faq on veganism
So you’re vegan… what do you eat?
I eat all kinds of things! I always say the beauty of veganism is that it opened my eyes to new foods, rather than deferring back to an old standby, chicken- why, by the way, if I want a fried chicken sandwich, or chicken and waffles, there are amazing substitutes! I love smoothies, Thai food, sushi, Mexican food, breakfast scrambles with potatoes, chocolate cake, cookies, donuts… I just eat them all vegan. You can check out my Instagram, @jessica.steinberg, where I often post photos of what I’m eating. I’m a big foodie, so follow along my journey.
What about chicken?
Chickens are very sweet animals who love to be pet! I do not eat them. I would recommend checking out the way in which they are farmed, and a sweet video on Strawberry the chicken. Many animals, like chickens, pigs, cows, etc., have personalities just like the dogs in our life. Have you tried Gardein chicken? It’s a substitute that tastes exactly like the meat we remember, without harming the animals or the environment.
What about fish?
I don’t eat fish either. Fish are sweet animals, too. Have you seen the sweet video of the fish who likes to be cuddled, or the one who waits for the diver everyday for 20 years? Fish are incredibly toxic, overfishing is having a severe impact on our oceans, and there are incredible substitutes. Try seaweed to get a healthy, fishy taste in dishes, along with mushrooms for texture. Or try fish substitutes from Sophie’s Kitchen! I was afraid of the shrimp substitute for the longest time, but it’s fantastic!
Not even eggs?
I don’t eat eggs either- when I order a breakfast scramble, it is made with crumbled tofu, which is incredibly delicious! The way eggs are obtained in farms is pretty bad, too, so some people eat eggs from chickens that are kept in a backyard. As for me, there’s an “ick” factor to eggs- it’s a chicken period which comes out of a vent of a chicken (it's the pee hole, the poo hole, and the sex hole, all in one!). Check out a close of video of a chicken laying an egg, and you’ll see what I mean- looks a lot like a vagina. VegEgg is a product that mimics eggs, if you are interested in trying that, but I like good old tofu. You can also use “egg replacement” in baking recipes (just different plant flours), a flax egg (ground flax mixed with water), or surprisingly- vinegar and baking soda combined make a binding agent that replaces eggs in some cake recipes
What about honey? Why isn’t honey vegan?
I don’t eat honey, either- though some “beegans” insist on eating honey or bee pollen for the health benefits. The declining bee populations, due to farming, could be catastrophic for the survival of humans (bees pollinate all the plants!). I also steer clear of bee products because of the “ick” factor- honey is pretty much bee spit-up- who wants that? There are other sweeteners, like agave, stevia, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, and also a bee-free honey, derived from apples!
What about cheese?
Aaahh, cheese! While I have yet to try a delicious vegan brie, we still have many years of cheesemaking to catch up to in the vegan cheese world. My favorite cheeses are from Miyoko’s Kitchen, and there are plenty of recipes for homemade cheese sauces which are fabulous. There are great substitutes for cream cheese, and butter out already. Miyoko’s garlic herb cheese is great on a baguette, and her truffle cheese is great spread on crackers. Try some Tofutti cream cheese slathered onto a bagel (with tomato, my favorite). And Kite Hill makes some great vegan-cheese filled ravioli! You will not be disappointed. I also recently tried Vtopia cheeses in Portland- I don’t think they are available everywhere yet, but you can find them online. Also, vegans like to sprinkle something called “nutritional yeast” on everything. (like parmesan- it’s a byproduct of molasses). It’s healthy!
What made you go vegan?
I have the Kardashians to thank! Seriously… a PETA video on a Kardashians episode made me go vegetarian (for the record, I was watching on the treadmill at the gym, and there were very few options for what to watch). I told my mom “I don’t think I can eat meat anymore” and feel like I unintentionally went vegetarian overnight. A year later, our real estate agent took us to a vegan PCRM event (I had no idea it was a vegan event). We sat amongst celebrities, watched Leona Lewis perform, heard Dr. Heimlich speak (of the Heimlich Maneuver!) and ate a delicious fancy meal. I left this event saying, “well I guess I’m vegan now!” I couldn’t imagine not being vegan, after hearing that compelling presentation. The clincher was hearing dairy milk being referred to as “bovine slime,” where I made the connection that my vegetarian products (eggs, cheese, milk), were animal bodily fluids. I hope to speak more on the "grossness factor" about animal byproducts, since it's what made me go vegan, and I want other people to make that connection.
faq on services
What do you do?
