Public health program manager for the Humane Society of the United States, she lives in Bellport.
How long have you been a vegan?
About 10 years. I grew up eating the standard American diet, but I
stopped eating meat, and it was a gradual process. A few years ago, I
organized a Long Island vegan meetup, and we have 400 members. I'm also involved with NutritionFacts.org, a noncommercial website that promotes healthy eating to avoid chronic disease.
Do you have a favorite meatless product?
The Gardein products are wonderful -- superconvenient, delicious and
easy to find in town. They have "beefless tips" that are good, and my
family has tried the barbecued wings, Tuscan breasts, crispy tenders.
What might you cook on a weeknight? Morningstar
Farms ''chicken'' strips with tortillas, avocado, tomatoes, salsa. You
can put in rice, so it's more like a burrito. You can use fruits and
veggies, whole grains. It's so easy to make a sliced barbecue sandwich
using seitan and barbecue sauce.
Where do you find meal ideas?
I'm a compulsive cookbook collector, but you can go online and find any
recipe for a plant-based or vegan-based alternative. The "Engine 2
Diet" has great recipes. Rip [Esselstyn] developed this diet to help
another firefighter's high cholesterol; from that came a website, then the book.
Were there any surprises about going vegan?
I never met kale until I was in my 30s, and it's like a new friend.
I'll saute it with some garlic and pasta, maybe mixed with some
black-eyed peas, or maybe folded into a taco.
Is there anything your vegan diet lacks?
The happy thing is there are plant-based versions of everything. It's
not about deprivation, but abundance. I love vegan cookies and vegan ice
Where do you like to eat out?
It's easy to go meatless with Chinese, Thai and Mexican -- most ethnic
cuisines, actually. For a treat I'll go to Three Brothers Pizzeria in Rockville Centre for their full vegan Italian menu or vegan brunch.
Mixed Greens With Beans and Garlic
1 to 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 pound frozen chopped kale, mostly thawed
10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, mostly thawed
1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15.5-ounce) can small white beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cooked brown rice or whole-wheat rotini pasta
1. In a deep, lidded skillet or pot,
combine and heat to a simmer 1 cup water and bouillon cubes; add chopped
garlic and cook, stirring, about 1 minute.
2. Add kale to skillet. Cover and stir
occasionally, about 6 minutes. Add spinach, cover and cook, stirring
occasionally, about 5 minutes more, or until tender, adding a little
more water as necessary.
3. Stir beans into greens and heat
through; add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over heated brown rice or
tossed with whole-wheat rotini pasta. Makes 4 servings.
Easy Veggie Burritos
½ large onion, chopped
4 ounces mushrooms, chopped
1 (12-ounce) package frozen Morning Star Farms Crumbles (or other meat alternative)
4 large flour tortillas
1 (14.5-ounce) can vegetarian refried beans
1 avocado, sliced
1 red or green pepper, sliced
1 mango, sliced
Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
1. Combine chopped onions and
mushrooms in medium pot over low heat; cover and cook about 10 minutes,
stirring occasionally, until vegetables release moisture.
2. Add frozen Crumbles; cook another 5 minutes.
3. To make individual burritos: Spread
refried beans over half a tortilla and place, bean-side up, in a
10-inch skillet over low heat. Spread vegetable and Crumbles mixture
over beans, then lay strips of avocado, pepper and mango. Spoon on salsa
and roll the tortilla around fillings; garnish with fresh cilantro.
Repeat with remaining 3 flour tortillas. Makes 4 burritos, about 4