC: Why vegan?

@diannewenz: So many reasons! I went vegan for the animals, but veganism can also improve one’s health, and it’s good for the planet. Many believe COVID-19 was caused by animal agriculture and that going vegan could potentially prevent future pandemics.
2/ Q&A

HSC: How did your health improve when you changed your diet?

@diannewenz: I grew up with bad allergies, chronic sinus infections & debilitating headaches. They only got worse as time went on. I was already thinking of going vegan when a doctor suggested giving up dairy.
3/ Q&A

@diannewenz: Within two weeks of giving up dairy, I realized I could breathe through my nose, and I hadn’t had a headache in a while. My energy levels increased, too.
4/ Q&A

HSC: How do you encourage clients to hit the kitchen before dialing the phone? Making healthy food rather than ordering a fried salt lick?

@diannewenz: I personally find that homemade food tastes so much better than takeout!
5/ Q&A

@diannewenz: We’ve burnt out our taste buds from eating too much salt and sugar. I suggest starting by cooking your takeout favorites at home and making cooking a communal activity with your family or roommates.

HSC: How can we excite people about vegetables?

@diannewenz: Vegetables so yummy! I think people aren’t sure how to prepare them, so they just steam or boil them, which is boring. Make them taste great by roasting or grilling them.

@diannewenz: Cook them with your favorite spices and top them with your favorite sauces. Add them to pizzas and use them to make tacos! Vegetables should be elevated to the main part of the plate, not a side dish.
8/ Q&A

HSC: Super bread (home baked with seeds and nuts) and Instantpot lentils changed my life. What should people make weekly to keep hunger pangs (bad habits) away?

@diannewenz: It’s a good idea to batch cook grains and beans, so that they’re ready to go when you get hungry.
9/ Q&A

HSC: Any thoughts on low glycemic index vs vegan diets?

@diannewenz: I personally don’t give too much thought to the glycemic index of the foods I’m eating, but it can be a problem depending on the type of vegan diet a person follows.
10/ Q&A

@diannewenz: Those who eat lots of packaged, processed foods might have problems with blood sugar. A diet with lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds has been shown to lower blood sugar in studies.
11/ THAT ‘70s VEGAN:

HSC: Why are your recipes THE BEST?!?! Your food tastes so good I don’t feel deprived. Your raw vegan blueberry pie and vegan Mexican lasagna are game changers, as well as your cashew vanilla cream and cashew cheeses.

@diannewenz: Awww… thank you!
12/ Q&A

@diannewenz: I like a lot of flavor in my meals, and I like to veganize foods from my omnivore days! My friend Jen told me that my recipes speak to those of us ‘70s kids who ate a lot of junk food growing up and whose mothers relied on convenience foods to feed us.
13/ Q&A

HSC: Advice for a lactose intolerant pandemic-influenced cheeseholic who was slouching toward veganism prepandemic and then amassed a cheese drawer that was obscene (with occasional fried chicken interludes).

@diannewenz: We turn to comfort food during time of distress.

@diannewenz: Cheese contains a compound called casomorphin, which is highly addictive. I’d say try some dairy-free cheeses. If you try one you don’t like, don’t get discouraged, because there are tons of different types available now.
15/ Q&A

@diannewenz: I think @MiyokosCreamery makes some of the best vegan cheese I’ve ever tasted. I love @violifefoods cheese, too.

HSC: I love Miyokos. I’ve been off cheese for a week, but it got kinda crazy.

DW: That’s totally common during times of stress.

HSC: As a holistic health coach, what are your greatest self-care tips than can be incorporated into daily life?

@diannewenz: Mindfulness is so important. We need to put down our phones and pay attention to what’s going on around us.

@diannewenz: It’s also important to take deep breathes and move your body every day. And we should also make sure we’re getting enough water and eating our veggies.
18/ Q&A

HSC: Why is veganism activism?

@diannewenz: Veganism comes from the belief that animals are not here for humans to exploit. It’s a lifestyle rather than a diet. We want to end the suffering of others, which shouldn’t seem like a “radical” idea, but it can be for some.
19/ Q&A

HSC: I’m sorry what were you saying? I got distracted by that veggie burger photo lol.

@diannewenz: Speaking of veggie burgers, making things like veggie burgers and falafel balls ahead of time is a good, idea. I also like to make quick breads and muffins for snacks.
20/ Q&A

HSC: After work tonight, I ran into the kitchen to make your raw vegan mini key lime pies. It was for a friend’s birthday but Rome is burning, and I can’t bring them to him.

@diannewenz Don’t worry! They can be frozen!

HSC: I’ve already eaten two lol.
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