For this blog post, I decided to do something a bit different than I have ever done before. I decided to wear the hat of radio slash television host, if you will, and interview a friend of mine, Eva Cannon, 23, who switched her diet to a predominantly plant-based lifestyle over a year ago. Cannon is a professional chef that I met while I was living in Los Angeles. At the time, Eva was one of the chefs for the Los Angeles Clippers (and at the time, Chris was playing for them), and she also prepared vegan meals for us at our home a few times! She also used to make these “cake-in-a-jar” deliciousness that I used to be OBSESSED WITH!
After moving to Arizona last year, I still continued to follow Eva’s life on social media, and watched in awe as she continued to post mouth-watering pictures of food that she prepared, AND, watched as she got smaller and smaller! I literally had to do double-takes as I scrolled down my Instagram feed and came across her posts. After watching her remarkable transformation, I just HAD to get the scoop on the how, why, what, and whens of her life!
Basically, Eva decided one day that she wanted to start taking better care of herself, and she would probably tell most that it was the best decision that she has ever made, because after moving toward a plant-based lifestyle, Eva dropped 60 POUNDS, her cystic acne cleared, and her hair grew without her even trying! Read on to get all the details:
1. Your journey and transformation is astounding! Please tell us, what inspired or motivated you to choose a healthier lifestyle?
After working with some of the most athletic people in the world (NBA players & other professional athletes) and meticulously going over meal plans for them, I decided it was time that I started to care for myself. In Jan 2016 I told myself I would become a better person that year and I did. I joined a gym and lost my first 18 Lbs the old fashion way in the gym and eating lean meat and brown rice yadda yadda. A few months after losing the first few pounds I found myself in a period of being stuck at one weight. I saw a friend of mine lose an AMAZING amount of weight just from eating a vegan diet and not exercising. Not exercising and losing weight definitely caught my attention LOL; I decided to do some research into a plant-based diet and I mean did A LOT and watched even more documentaries before my boyfriend and I decided to make the lifestyle change. A few weeks in I found that my body was LOVING all the fresh fruits and veggies I was feeding her; i was losing weight, my acne was clearing (which has never happened before in my life), and I had more energy than ever. I had, and still have no reason to want to eat meat anymore!
2. So are you vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, or eat what you want and don’t go by any title lol?
Up until recently I did not go by any titles, I just ate a plant-based diet. My diet was primarily vegan although I still ate fish or dairy occasionally (like once a month). However, recently I became very ill from eating cheese, so I just completely cut that and the seafood out of my diet, so I’m fully Vegan now!
3. A lot of people are very resistant to change, especially when they have been doing something for so long. Many think that changing their diet will be too hard. What would you say was your biggest challenge in making the transition, if any?
I think that people are resistant to change because they feel comfortable in the position that they are in, but you have to really look at yourself and ask; “are the decisions I’m making with my diet what’s best for me? Or my family?” I lost my mother at a very early age to diabetes and a slurry of other medical conditions that were solely diet related, so my outlook on it was : “if I do not make these changes in my life I will end up just like my mother.” After seeing what being ill does to a person I told myself that would never be me. I’d rather pay more for fresh, organic fruits and vegetables than pay big pharma later in hospital bills. HEALTH IS WEALTH.
Honestly I wouldn’t even say my transition was that hard. The only truly challenging parts were learning all the new substitutes for baking and cooking; but since I had already worked at a bakery that produced vegan and other specialty treats I was already somewhat educated in the realm of vegan cooking.
4. You look amazing! Your hair and skin are just glowing! Do you think this is a direct result of the lifestyle change?
I definitely know that my skin and hair changed because of my diet; I suffered with cystic acne which is very painful and hard to get to go away. I have tried almost every cream/soap/medication on the market and nothing worked for me. Eating a primarily based diet my face has completely cleared; I still may get a pimple every now and then but it is nothing compared to how bad and painful it was before. For anybody dealing with chronic or cystic acne I would definitely recommend a plant-based diet with little to no dairy products.
And to my surprise my hair flourished, I wasn’t expecting that but it was a nice added bonus LOL.
5. As I’m sure you’ve found out, when you develop healthier eating habits, you then are sort of forced to figure out what you can eat, what actually tastes good, and then how to cook it. With you being a chef already, I’m sure you had a field day with trying to figure out what to eat day-to- day?
