Let’s talk meatless with: Meagan Kelly

Meagan Kelly is a filmmaker, journalist, and Founder of The Gift of Grace Foundation (www.thegiftofgrace.com). It was actually a documentary that led her to become a vegetarian! Lets learn a little more about this meatless advocate:

When did you start eating a vegetarian diet? I am a newbie relatively speaking! I made the switch to a whole-food plant-based lifestyle in September of 2011.

What kind of vegetarian would you describe yourself as? I am a vegan-arian: a blend of vegan and vegetarian. I always eat meat-free and dairy-free at home. When I’m out at an event with friends, if there are zero options for me and I’m absolutely famished, I will go for a vegetarian dish (still avoiding as much dairy as possible).

Why have you chosen this lifestyle?

This all started after I watched the documentary Forks Over Knives. The film is about the astonishing health benefits of eating a whole-food plant-based diet. It blew my mind! I had never really enjoyed eating meat. I ate it because that’s what I thought I was supposed to eat, so I’d slap a breast of chicken on my plate. To see I could get all the protein I needed from whole foods AND improve my health made my jaw drop. I was, ironically, eating chicken when I watched the film. I said to myself, ‘Well, I guess that was my last piece of meat.’

Six months later, I feel like a million bucks. My energy levels are higher. I digest my food better. I haven’t had a cold or flu while everyone around me is sick. I am constantly discovering all the amazing multi-purpose nutrients we can find in food. I find myself Googling the benefits of a food I’m eating while I’m eating it. Who knew onions were anti-inflammatory?! Now I don’t feel so bad about my stinky breath.

What challenges have you faced living on a vegetarian diet? Six months ago, I couldn’t boil water. Maybe I’m exaggerating a little. . . but the kitchen was pretty unfamiliar territory. While I was not a junk-food eater, I rarely spent more than 15 minutes preparing a fresh meal. I was a soup-out-of-a-can, whole wheat sandwich with nitrate-filled deli meat kind of girl. Not horribly unhealthy, but not great for you either.

Becoming a ‘vegan-arian’ has ignited a new passion for cooking! I have basically learned from scratch, pun intended. Now I’m constantly whipping up new meals in the kitchen and impressing all my friends with my whole food creations

What restaurants in Edmonton do you frequent? Padmanadi is my all-time favourite. Next up: Noorish, Wild Earth, and Remedy.  When I’m in a rush, I pop by the Planet Organic deli for lunch.

Favorite dish? My homemade carrot spice muffins (vegan, high fiber, lots of vitamin A, low in sugar) I’m also a big soup fan. One pot, one immersion blender, lots of nutrients! My fav: Carrot Apple Ginger Soup. I like carrots, can you tell?

Recommended resources? www.ohsheglows.com I go there on a daily basis for recipes. Really accessible, delicious, and healthy. Plus, the girl is Canadian!

Any veggie myths you would like to expel? That I must eat nothing but salads all day. There is so much more to a veggie life and plate! Want a burrito? There’s a healthy veggie recipe for that.