Say hello to Christy Morgan from The Blissful Chef!
She has a smashing new recipe book coming out called Blissful Bites that you can preorder now!
What inspired your new book Blissful Bites?
Over the years as a business owner (meal delivery, personal chef and teacher) I created many recipes and wanted to be able to share those with others. So I started blogging and joined the Meatless Monday campaign to showcase my healthy, vegan macrobiotic-influenced recipes with the world. I felt like I had something to share that wasn’t out there already; a philosophy that mixed veganism, macrobiotics, raw food, allergy-free diets, and a general sense of well-being from food. When I ate in a clean way I felt better than ever and wanted to share that experience with others. So that is when The Blissful Chef was born, and Blissful Bites was conceived from that.
Blissful Bites is for anyone that wants to experience pure bliss or happiness. The food we eat affects everything about us, from our mood, our energy, how we look and feel physically and how good our overall health will be. So Blissful Bites shows home cooks how to cook in a way that is nourishing to all those parts of us. It’s available for pre-order now on my website and anywhere books are sold.
Tell us about macrobiotic veganism! How compatible are macrobiotic and vegan styles of eating?
Eating vegan means avoiding all animal foods, while macrobiotics is a food system and philosophy based in Chinese Medicine. Some practitioners choose to be vegan and some do not. I was vegan before I learned what macrobiotics was all about and now I incorporate the cool things I’ve learned about macrobiotics into my diet and lifestyle. Important elements are eating organic, local, seasonal foods, eating in balance, staying away from sugar and processed foods, and really understanding how diet, the body and it’s organs, and the mind work together to create harmony in our life.
Favourite foods/ingredients combinations you discovered as a macrobiotic vegan?
Once I got into macrobiotic culinary school I learned about so many different foods I would have never discovered just being vegan. Sea vegetables, like dulse, arame, nori, and kelp, are a big thing missing from traditional America diets. Although they are an acquired taste, the health benefits of sea veggies are immense. They have more trace minerals that most foods, are alkaline to the body, and help reduce cholesterol. There’s a chapter in Blissful Bites devoted just to sea vegetables. (Ed. note: I love sea vegetables! Not so common in Australia, either. Wakame is my favourite!)
Is it easy to eat-out as a macrobiotic vegan? What are your favourite restaurants?
Eating out as a vegan can be hard, period. But even the times where I’ve been to a non-veg restaurant here in Dallas, the staff and chef have been very accommodating. I always call ahead of time to make sure they are some staples that are available vegan; like if they have beans or rice that are vegan, if corn tortillas are available, if I can make adjustments to menu items. Usually no matter where you eat, there is something available vegan. Last week I went to a Mexican food restaurant and made my own bean tacos with guacamole, tomatoes, lettuce, black beans on corn tortillas. It was delicious and no trouble for the kitchen.
I prefer to eat and support purely vegetarian and vegan restaurants when possible. Locally I love Spiral Diner, Cafe Elite, and Kalachandji’s. Other of my fave vegan restaurants are Bouldin Creek Cafe and Beets Cafe in Austin, Native Foods and Stuff I Eat in Los Angeles, Prasad and Vita Cafe in Portland, Kuhn Churn in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and Woods Marche Cafe in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Ed. note: I’ve been to Kuhn Churn! Hooray!)
Why should people try macrobiotics and/or veganism?
In my opinion, a whole foods, plant-based diet is what’s best for us mentally, physically, and spiritually, following this diet does the least harm to living creatures and to our planet. So everyone should give it an honest try, at least 30 days to see how easy it can really be. I think if people stick to the basics: whole grains, beans, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds; then it isn’t hard at all to be vegan. No matter where you live or what your budget constraints are you can get those basic elements of the diet with no problem.
If anyone is interested in learning the exciting principles of macrobiotics I highly recommend Hip Chick’s Guide to Macrobiotics and Macrobiotics For Dummies. These are more modern books that explain macrobiotics in an easy to understand manner. Many of the old school books are outdated and do not apply to our modern society as much. I really encourage vegans to check out these books to improve on their health and general well-being.
What inspired you to go vegan? And stay vegan?
I had many vegetarian friends in college so when I graduated I decided to give it a try. It wasn’t until I watched the Meet Your Meat video on PETA that I went vegan overnight. I was shocked by what I learned about dairy cows and egg-laying hens. I couldn’t believe that so much torture could happen to that sector of food production so it only made sense to go fully vegan.
I started to teach myself how to cook and eventually attended a macrobiotic culinary school called The Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts. My mission in life is to help others eat healthier. I started my business, first with a vegan meal delivery and personal chef service cooking for people like Alicia Silverstone. Then I started teaching cooking classes, which empower others to take charge of their health and well-being. Teaching is my passion and starting my blog was an extension of that.
One of your favourite recipes, please!
In Blissful Bites, each chapter has an icon for Fan Favorites and Chef Favorites. Probably my favorite recipe in the whole book is Coconut Bliss Granola made into a parfait with berries, bananas, and the Key-Lime Soy Yogurt.
Coconut Bliss Granola
Makes 8-10 servings
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup shredded dried coconut, unsweetened
1 cup brown rice crispy cereal
¾ cup sliced almonds
½ cup walnuts, chopped if whole
¼ cup sesame seeds
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
½ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
Pinch sea salt
1 cup raisins (optional)
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Mix all dry ingredients, except raisins, in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together wet ingredients. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and combine thoroughly. Transfer to a 9×13 glass casserole dish and evenly smooth across the top. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and stir in raisins. Bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.
Anything else you’d like to see/hear more about from the vegan community?
It’s such an exciting time to be vegan and be part of the movement. I appreciate all sectors and believe we all play a role in helping others and changing lives. I’d like to see everyone work together and support each other.
Thank you, Christy! I’m looking forward to your cookbook! Your dishes look amazingly tasty…
Are you a fan of macrobiotics? Tell me about your experience in the comments! I’d love to hear more about it.