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Trials & tribulations of an almost vegan raw chef

January 20, 2011
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Happy snow day, everyone!

Here in Kansas City, we’re snowed in. Despite (or, perhaps, thanks to) the white fluff blanketing the city, it’s a gorgeous day out there. Sun + snow is one my favorite types of scenery, and we’ve got plenty of both today.

Though I didn’t have a post planned for today, there is something I’d like to get off my chest. Forgive me for doing a little bit of “out-loud” self-reflection here. I’m not looking for any sympathy, but I would be interested in hearing any thoughts you have on the matter.

Here’s the thing: I received a slightly nasty comment on Monday’s post. The commenter asked, with an underlying tone of accusation:

Why are you even a raw chef if you eat things that are commonly known as unhealthy?

The fact of the matter is, I do not eat even close to 100% raw. I don’t even eat 100% vegan (though at 99.5%, I’m pretty damn close). In addition, I do, on occasion, eat foods that are not perfectly wholesome or flawlessly nutritious in everyone’s eyes. But all of these things are exactly what comprise my perspectives on food, diet, and health, about which I am always up-front, candid, and honest.

I defended myself mildly in my response (Matt came to my defense as well in a reply of his own), but I will admit it: the comment got me down. All along, I’ve thought that my notions of dietary flexibility and healthy and balanced living are messages that resonate with others. After receiving that comment, though, my mind took the first train out to the Land of Self-Doubt.

What if a lot of people who see or read my blog doubt my credentials and abilities because of my flexible attitude toward food?
What if so far, the absence of people crying “Hypocrite!” has just been a stroke of luck?
What if there are more people who feel disdain for me than there are who feel admiration or respect?
What if this view of me is common and widespread enough that it prevents me from succeeding in the world of raw food?

…and so on.

I have full confidence in my beliefs, skills, and smarts. What I don’t have confidence in, I guess, is how I appear to others in light of those things.

I’m not upset with the commenter. In fact, if nothing else, she seems to have brought to the forefront of my mind these fears and concerns that have probably been lying dormant all along.

As you may know, I am writing my first cookbook. The concept aligns with my flexible food philosophy, and the book is a synergism of cooked vegan food and modern raw cuisine. I have the bulk of the book completed, and I also have a full proposal drawn up and ready to send to publishing companies. But I haven’t yet. Why am I hesitating? I guess I’m worried it’s not good ENOUGH. I’m trying to seek advice from people who have written successful cookbook proposals, but it’s slow in coming. I think I’m anxious that if the proposal is any less than 100% perfect when I send it out to publishers, I might blow my chance at getting published with them. Long story short: I suppose that deep down, I am afraid of failure.

That said, I can tell you this: one discouraging comment is NOT going to change who I am or what I believe. This quiet anxiety is NOT going to stop me from moving forward. I WILL get my cookbook published. I WILL forge an exceptional reputation for myself as a chef and author. I WILL achieve my dream of a lifelong career in raw and vegan food.

Things are looking up. Onward!

What do you guys think? Is there a place for my message of flexibility here in the raw and vegan world? Do you relate to my stance on food and diet, or do you think it’s cheap or hypocritical? Do you believe that someone like me, who does NOT have a cut-and-dry approach to veganism, raw foodism, and health, has a decent chance of being a successful chef and author?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for reading, all. πŸ™‚

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96 Comments leave one →
  1. gidgetnfroggi permalink
    January 20, 2011 3:52 pm

    I think that person was a jerk to leave that comment first off. I also think and bet that person doesn’t eat 100% healthy no one does lets face it.I’ vegetarian and while I’m great at that I fail often on the vegan end. But I still try.

    I love your blog because you don’t claim to be 100% healthy know it all eater your just like one of us. πŸ™‚ what even made that person ask that I’ve never really seen anything totally unhealthy and bad for you on your blog?

    I’ll buy your book when ever it gets published πŸ™‚

    don’t let 1 rude person ruin your outlook. Where you leave looks so pretty love the decks. We got almost 11 inches and I shoveled the whole driveway, I might be unable to move tomorrow so if you don’t see a tweet call the chiropractor πŸ™‚ heee hee just kidding

  2. gidgetnfroggi permalink
    January 20, 2011 3:52 pm

    oops meant live not leave sorry I’m sore, tired and hungry πŸ™‚

  3. Melanie permalink
    January 20, 2011 3:59 pm

    this is the downside about having an open forum and blog. you will always get the critics and web trolls. you can’t let them get to you. i think your blog is fantastic and the food always looks 99% better and healthier than things that people consume on a daily basis. remember this quote : A critic is a legless man who teaches running.
    – Channing Pollock

