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Welcome to another addition of our plant based stories series! Our mission with this series of posts, is to introduce you to other plant based enthusiasts and learn why they chose to live a vegan lifestyle. We all have a unique reason for choosing this lifestyle, and my hope is that you might resonate with one of the stories and be inspired yourself to live with not only more intention but maybe even consider a vegan lifestyle yourself!
We believe it is important to support each other on our plant based journey; which is why you will see throughout the interviews that each blogger talks about practical tips – from eating out to what they put in their grocery cart!
Let’s dive in, meet Audrey and learn why she adopted a plant based lifestyle.
Hi Audrey! Thank-you for being part of our Plant Based Stories series, can you tell our readers a little about yourself?
I currently live on a small acreage in a little log home abutting a forest in the countryside of Ontario, Canada. Before that, though, I spent much of my life in Toronto (which by the way has some amazing plant-based restaurants!). In my childhood, I split most of my time between my grandparents’ farms and in the city. In my teens, I felt like I was a total city girl. In my mid-twenties, though, I suddenly felt a pull to go back a quieter life in nature — which is how I ended up living where I am, with my husband and our giant furry pup. In my mid-twenties I was also diagnosed with some major food sensitivities and autoimmune conditions. I’m a major sweet tooth though and didn’t want it to be a hindrance to my baking, so I began experimenting with gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and refined sugar-free recipes. That is how my blog, Unconventional Baker was born! The blog’s popularity led me to becoming a full-time blogger, and I enjoy the freedom of working remotely and the opportunities to connect with others who are on the hunt for vegan and gluten-free treats. Besides dreaming up delicious sweets, I also love spending time in nature, globe-trotting, and running, I’m a bookworm, and a bit of an ancient history nerd (my university degree is in history of all things!), and I absolutely love doing anything creative with my hands.
Have you always ate a plant based diet?
I’ve been a vegan at heart since childhood. I never liked eating meat (never felt comfortable with the idea) and didn’t particularly like dairy (except for ice cream!). I grew up in a relatively small community, though, the internet wasn’t as prevalent and I had no idea that there were alternative ways of eating since everyone around me ate the same type of diet! In my late teens, I officially became a vegetarian. Throughout my twenties and due to trying to resolve some of my health issues, I experimented with many diets but I always found myself naturally gravitating back towards a plant-based diet as my happy place. In the end, though, it wasn’t the health perspective that convinced me to be vegan, but the ethical side of it. Once my eyes were opened to the state of the animal-based food and clothing industry, I couldn’t look past it, and I have remained vegan ever since.
Sounds like you have experimented with many different types of eating lifestyles, while on your journey to be 100% plant based – has your family always supported you in these endeavors?
Honestly, I’ve been through so many crazy diets that that my husband probably didn’t even blink when I said I’m eating vegan now. A few years ago he transitioned to being vegan as well. Our journey to learning about plant-based foods has led us to eating more wholesomely overall.
That is great! Even with the support of family, though, it can be hard to stay committed to a plant based diet; has it ever been challenging for you to ‘stay the course’?
My motivation to stay plant based is that it aligns with my overall values. I feel strongly that animal abuse and in general abuse within the food supply chain degrades all of humanity.
You mentioned your husband also transitioned to a vegan lifestyle, do you think most people would benefit from eating plant based?
I feel like I can’t know with certainty what’s best for others because diet and nutrition are personal decisions. That said, I do believe most people would benefit from eating more plants, and especially think transparency and ethical behavior are vitally important for the food supply chain.
I totally agree with you on the food supply chain – it is in dire need of change!
You mentioned at the beginning of our interview, that you love globe trotting. Do you find it is hard to find vegan options while traveling?
Not really, but that’s probably because I’m not a very picky eater. I’m just happy when there are options. Most places we’ve traveled to have had some plant-based options or worst case scenario grocery stores where it was easy to stock up on essentials, and we found that often chefs can be quite accommodating for tourists, so it usually doesn’t feel like a struggle. When traveling, I love using Happy Cow for discovering vegan restaurants. My husband and I have navigated our way through many countries on the recommendations from Happy Cow and it has made planning and eating out a breeze for the most part.
When you are not traveling and discovering new places, what do you fill your cart up with at the grocery store?
Bananas, other seasonal fruit, green juice, potatoes, salad items, vegetables to make a sauce or curry with (cabbage, jackfruit, cauliflower, garlic and more.), beans and chickpeas, gluten free pasta (and regular pasta for my husband), tomato sauce, rice cakes, hummus, guacamole or avocados, rice and sushi rice, nori sheets, olives, spices, maple syrup, oats, almond milk, almonds + garlic + lemon juice to make vegan feta (my husband loves it), nut butter(s), plus whatever baking stuff I feel inspired to grab for the week.
That is quite the list! What are your favorite plant based items?
Bananas and Olives.
Hopefully not eaten together! LOL! You mentioned your love of ice cream earlier, do you have any favorite plant based ice cream recipes you can share with us?
My love of ice cream has led me to create some creamy plant based alternatives like my favorite Caramel Swirl Ice Cream. It is an easy no churn recipe that is raw, dairy free and refined sugar free.
I can’t wait to try that! I LOVE ice cream as well and found that hardest to give up when I went 100% plant based!
For those similar to us with a sweet tooth, your blog seems like a great resource!
Yes! If you’re looking for some wholesome plant-based alternatives when it comes to dessert, both my website and my Unconventional Treats ebook and video series are a great resource to check out.
That sounds like a perfect way to having a treat but still say healthy! Where else can our readers connect with you?
Thanks so much Audrey for sharing your plant based story with us! I look forward to making some healthy treats to curb my sweet tooth cravings!