Frequently Asked Questions
How long have you been vegan? Why are you vegan?
I went vegan to prioritize my health in late 2015 when my dad was battling cancer. Since then, I've researched the environmental and ethical repercussions of consuming animal products, and I now promote a plant-based lifestyle for those reasons too.
What camera do you use to film/photograph?
Most of my videos are filmed on a Canon T5i*. Some of my vlogs and intro clips are filmed on a Sony a5100. Most of my Instagram photos are taken using the camera on my phone (I have a Samsung Galaxy S8). I edit my videos with Final Cut Pro X on my Macbook Pro. I edit photos and thumbnails with either PicMonkey or Canva.
Where did you learn to cook?
I learned most of the fundamentals from my dad while I was growing up, but for the most part I'm self-taught! I've watched a lot of Food Network and I'm a mega-nerd when it comes to reading cookbooks, food blogs and recipe reviews. I also worked as a line and prep cook for a short time after college.
What are your favorite tools for vegan cooking?
My two absolute essentials are a few nonstick pans and a sharp knife; everything else is just icing on the cake!
Currently I only own Shun knives, which I absolutely love – I hope to add more to my collection! I've also used Victorinox knives and ceramic knives in the past and found these to be good options for a lower price point.
What are your best tips for people who have just started to transition to a vegan diet?
A gradual transition will be easiest for most; I recommend eliminating one category at a time (e.g. dairy, meat, fish, eggs) and allowing your body a week or two between each step to adjust. I think quitting dairy is an easy place to start; there are so many great nondairy milks, coffee creamers, cheeses and ice creams on the market now!
Determine your favorite plant-based protein sources to substitute in for meat and eggs in your favorite dishes. For example, tacos were one of my family's go-to weeknight dinners growing up, and it's been super easy to replace the ground beef with beans, fried tofu, or veggie "beefy" crumbles – and those options are just the tip of the iceberg as far as alternatives go! If anything, going vegan has made me a more creative and resourceful cook and led me to a more healthy, varied diet.
If you're transitioning from a standard American diet, you may initially experience some bloating when you start to include more high-fiber, water-rich plant foods. This is normal! It takes some time for the digestive system to adapt to increased fiber intake. Fiber absorbs a lot of water, so make sure to hydrate even more often than usual. This stage should pass after a week or two.
Where are your favorite places to shop as a vegan a budget?
I purchase most of my produce at Sprouts. Typically I'll go on Wednesdays (when their ads for the current and previous week overlap) and buy produce that's on sale. I also buy some of my grains and nuts from their bulk section on sale.
Trader Joe's is another great option for vegan snacks, frozen meals and specialty ingredients (nutritional yeast, jackfruit, vegan butter, etc.) at affordable prices.
Finally, I love buying nonperishables (pantry staples, nuts/seeds, teas, snacks) from Thrive Market, which offers a lot of organic and vegan-friendly products at wholesale pricing. It's a membership-based marketplace, but I've already saved far more than the cost of the membership by shopping on Thrive Market in a few short months. And nothing beats having healthy groceries delivered straight to your door.
Do you take any supplements?
I occasionally take these vegan multivitamins (when I remember that they're in my fridge). I sometimes use a Vitamin D3 spray (in the winter) and B12 spray or sublingual tablets. I also cook with nutritional yeast, which is a great source of protein and B Vitamins. I use vegan protein powder a few times a week when I'm working out regularly.
What is your ethnicity?
I'm half Filipino (on my mom's side). The rest is a mixture of Irish, German and French Canadian. Unfortunately I don't speak Tagalog. :(
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