  4. January 20, 2011 4:04 pm

    I admire you and your flexibility with nutrition and diet. Like you said, that just makes us human. And I will be the first to say that I would LOVE to have your cookbook, and would probably be the first to buy it. You are a very inspiring person to us fellow aspiring vegans. Don’t let those negative comments get to you. The more you put yourself out there, the more people will try to bring you down. You just have to sometimes remember that we won’t always all see eye to eye, and remind yourself that the majority of the people that visit your page support you and will always out-number the negative folks out there. I wish you the best of luck, and hope you make it big as your dream to be a famous raw and vegan chef because YOU DESERVE IT. πŸ™‚

  5. January 20, 2011 4:06 pm

    Rigidity moves in turn with the pretentious and self-righteous. You’re neither of those things and you understand that sometimes you need the simple pleasures; whether it’s a comfort food or just something different after too much of the same thing.
    I try and eat well, but sometimes, I just need a fckin twinkie. The End.

    haha hope you’re well and glad to see your progress!

  6. Jennifer permalink
    January 20, 2011 4:09 pm

    I shy away from calling myself a vegetarian or vegan (when I was eating vegan) because I tend to eat 95% vegetarian and find that as soon as people have a label for you in their mind, if you decide to make a different choice that day, or eat a little bit unhealthy, they feel like your dietary concerns are their business.

    My brother once asked me how I could possibly “justify” eating fish once in a while when I claimed to eat a vegetarian diet.

    People get worked up about vegetarians or vegans because they feel like it is somehow a judgment about what other people eat. It is not. It’s a personal choice.

    I find I just feel better when I eat a vegan diet so I choose to do it most days, but on the days when I want some ice cream or a sushi roll… their whole world doesn’t need to turn upside down.

    • January 21, 2011 8:39 am

      Jennifer I could not have said this better. This is exactly how my husband and I feel, and we get a lot of flack from some of our friends and family trying to label us. I get to the point where I say that I can call myself whatever I want and eat whatever I want because its me not you! lol But really it is all about labels and people trying to discredit the knowledge you do know about healthy eating the moment you eat something different. Well that is just not the case. Like you said we are all human! πŸ™‚

      • Jennifer permalink
        January 21, 2011 3:58 pm

        Thanks Hillary! I agree with you too πŸ™‚ Have a nice weekend!

    • January 23, 2011 12:36 pm

      Jennifer, I couldn’t agree more! Why does my “failure” have to create such response from others. And Hillary “people trying to discredit the knowledge you do know about healthy eating the moment you eat something different.” You’re right! The reality is the more meals that are replaced by vegetarian/vegan meals the healthier we become. No other diet can claim that, so what if I’m not replacing all of them right now?!?!

  7. vicky permalink
    January 20, 2011 4:12 pm

    It’s pretty unreal to think that one can eat healthily 100% of the time, even chefs. Even cookbook authors. The fact that you successfully trained to be a raw chef and that you are good and creative should be enough. I don’t care if the chef that prepares my food as a restaurant eats PB and Jelly sandwiches every day. As long as I am satisfied with the food, he/she can live his life as he/she wants. Please don’t let the comment get you down. You don’t have to defend your choices to any commenter.

  8. Brett permalink
    January 20, 2011 4:15 pm

    It’s unfortunate that those of us who choose to post things in a public domain are sometimes the targets of those who feel a need to tear us down. You’ve made no bones about your beliefs about food, and it would be odd if you left out your honest appraisal of your own eating habits, as this is a blog about well…your eating habits. Thankfully you are able to quiet your own insecurities and see the broader picture.

    I’ll offer my humble opinion about your abilities and beliefs and how they work in your favor. Your “flexible” views are nothing but an asset. Why on earth would you want to produce a slightly different version of a hundred other cookbooks on vegan/raw cuisine? You know as well as anyone that it’s a saturated market you are trying to work in, so why not draw on your innate beliefs and newly forged talents to attact new interest? Yes, it’s true that you might not get everyone’s attention, but who knows? Keep working on your proposal. The more polished you make it the better. Just don’t begin to question the foundation of the book. It seems like something that might be fresh, different and applicable to more than just your core readers here. Keep you head up.

  9. Val permalink
    January 20, 2011 4:17 pm

    You go girl! Follow your dreams. I am also a flexible vegan/ raw foodist, it’s very hard to be 100% anything I’m constantly moving around and living in different countries and cultures. That being said, to be a good chef you have to be willing to take chances and to think out of the box. Keep your head up and don’t let downer posts get you down.

  10. Monica Soto permalink
    January 20, 2011 4:19 pm

    As I’m sure I’ve told you before, I’m an ex-vegetarian. When I was a vegetarian my best friend at the time was totally vegan. We would discuss the differences between being vegetarian and being vegan quite often. Sometimes, however, I felt lesser because I was not vegan. Then I remembered that I’m not a huge fan of stark limitations and I remembered not to care about what vegans might think of me.

    Your blog resonates with me because you cover so many areas. You may not be 100% vegan or 100% raw but that’s what I like about you. In my opinion, being strictly vegan or strictly raw may actually limit your audience. You are able to provide raw dishes, cooked, ones, completely vegan, and almost vegan! It’s in the title right? Expecting something else is just dumb.

