Wednesday, July 8, 2015

10 Questions: Vegan Foodie Edition with Somer McCowan

 

It’s been a while since I featured a Vegan Foodie as part of my 10 Questions series and I am excited to have Somer McCowan as the one to break that long dry spell. Somer is a prolific food blogger at her popular website, Vedged Out, a talented recipe creator and an overall cheerleader for a healthy, happy vegan life of abundance. In fact, Somer’s new book, the excellent The Abundance Diet, takes her philosophy of attaining optimal health through the power of plant foods and extends it to a fantastic 28-day plan anyone can use, complete with shopping lists, a helpful glossary of ingredients, advice on cutting costs and, of course, her wonderful recipes. (See our review.)

Somer got introduced to vegan living through her brother in 2012 when he encouraged her to watch the documentary Forks Over Knives; through dietary and lifestyle changes, she was able to treat her ulcerative colitis, a painful and debilitating chronic condition, the steroid treatment of it which caused a 75-pound weight gain in nine months. She has since come through to the other side with her disease in full remission and off the drugs that caused her weight to keep ballooning. As someone who faced a serious health crisis, Somer is empathetic and sensitive to those who have similar challenges while shining through as a living example that despite the trails we face, we can create the changes we want to see in our lives. Somer is a great role model for cultivating a delicious, healthful life of abundance without compromise. For this reason and more, Somer McCowan is a Vegan Foodie to know.  


1. How did you start down this path of creating delicious food? Was a love for food nurtured into you? Did you have any special relatives or mentors who helped to instill this passion?


Food has always been an important part of my life! I grew up in a large family where food and celebrations were a big deal. I learned to cook at a very young age and enjoyed creating all kinds of delicious cuisines. However, it wasn’t until I became vegan that I feel like I truly blossomed in my kitchen. I eat more deliciously and a greater variety of foods than I ever had before switching my diet.


2. What was your diet like when you were growing up? Did you have any favorite meals or meal traditions? Do you carry them over today?

My family had a pretty standard American diet when I was young. When I was a teenager I flirted with vegetarianism for a few years, but without the insight into animal compassion, it was just sort of a fad that I followed. Thankfully I’ve found that now with veganism.

My favorite food of all time is probably mashed potatoes, which seems a little ridiculous since I can cook so many delicious things, but my dad made the best mashed potatoes when I was growing up. Now he makes them vegan when I’m around.

3. What is the best vegan meal you've ever had? Give us all the details!

That’s a really tough one! I eat so many delicious meals! The most recent pleasurable food experience I’ve had is a homemade pizza. I made these buffalo cauliflower pizzas, with buffalo sauce, roasted bits of cauliflower, sliced red onions and a sprinkling of cilantro on an artisan pizza base with some fresh vegan mozzarella I learned about from watching a video of Jay Astafa on YouTube. My husband, who is not vegan, said it was the very best pizza he had ever eaten. Pretty much it was.


4. If you could prepare one meal or dessert for anyone living or dead, who would it be for and what would you create?

Oh gosh, well, if this is a magical fantasy scenario, I would probably prepare the above pizza for my brother Clint and have him actually be able to eat it. He’s allergic to nearly 50 foods and it’s pretty difficult for him to find satisfying meals at the moment.

5. What do you think are common mistakes in vegan cooking and how do you avoid them?

Well, I think that people often think of vegan food being flavorless, bland or tasting like cardboard (the words from a man at one of my recent cooking classes describing what he previously thought of vegan food before tasting mine). His mistake and experience with vegan cooking is that he thought it was supposed to be “fun-free cooking” that seems to be so popular right now amongst certain health groups. IE, the elimination of many, many foods that happen to be vegan, but aren’t supremely healthful according to the more extreme plant-based tribe.

Vegan food is simply food that is free of any animal products. It should burst with flavor and be delicious. It’s okay to avoid certain things for periods of time if you need to shed excess weight or for health reasons but using all the vegan foods and all the seasonings is what makes life delicious, use everything with moderation!


6. What ingredients are you especially excited about at the moment?

I’m really in love with roasted red peppers, even the jarred variety, I’ve been adding them to pasta sauces, salsas and even a guilt-free delicious nacho cheese sauce that’s on my blog.

7. What are your top three cuisines from around the world?

Indian
Thai
Ethiopian

(currently)

8. Who or what has been most influential to you on your vegan path? Individuals, groups, books, films, etc. included.

My brother Abe encouraged me to watch Forks Over Knives. That was my absolute turning point. I removed all animal products from my home overnight. He’s been involved with a vegan lifestyle for nearly 20 years now. I previously thought of a vegan diet as something that was just for yuppies or hippies (Abe). But didn’t realize the profound impact that removing animal products would have on my health, the planet, the animals and so much more. I feel like I’m truly a better person since becoming vegan.

9. What issue is nearest and dearest to your heart that you would like people to know more about?

I think people don’t realize how profound the decisions they are making with something as seemingly small as what they put on their plate.

Simply changing that single aspect of life and switching to a vegan diet can have such a huge influence. Water conservation, heart disease, pollution, greenhouse gasses, compassion, cancer, conserved energy, fuel, world hunger, deforestation, cancer, reduced waste, diabetes. Those and so many more issues are tied up in a single choice.

10. Last, please finish this sentence. "To me, veganism is…"

LOVE.

3 comments:

Renard Moreau said...

[ Smiles ] I enjoyed reading this great vegan interview.

Splendid post!

Barbara W. said...

Lovely person, wonderful vegan chef, great interview!

Christine said...

#10 ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️