Contributor Spotlight: Julie West of The Simple Veganista

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Contributor Spotlight: Julie West of The Simple Veganista
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Contributor Spotlight: Julie West of The Simple Veganista

Learn about vegan food blogger Julie West of The Simple Veganista in this contributor spotlight.

Image Credit: Julie West

Q: Did you face any difficulties when you first went vegan?
A: Not really, it was almost instinctual for me. I never ate much cheese anyway, and usually limited my meat consumption. In the beginning, I had a few staple recipes that I used routinely. As I began blogging, I was able to expand. [My blog] is full of staple recipes. I hope it truly helps those looking to change their lifestyle, making it easy to pick recipes that they can stick with.

Image Credit: Julie West

Q: What's been the most challenging part about being a blogger?
A: The most challenging part of being a food blogger is not having enough time to do everything I want. I tend to be a little impatient. There is so much I want to share with the world.

Image Credit: Julie West

Q: What's been the most rewarding part?
A: The most rewarding would have to be the feedback I receive from those who find my site useful. I love hearing stories of how people’s lives have changed for the better. Makes my day! Of course, eating all this great food is another plus.

Image Credit: Julie West

Q: What's one food that you thought you would hate, but ended up loving?
A: Chickpeas! It’s the funniest thing. I used to hate chickpeas and now they are everything to me. They are the most versatile bean that I know of and I love them dearly.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Q: What are common misconceptions about vegan cooking and eating?
A: I think many feel it’s impossible to eat vegan, that it will be too expensive and time consuming. It can be, but there are plenty of recipes out there that are quick, cheap, sustainable and most importantly delicious! That is what I try to keep in mind when I create recipes. Most of my recipes are simple ingredients that aren’t expensive, making it easy to eat vegan. It’s basically all about planning your meals.

Image Credit: Julie West

Q: Who inspires you the most in the kitchen?
A: I find inspiration everywhere: from searching the internet [to] cookbooks, restaurants [and] family gatherings.

Image Credit: Julie West

Q: Do you have a favorite original recipe you've created?
A: I have a few that I love. I love my Sweet Zen Popcorn which is a recent recipe I concocted. I also love my Mashed Chickpea Salads…all versions of them. They are wonderful and so versatile!

Image Credit: Julie West

Q: Any advice for people who want to try vegan cooking but aren't sure where to start?
A: Progress, not perfection. Start by replacing one item at a time, until it becomes habit and you don’t miss the other. Then, do another item, and so on. This way you slowly incorporate a full plant food diet without overwhelming yourself. If you can jump right in that’s great, but I think for most it will stick more if you slowly change your eating habits. Change up your dairy milk to almond milk. Change up using beans and lentils in place of ground meat. Use cashew cheeses in place of dairy cheese. Little by little it will become habit.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Q: Any future plans for The Simple Veganista?
A: I’d love to create a cookbook in the future and have been slowly piecing it together. I will continue to create recipes for my blog as it is such a great outlet for me. It’s truly my passion and I look forward to it every day!

Image Credit: Getty Images

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Julie West saw the need for a simplified vegan food blog (particularly one that's great for those who are just starting their transition into a vegan lifestyle), so she started her blog, The Simple Veganista. "I wanted to start my vegan food blog as a way of being an activist in the liberation of animals' and Earth rights," she told Kitchen Daily. "I remember being so inspired by a few outspoken vegan food bloggers and decided I wanted to pass along the inspiration and show [that] you can eat amazing foods without the use of animals."

Check out the slideshow above to learn more about Kitchen Daily contributor Julie West, including her favorite original recipe and her advice for those who want to try cooking vegan.

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