Thanks for asking! I’m here to get you excited about eating healthy. So, what does that mean? It depends on what’s holding you back.
Basically, I focus on the motivation and the logistics for real life eating day to day.
Do you think healthy food tastes bad? I’ll show you the food that is delicious.
Do you not have enough time? I’ll help you find space in your schedule.
Do you travel all the time? I’ll show you the SMASH way of finding food on the road.
Do you not know how to cook? I’ll hold your hand while you learn! (Not literally. That would be weird. And a knife hazard!)
Do you not know what to stock in your pantry? I’ll help you get organized.
I answer these questions and more, through speaking, workshops, and writing.
Can I hire you as my health coach?
I was previously calling myself a health coach, but I don't believe that's the best route for me. However, I can recommend some great people. I love being transparent about my lifestyle and how veganism is such a big part of my life, and researching all the latest wellness trends.
What about an accountability coach?
This idea is pretty fascinating to me, ever since someone asked. I’m open to this, but I don’t have a program- if you have some needs that I can help you with, let’s figure something out!
My staff needs your help, can you come into my office?
I love corporate wellness and would love to help your office out! Whether you need tips for a stocked kitchen or a program to get your team in top form, let's work something out.
You do speaking?
I’ve been a member of Toastmasters for 3 years, and create motivating, empowering, interesting speeches, that will give you the tools to create your best, healthiest lifestyle. I like to keep things interesting, so expect some element of surprise. Perhaps a pinata?
When I first became vegan, I thought, this is incredible! What else don’t I know about? So now I’m passionate about researching the best in health and wellness, and I’m excited to share it with everyone. I also want to support great companies and give them exposure, to play my part in creating a better world. Feel free to come to me with ideas.
faq on my professional background
Where did you go to school, or what’s your background?
I went to UC Santa Barbara, and graduated with a B.A. in Comparative Literature, with an emphasis in English. I had to take Spanish classes for my major. And just for fun, I took a year of Italian- unfortunately, I don’t remember anything. After college, I went to the UCLA interior design school, and took marketing and branding classes as well. I intend to be a student my whole life, and look forward to learning more. I'm currently taking Mindfulness classes at UCLA.
You mean my relevant experience?
My first cooking class was at 6 years old, and starting as a teenager, I worked in cooking schools helping to teach cooking. Those were the best jobs ever! I’d instruct people what to cook, eat their creations, not do dishes, and then get paid on top of it. What could be better?? I’ve worked at 2 cooking schools (not vegan), 1 vegan celebrity cooking class series (fun!), and have experience being vegan for 7 years.
Are you a nutritionist or a dietician?
Can I just call myself a healthy living and diet motivator? For better or worse, I’m a regular girl who knows how to enjoy food, and incorporate healthy living into my lifestyle. If you are looking to get rid of specific health problems, want to know about things like micronutrients or macronutrients, or learn from a chef, I’m not the right person for you. But I’m happy to refer you to some great people.
health and wellness faq
You do health and wellness writing?
I sure do! I found that wellness can be just as impactful as diet. I’m passionate about all the ways we can live better lives. If we want results, we can’t just focus on the food.
Should I change my diet or my wellness practices first?
I think diet is the best place to start, since it is literally the fuel that powers the rest of your life. Get your fuel right first, which will give you the energy to create other healthy habits. This isn’t always the case, though, so let’s decide based on your personal situation.
Random personal faq
What’s your eye color? Hazel. I say a light hazel, it’s like a light brown mixed with some green.
How are your teeth so white? I don’t know! I whitened them years ago.
What’s your ethnicity? Russian, German, maybe some Polish. I don't follow the Jewish religion or participate in any traditions, it's not the religion for me.
Do you do this full time? I would love to one day!
Do you speak any other languages? I speak Spanish pretty well, though I would still love to learn Portuguese, Italian, and French.
Do you know who you look like? Yes! Sarah Jessica Parker, I’ve gotten that my whole life.
What are your hobbies? I love reading, cooking, going to fun events, traveling. I love swimming in tropical oceans, and exploring food in cities. My favorite places right now are Hawaii and Portland, though I have to get the Maldives ASAP!
What was it like to grow up in Malibu? I don’t know any different! It’s a pretty chill beach town. Everyone surfs, and sometimes I found out my friends’ parents were famous. That was pretty interesting!
Do you surf? I can longboard okay, I was more fearless as a kid. I want to get better! And I still need to try shortboarding. I’m not winning any cool points for this, but I think boogie boarding is really fun!
Can we meet for coffee sometime? Yes, please! I love meeting new people.