Lucky us !

Last week we were fortunate enough to interview professional runner and vegan chef Amy Lyons.

Meet Amy. This girl has talent !!

Amy is a true health ambassador, experiencing healthy living first hand and sharing with us the very best in raw and vegan delights through her blog
Fragrant Vanilla Cake.
Here’s what Amy had to share with us at Pure Life Fitness …
When did your passion in health and fitness begin ?
My fitness began in highschool when I was in track, cross country, and nordic skiing.  I have always had a love for endurance sports, and it continued into college where I continued to run competatively until I joined a local race team. 
Could  you share some highlights of your running career with us ?
I was All American in Cross Country in college, and I hold several Minnesota age records from my late teens and early 20s in the 5k, 10k, and 8k.  At that point, I could run a sub 16:30 5k and Sub 34 minute 10k. 
How important is it to you that you exercise and eat healthily ?

Eating healthy and exersizing are essential parts of my life.  In order to feel my best and look my best, they are things that need to be paid attention to daily.  Afterall, you only get one body, so you should treat it well!

When did you first take to the kitchen ?
I first started experimenting in the kitchen when I was a freshmen in college.  I would get cookbooks from the library and make a different dish that I considered difficult every day.  This is how I learned to cook!
What made you choose a raw/vegan lifestyle ?
I am not strictly raw, about 60% I would say right now, and I recently started eating vegan in the last year.  I have been a vegetarian since college.  I started the raw food because my boyfriend asked me to make him a cheesecake with no dairy or soy (he eats mostly raw), and I decided to try making a raw cheesecake. I fell in love with it, and wanted to make more and more raw food because it was so tasty!  I have since been enjoying raw savory dishes as well, and I love how it makes me feel. I feel like I am eating healthier than I ever have in my life!

Was there any one person, event or experience that gave you an “ah-ha” moment to start your blog ?
I started the blog because I was sharing so many recipes on facebook with my friends that I decided that a larger audience might appriciate them as well!
Some chefs tell me they were interested in food from a very early age. Was this true for you?
I wasn’t interested in cooking as a youngster, the closest I came was helping my Grandma bake cookies.  I got interested later when I was eating different things, and I decided that in order to eat what I wanted I needed to cook.

What is your all time favourite recipe ?

I don’t have any one recipe that is my favorite, but I love all of my raw cheesecakes.  Especially the one I made for my Birthday, Pretty In Pink Cheesecake with berries, vanilla and floral notes.

The raw healthy cheesecake Amy made for her birthday this year

Do you read other cookbooks/blogs ? If so, is there one you would you recommend to someone just starting out ?
I learned a lot from the cookbook, Passionate Vegetarian.  I was always checking it out from the library before I bought it in college.  I have always been a fan of Bon Appetit Magazine, their photos are lovely.  Lately I have been enjoying a few blogs featuring raw food.  Sweetly Raw is amazing, and she has e-books to purchase.  I also enjoy Golubka, and Rawmazing, their food is increadible…I hope to create such raw dishes someday!

What advice would you offer someone interested in beginning to create raw/vegan dishes ?
I would say, don’t be intimidated, just go for it!  I was scared to try making raw food at first because I felt like I didn’t have the skill, or it wouldn’t turn out, but it is really quite simple once you get the hang of it!  Plus no oven use required!  As far as vegan goes, don’t believe them when they say you will miss dairy and meat.  There are plenty of things much tastier that are vegan that you can create!
Are there any staples or utensils that every vegan/raw kitchen should have ?
Kitchen tools that are a must for me lately are my food processor, blender, dehydrater and of course a good sharp knife!  Nuts, seeds, and good oils like olive oil and coconut oil are always on hand at my house and important. Also dried fruit (not sweetened) and dates, as well as raw oats and things like nutritional yeast.  Always have plenty of fresh produce as well!
So many of my readers, including myself, would like to be healthier home cooks. Could you share your cooking philosophy with us ?
My cooking philosphy is real food is best.  By real, I mean food that is as unprocessed as possible, organic, local and fresh!
Thanks so much to Amy for her time, education and dedication to her own well being. I hope we can all take something from Amy’s philosophy and tips on healthy living. It is people like her who are now leading the way in the natural health revolution ! Stay healthy happy and committed to your own health.
Thank you for visiting the site ! Please feel free to leave comments, ask questions or get involved in our healthy living programs !!
Always committed to your success,
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