At the Last Carrot restaurant in Coconut Grove, Fla. new vegan Celina Ishahak sits down with Gourmandize’s Lydia Lane.
Between bites, Celina shares her journey to a vegan diet along with the food she still can’t live without.
Celina first became interested in a diet change when she started noticing a difference in her mind and body. “I started to just feel very sickly and tired. . . I was following all these different [vegan] blogs and instagram accounts that just detailed what these men and women were eating. They looked so healthy and the recipes looked so good. One day I finally tried one of the recipes for myself. It was amazing, better than any food I had ever had.”
Celina decided to try eating vegan for one week. “I really enjoyed how I felt and I started to notice all these little changes in my body and I said, ‘okay I’m going to keep on doing it.’ I’m about 2 months in and I like it.”
After this short amount of time eating strictly vegan Celina has already noticed changes in her health. “My skin cleared up, I was less tired, more alert, my appetite was a little different I wasn’t craving as much junk food throughout the day. I started craving fruits and veggies. A little bit of a weight loss. I’m still in the beginning so I haven’t seen that much of a drastic weight loss.”
What was the hardest thing to give up?
“Cheese – cheese is so hard for me to give up. Cheese and eggs. I love eggs. I always have eggs in the morning, well I used to… I love food so I don’t want to give up everything all the time. I do want to treat myself once in a while to steak or something... even though I’ll feel horrible about it.”
In the kitchen
"I learned so many new things because of this [becoming vegan]. I never cooked before this, ever. I was a horrible cook. I never, ever cooked and this forced me to learn how because nobody else in my family eats like this. I had to experiment and learn everything on my own. I tried to find all the recipes I could, try all of them, and sometimes I fail miserable. Like when I tried to make vegan sushi... It was a disaster.
I am starting to learn how to cook all these new things that I never knew how to do. And I’m starting to naturally be like, oh I’m in the mood for this and know how to make it.
Mexican and Italian food are so doable with the vegan stuff. You know, I can make a meatless taco so I will do a mushroom, … salsa and then guacamole, then load it on there and eat it. It’s so good! With Italian food I’lll make “zoodles” (noodles out of zucchinis) with tomatoes, cucumbers, sprouts, romaine lettice, and mix it all up with pesto and pink Himalayan salt a bit of garlic."
Favorite vegan desserts:
Grasshopper Juice Popsicles
1 shot wheat grass
1.5 cups pineapple juice
Juice and freeze
Vegan Ice Cream
Puree frozen strawberries and blueberries
a small scoop of organic vegan coconut-peanut butter
almond milk to desired consistancy
turmeric to taste
Anything you can’t turn down?
"My grandma makes amazing chili."