    Since I am no longer vegetarian I do eat meat. However, half of the time the dishes I do eat don’t contain any. I enjoy vegan dishes quite a bit. I would totally buy your book. I’ve suggested your blog to some of my vegan friends and they enjoy it quite a bit. It’s not a huge issue to them that your not insanely cut and dry about veganism. Most of them are trying the whole raw thing too but aren’t doing it 100% of the time. So yes, get your book published. Don’t let this one snarky comment among your myriad of awesome ones get you down.

    Stay flexible. Stay awesome.

  11. January 20, 2011 4:20 pm

    To be honest, I love that you have a flexible eating style. It makes you seem a lot more “human.” I feel like so many bloggers try to portray a perfect eating style, and I would much rather see someone eat all sorts of things, healthy and unhealthy.

    And no matter what I will continue to support you! I am looking forward to your cookbook so much!

  12. January 20, 2011 4:22 pm

    Ok…first, do not let that commenter upset you. There are always going to be people in the world who try to rattle your cage and cause you to question yourself! Never doubt yourself Amber Shea! You have accomplished so much already, and you have great things ahead of you. You are awesome and you have awesome advise. I love your blog and all your food ideas! I can’t wait for that cookbook! I will be one of the first to buy it.
    You are full of great information. I say, world…look out, because here comes one very sweet “almost vegan raw chef”!! :o)
    Don’t let this person get you down….don’t give them that satisfaction!
    Oh…and I love how Matt came to your defense…you have one awesome man by your side!
    One more thing…I Love SNOW days! :o) Great pictures also!

  13. January 20, 2011 4:26 pm

    First of all, I am totally excited about your cookbook! What made me consider being vegan at all was having balanced books and sensible blog authors as my teachers. I absolutely would love to have a book that combined what you have learned as a raw chef, but also combining foods that would lure a non-veg to convert to a plant based diet to begin with. Nate got a comment on our blog because his little intro used to say he was an open-minded carnivore. He had commented that the mushrooms I had made tasted a little like bacon. The commenter scolded him that being open-minded would not would not promote factory farming and/or animal abuse, and that bacon is disgusting. These are the kinds of people that make the rest of us look like fanatical jerks. Nate has of course since converted to a like you 99 % vegan diet. I’m proud of his open-mindedness, as I am of yours. Nate’s comment back was:

    My open-mindedness obviously offended you, which is regrettable. For what it’s worth, the profile doesn’t reflect the fact that I’m totally vegan now and haven’t bought anything even remotely resembling bacon in months. But that said, I don’t judge anyone, carnivore or otherwise, who is trying to make better food choices but hasn’t fully transitioned yet from a lifetime of eating a certain way. People need encouragement, not criticism, if they are to accept that vegans are kind, reasonable people worth emulating (and not the self-righteous food snobs they are stereotyped to be.) You might keep that in mind. -Nate (I thought that was well said.)

    Anyway my point being is: We NEED a book like yours! So much of the country is suffering from terrible health, obesity, heart disease and cancer. If there were more gentle vegans out there who were less judgmental, people like my dad who just nearly died from a blockage in his heart might be more open-minded too (He incidentally is listening to all my food advice lately πŸ™‚

    I can’t wait for your book! Chin-up kiddo πŸ™‚ You’re amazing!

  14. January 20, 2011 4:30 pm

    I totally believe that you _will_ achieve your goals just as you outlined them here. And I think it’s admirable that you’ve taken the self-doubt by the scruff of the neck and put it out there, to let go. (I’m just finishing up a blog post on a similar ‘say it and let it go’ kind of topic.)

    I agree with previous commenters that your flexibility is only an asset. Not everyone wants to buy into an obsessive lifestyle that needs entirely new ingredients from the ground up: in fact, some people are put off, or get discouraged by the implication that they’re not perfect! I remember when I was cheffing at a raw event once and someone came up to me after a talk very confused and said ‘so am I not supposed to eat x with y and z anymore? What am I allowed to eat?’ I asked her what she’d been eating for years prior to that and whether she felt ok, and encouraged her not to think of it as something she was or wasn’t ‘allowed’ to do. I think that for most people, your approach will be much more in line with the preached, but rarely practiced, ‘listen to your body’ dictum.

    As for the comment–I saw it and was struck by how mean-spirited it seemed. I understood the question but thought that considering this is the internet, with no body-language modulators, it was insensitively phrased. Your star is in the ascendant and you’re becoming very popular and widely read. I think that all the really popular blogs I read are subject to occasional mean-spirited comments, or outright trolling. I loved Matt’s response to it.

