We make lifestyle choices every day, and our decisions influence the way we eat and cook. Sarah shows how incorporating holistic practices into her life has impacted her personal health journey, and shares easy recipes that are mindful of the natural values of the ingredients used, such as a papaya, pineapple and turmeric smoothie from her Sunday Sutra series that can benefit digestion.
Tell us about Well and Full.
I’ve always loved cooking, but I started Well and Full to document my recipe experimentation when I became vegan. At that time I didn’t know anything about vegan cooking, so I found myself having conceptualized the idea almost a year before actually starting the blog. I also knew that I wanted Well and Full to be a resource for people interested in veganism or plant-based foods; to show that eating plants is not only healthy but delicious! I'd love to hear what motivates other bloggers. For me, it’s the love of vegan food and the motivation to inspire others to try plant-based cuisine. As the world eats vegan, it becomes greener, more compassionate and more delicious!
What motivated you to adopt a vegan diet?
What motivated me to become vegan was learning about the treatment of cows in the dairy industry. At birth, the calfs are taken away from their mothers so the farmers can harvest the milk. The calfs are either immediately killed for veal, or doomed to a life of cruel captivity until they are killed for their meat later on. But this isn't just a "bleeding heart vegan" issue—it's an issue for anyone consuming these products. When the baby calfs are taken away from their mothers, it causes a huge surge of the stress hormone cortisol in both parties. This is a traditional, biological mammalian response to the loss of an offspring. Subsequently, the stress hormones are present in the mothers' milk, and in the baby calf's muscles, and eventually on your dinner plate. For me personally, the thought of consuming a byproduct of separation and cruelty is extremely unappetizing.
What's the most useful cooking tip you've learned?
My most valuable cooking tip may sound clichéd, but so many people don’t abide this “rule”, if you will, to be creative. In my opinion, the best way to be creative with cooking is with herbs or spices. Go to the grocery store and pick out a new spice blend, like Berbere or Curry. And experiment! Get to know different types of foods and your taste buds will thank you.
Why do you write about food?
I credit my Italian side of the family for my love of food. I’ve always been an enthusiastic participator in the making and eating of food, so writing about it was a natural extension. I’m very motivated by the cause of veganism, and showing people how delicious it can be. My favorite thing is when I make vegan food and serve it to my non-vegan family or boyfriend, and they turn out loving it. My boyfriend actually eats about 70% vegan now! Ultimately, writing at Well and Full is inspired by the hope that others can wow their family and friends with delicious vegan cooking.
What are you currently reading?
I love sci-fi, so I’m currently reading a lot of James Rollins. He is a veterinary doctor turned author who writes these great sci-fi adventure stories. I’m also reading The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga by Deepak Chopra for my Yoga Teacher Training. In terms of food blogs, I love (and get ready for a long list) The First Mess, Faring Well, Oh Ladycakes, Earthsprout, This Rawsome Vegan Life, Vidya Living, The Awesome Green, Will Frolic for Food and so many more!
What's your favorite recipe on Well and Full?
My favorite recipe is probably coconut bacon! It really put Well and Full on the map, and so many readers wrote comments about how much they loved the recipe. It doesn’t taste exactly like bacon, but it doesn’t pretend to—it’s just an amazingly addictive snack. But the best proof is my pup, who always begs for coconut bacon.
Question from Willow of Will Cook for Friends: Where did you learn to cook? (Click here to read Willow's interview)
I taught myself how to cook when I become vegetarian in middle school, because my parents weren't too supportive of the choice. It was either learn how to cook or eat pretzels for my meals. Being vegetarian really opened my eyes to new foods that I never would have discovered otherwise, which also multiplied tenfold when I became vegan! A great thing about becoming vegan is that it forces you to be creative with your cooking. You don't realize how heavily people rely on butter or cheese for flavor until you have to cook without it. Being vegan means you can discover how to develop flavors without relying on dairy or animal products as a crutch. It also opens the doors to new cuisines and flavors, like Indian or Middle Eastern foods. Culinarily wise, becoming vegan was the best thing I ever did for my cooking skills!