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Mya Z.


Pittsburgh, PA

Member since:

October 3, 2012


Are you vegan, vegetarian or just curious?

I love my vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes in wholesome unprocessed forms. While not strictly vegan, I'd rather not eat meat, dairy as well as factory-produced, packaged vegan mock meats (sausage, pepperoni, chicken strips, nuggets, patties, ribs, pulled pork, hot dogs, burgers, etc. made of processed textured vegetable protein isolates) and cheese replacements made of nutritionally-empty ingredients (xathan gum, guar gum, corn starch, to name a few).

What is your favorite local vegan-friendly restaurant?

For more than a decade, I had worked in restaurants owned by other people who think they know what real food is. I know too much about what goes on in a restaurant (even in so-called fine-dining scene). Even some "chefs" don't believe in washing fruits and vegetables served raw. So the answer is when I want to treat myself and my family, I cook clean and healthful gourmet meals at home. The more I know about how food (vegan or not) is made in this country, the less I want to eat what other people cook. At least, I know for sure, vegetables and fruits gets washed thoroughly in my kitchen. I did try Eden's raw vegan gluten-free items. It's good to know another chef shares some of my values. If I lowered my standards, you would see me stuffing my face with the vegan version of Big Mac at Loving Hut or eating other vegan junk (anything made of white flour dough, GMO corn and white rice).

Are you the only vegan or vegetarian in your family?

My daughter eats what I eat.

Anything else you would like to share about yourself?

For my vegan customers, I make artisan unprocessed vegan cheeses, using real food ingredients. I also don't buy non-dairy milks packaged in cartons with mostly water, guar gum, xanthan gum, tapioca starch, sometimes refined sugar and just a handful of almonds or soy beans. My almond milk is made of only three ingredients: lots of almonds, sea salt and filtered water so it actually tastes like almond milk, not almond water.

What are you hoping to get out of this meetup?

Educating vegans that being vegan is a good start but incorporating healthful wholesome ingredients into vegan diet is a whole new level.


Grew up eating plant-strong farm-to-table food outside the US, Messed it all up in a decade here; Now back to my roots - Grow and cook food, Weigh 98lbs, Founder of extraVEGANza Pgh www.98PoundChef-Pgh.­­com, Many people's "healthy" is my junk, duh.

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