    Shine on! Glad you’re enjoying the snow: we’ve had lots of snow and blue sky here too.
    love
    Ela

  15. January 20, 2011 4:32 pm

    I think there is room for flexibility it is part of what makes us human, anyone who is an elitist is sure to be the first to have flaws… It’s hard for me to explain to people at home that I am vegan at home but vegetarian when I eat out. I try to do my best and only worry about am I meeting my own expectations and morals. At the same time this is a blog for the public and open to comment, accept this comment just for what it is a comment and hey at least you get comments πŸ˜‰ Good luck!

  16. Chris E permalink
    January 20, 2011 4:34 pm

    Amber, show me any person who is perfect at anything and I’ll show you a liar. I like that you are ‘almost’. It shows to me that you are like the rest of us, perfectly imperfect. I wouldn’t want you any other way. Moderation in all things. I am more interested in your quest, your story, your milestones than I am in hearing about ‘how perfect you may be’ at being vegan or raw. I am not a 100% at anything, I live in moderation. If you can appeal to me, you can appeal to anyone with common sense, a sense of humor and one who appreciates your journey and not the destination. Let the comments from the peanut gallery slide off your back and keep on doing what you do. You have my support.

  17. Heidi permalink
    January 20, 2011 4:41 pm

    I’m so sorry but my first reaction was to laugh at that comment. Seriously? Do you think people that write diet books, ONLY eat what is in their book? Or that they follow all of their diet rules ALL the time? Of course not, everyone “cheats”. I’m not vegan or even vegetarian, but I enjoy your blog because animal products are still a very small part of my diet. I don’t think of myself as “on a diet” but I do watch what I eat, because after having 2 kids I can’t eat whatever I want to anymore. But I never stick to that 100% , just most of the time. I understand a lot of vegan blogs or raw blogs only show what is vegan or raw because that’s what the reader is looking for, not because that’s all that the writer eats. So thank you for being real πŸ™‚

    Oh, and plus, anyone that actually reads your blog should realize that you eat healthy, good and wholesome foods 99% of the time.

  18. Teresa permalink
    January 20, 2011 4:44 pm

    Your flexibility on the matter is what makes you human. And it will help sell more books. The cooking shows I tend to watch/recipes I like/blogs I read have people who seem human and normal, not super-human guru types. The vast majority of people would, I believe, be more interested in a book written by someone more like them than by some fancy-pants holier-than-thou type.

    You are totally awesome in my book!

  19. Jane permalink
    January 20, 2011 4:54 pm

    I’ve had this happen and I realized that the person was going around being negative to others as well. You have so many wonderful comments from so many so try not to worry. I love what your doing so keep up the fab work!

  20. January 20, 2011 4:55 pm

    No one has any room to point fingers. I will admit that as someone who is vegan for ethical reasons, I may have a hard time understanding how someone could be “almost vegan”. But if the person is eating mostly vegan for health reasons and not for ethical reasons, that pretty much answers my question. There is a GREAT DEAL of junk food out there that is 100% vegan! So someone could just as easily look at some of the things I indulge in and think “Woah, that’s horribly unhealthy.” Probably but vegan (well and gluten-free, given my Celiaciness *so not a word, hehe*) are my main criteria and I will totally get my cruelty free junk food on once in a while. The point of this ramble I think is that you’re never going to please everyone. I have gotten nasty comments in the past from people who think vegan dessert that isn’t 100% raw and sugar free is heinous but for lack of a more elegant thought, eff them.

  21. Cara permalink
    January 20, 2011 5:19 pm

    I have to come out of lurk-mode to address this one.Amber, it was precisely people like you — folks who are moderate, flexible, and health-conscious without being obnoxious and obsessed– who helped draw me toward a healthier, happier lifestyle. Several years ago I was diagnosed with multiple illnesses and living on a diet of mall food and cigarettes. When I began to finally understand the connection with food and good health, it was with the help of people similar in mindset to you. Had it been …oh, I dunno…say, David Wolfe or Dan McDonald (just to use as examples of extremely health-conscious raw foodists) that I had first been exposed to, I would have run away screaming and given up entirely, clutching my soggy cheeseburger to my heart.

    I eat a vegan diet and a mostly raw one at that. I have been at this for quite some time, but it didn’t happen overnight. For some people, it may never happen. That’s okay. If you can open up even one person’s eyes to the vibrancy and freshness of real, healthy food; well then you have more than succeeded.

    Sanctimonious morons are everywhere, and they are especially concentrated among health enthusiasts and internet users. I’m sorry that one targeted your confidence, but please shake them off and carry on.

    There is a place and a need for you and your recipes, just as they are, and just as YOU are.

  22. January 20, 2011 5:33 pm

    Hi Amber! I think your blog is great, and though I’ve lurked for awhile, I’m compelled to comment on this post, because I totally understand how you feel. I also eat mostly vegan, but not 100% though, and I do sometimes wonder if I’ll be taken less seriously as a veg blogger and food writer if I’m not hardcore about it. But like you, I also believe that the good message of going vegetarian and vegan can get lost in dogmatism- and no matter what, you’ve got to stick to what you believe in. There will always be critics who think you should be doing or saying one thing instead of another, but at least you’re upfront and honest, and your message will not be lost on your readers.

