Hi, and thanks for popping over here to meet me, Sassy!
I wanted to take a moment to welcome you to Vegan Coach. We're all about making things as easy, efficient, and effective as possible for you in the kitchen when it comes to having a healthy and delicious diet as a Vegan.
I'm Head Coach in these parts, creator and publisher of VeganCoach.com and the instructor of three classes at this time: Plan It With Sass! (how to plan well-balanced, healthy, nutritious, and tasty meals), Get Down With Sass! (how to shed those excess pounds step by step— and perhaps more importantly, how to maintain) and Get Sauced With Sass! (a one-of-a-kind advanced cooking course that teaches you to create nutritious and yummy vegan sauces from scratch).
I'm also co-Instructor of our fun (and free!) online vegan cooking courses (collectively called The First Step) which you can learn about by stepping on to The Path To Whirled Peas.
Whether you're a new Vegan or have been around the block, if you're lacking any knowledge or confidence at all in what to eat, how to cook, and how to ensure proper nutrition, then this is exactly where you need to be because it's what we teach on our long-running and very popular website and in our helpful courses.
Nowadays I'm a long-time vegan and an experienced vegan cook. Cooking is an integral part of my life and dictates all aspects of it.
Recently I was interviewed during the Plant-Based Transformation Summit by Margot Freitag. Admittedly, I'm not a super slick interview-ee, but I hope it helps to give you a sense for the vegan journey I've taken and our point of view here at Vegan Coach. Thanks for taking the time to give it a listen and I hope you enjoy. :)
My mom is an excellent cook, and when I was a young tot I loved watching her work her magic in the kitchen—covering each meatball with marinara as she dropped it into the pot was my specialty. ;)
But none of her good cookin' rubbed off on me at all.
When I grew up and moved out to live on my own, I ate out for every lunch and dinner for years. I didn't want to eat anything that I cooked back then because it tasted so bad. And it was because of this, I had zero interest in cooking!
In fact, everyone had learned to steer clear of my cooking. I believe the exact words someone once said to me were "You can't cook for shit." Lovely.
...and didn't know anybody who could show me the ropes, I figured it was FINALLY time to learn how to prepare meals that were delicious—or at least edible! :)
I purchased as many vegan cookbooks as I could, and with my trusty taste-tester hubby Jeff by my side, my kitchen laboratory was open.
It wasn't easy for me. I can't tell you how many horrible-tasting dishes were made back then. Oy!
Can you relate?
I definitely went through a process, starting with things like pasta with vegetables and sub sandwiches, then moving on to working with tofu (which at the time seemed QUITE strange!), then making my own vegan cheesy sauces (hit and miss!)...little by little, recipe by recipe, step by step, dish by dish.
And somewhere along the way the tides started to turn. I learned to create food that was 100% vegetarian and yummy.
In 2003, I opened a vegan Personal Chef Service making delicious vegan meals for my busy clients. I even won The Golden Whisk Award bestowed upon me by my fellow Personal Chefs! (Awwwwww!)
But I needed to be sure that I was choosing the healthiest foods day after day for myself, my husband, and my clients.
So in 2005 I studied to become a Vegan Nutritional Consultant, graduating with Honors in record time!
The only challenge? Cooking took a LOT of time both personally and professionally. Finding recipes, purchasing the exact ingredients needed, getting everything in order, painstakingly following the measurements and directions—not to mention waiting for the food to cook up.
Plus, I found that even though I had many cookbooks lining my shelves, I STILL made the same dishes over and over again because it was just easier. Boredom quickly set in!
...after 12 years of whipping up delectable vegan vittles, Jeff and I took a fateful trip to Costa Rica.
While in Montezuma, we visited Cafe de Artistas, a simply magical, gorgeous restaurant right on the beach!
Every evening our fantastic Chef (Nicola, from Italy!) prepared a vegan feast just for us.
A HUGE wood platter covered in greens was delivered to our table with the most delectable veggies, beans and grains I've EVER had the pleasure of tasting, all prepared to perfection to compliment the natural flavors of each food.
We swooned with each and every single solitary bite. The simplicity of this food was incredibly inspiring. I couldn't wait to get home to ATTEMPT to capture some of what I tasted.
Once in my own kitchen, I started to experiment with different foods and spices, trying to capture the unique beauty of each ingredient—without a recipe in sight!
I amazed myself with the food I was cranking out of the kitchen.
After all the years of trial and error, where my kitchen was basically my playground, I figured out how to make meals that are not only out-of-this-world flavorful, but nutritionally sound as well.
Because if your food doesn't provide the nutrients you need, what's the point?
I had FINALLY figured out the key to easy vegan cooking. Whew! :)
And hubby Jeff? He's happily whipping up recipe-free vegan dishes that taste great too! (He figures if he can do it, anybody can!) And best of all we get to play in the kitchen together. Happiness!
He's my go-to technology guy, video filmographer/editor extraordinaire, and he has been pivotal in helping me to bring all of this information locked away in my noggin' out to you.
Oh, and he has also become QUITE the cook and kitchen organizer, so keep an eye out for some of his very cool tips and techniques, perfect for all, but especially those of you who feel like you will never become a good vegan cook...Jeff is further proof that you can do it! :)
It can be crazy and confusing when you decide to switch from the standard American diet (S.A.D.) to a full-on vegan diet. And if you're like I was back when I went vegan, you want someone you can turn to who has experience both personally AND professionally in preparing nutritious vegan food. So I created this website for all of you who might find some benefit in all this information I've been gathering over the years.
It was fun being featured in the Spotlight of our local paper The Reno News & Review!
It has been such an incredible experience making this website for you to enjoy. I love to find out what it is that YOU want to learn, and then putting my creative energies to the task.
And the icing on the top of the whole delectable vegan cake?
Feedback from my fantastic website guests.
This makes all the work worthwhile. In fact, you will see this feedback plastered all over my site because it is SO precious to me. Here is just a small sampling...
"Since I have become vegan I have lost 8lbs. most of which was belly fat. I am down from a size 7 to a size 4. I have lost inches off the waistline (no more love handles). I've also said bye-bye to heartburn, which was a constant annoyance. Thanks so much for your website, because it gave me the jumpstart to achieve this."
-- Denise H., Redding, California
"OMG...what a GREAT site! All I can say is..."THANK YOU SO MUCH!" I've been a vegetarian for a year and have really been struggling with it lately...eating a lot of junk food and feeling terrible. This is exactly what I needed to put the excitement back into it and to try new foods. I can't wait to explore all the areas of your site and can't believe it is free."
-- Annmarie W., Marlborough, NH
"This site is so totally inspiring, it has brought tears of joy to my eyes. I will be visiting often, if not every day! And I will tell my friends. So, thank you, thank you, thank you!"
-- David F., Paducah, Kentucky
"Your website is the best! Exactly what I have been looking for. Thank you for providing so much information and support for those of us trying to opt out of the standard American diet for ethical and/or health reasons."
-- Pam B., Greensboro, North Carolina
Vegan Coach is dedicated to all my fellow Vegans (or wanna-be's) who are sick and tired of recipes and just want to play with their food. Who need an EASY way to get food on the table -- food that's delicious and nutritious and doesn't take an hour of solid preparation!
Thanks so much for popping into Vegan Coach for a visit. And for taking this little trip down memory lane.
Patty "Sassy" Knutson, N.C.
Vegan Coach/Author/Chief Cook and Bottle Washer