Hi! Welcome to my plant based recipe blog. I am an urban minded wife living a country life in West Michigan! I love to spend time in the kitchen creating vegan recipe that both adults and kids enjoy. Looking for Rachel? Find out where she is what she is up to on our about page.
Welcome to part 2 of our plant based stories series! Our aim in this series of guest interviews is to highlight other plant based vegans and share their journey. We want everyone to know that a vegan lifestyle is not limited to just certain people but appeals to everyone from all ages and walks of life!
If you have read our plant based stories, you know that we believe a plant based lifestyle is the best way to achieve optimal health, fight inflammation and care for the environment – but we don’t want you to take our word for it, that is why we are partnering with guests so you can hear from them why they decided to go plant based.
Let’s dive in, meet Amy and learn why she adopted a plant based lifestyle.
Meet Amy, Plant Based Wedding Photographer, Recipe Creator at Bear Plant and Vegan Backpacking Guru
Hi Amy! We are so glad to have you be part of our Plant Based Stories series, can you tell our readers a little about yourself?
When I was 10 years old my mom and I were driving out in the country, we ended up lost just as it started to get dark. When we happened upon a farmhouse, we stopped to ask for direction. Although no one answered when we knocked on the front door, a little farther back on the property there was a barn with a light on. I ran ahead to see if anyone was in the barn that could provide us directions. Again, though, no one was in there. However, there was a young Holstein calf in a small pen by himself. When I reached out to try and pet him, he latched onto my thumb and attempted to nurse.
Wow, that had to be an amazing experience, how did that impact your life from that moment forward?
That moment had a huge impact on my life. When I entered into high school and still could not get that moment off my my mind, I decided to give up eating beef and became a vegetarian. Then in 2002, I stumbled across a website explaining what really happens with the dairy industry and it dawned on me why the calf wasn’t with his mom that day in the barn. From that moment, I ditched dairy and became vegan.
I totally understand! For many of us, we adopt this lifestyle with a ‘graduated approach’. I am curious, did you notice any health benefits by adopting first a vegetarian and next a vegan diet?
I lost a lot of weight when I became vegan, but even on a vegan diet you need to be mindful about what you eat. Vegan cookies are still cookies.
So true and there is an abundance of ‘vegan’ junk food out there, just like any other approach to eating. Do you think most people would benefit from eliminating meat and dairy from their diets?
I think everyone should try a plant based lifestyle, I think they’d be surprised at how good they feel.
I definitely agree with that! I think one that holds many people back is fear of backlash from their family. Was your family supportive when you made the decision to go plant based?
At the time I went vegan, I was living at home with my mom. She was supportive although I’m pretty sure she thought it was just a phase I was going through. She’s still very supportive and shows her support doing a lot of research about vegan restaurants in the area.
That’s great on the restaurant tips, perfect way to support you! As a wedding photographer and backpacker you must do a lot of traveling – have you found it hard to find vegan options while traveling or in social situations?
I can’t remember where I read it, but when I first became vegan I read that when you go to a restaurant you should tell your server that you’re vegan instead of trying to just order off of the menu. Because if enough people come in asking for vegan food they’ll start making vegan options. I found that most restaurants are accommodating and almost always will to work with you. When I’m shooting a wedding I bring a bag of nuts or some other small snack to sustain me throughout the busy day.
I think always ‘being prepared’, is a good way to live any type of lifestyle and definitely helps with staying accountable. What else motivates you to stick with a vegan lifestyle?
This definitely goes back to that pivotal moment in the barn with the baby calf when I was only 10, I care passionately about animals and the environment.
I agree, I don’t think most people really truly understand where there food comes from or how it ended up on their plate. Speaking of your plate, what foods do you stock up on when you grocery shop?
Beans, sweet potatoes, pasta, tofu and an abundance of fruit and vegetables.
That sounds a lot like my grocery cart! Do you have a favorite vegan food?
Pizza?! But wait what about the cheese?
Even though, cheese was the food I struggled the most to give up, you can find plant based alternatives and still make a great pizza on the go. Check out my tips for making a simple vegan backpacking pizzaon my blog!
Sounds perfect for busy meal time; do you have any other favorite recipes you can share with us? Maybe a vegan meal in a bowl?
Yes, Vegan Backpacking Curry is one of my favorites. Although, originally intended for taking along while backpacking, it makes a great weekday dinner or lunch. White rice, cashews, dehydrated veggies and curry powder are tossed with raisins for a quick, filling meal.
That looks absolutely delicious! I am always look for new items to take when my family hits the trail, and your website sounds like the perfect resource for all the vegan campers and backpackers around the world.
The focus of my website is to provide comprehensive backpacking information for both vegans that are new to backpacking as well as seasoned backpacking veterans. I have a list of all the vegan freeze-dried meal options along with recipes that anyone can make at home.
Where can we find you on social media to learn more about you and share pictures of meals from Bear Plate that we make while on the trail?