    Few people are “100% healthy”, and I think you do a good job of making healthy eating an attainable goal for people! You should be proud of your blog, being a raw chef, and of course, trying to publish a cookbook!

    Kudos chica, and don’t let comments get you down!

  23. Rhianna permalink
    January 20, 2011 5:34 pm

    Honestly, honey you are an inspiration! I’d never considered any other styles of eating before we met in Europe, but you’ve inspired me to be more open about the whole vegan/raw way of doing things and your blog serves to keep my interest up! I LOVE what you’re doing and while it might seem harsh, remember the poor person who was so nasty is probably just jealous because you’re happy and successful (and with a gorgeous boy like Matt by your side)… and inspiring thousands! Love your work (and you, when are you coming to visit us in Oz???)! xxx

  24. January 20, 2011 5:42 pm

    I am amazed that I can still be shocked each and every time I encounter a person who really does see the world in terms of black and white. How can someone not go absolutely insane holding his or herself up to such ridiculously high standards all the time? Or if they are able to see gray areas, how do they always seem to pick the dumbest battles to side so strongly on? If you’re commenter really can’t fathom the idea that you could eat something unhealthy once and yet not be an unhealthy person, or that one food choice or even 100s of food choices don’t illegitimize all of your others, then that person is an idiot and you can’t worry about their opinion. Is there any chance though, that this commenter was truly just curious and didn’t realize that the way she framed her question would come off as accusatory and offensive? If she’s a troll, then f*ck her, but if she didn’t mean to hurt you, then she might be experiencing some self-doubt of her own right now. Sorry this happened to make you doubt yourself, your book will be great and MOST of the people that are reading, of course myself included, are really happy for you.

  25. Matt permalink
    January 20, 2011 5:47 pm

    First, I absolutely love the pics throughout this. Funny, touching, inspiring. You’re amazing!

    Second, how many times do we have to listen to Tony Horton before you get it? “Do your best and… What guys? That’s right. Forget the rest.” ;-P

    Love you!
    -M

  26. January 20, 2011 5:54 pm

    Hey Amber,
    I have had a chance to spend time with a lot of well known cookbook authors, dietitians and doctors in the vegan movement. No one is perfect. Life is about finding a balance that works for you. Even the doctors and dietitians that I know believe that a positive balance is more important than what can become obsessive adherence to health rules.

    Amber, be you. Live your life and invite those who want to celebrate with you to the party.

  27. Brenda permalink
    January 20, 2011 6:01 pm

    I am new to the vegan/raw diet. I’m still searching and slowly adding more raw foods to our diet. I appreciate that you are flexible. You are young and I can tell you that it doesn’t pay to be rigid in anything in life.

    I remember when my son was in grade school. One of the teacher’s aids was strict vegetarian. She had two sons in that school. One of the lunchroom moms made all the kids a cookie for Christmas with that child’s name on it in icing. Her one son knew better than to take his cookie. His brother was younger though and gave into temptation. He gobbled that cookie down. His mother about had a heart attack. She was yelling and made that child cry. It was upsetting to everyone. Was it really necessary to be that militant? He didn’t have allergies and it wasn’t life threatening. It was just one lone Christmas cooking baked with love for her child.

    I don’t want to be that kind of person. Do you?

    I’m now 60 years old and I can tell you that life has a lot of ups and downs. Be confident in yourself and remember that you owe no one person an explanation or apology for how you cook, teach or eat. It’s personal to you.

    Now, go dream up some wonderful super easy recipe for me to try out.

    Brenda
    Michigan

  28. January 20, 2011 6:12 pm

    Don’t let that negative comment get you down! (my first one got me down, too) Negative commenters are usually just unhappy with their own lives, and feel the need to bring others down with them. Don’t give them that power!

    No one is perfect. It’s not even HEALTHY to jump into a 100% all-raw diet– it would shock your body into detoxing too quickly! Bad idea. It’s much better to enjoy life and food the way you already are! Just because you’re a raw chef (something you should be very proud of!) doesn’t mean you have to eat raw all the time now. That’s like saying a professional baker needs to eat baked goods every day. You should listen to your body and eat what makes you feel good!

    Also, on the other side of things– I’ve gotten comments before saying that sometimes my diet is “too perfect” and I need to “loosen up a bit.” So, either way, people will judge. You might as well just keep yourself happy, because there’s no way you can make everyone else happy, too!

  29. January 20, 2011 6:20 pm

    Don’t let that comment get you down!! I love your blog and think you do a great job πŸ™‚ NOBODY its healthy 100% of the time… And if they do, sorry for them. You only live once…Live by your rules and no one else’s!

