Today we sat down with one of our newest #GUNASGIRLS, Miss. Stephanie Warren. The 32-year-old vegan blogger, chef and YouTube presenter has quite a few tricks up her sleeve, including the development of the world’s first vegan nail art company. We were delighted to spend some time with this crafty lady to talk health, fashion and the secrets to the best vegan kitchen.
Although Stephanie didn’t practice veganism growing up, her perspective changed as she became more aware of her health, animal treatment and the current state the world. Through her work, she strives to prove that being vegan doesn’t mean sacrificing your fitness goals. “Vegans can still have muscles! I’ve maintained the same muscle mass and physique after going vegan”, Steph states. As a craftster, it’s no surprise that Stephanie also loves the DIY approach, whether it be cooking, skin care or her own household items. “You can be sure you’re getting the best quality animal free ingredients if you make it yourself”, she explains. Given that this #gunasgirl maintains 11 raised garden beds in her urban home, she’s become quite the eco guru. Ultimately however, Steph hopes to contribute to the vegan movement by demonstrating the health benefits and living by the “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” motto. We couldn’t wait to dig a little more into her background.
How did you come across veganism & when did you make the commitment?
I came across veganism a few years ago when I watched a documentary on Netflix called Food Matters . In the documentary they spoke a lot about how important the food we eat is. The documentary wasn’t about veganism, but it did stress a whole foods plant based diet. This is also when I discovered the most influential person in my vegan journey, David Wolfe. After reading his book Eating for Beauty, I decided to make to switch. I took a whole year to convert to a raw vegan diet. I cut out an animal product and added in a raw vegan item one month at a time until I reached my goal. After that I started working on all my material items and making those vegan as well. I have been vegan now for almost 2 years.
Good for you. Speaking of veganism, the meals on your site look extraordinary! Tell us about your cooking background.
I have always loved to cook. I remember when I was a child my first cookbook was the A-Z Alphabet cookbook and my favourite recipe to make was peanut butter cookies. My mother would always help me make them. As I got older I started getting the Taste of Home cook books and making recipes from those and experimenting with new foods. Then I went through a clean eating stage where every meal had either steamed broccoli or brown rice in it. And finally we come to today with meals and recipes containing fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, sprouts, and fermented foods. But I will be honest even in the simplicity of raw foods I still crave lengthy carefully created gourmet recipes. I just really enjoy the process of creating good healthy food.
“The Vegan Doll” is quickly developing into a healthy vegan living go-to. Where do you get your meal plan / lifestyle inspiration?
I take inspiration from all sorts of places to create food and lifestyle recipes. To start, Instagram is full of beautiful vegan food photos. I use those to help fuel ideas. A few people who inspire me are Annette Larkins, David Wolfe , Fully Raw Kristina , and The Raw Boy. But Annette is really a women I aspire to become in many aspects of my life. So she is my all around lifestyle go-to for vegan inspiration. Also, Rosanna Pansino, founder of Nerdy Nummies, is always on my mind. Her recipes are so much fun and I’ve been meaning to re-create some of her traditional dishes into raw vegan goodies!
You have a fabulous figure! Has veganism been a notable factor in your (awesome) physique?
Thank you so much! And to be perfectly honest… no it has not. But that’s a great thing in my opinion. I have always been very athletic. From playing sports, to weightlifting in the gym, to being a CPT at LA Fitness, being active is not only important to me, it’s super fun too. I am happy to say I can maintain the same muscle mass and physique I had when I was omnivore. I do have much more energy now and my body recovers faster from a workout. So on the inside I have never felt this good in my life and I encourage people to give the lifestyle a try. I feel an overall internal wellness like I’ve never felt before.
What are you favorite pieces to wear with your GUNAS gear? Do you incorporate veganism into your wardrobe as well?
It’s hard to pick my favorite pieces of clothing. I’m usually wearing cotton/spandex dresses or gym clothes most of the time. I’m so in love with my Cottontail bag though, I wear it with everything! I love it as a casual cross body for going places like amusement parks and outdoor activities. And with the super cute bow on the front it’s casual chic! As for incorporating veganism into my wardrobe, absolutely. After I became a dietary vegan, the next step was cleaning out all the material items in my home that I could. I donated all my clothes that contained animal ingredients to the Salvation Army as well as all my make up that contained animal ingredients to my friends.
That’s wonderful and certainly a big commitment. As far as ingredients go, what are the essentials for every vegan kitchen?
The two things I use the most are bananas and kale. I have a protein smoothie I make at least a few times a week that I must have kale and bananas for. Aside from the ingredients for a vegan kitchen, I think the tools are super important. I couldn’t live without my dehydrator, vitamin, food processor, cold press juicer, citrus juicer, and mini chopper.
Where do you see veganism headed in the next five years & what do you think we can do to further the cause?
I see the numbers of vegans doubling or tripling in the next 5 years. It’s not like one of those fad diets and/or lifestyles. Doctors will never say that fresh fruits and vegetables are bad for you. Also, the direction in which our planet is headed change is necessary. With the population growing, so is supply and demand. This has brought rise to extremely grotesque situations for animals. Being a vegan influencer, the most important thing to me is to inspire others and not to criticize. I wasn’t born a vegan and even if I was, it doesn’t give me the right to criticize or judge anyone else. So I think the best thing we can do is come out with amazing vegan alternatives and encourage, demonstrate, and inspire others to try out the lifestyle.
Veganism is often met with a lot of stigma, as the cause can be misunderstood. Do you ever receive backlash? What are your favorite responses?
You know, I’ve been lucky to not see much of that and I think it’s due to my approach on the issue. I have a lot of people in my life including my parents and family members who still eat meat who I love more than other people in this world. So I don’t expect the world to go vegan overnight. I’m just blessed to be able to touch the lives of those I come across, the same as my idols did for me. But a few specific examples would be “eat some meat”. My response would be “I have and it no longer works for me. It doesn’t make me feel good”. Or “I’m sorry, I just can’t give up meat”. My response would be “No need to apologize to me. We are all on our own journeys at our own pace but I’d love to know what you think of my recipe! I love hearing feedback from non-vegans. If you like it then I know it’s good!”. I try to encourage people to try out different foods without telling them to give up meat. I feel the decision needs to be their choice if they are to become a successful vegan.
What is your ultimate animal-friendly goal? Do you try to pursue this through your website?
One goal I would really like to see is more adopting and less shopping. There are so many kids (animals) that need homes that will likely spend their life in a small cage forever until they pass. And in those days, those hours, those minutes, it is long, lonely, and very sad for them. So I’d like to see pet shops only carry food items for pets that can be adopted. In the future I would love to add this message into my blog but at this time my blog is geared toward the health aspect of veganism… but I’m just getting started.
I love being a #GUNASGIRL because…
I love being a #GUNASGIRL girl because it’s important to be a woman with strong goals and values while maintaining her personal style. As a Gunas Girl, we are free to accessorize and express ourselves in a way that’s good for us, good for the animals, and good for the planet. Thank you Gunas New York!
Stephanie does a fantastic job of embracing what GUNAS is all about-animal welfare, sustainability, and a healthier, happier planet. We love how she practices these ethics through the way she lives, rather than pointing out what others could be doing better. We can hardly wait to see what her endeavours have in store, including future dishes on The Vegan Doll. As Stephanie explained it best, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”