I honestly was just like everybody else when I first started, I would look up recipes on pinterest, google, etc. BUT it only was when I started to realize that all the recipes I was making from other websites and blogs just lacked flavor/taste/texture and I was wasting money/food I quickly realized why some vegan food was bashed the way it was. I decided to just start making meals that I already love and veganize them in the most flavorful cheffy kind of way I could. I would post pictures of the meals I would make myself and people would comment “wow, there’s no way this is vegan or you actually make vegan look good.” I just try to tell people, take what you love and just replace the meat with veggies it’s that easy! lol!
6. How did you get your start in the culinary industry?
I have been cooking for as long as I can remember, ever since I was a child watching emeril and Ina Garten on foodnetwork I knew I wanted to be a chef and my mother always
encouraged me to get in the kitchen and cook and be creative. After highschool I originally was supposed to go to Le Cordon Bleu but my father really wanted me to goto a “traditional college”. So after one year at a university in Texas I decided to not listen to my father, drop out and go to culinary school. Kinda the best decision I ever made.
7. Your food posts on Instagram just give me LIFE! Everything looks next-level amazing! Do you plan on writing a cookbook? Please please please!
I’m actually creating one right now! I don’t have a release date yet, but I will definitely let you know!
8. What is your favorite go-to healthy snack? Meal? Dessert?
My favorite everyday snack has been acai or smoothie bowls! I have a smoothie everyday, sometimes twice a day! They are super easy to make and are way cheaper to make at home rather than going to a juice spot or whole foods! All you need is a high-speed blender (a food processor may work too, but a high-speed blender is a great investment. I use mine everyday sometimes more than the stove lol!)
DIY ACAI BOWL RECIPE – Wildsunflowerchef
- 1 packet of sambazon acai
- 1⁄2 C frozen mango chunks
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 C frozen blueberries
- 1⁄2 tsp. Honey or agave nectar
- Splash of almond milk
Instructions: Place all frozen ingredients into your high-speed blender and let them defrost for a few minutes. (I generally wait 3-5 minutes for easier blending) Then add your sweetener of choice and splash of almond milk. – the key to getting soft serve ice cream like smoothie bowls is to add little to no liquid. Using the stick that comes with the blender to push the fruit towards the blade is a great tool, also just stopping and scraping the sides down every once in awhile to make sure everything is evenly incorporated will ensure you have no chunks and everything is smooth and creamy. I top my bowls with whatever fresh or frozen fruit i have on hand, granola, seeds, nuts, protein bars, whatever i feel like. It’s a great, healthy, antioxidant rich snack to fuel you through the day!)
9. I am definitely making that this week! Thank you! What advice would you give to anybody out there reading this who has been thinking about transitioning to a healthier lifestyle, whether it’s veganism or just healthy living?
I would say just DO IT. Your health is a long-term investment that everyone should be focused on. When you eat better you feel better, when you feel better you think better, when you think better you get more done!
10. Is there anything you miss about your old lifestyle?
Nothing at all. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been at my life right now, I look back at pictures of myself and can’t believe I use to be ok with looking like that lol. I love life and the woman I am becoming.
11. What are you goals for the future? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
My goals for the future are to release this cookbook and hopefully many more! I also really want to open a plant-based eatery/market out here in Los Angeles that can hopefully spread into a national brand. In 5 years I’m hoping I’ll be standing in my dream market/eatery or on the set of a plant- based cooking show! Haha (crosses fingers).
Eva is such an inspiration! I always get asked questions from friends and family pertaining to my vegan lifestyle, and I hope that sharing Eva’s story can help shed more light on just how beneficial leading a plant-based lifestyle can be! I am so excited to see what’s next for Eva, and I cannot wait to stalk her website and get even more yummy recipes! I can say from personal experience that the pictures she posts of her food truly does taste as good as it looks! I am rooting for you Eva, and can’t wait to watch your live out your dreams!
Eva, ladies and gentlemen, is the epitome of a Fabbie! ;0
Now lets all gag over how freaking amazing her food looks:
To see more of her delicious food, visit her website: www.wildsunflowerchef.com (That actually launched today!)