Today I am thrilled to share with you the best food-shui advice I can possibly offer- veganism through the eyes of veggie chef & eco- lifestyle guru Leslie Durso! You see, I was a vegan at 15 for a year when it was very unpopular to do so, especially in Secaucus, NJ where I grew up. Given that no one knew what a vegan was, I ate occasional salad and bagels and drank Snapple and then, after a year, became quite sickly looking because I had no idea what or how to do this vegan thing with any semblance of balance. I was eating like a starving prisoner! These days, being a vegan in a balanced way- that is to say, eating absolutely no animal products and being radiantly healthy- is actually, to my vast surprise, quite easy. When Leslie offered to walk me through being vegan for a day I jumped on the chance; the very compelling results are below. Her incredible vegan recipies and mind-blowing facts on meatless eating will perhaps convince you to give it a shot for a day(or a lifetime), too!
OK, Leslie, I am shocked to realize that its not that hard to be a vegan these days. Am I right about this, or is it just my green-consciousness-filled Los Angeles lifestyle talking?
Leslie: Yes, being vegan is not nearly as difficult/scary as most people think! The biggest misconception is that all we eat is salad, well there are over 50,000 edible plants in the world- imagine all the delicious possibilities! It’s really about not trying to disguise vegetables to taste like meat, it’s about enjoying whole unprocessed fruits and vegetables.
How has being a vegan changed you, personally? Was it an ethical decision? A health decision?
Leslie: I became a vegetarian when I was 8 because I didn’t like the taste of meat so it wasn’t much of an “educated” decision. When I made the conscience decision to become vegan, it was for health reasons. There really wasn’t a reason to continue to eat dairy. It’s loaded with harmful hormones, antibiotics, and chemicals. I saw a huge difference in the way I felt just by dropping the occasional dairy I consumed!
I know you have started coaching clients that you transition into veganism. What have your clients experienced as changes since going vegan?
Getting to do vegan coaching has been just as beneficial to me as to the people I’m helping. I love getting to witness people making the transition to a healthy lifestyle! I’ve seen people lose weight, lower their blood pressure, reverse diabetes, increase their energy levels and simply live more healthy lives.
You talk about eco-conscious lifestyle & veganism. What are a few essential things just about everyone should do to be more “eco” in their lifestyle and diet?
There are a ton of things that you can do in your life to be more “eco”! Going vegan is not only good for you, but it’s probably the most effective thing you can do to help save the environment. Here are a few of my favorite statistics:
If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would save:
- 100 billion gallons of water, enough to supply all the homes in New England for almost 4 months;
- 1.5 billion pounds of crops otherwise fed to livestock, enough to feed the state of New Mexico for more than a year;
- 70 million gallons of gas — enough to fuel all the cars of Canada and Mexico combined with plenty to spare;
- 3 million acres of land, an area more than twice the size of Delaware;
- 33 tons of antibiotics.
Whoa! Truly huge facts that should make everyone think about what is on their plate! I want to be vegan for a day to see if I can do it! What would my day look like? I guess I’d have to skip my eggs, for starters… If this works, I’d like to do it once a week for starters….
I hope that you do decide to do one meatless day a week! It can make a huge difference in how you feel! I’m not sure about your favorite foods, but a typical day of eating for me usually looks something like this:
Breakfast: Oatmeal made with coconut milk and served with fresh berries
Snack: A smoothie usually consisting of bananas, berries, carrots, spinach, and chia seeds
Lunch: A veggie wrap loaded with fresh veggies
Snack: nuts and or dried fruit
Dinner: Farmers Market Pasta
Dessert: Chocolate coconut ice cream
This I can do! Now: If you click through the links below the beautiful images above you will find delicious & easy-to-execute vegan recipies from Leslie should you decide, like me, to be vegan for a day a week, or for life!!! Thank you Leslie! xoxo Dana
Actress, Chef, Eco-Lifestylist Leslie Durso represents a fresher plant-based movement that isn’t sacrificing style for sustainability. A practicing vegetarian since eight years old, this SoCal native shares her farm-to-stylish-table recipes and passion for the whole food daily on lesliedurso.com, and in live appearances as Veggie Dreamgirl on TV and throughout the web. Armed with a kinder, gentler meat-free message, Leslie has appeared on Food Network, Discovery Channel and Mother Nature Network, hoping to inspire life-long eating habits and bridge the gap between the meaties and the meatless. Maxim Magazine wrote: “We want to hire Leslie as our own personal chef! We’ll even eat vegetables for her.” And who wouldn’t? Leslie‘s girl-next-door persona attracts everyone from carnivorous males to blogging grannies. Her site is seen daily in 130 countries and boasts half a million viewers weekly. Through her engagement online, in the media and soon with her new vegan series “Find Your V-Spot” with Bravo Top Chef Fabio Viviani, she plans to spread the wellness benefits of a plant-based lifestyle to an even broader swath of fans, including mainstream omnivores and her fellow millennials. A devoted animal lover and mom to rescue dog Pepé — Leslie lends her personality to a number of animal rights organizations including The Humane Society, Best Friends Animal Rescue, PETA and Farm Sanctuary, through promotional support and appearances. You can find Leslie at her BLOG, and also on Twitter, Pinterest & Facebook.