Whether or not you've ever considered going vegan, clean eating can be an easy and delicious way to raise your vibration. We met up with Claire Michelle, a.k.a. Plantiful Soul, in Venice to talk about her wellness journey, go-to recipes and advice for anyone who's debating going vegan in 2017.
When did you decide to become a vegan?
Two years ago, I was a completely different person than who I am today. Consumed by insecurities and the incessant desire for validation from others, I had allowed myself to be consumed by an eating disorder that nearly dissolved every ounce of strength within me. It was around this time that I stumbled upon veganism on social media. I watched "Earthlings" and my eyes were opened to the heart-wrenching reality beneath those neatly sealed animal products at the grocery store. I realized that I had the decision, at every meal, to align my values of kindness towards all beings with what rested upon my plate. To chose compassion over suffering. Love over fear. I never looked back.
What are the immediate and long-term benefits you’ve experienced?
The immediate benefit was an overwhelming sense of inner peace that I began to carry with me through every moment. Knowing that I was no longer contributing to the unnecessary suffering of innocent beings made me feel as if I was part of something bigger than myself. Love is our natural state of being. Through extending unconditional love to those surrounding me, I was able to love myself again. I gradually began nourishing my body with wholesome, plant based foods and healed from my eating disorder. Strength surged through my core. I had vital life energy flowing through me again. I no longer struggled with digestive issues, and my skin became bright and clear again. My athletic endurance peaked. I was happier. I felt whole. I wanted to share what I had stumbled upon. I wanted others to experience this gift. I felt as if I had finally found my path.
What's your food philosophy?
I believe that food is an intuitive expression of self love. When we deeply respect and appreciate the beautiful beings that we are, we will naturally want to nourish our bodies with pure energy from the source of life, Mother Earth.
What do you always keep in your refrigerator?
My vegan kitchen staples are potatoes, wild rice, spinach, kale, butternut squash, broccoli, bananas, raspberries, oat milk, cacao nibs, hemp seeds, lemon and avocado. I put ginger and turmeric on pretty much everything, or toss a sizzle of coconut oil with some sea salt in a pan and roast up veggies for a quick lunch or dinner. I'm not a pro-chef or anything close, I hardly measure out recipes or spend hours cooking in the kitchen. With just a few ingredients and the intention of creating beautiful, nourishing food, veganism becomes effortlessly simple.
What's your go-to recipe for busy days?
Buddha bowls, a.k.a. "toss whatever I happen to have on hand together and cross my fingers it comes out alright", and somehow, it always does. A go-to for me is wild rice, black beans, purple sweet potato and kale sautéed in coconut oil + salt + ginger + nutritional yeast with roasted butternut squash, steamed broccoli with lemon, sprinkled in hemp seeds and drizzled with tahini or coconut aminos. Buddha bowls nourish the soul. Their simplicity interwoven with endless variety gives pretty much anyone the ability to whip up a healing, wholesome meal with whatever they have on hand.
If you could give one piece of advice to new vegans, what would it be?
Be gentle with those who do not see this world as you do. Release judgement from people who do not share your vegan lifestyle. If you feel as if you are being ridiculed for choosing this path, let go of attachment to validation from others. People only attack what they don't fully understand. Also, be kind with yourself. This is a journey. You will slip up from time to time, but use these experiences as an opportunity for healing and growth. Only love has the power to truly change this world.
Follow Claire on Instagram → @plantifulsoul
Claire's Coconut Curry Recipe
This recipe is simple, nourishing, soulful, and heavenly. it also turns out a little different every time i make it, as i always play around with the spices and amounts i use depending on my tastebuds that day. that's the fun of it. ;)