Photo Credit: JMontoya Photo
My Story is simple, I used to eat meat and dairy and now I don't. It took me over 7 years to finally make the change. My hesitation came from my Cultural background. Growing up eating almost everything from an animal. I made excuses, Vegan is not for me, it's not part of my Culture. I finally came to terms that as I was fighting for animal rights, I was a hypocrite by eating them. I finally made the decision to align my eating habits with my activism. I was ready to give up the flavors of my Culture and dive into the "salads only", no flavor, carrot sticks all day, I'm going to die without cheese life. However, something miraculous happened. I began substituting meat with vegetables in my favorite dishes. I was having the flavors I grew up with and no animals were being used!
As I continued exploring cooking with vegetables, I began to think that there could be other people who may have felt lost about this Vegan thing. In order to help others see that this can be done without losing what we love, I started an Instagram, Veggie y Que. I posted everything I cooked and to my amazement, it grew in followers. Every night I posted recipes, it felt like a one on one experience with my followers. Instagram helped me show people to try a version of food they felt no prior connection to. In seeing a lack of vegan options in my community, I started a Vegan Food Festival La Vida Verde Fest. It was the first Vegan Festival in the Eastside. I produced it three times a year, in Whittier and Covina. Two years later, I opened my brick and mortar in Whittier.
Today I still handle my Instagram account. I post the dishes we offer as well as information regarding Veganism. I still treat my account as if I'm only communicating with a few individuals, it's very personal to me. My passion is rooted in this lifestyle and I plan on showing everyone It's the way it should be.
I also opened a new business next door to Veggie y Que, Manifest Tea Station which is a loose leaf tea shop which features an array of organic tea blends, hot tea, intention hand-poured candles, ritual oils, crystals, and plants. All vegan, eco-friendly, and ethically sourced. It's related to healing the mind and Spirit, to discover oneself. I started this journey by feeding your body and now I'm feeding your Soul.