My Story

My vegan adventure started in April of 2010. I was almost 53 years old, and had almost convinced myself that it was time to surrender to getting old, fat, frumpy, and deal with the "normal" health issues most midlife and older Americans have come to expect. 

I was a long time "vegetarian," who had convinced myself that fish was somehow a vegetable, and that dairy was good for me. I was the one who often said, Life without cheese would not be worth living...

But something in me told me it could be different. I could be different. And I didn't have to give up.

I attempted, unsuccessfully, to make the switch to vegan two years before I actually did it. I was unprepared and didn't really know what to eat. Friends were caught completely off guard, and had no idea what to do with me. Life without cheese was a social challenge I hadn't factored in. I wasn't ready for it, so I gave up the first time through.

A couple of years later, around the time the Before picture below was taken, it occurred to me that I was nearly the age my mother had been when she died of cancer. She was young, and the realization smacked me over the head with my own mortality.

I knew I had more control over my own body and health than I was taking responsibility for. Finally, the time was right to make a real change, and because I was really ready this time, all the pieces fell into place.

I changed my diet almost overnight, with only a few lapses on the cheese front as my body cleaned itself out, and the "addiction to dairy" went away. I lost a lot of weight, and ran my first half-marathon at the age of 55 - the same age Mom had been when she passed.

These pictures tell a lot. The Before was taken just a few months before going plant-based. The After was taken a couple of years later and many pounds lighter. I feel better than ever. I even feel younger!


After two half marathons, just to prove to myself that I could do it, I switched to walking. Portland is a great place to use walking as a main mode of transportation, so that part is easy. I'm not as skinny as when I was running, but "skinny" isn't the point. Being healthy, and feeling good in your clothes and your skin are what matter. I still love to sprint across the street when the light's about to change. And hey, I think I look pretty good for someone who was born in 1957... You do the math!

My interest in health, nutrition, and cooking has led me to training with Chef Mark Reinfeld of Vegan Fusion, and I'm also a certified Food For Life instructor with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM).

Along with writing the blog, developing recipes, and writing cookbooks and online programs, I'm also available for private food coaching. I love helping people make the transformation to plant-based eating in their own kitchens. Nothing makes me happier than seeing that little light go on in someone when they understand that vegan diet is not at all about deprivation, but all about fun, healthy, happy eating. And guess what? We still have cheese!