Today's interview for National Vegetarian Awareness Month is with Angelique Miller. I met Angelique though a private business program that we both participate in and have admired her from the start. She's been a vegetarian for 15 years and has progressed over the years towards a raw food diet. As a mom to two wonderful kids, her drive and discipline show that anyone can find their bearings in a vegetarian lifestyle.
1) How old are you and where do you live?
I'm 38 and live in Antelope, a suburb near Sacramento in northern California
2) How long have you been a vegetarian?
I've been vegetarian since 1995 and have been "high raw vegan" since September 2008
3) Why did you become one?
I already disliked meat at times. Then the movie Babe came out and my husband said he could no longer eat pigs. I decided if he could do it, so could I! Bacon and ham were the meats I had enjoyed most and once I saw I could live without them, it was an easy transition to phase out the rest. My husband's sister was already vegetarian so it was nice to have that positive influence.
Going vegan was harder, mentally. I felt it would resolve my sinus problems, yet couldn't imagine life without cheese and eggs. It just seemed a "normal" life would be impossible. (How can I live without omelettes and crepes!?) There are so many great vegan cookbooks these days that I finally took the plunge mid-2008 and then received info about the raw vegan lifestyle and was hooked! Unexpectedly, raw is far more do-able for me than just vegan. I feel such positive incentive to do raw versus the negative "can no longer have" feeling I had about going vegan. There are so many fun recipes, so much to learn and I feel so good -- raw is just a blast!
4) What's been your biggest obstacle?
Eliminating dairy was something I put off for many years but I can see now that it's SO not a big deal and am so happy I finally did it.
5) Did you have any health issues before cutting out meat?
I had some minor health issues but didn't realize there was anything I could do about it. I thought it was just genetics or part of getting older.
6) What difference do you see in your health?
Well actually not too much changed when going to vegetarian since I didn't start eating fresh fruits and veggies (think lots of sugar, bread, pasta, rice, and eggs or veggies cooked until they were no longer recognizable).
But I still didn't get as sick as others and maintained my weight easily.
Going to high raw vegan made the biggest difference. A multitude of symptoms went away -- shocking really.
Now gone: constant nasal drip, sinus congestion, sinus infections, ear infections, no more colds/flu, tiredness especially after eating, chapped lips, menstrual cramps (yep, gone!). I sleep less and wake up feeling rested. I feel more energy through the day and sometimes bounce up stairs. I feel happier and think more clearly. My memory is improving and I even have grey hairs turning dark brown! The best change is possibly my attitude -- to feel more love in my life is amazing and priceless.
7) What influence do you think you've had on others?
My kids for sure. They feel more secure seeing me take care of myself and doing all I can to always be around for them.
They also like how I've become more energetic, playful, happy, and no longer sick. They feel better about themselves when I'm less frustrated with them. They "get it" and often want to eat whatever I'm eating. They are trying to make better choices in the face of tough peer pressure.
Throughout the years, I hope I've quietly inspired some friends and family. I don't force it on anyone yet I've often gotten requests to bring veggie dishes to gatherings and get rave reviews. Friends and family sometimes eat more veg when around me or send me recipes. I'm glad that healthier eating is in their world in some way and something they view positively. I respect that we're all on our own journeys and they don't need to follow my choices, yet it feels good if I can help improve the quality of their lives and maybe even help that loved one stay on this Earth just a bit longer.
8) Can you describe a typical day of meals for you?
I get bored easily so my routine is often changing, but a current typical day might look like:
Usually two or more of the following:
- warm tea or coffee substitute
- fresh lemonade a la the Master Cleanse recipe
- sometimes fruit, like a couple of oranges or an apple and a banana -- whatever's in season and in the house
- I keep Jarrah bee pollen in a jar and sometimes shake some in my mouth (about one tablespoon)
- big salad (whole head of lettuce/greens, lately lots of romaine) with fresh dressing, maybe some sprouts, cucumber, red pepper, lots of cilantro (yum) or if in a hurry will just throw a bunch of Pico de Gallo on top. Sometimes I toss fruit chunks on top or sprinkle with hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, and/or nutritional yeast.
- less often it's a savory soup (warmed by the blender) with greens, tomatoes, other veggies if I want, and mexican or italian spices. I'll sip that from a large mason jar while working at the computer.
Two or more of the following:
- another green salad if I'm craving one, or other veggie salad if there's one in the fridge i.e. Kale Salad, Tomato Corn Salad, Jicama "Potato" Salad, etc.
- raw Onion Bread, made in my dehydrator
- nori sheet rolled up over veggies with pesto or Miso Mayo
- sometimes something cooked, like grilled veggies. I had a slightly crockpot-cooked ratatouille last night from my farmer's market bounty. So yummy.
- handfuls of cashews
- maybe some fruit
One or more of the following:
- whatever fruit looks good (we've been having lots of pomegranate lately)
- warm tea
- raw ice cream, usually with raw caramel or raw chocolate sauce Shoot, sometimes I'll walk by the fridge and need to squirt some caramel sauce in my mouth -- I'll admit it!
- other dessert if I happen to have one made -- raw apple pie is our family's current fave
9) What's your next goal in nutrition?
I'm working on combining foods better for maximum digestion.
I'm also cutting back on oil/fat since I feel better with less fat in my food.
I'd also like to replace more natural sugars (like honey and agave) with fresh sweet fruits.
I'll also strive to keep enjoying my food and feel I'm making choices not against something, but FOR lots of great reasons.