May 17, 2013 will mark my 3 year veganniversary and I can’t imagine ever going back.
CHIC VEGAN – What motivated you to become vegan and was it an overnight switch or more gradual shift?
GRETCHEN - It was a gradual shift for me. At a young age I experienced health problems. Despite numerous doctor appointments and a plethora of tests, no one had any answers as to why I was so ill. Unfortunately I also experienced health issues in high school and college which at times were debilitating. Toward the end of college after having been to many specialists and receiving many wrong diagnosis’ my parents convinced me to try one last specialist, Dr. Arnold Kresch of Stanford University. Dr. Kresch finally diagnosed endometriosis. After performing surgery to remove my lesions, Dr. Kresch encouraged me to research how nutrition could be a powerful force in my quest for health.
I wished I could say that at that time I became vegan, but I didn’t come across that information until later. Fortunately I did cut out processed sugar, dairy, and fried foods.
In my early thirties I noticed that meat just didn’t seem to digest well when I ate it and I slowly gave up beef, followed by pork, then chicken, and finally fish.
My health improved drastically. I no longer experienced debilitating cramps on a monthly basis…in fact, I didn’t even need Advil any longer.
CV – How did you become the Editor-In-Chief of Chic Vegan?
GT - I began by being the Plant-Based Nutrition Expert for Chic Vegan by penning the “Ask Grettie” column. Readers wrote in their nutrition questions and I answered them.
One thing led to another as Chic Vegan’s founder, Mandi’s (LOVE HER!) life evolved, and Chic Vegan became a much larger part of my life. I am now the owner and operator of Chic Vegan in addition to being the Editor-in-Chief.
CV – You also own and run the website, Veggie Grettie. Tell us a little bit about Veggie Grettie and what inspired you to create it.
GT - I have always loved to cook and have a passion for the healing powers of nutrition. After completing the Plant-Based Nutrition Certification through Cornell, I decided to start sharing my recipes and nutrition knowledge with friends. I had no idea that other people would begin following Veggie Grettie as well.
Two years later the following has grown beyond my wildest expectations and it continues to be a source of creativity and fun for me. I actually won 2 of the 4 categories in the So Delicious So Much to Love cooking contest last year…so exciting!!!
CV – Walk us through a day in your life.
GT - I am a wife and mom as well, so my mornings consist of helping my children (11 and 7) get ready for school, packing their lunches, and walking them to school (Our dog, Dug, joins us on the walk).
After dropping off the kids, I come in and check e-mail and then get my workout in. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I do pilates plus and Tuesdays and Thursdays I do cardio intervals. I also try to workout on the weekends because I like how it makes me feel.
The rest of the day is spent working on articles (either writing my own articles or editing submissions), creating and photographing recipes, sampling new products, coordinating interviews, assigning articles, and running errands.
Before I know it school is out and I switch modes to helping my little one with her homework (my middle schooler does a fantastic job of doing his homework mostly on his own), running the kids to and from their activities, preparing dinner, and fitting in more Chic Vegan/Veggie Grettie work on my iPhone whenever I can…it is a fine balance, but I tend to get it done.
CV – What do you typically eat in the span of a day and are you a snacker?
GT - Breakfast tends to be a smoothie. I make a BIG batch in the mornings and it makes enough for breakfast and an afternoon snack. After my workout I usually want something to eat and oftentimes that is a banana.
Lately lunch is a vegan tamale from my local farmer’s market, or steamed veggies and hummus with rice crackers, or brown rice with salsa and steamed veggies (I make a big batch of steamed veggies and rice and always have those on hand).
My afternoon snack is usually the rest of my smoothie or some more fruit. I have been eating A LOT of pomegranates and persimmons the past few weeks. Last week I made a double batch of my PB and C Dessert Hummus (I left out the chocolate chips though) and snacked on that with sliced apples throughout the week.
Dinner can be anything from a taco bar, to enchiladas, salad, soft tacos, vegan gluten-free pizza, soups, stews, etc. I eat plant-based, vegan, and gluten-free. In other words…unprocessed and whole food as much as possible.
CV – What is your favorite vegan indulgence?
GT - I am a sugaraholic, so I try to avoid sugar. I know myself…I was the kid who ate all of her Easter candy by 11am and spent the rest of the day with a tummy-ache Sugar and I don’t mix too well because when I have some, I crave it EVERY day. When I avoid sugar, I am fine. I am all or nothing and try ti stay on the side of nothing.
That does not mean that I do not indulge my sweet tooth. I find that my daily smoothies (sweetened with dates, stevia, and banana) iand the sweets I make at home like THIS banana bread fulfill my sweet tooth without sending me into the sugar crazies.
CV – When people learn you are vegan, what is the #1 question they ask?
GT - They either ask “What is the food you miss most?” or the o-so-typical “How do you get enough protein.”
CV – What vegan product could you not live without?
GT - There is no specific product per se, but I really appreciate all of the shelf-stable vegan milks out there. While I know how to make my own plant-based milks, I appreciate that I don’t have to.
CV – In your wildest dreams what will your life look like in 3 years?
GT - I have always been a planner (massively Type-A), but I have decided to challenge myself and NOT plan what I want the next 5 years to look like. I think I will leave myself open to opportunities as they present themselves and see how it all unfolds naturally.