  30. January 20, 2011 6:21 pm

    First of all, let me just say that I LOVE the pictures! Not only of the snow, but the cute animals! Never doubt yourself. I always look to you for advice about food and health tips. I completely trust your opinions. And life would not be any fun without those little indulgences in the things we know as “uh-healthy.” Also, do NOT doubt yourself on your cookbook writing capabilities. You are a wonderful writer and I’m sure you cookbook with be spectacular! Hope to see you this weekend, chica!

  31. Laura S permalink
    January 20, 2011 6:32 pm

    Amber —

    I’m so glad you wrote this post because it gives me a chance to tell you that you are AWESOME.

    I was absolutely blown away when I read a post where you said you didn’t like salad and other posts where you showed pics of delicious-looking, non-raw food.

    My heart did a dance of joy — someone who’s cool, flexible, and real in the raw foods movement!

    You are the coolest of the cool. I LOVE your blog. It makes me happy to see your love of and dedication to creating raw food masterpieces and then see other yummy foods you eat that are cooked.

    You’re actually pointing out a problem with the raw food movement — that it can be so rigid and dogmatic. It needs you sooooo badly!

    I’ve heard that some raw food advocates push a 100% raw diet on others but aren’t 100% raw themselves. That’s hypocrisy. You are the opposite of a hypocrite — you’re completely up front, honest, open, and real.

    Your blog makes me, as someone who’s interested in raw food but not interested in being anywhere near 100% raw, ever, feel comfortable. Like it’s okay to be me.

    Now that I think about it, realistically, there are probably a lot more people like me out there than there are people who are actually going to be 100% raw forever. You have a huge audience in us. Perhaps you’re meant to create and lead the “Raw and Mellow Movement.” πŸ™‚

    I hope people who are all or mostly raw would love and buy your cookbook because of the awesome recipes. It depresses me too much to think that people would say, “I know for a fact that Amber ate some cooked pasta the other day, so I’m going to deprive myself of getting those delish chummus recipes, even though they look soooo good.”

    You are standing up to real forces of judgment, dogma, extremism, and that puts you in a tough position. I’m sorry that that is the case. It’s the environment. It’s not you.

    I admire and appreciate you so much. Your blog helps me so much.

    Thank you so much.

    With much appreciation,

    Laura

  32. Mindy permalink
    January 20, 2011 6:34 pm

    You are “every woman” sweetie. There are far more people like you than not. With the world of health and nutrition and what makes up a healthy diet constantly in flux, why not be flexible? There are a million reasons why that person may have made that comment, none of which have to have anything to do with you. Think of all the hundreds of supportive, positive comments you have received to put all this in perspective. Also, consider that you are in very good company: I understand Sarma eats some cooked food, so does Kristin of Kristen’s Raw, and I’m sure there are quite a few others. As for your cookbook, start sending that baby out. It’s going to be a fabulous learning experience. You GO, and know you have many people pulling for you. PS, check out this guest post by Ela (on Bitt of Raw’s blog) if you haven’t already: http://www.bittofraw.com/2011/01/guest-post-ela-on-overcoming.html It’s on overcoming restrictive eating patterns. I think reading Ela’s post may give you an idea where your unkind commenter might be coming from. Either way, it’s a good read.

  33. January 20, 2011 7:09 pm

    i just want to say that i don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to be a raw foods chef yet not eat a completely raw diet. you do what you want to do and eat what you want to eat πŸ™‚

  34. Arlene permalink
    January 20, 2011 7:22 pm

    My two cents: Be yourself…it’s all anyone can be. Not everyone will like it, of course and sometimes they might even tell you. I think when someone puts themself out there for the public to see, other people want them to be perfect according to their definitions, set up expectations for their behaviour — in other words, they want someone/something to cling. I think this is especially prevalent when you are talking about something out of the mainstream, such as raw veganism…it’s not an easy path to choose to do it 100% and some people search for heroes only to be upset when their “hero” does not live up to their ideal. They have the choice of not reading what you write if they are offended in some way.

    I’ve met a lot of people whose work in the nutrition field I greatly admired and then, shock of shocks, found out they were human as we all are!

    I like your blog. I get a lot out of it. Keep up the good work! And, looking forward to the cookbook.

  35. wolfenstein permalink
    January 20, 2011 7:47 pm

    There are lots of rude people
    don’t care about that

  36. January 20, 2011 7:47 pm

    Hey kid!Always be true to yourself and your beliefs.Don’t go changing for anyone.Be who you are always.Who you are and your beliefs will lead you down the right path.The future is in your hands…and your future is very bright!

  37. Val @ Balancing Val permalink
    January 20, 2011 7:52 pm

    Ok . . .

    One of the reasons why I love following your adventures over other chefs (besides your impeccable music taste πŸ˜‰ ) is the fact that your NOT a label whore!

    You listen to your body, you eat what brings you joy and nobody else has any right to tell you this is wrong because thier is no wrong way to eat and that person may be lashing out at their own eating insecurities.

