I came across Caitlin’s website when I saw her teaming up with Meggan Riley for a yoga/foodie class at Shine Yoga. Caitlin is a vegan chef who crafts healthy meals that are modern, fresh, and artistic. From cooking lessons to catering, Chef Caitlin makes vegan eating accessible to everyone. Enjoy this article from a woman who is working hard to spread her passion and wisdom with the world each meal at a time.
What is your personal mantra?
Practice what you preach.
How has veganism changed your perspective on your body and health?
When I started my journey 14 years ago it was purely for ethical reasons, with time I have gained so much more information about veganism and its health benefits as well as benefits to our environment. Veganism is not only beneficial to your physical health but also to your mental and emotional health, it is a mind, body, and spirit thing for me.
What inspired you to become vegetarian and then vegan?
My journey started 14 years ago when I was 12 years young. I have always been a super sensitive and empathetic person and was never a big meat eater to begin with. I stumbled upon PETA videos with a friend and instantly made the connection. I first stopped eating all red meat, then a year later poultry, then cut out fish and milk. Now I don’t consume or use animal by products what so ever—down to the clothes I wear, products I use, companies I support. The day I began on my journey I never looked back, not once, I only moved forward and filled my mind with as much information as possible.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to transition into veganism?
Lucky for you, so many alternatives are out on the market now! I always tell people to research as much as they can so they can go into this committed and knowledgeable. Once you know the truth about animal agriculture and the pain these precious animals endure daily, it’s hard to look the other way. I always suggests books and documentaries—Food inc., Forks over knives, Eating Animals, The Omnivore’s dilemma to name a few.
The Holidays are coming up, what are some of your favorite vegan dishes to cook for
family and friends?
Some of my favorite holiday dishes are mashed potatoes and homemade mushroom gravy, Mom’s stuffing, Celebration Roast from Field Roast, and roasted root veggies! I don’t have much of a sweet tooth but I am sure I’ll eat some pumpkin pie! Vegan Thanksgiving is the greatest and the best part is being around other vegans and people who support my lifestyle.
Have you seen a recent growth in your business now that people are more open to the idea of healthy eating and veganism?
I have seen a growth in my business! It makes me happy when people hire me who are not vegan but are totally open to the idea of eating healthier and cruelty-free. Business has been really steady the past year and half especially!
What are some healthy tips you have for vegans to make sure they get daily amount of vitamins and nutrients from their meals?
The most common worry for people is “But where will I get my protein from?!?” Truth is, we get so much protein, good protein without all that extra fat and cholesterol that animal flesh and dairy/eggs gives you. Beans, grains, seeds, nuts, leafy deep greens are all filled with protein! You want to try to stay away from as much processed food as possible and instead eat whole foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals. Since I am not too into sweet foods, I make smoothies in the morning and will add all of my fruit in there plus some kind of super green powder to give me extra vitamins. I don’t measure the amount of veggies I eat in a day, I just eat when I am hungry and I eat small portions often. It’s also a good idea to do some nutrition research when making the switch so you can take good care of yourself and make sure you are getting whatever it is your body needs.
How has organic gardening changed the way you cook and eat?
Just having access to garden fresh veggies is everything to me! I love cooking seasonally so I’ll just use whatever is in the garden at the time, I think our bodies were made to eat that way.
Veganism is becoming a global trend. If you could travel anywhere in the world to try vegan food where would it be? Why?
I actually already traveled to one of the places on my list- Japan! I love the culture and have a lot of respect for how hard working they are. I stayed at a friend’s home in a little country town called Nishi Aizu where everyone farms and grows their own veggies and then trades with their neighbor. I had some of the freshest meals out there- plus they are super vegan friendly. I really would love to travel to Central America and play around with all their exotic fruits and veggies—plus, it’s gorgeous out there! Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Belize.
How has creating your own business strengthened you as a woman?
I have learned so much about myself in the past 6 years especially. That’s when my life kind of changed for the better and I really started focusing on my dream as a chef. I am constantly learning every day and am always very challenged with what I do which keeps me on my toes! I feel like I have come a long way with my dream and I can’t wait to see what the future holds. My driving factor is the animals, that’s who I am doing this all for.