Are you thinking about going vegan but are overwhelmed by taking on this plant-based diet? Sure, eating this way isn’t easy and committing to a raw vegan lifestyle can require even more effort. But acclaimed raw vegan chef, Jason Wrobel, will tell you it’s worth it. He also believes you can do it (and love it!) with easy recipes that don’t involve any vegan “junk foods” or sacrifice taste. That’s why his innovative dishes are favorites of celebrities and healthy eaters all over the world — he’s known for emphasizing flavorful, healing ingredients in his simple, yet artistic recipes. If you’re thinking, “But won’t it be too hard if my family doesn’t eat this way?” or “I’ll probably be hungry all the time, right?,” check out what Jason has to say about how fulfilling and nutritious he’s found this lifestyle to be.
With a new cookbook, Eaternity: More than 150 Deliciously Easy Vegan Recipes for a Long, Healthy, Satisfied, Joyful Life, coming out on April 5th, we caught up with Jason to ask him about how he began his vegan journey and what advice he would give to anyone interested in following the same diet. Plus, he gave us a little preview of Eaternity, including some unique chapters and his favorite recipe!
1. You’ve said that the raw vegan lifestyle helped you physically and spiritually. Can you tell us more about the benefits you received from eating a raw vegan diet?
When I made the transition from “junk food vegan” to a primarily raw food diet in 2005, I immediately discovered how much more energy I had. It was like someone found an extra battery pack and plugged me in! I also find that eating raw vegan has greatly enhanced my mental clarity and made my digestion more efficient. I have found so many incredible new fruits, vegetables, and superfoods as a result of exploring the raw food lifestyle. It’s the opposite of deprivation — it’s like a whole new world of culinary delights.
2. You said you were a junk food vegan. What’s that?
Starting my journey to veganism in the late ’90s, most of the available vegan options at the grocery store were processed “mock meat” products. In the beginning, these helped me transition from the standard American diet to vegan. By 2005, though, I was eating a lot of processed, boxed vegan foods and not really feeling all that great. My energy was lagging, my digestion was inconsistent, and I knew I had to change some things. Now, I eat a lot more fresh, raw foods and focus on local, organic ingredients as much as possible. I eat much simpler meals these days and try to prep food at home whenever possible. It’s made a huge difference to my overall health, and even helped my food budget!
3. You use raw superfoods in your cooking a lot. What are they, and what healing benefits do they provide?
Superfoods are a class of nutrient-dense foods that offer a ton of vitamins, minerals, proteins, amino acids, omega fatty acids, and other beneficial nutrients. Goji berries, chia seeds, hemp seeds, cacao beans, and acai berries are all superfoods that have been cultivated for centuries all over the world. It’s easy to add them to your recipes to boost the nutrient values of your food and bump up the flavor.
4. Do you have any suggestions to someone who wants to try the raw or vegan lifestyle, but feels overwhelmed by how to begin, or by what to eat or not eat?
Start gradually! I recommend making some of my simple, easy-to-prep recipes like Spaghetti Squash Pasta, Stuffed Bell Peppers, Chocolate Avocado Pudding, as well as lots of raw superfood smoothies. It’s like any other style of cuisine — you can make it easy or extraordinarily complex. I also think it’s important to eat seasonally with a raw food lifestyle. In the summer, we have a lot more access to fresh, local fruits. In the winter, root vegetables and more heartier food is available.
5. Speaking of winter, a lot of us crave comfort food when it’s cold outside. Do you have any raw recipes that can satisfy that yearning for warm, hearty dishes?
Absolutely. Making a warm chia ginger pudding with fresh ginger root is a great raw substitute for oatmeal that really helps to warm the body. You can add cayenne pepper to recipes like my Tortilla Soup or make a mac n’ cheese with yellow squash noodles and cashew cheese that will have the most ardent comfort food fan begging for more! Once you learn how to make the base for a few sauces, dressings, and cheeses, it’s easy to adapt those to make many raw food recipes.
6. What advice do you have to raw foodies or vegans who are dating or in a relationship with someone who eats completely differently? It’s hard to agree on a restaurant or share dessert!
As long as there‘s mutual respect, acceptance, and a joyful curiosity about new foods, I think it can work. Personally, I’ve only dated vegetarians or vegans since I was 18, so I’m probably not the expert on this subject! But in general, food isn’t the only thing in life. If people can agree to be open minded and share new tastes and experiences, there’s a possibility it can work. For me, though, as an ethical vegan, it’s not something I can do long-term. My ethical values of treating animals and the planet with respect and care are extremely important to me, and if the person I’m in a relationship with has a different set of ethics, it’s probably not going to work out in the long run.
7. Your book Eaternity is getting published soon! Can you tell us about it? Do you have a favorite recipe that you can share?
Yes! I’m excited that Eaternity comes out on April 5th. It’s my first cookbook/lifestyle book with Hay House, and it’s all about functional food choices for maximum longevity, vitality, and joyfulness. It has 14 “benefit” chapters, like Eat for Better Sex and Eat for a Healthy Heart, all of which detail the specific nutrients, foods, and recipes that can help you achieve your life health goals. The book includes 154 vegan and raw food recipes, all with glorious photography and easy-to-follow instructions. My favorite recipe? That’s a tough one. For now, I’ll go with the Impasta Bowl, which is an Asian-inspired raw noodle dish that just explodes with flavor. I’m actually craving it right now!
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Note: PLEASE consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or medications. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.