    I tend to get this from some people too as just because I am going to a natural foods culinary school doesn’t mean I MUST only be eating whole foods. I eat cake, cookies and “bad” things with scary chemicals sometimes too!

    Keep doing what you do girl and don’t let anyone stop you!!!

    Xo

  38. Priscilla permalink
    January 20, 2011 8:11 pm

    Remember, what other people think of me is none of my business!keep doing what your doing as you help me,so thank you. Opinions are like noses everyones got one. We have the freedom of choice so get in and do your book with love. GO GIRL!!!!!!!

  39. January 20, 2011 8:20 pm

    Sorry you got a rude comment. Sometimes people do have questions but could find a better way to word them. Annoying.

    Of course you know I am not 100% raw, so I don’t care much for regulations in that regard. I USED to have the mindset of the person writing (although hopefully wouldn’t have written it harshly or kept my opinion to myself): that one has to eat all raw in order to be interested in making raw food at all. But as I’ve given myself permission go back to eating cooked foods, I still want to keep raw foods in my life. In fact EVERYONE should. They are a great way to get in veggies and fruits and nutrients. I’ll be writing more about this on my blog of course. You’re not alone! Keep at it, cheering you on!

    • bitt permalink
      December 30, 2011 11:46 am

      I went back and read this post again and re-read my comment and wanted to add a few things. If we are talking about being a chef, the chefs that eat a broadest spectrum of foods actually have an advantage over others that are more restrictive, therefore being able to taste more would give a chef an advantage if they can translate the taste and texture of cooked foods to raw. Some more strict raw foodist chefs would have to rely completely on memory. Some of the best vegan meals I’ve had have not been made by chefs who eat vegan, so to assume that you’d need to follow the diet yourself is not needed in order to make tasty vegan food in my opinion, and that can extrapolate to raw foods as well. In fact by eating cooked food and comparing to raw foods, you are keeping the standards higher for the raw recipes I think.

  40. January 20, 2011 8:23 pm

    Amber – I must say ditto to many of these comments! I am so excited about your cookbook and can’t wait until it’s published – yum! Tara (VeganPiggy) and I have just been chatting about raw food (today in fact!) and trying out some recipes! I think your food philosophy is wonderful – we are 99% vegan too but that doesn’t mean we are hypocritical freaks! I don’t believe being fanatical about food and being totally obsessive is worth it. The good we are doing for our bodies by eating well almost all the time will have an incredible impact. Stressing constantly about being totally perfect in our food choices will cause far more health issues (I’m a counselor – trust me πŸ™‚ ). Can hardly wait to buy your cookbook – hang in there my dear! You’re doing a great job πŸ˜‰

  41. January 20, 2011 8:25 pm

    My love, my soul sister, my dear dear friend, you know how proud and inspired I am (and always have been) by your open-heart-and-mind approach to life, food, and enjoying both without falling into a trap of restriction and rules and barriers. It’s funny that this commenter, and this post, have come now, because in the past two days I have brought you up and praised precisely your approach to [raw] life to no less than *three* separate people, all in slightly different contexts, with these people all having different views of food and dietary lifestyles themselves. In each case, your experience/views/approach have been viewed really positively by the people I talk to, and it’s fostered a great conversation about why such values are important to have in this day and age (that wording is lacking in clarity, apologies!)

    I’m so glad that you’ve talked yourself back into a rational valuation of yourself and your beliefs after having the (absolutely legitimate) little period of upsetness, because you’re absolutely a strong woman who ought to, and whom I know can, see the strength in and of herself.

    With regards to the cookbook proposal, you’re doing such an amazing, courageous, and awe-inspiring thing by going after this goal of yours. One thing you have to remember, though, is that the proposal will never be 100% perfect TO EVERYONE. I mean this in ac ompletely not-harsh way, but in the realistic sense that (as we’ve just seen) not everyone’s views are the same. Plus, writing anything involves so much editing, and redrafting, and “shaping” as you go that there’s a way in which everything you write is a progression. This is something I had to deal with when writing my 28,000 word Honours thesis in 2009 – at a certain point, you have to stop and say to yourself “I’m proud of this, and yes I could keep on fiddling with it forever, but I know in my heart that such changes won’t have a truly demonstrable effect – but I’m proud of this, and it’s time to see what happens next when it’s out my my control”. (And yes, I said the word control… :P)

    I think I should stop typing because it looks like you’ve got a squillion replies to this to read already, but know you have my utter support, pride, and hugshugshugs, and also? Remember I said yes to your question about the proposal πŸ™‚

    xoxoxo

  42. January 20, 2011 8:30 pm

    I don’t think anyone is 100% anything! One thing I liked about your blog is that you are flexible with your eating habits, just like me. I do consider myself to be a vegetarian, but I still eat turkey sandwiches on occasion, and sushi (yikes!). So, sometimes I feel weird saying I’m a vegetarian b/c of that, but then I think, who cares…it’s my life! SO…don’t let that comment mess with your head! I think there is a place for a chef like you in the world, and I would be one of the first people to buy your cookbook!!

