Interview Series #5: Hilary Detwiller of Plate+Simple
Last month, I found an email in my inbox entitled "Spreading the Vegan Love" from a follower of my blog. Below is an excerpt from that email:
I just wanted to send you a quick note to tell you what an inspiration you've been to me. I've been hooked on Kiss Me, I'm Vegan! for several months now, and I just love the energy and passion that goes into your writing.
I have found your site so inspiring, in fact, that I went vegan myself in February, and I've even just launched my own healthy-vegan-living website at www.plateandsimple.com.
Keep spreading that vegan inspiration! I love it!
The author of the email was Hilary Detwiller, founder of Plate+Simple, an awesome new vegan website. In addition to her work on P+S, Hilary is a 33-year old wife, mother, and student living in Vancouver, B.C. After reading Hilary's posts on her blog, it is clear to see that this lady is a vegan force to be reckoned with - she is a talented, passionate, and generous individual with many gifts to offer the vegan community. I am so happy our paths crossed last month and and even more so because we've remained in touch ever since that email.
Since Hilary started out as a follower of the blog just like you guys and gals, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to share her journey here through my interview series. Hilary is just one of many people who have reached out to me since starting Kiss Me, I'm Vegan!, and it is because of your inspiring, thoughtful, and kind emails and comments that I continue to do what I do.
Read on to learn a little bit more about this rockin' lady...
Kiss Me, I'm Vegan: What was the turning point in your life that led you to veganism? Was it one huge moment, or a collective group of small moments that changed you?
Hilary: I found veganism quite by accident. I had always been fascinated by the vegan lifestyle, and I never really ate much meat to begin with. But I never pursued a vegan life, because I mistakenly thought it would be too difficult. Last October, my naturopath put me on a 2-week cleanse, whereby I omitted, among other things, all animal-derived foods. Within a few days, I was feeling totally amazing. By the end of the 2 weeks, I was absolutely, positively GLOWING. I felt light, efficient, radiant and so healthy! I started cluing in that perhaps this vegan diet might really be working for me! So, I started reading, researching and educating myself about becoming a vegan. I quickly realized that a vegan diet was the best possible thing I could do for my health, and I've been dedicated to it ever since. It's been several months now and I'm still glowing!
KMIV: What have been the greatest rewards of your vegan lifestyle? What have been the greatest challenges?
Hilary: The greatest reward of my vegan lifestyle has definitely been the radical change in my health. Prior to becoming vegan, I struggled with my weight, suffered from terrible digestion issues, had low energy, and was mentally foggy. I felt all around dull. Now, I am the picture of great health, my digestion issues are a thing of the past, I have energy to spare, and strangers on the street stop me all the time to comment on how gorgeous my skin looks. I am absolutely thriving. And P.S. - I never even think about calories, carbs, or fat anymore. Veganism has brought my weight into a perfect healthy balance, right smack dab in the middle of the "normal" BMI for my height. No suffering or deprivation necessary!
The greatest challenge for me has been cooking for my family. My husband and daughter are vegetarian, and it is sometimes difficult preparing multiple meals at dinner time to suit all our diets.
KMIV: Tell me a little bit about Plate+Simple - what inspired you to start the blog?
Hilary: My daughter Maya is my first baby, but Plate+Simple is my second. It has been such a labour of love for me to create this website. I am touched beyond words that people are reading it. The reason I launched Plate+Simple is because I have been so excited about my vegan lifestyle that I needed to put that energy somewhere. My poor husband and friends have been so patient, listening to me ramble on and on and on about all things vegan. I seriously have not been able to shut up about it! I decided I needed an outlet in which to channel all my vegan enthusiasm, and I loved the idea of creating a forum that would allow me to talk about all the things that inspire me to be vegan, in hopes that it might inspire others to take control of their own health too.
KMIV: From the beautiful pictures on your website, people can see that you have an amazing family (Hilary lives with husband, Dennis, and daughter, Maya). What has been the experience of balancing your vegan lifestyle with your family?
Hilary: The balance between my family and my vegan lifestyle can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. Dennis and Maya are vegetarian, not vegan. So this usually translates into my having to cook a few variations of our meals at dinnertime. On the other hand, since becoming vegan, I have had more energy than I know what to do with, so this means that Maya has a mom who loves to play with her, run around with her, take her on adventures, and keep up with her. And Dennis has a hot wife who can totally rock a pair of skinny jeans.
KMIV: What advice would you give someone who is interested in veganism, but afraid of taking the leap?
Hilary: Great question. I would say that the fact that a person is interested in the idea is such an amazing first step, and that should be congratulated on its own. My advice would be to try having a vegan meal once a day, and if you like the food and you love how you feel then take it further. Don't be afraid of cooking. Force yourself to experiment with one new vegetable per month (at least!). Use the vegan resources available out there - and they're everywhere. Cookbooks, blogs, forums, books, websites - they all make a vegan's life so much easier. Through Plate+Simple, I've realized that vegans are all over the place, and connecting with a few like-minded individuals makes the journey so much more enjoyable.
KMIV: Okay - you're stuck on a deserted island with three vegan food items - what are they?
Hilary: Wait - is there tropical fruit on this island? If the answer is no, then I would say short grain brown rice, almond butter, and pink lady apples. If there is tropical fruit, then I'd scrap the apples and go for the 5-bean salad in the deli at my local natural food store. Wait - is that 5 things?
My deepest thanks to the inspiring (and inspired) Hilary Detwiller for making this interview possible. For more information about Hilary, visit www.plateandsimple.com.