GET TO KNOW ME
Hey I'm Shantelle the creator of Let's Be Vegan. I'm a mother, recipe developer, herbalist, cooking instructor, self taught and still learning food photographer and all around creative force behind everything you see here on Letsbevegan.com (including all the bad grammar LMAO)! I'm a Southside of Atlanta native but I currently live in Cambridge, Massachusetts with my son Izzy. He is my live in recipe critic, my photography assistant, my biggest supporter and source of nonstop free entertainment. I stopped eating meat long before it was the popular thing to do. There were very few options and they were almost always tofu or soy based weird meat alternatives which were not an option for me after I discovered that soy was a trigger for my life long battle with eczema. Naturally this forced me into the kitchen to come up with recipes and ideas of my own. Everyone around me was curious about my lifestyle and I was constantly bombarded with the same statements and questions "If you don't eat meat then what exactly do you eat? Salad!" and my favorite "I love food too much to stop eating meat." So I decided to create Let's Be Vegan to share my recipes and show people just how easy it is to eat more plants.
WHY I BECAME VEGAN
I'm a real hippie at heart and I love nature. I've always been fascinated with
plants and plant medicine. When I first made the transition to eating a vegan diet I didn't do it for the health benefits or because I really liked fruits and vegetables. I was literally the girl who ate Popeyes chicken and Dairy Queen Blizzards all the time. But the more I learned about animal agriculture the more I became committed to not eating meat. I love animals and I just couldn't stand the cruelty. As I began to learn more and spend even more time in nature. I started studying herbalism, I learned how to forage for wild food to eat and to identify and gather wild herbs to make my own medicine. I would literally pack a supply bag and go get lost in the woods for hours and hours collecting wild food and herbs with my son. I felt better than ever, looked better than ever and I felt content with my new lifestyle. The challenges I faced with transitioning my diet came simply because I was always focused on what I could no longer eat instead of embracing all of the things that I could eat. It forced me to be creative with food and to share what I was learning along the way.
MY WORK WITH FOOD
My work with food began as a child. I am the oldest of my siblings and growing up my mother wasn't much of a cook...Sorry Ma! I was always in the kitchen cooking for everyone. We didn't have much so I had to get creative with things and try to make it exciting for everyone. Fast forward to when I became an accidental owner/operator of a soul food restaurant in west Georgia and at the height of business I found myself thrown into the kitchen to cook after losing the head chef. I was cooking and creating recipes constantly and I started to developed a real passion for it. It was one of the most exhausting times of my life but it helped me understand the intimacy of cooking for people. I would constantly throw things on the menu and sit down with customers and get their feedback. Now I am able to do it with everyone that visit's my site and if I can inspire or encourage someone to go vegan or eat less meat or to eat more plants then I feel pretty good. Since creating Let's Be Vegan I have been able to travel and teach plant based cooking and herbalism all around the country....What a dream!
ON A PERSONAL NOTE
Aside from food, I'm a pretty down to earth cool ass chick. I've been told that I curse way too much but honestly I just don't give a damn lol. I love art and out side of being in nature, I would spend most of my time in museums if I could. I'm lucky enough to live in Cambridge, MA which is small very pedestrian friendly storybook like town. It is also the home of Harvard University, MIT, Lesley University and a quick walk to Berklee school of Music. This means that I'm literally waking distance to some of the most amazing museums in the country. I visit them often, especially when I need to escape. I also love healing crystals and they are EVERYWHERE in my home. My son has a pretty nice collection too. I'm obsessed with cats even though I currently do not have one. I recently got a puppy that we named Rico.
Music is super important to me and I'm constantly blasting music in my home, especially while I work. I love and appreciate all genres and listen to everything. I know some of my neighbors probably think I just a little nuts when they hear my playlist jump genres for hours on end. Like everyone else in the world I believe that I make the best playlist ever! You can find my playlists on itunes and judge for yourself. Just be warned I leave no genre behind. lol
Random facts about me
The Red Hot Chili Peppers are my favorite band. I even have the bands asterisk symbol tattooed on my wrist.
I can play a little guitar. I'm not great but I dabble lol
I'm huge Tupac fan. I have his pictures in my house. I even celebrate his birthday
I've never eaten a banana. I think they're gross. They look like they have a butt hole on the bottom.
I'm at the grocery store nearly everyday looking for the perfect ingredients to use in my recipes.
My kitchen is almost always a disaster. Behind these pretty food pics is almost always a mess.
I'm always on my computer. I'm literally glued to it constantly for work.
I hate when people cut cakes badly and leave crumbs on the cake dish.
I've watched the Spartacus series over 10 times. It's one of the best shows I've ever seen.
I hardly ever comb or brush my hair and I use an obscene amount of hair conditioner and I never use shampoo.
I'm obsessed with chef Bobby Flay and I secretly wish he was my best friend.
I'm constantly quoting movie lines in conversations. It's a bit ridiculous.
I love dark sweet cherries. I can literally eat two bags of them in one sitting by myself.
I'm obsessed with the tv show Shark Tank. I have seen every single episode of the show.
I absolutely love Martha Stewart and Ina Garten. They are two oof my biggest food inspos.
I love going to Home Depot and I will make up any excuse to go there.