We know pretty well by this point that a plant based diet can great for our health and the environment. However, the idea of making the switch can be quite intimidating for those of us used to eating meat and dairy.
Meet Claire Smith, Maker, Baker & Founder of Teffola, who makes handmade artisan granola using the ancient grain teff which is grown on their 7th generation family farm, which they are pivoting from corn and soybeans to alternative grains and seeds. In this chat, she shares with us how we can incorporate more whole food plant based foods into our everyday diet to maximize the health effect without overwhelm.
Xi: Hi Claire, tell us why do you do what you do, and how did you get started?
Claire: It really started when my boss at my retail job told me I only "earned" 2.5 days of vacation after working my tail off for 6 months! I never wanted to be told when I deserved a break so I knew eventually I'd be my own boss. The quick answer to why I do Teffola is that I want our farm to pull through this pivot - we make products with ingredients we can source from the farm. We want to offer flavorful and good for the local economy products.
The longer answer is after a couple years of figuring it out and making mistakes and doing some inner work, I realized I've never truly felt like I belonged anywhere. I didn't fit in easily with the 9-5 job but also didn't see myself in so many popular entrepreneurs you see in media. So I've built my own world, career, lifestyle that fits me. I'm surrounded by people who encourage each other and have similar values. Our team creates products we're immensely proud of and reflect us. It's such an honor to get to build this and I'm grateful for it every single day.
Xi: That's incredible and I'm so happy for you! What was the most difficult thing you did in your business? And what did you learn from it?
Claire: I don't really work from home most of the time. Our kitchen or manufacturing facility isn't open to the public so it's a safe space where my office is. When I do work from home, I like to get dressed, light candles and make a second cup of coffee. And a to-do list. I am useless without it.
Xi: I can related to that 100%! And harmony - I like it! So let's talk about plant based diet. What myths have you seen with people making the switch?
Xi: Ah that's such a good point! Do you have any advice to help make the switch easier?
Claire: Instead of trying to make your favorite meat/dairy/egg meal vegan, try making brand new vegan meals. If cheeseburgers are your kryptonite, don't try to switch to vegan cheeseburgers! You're going to be disappointed. Instead, try a lentil and chickpea curry or a loaded sweet potato with all the fun vegan trimmings. Excellent cookbooks/blogs I can personally recommend: Ruffage (by Abra Berens - local brilliant chef!), Minimalist Baker, The First Mess, Oh She Glows, Deliciously Ella.
Xi: Ooh I can't wait to check those out. Thank you so much for that! Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Claire: I make a vegan product and am mostly plant based - my favorite plant based meals are the ones that don't resemble "meat" in any way. You can