I love animals, nature (especially mountains and the smell of fresh pine), kindness, tea, reading, the NFL, and traveling. I grew up in a small town in southern Michigan which is where my veggie love-affair began. My parents lovingly labored to provide us with a beautiful vegetable garden right behind our house. I spent many childhood days sitting between the rows, eating fresh tomatoes, green beans, sugar snap peas, and strawberries right off the vine. (Hence the name "The Garden Grazer") 😊🌿 It was pure summer bliss!
Planting seeds with my grandma in our garden in Michigan - early 90's
Later I graduated from Michigan State University with a BS in Environmental Biology/Zoology. My husband and I then traveled around the western part of the country. We spent time living in Yellowstone (my favorite place on earth), lived a year in Tempe, Arizona, and then spent over a year in Portland, Oregon (BEST city award!) We're back in Montana in the Yellowstone area now and are absolutely loving it. It's such a magical place to feel connected with nature and the land - it completely energizes my soul waking up every day in the pine-fresh mountains 🌲
About the Recipes
I try to use one-ingredient, organic/non-GMO, whole foods as much as possible. Rice, quinoa, beans, fruits, vegetables, herbs, etc. I love simple, healthy meals that aren't complicated, so I put a ton of emphasis on developing the recipes in a way that's easy to follow and most efficiently uses your time. (i.e. I'll let you know as the quinoa is cooking, that's a great time to dice veggies.)
There are a few reasons why I choose a vegan lifestyle. For one, I've always been a huge animal lover. (Just look at these adorable little faces!) I'd never want to harm or kill an animal, so why pay others to do it for me - often in a cruel way - just for the sake of consuming it? There are so many wonderful foods out there to enjoy without taking other creature's lives in the process.
Another big reason is for health. While reading "The China Study" by Dr. T. Colin Campbell (a true hero!) it was a huge spark of inspiration to start preparing more plant-based meals. (And then to obtain a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from eCornell, based on Dr. Campbell's research - such a fantastic course!) My husband and I completely fell in love with the notion of plant-based foods, and gradually shifted to preparing all vegetarian then vegan meals. We considered ourselves pretty healthy people, so it came as quite a shock when we experienced how much more health and energy there was to gain by eliminating all animal products from our diet. (My awful migraines disappeared, debilitating menstrual cramps almost completely went away, stomach issues resolved, acne cleared, and many others.) So much research is continually coming out backing the endless benefits of incorporating more plants into our diet to slow, halt, or even reverse diseases - it can be such a powerful tool to take control of your heath!
Last but not least, the environmental impacts of a meat/dairy diet are alarmingly destructive compared to a plant-based diet. I believe it's important to become aware of the connections of our personal actions with our environment and do the best we can to live gently and take care of our beautiful, diverse earth. I highly recommend checking out the powerful documentary "Cowspiracy" for more info!
Visiting Heartland Farm SanctuaryTransition from Vegetarian to Vegan
After about 4-5 years as a vegetarian, a couple things inspired me to try a vegan diet. First, I became even more aware of the awful conditions and violence within the dairy/egg industry. (If you're interested, here's a short article of one example.) Second, I'm in a constant search for discovering what food and nutrients my body needs to achieve optimal health and well-being, with a responsible connection to nature. In addition to meat, I found eliminating all animal products (eggs, dairy, etc.) gave me even more energy, health, and happiness. Once I started listening to my body, I felt much more empowered and connected to the food I eat. The power of whole foods continually amazes me! It's a lifestyle that all-around just feels right in my heart 💚
Enjoying the beautiful Montana winter!
Thanks so much for stopping by, and I truly hope you enjoy the recipes!
To stay connected, come join me on Instagram - I really love to see what you guys are cooking up 😊