    • January 21, 2011 7:13 pm

      If you eat turkey sandwiches you are not a vegetarian. End of. This blog rocks, but some of the comments on it are quite offensive to real vegetarians and vegans. How is the slaughter of that turkey you eat when you feel like it different from the ones you choose not to eat? They were all sentient animals. They all felt pain. I guess you are only cutting down on meat for health reasons.

  43. Aparna permalink
    January 20, 2011 9:28 pm

    Pfft. Forget that person’s negative comment. You’re doing amazing things and like you said, you’re only human. Eat what you think is best for YOU.

  44. January 20, 2011 9:45 pm

    Amber-I love reading your blog! I think you are on the right path and will do so good in the raw food world. Keep it up and don’t let anyone stand in your way. Not even yourself. No body is perfect. There are lots of people who have a negative view on life and are quick to judge and point out someone else’s faults. As hard as it may be, don’t let it get to you.

    Oh, did you know Anne Rice was rejected by 20 different publishers before she was finally signed for Interview with the Vampire?….just sayin’. πŸ™‚

  45. Carol permalink
    January 20, 2011 9:53 pm

    When I want to speak up and state my opinion, I always remember the statements my Mom drilled into me years ago “everybody if different” and “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything”. I like your blog and enjoy your adventures, please do not let this negative comment get you down.

  46. January 20, 2011 10:21 pm

    Amber, I have been attacked for my beliefs, for being a health vegan instead of an animal rights vegan, for being too thin, too fat, speaking my mind to much or not enough.
    This is only my opinion, but just be yourself and learn that you cannot please everyone. What you are doing is for you and not for other people, but you are going to make alot of people happy by what you choose to do. It really is no ones business what you do or what you write about, if they do not care for you, they can quit reading your blog. Some people are insensitive. I have a woman that insists on giving me her opinion about everything. I just smile and go on….
    I like your blog based on you not what you do or how you do it, just the you that shines through in your posts.

    Hope this helps!
    Hugs,
    Viv~

  47. January 20, 2011 10:22 pm

    OK WOAH AMBER.

    First of all, if I ever run into that commenter, I would lay the smackdown on them. Nobody should EVER make you doubt yourself about your approach to veganism/rawfoodism, or your cooking skills.

    LET ME SAY THAT THIS IS THE MOST KICK ASS BLOG EVER. So… if you’re doubting for ONE SECOND that publishers aren’t going to like your book, maybe you should take a look at the number of people who read your blog. The reason why so many people read your stuff is that THEY LOVE YOU, YOUR RECIPES, AND YOUR OUTLOOK ON FOOD!

    I’m from Connecticut, and back east, we don’t spend a lot of time consoling people. It’s not so much that we’re trying to be mean, it’s more that we view too much comfort as a form of impeding somebody to move on. So… I’m going to get a bit east coast on you right now:

    YOU MARCH YOURSELF OVER TO THOSE PUBLISHERS’ DOOR THIS INSTANT AND SHOW THEM YOUR AMAZING WORK. I WANT YOUR RECIPE BOOK IN MY HANDS WITHIN THE NEXT 6 MONTHS AND THAT’S AN ORDER! GET TO IT BECAUSE THE WORLD NEEDS YOUR TALENTS, INSIGHTS, AND OUT-OF-FUCKING-CONTROL HUMMUS… NOW!!!

    πŸ™‚

    Get to it!

    Best,

    Cliff

  48. Kate permalink
    January 20, 2011 10:31 pm

    First, this post is greatly enhanced by your choice of images! Helps make a difficult situation more palatable. I always say. πŸ˜‰

    I think your flexibility is a strength, not a weakness. It’s very relatable, and I think a lot of people are intimidated by a raw/vegan/”healthy”/etc, lifestyle because they think it’s all or nothing, and that they have to adhere to it perfectly or they fail, which I think we both know is bullshit. Your flexibility has always put me personally at ease (and therefore more open to new experiences), and your food philosophy is much more accessible than a purist one, not to mention probably healthier in some cases!

    I also think that flexibility encourages creativity. Example: if you don’t like eating greens straight up, drink them in smoothies! This sort of attitude makes healthier living easier and more fun.

    I consider myself about 85% vegan, or a strict vegetarian, because I generally consume no animal products and avoid them wherever I can, but I eat a handful of servings of yogurt each week. Big fat deal. This does not negate the fact that the majority of my diet is fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and that I love spinach in my smoothies.

    Rock on girl.

  49. Ninu Dhillon permalink
    January 20, 2011 10:36 pm

    Hi,

    Firstly, you are a beautiful person – inside and out. You’re energy and enthusiasm come through in your passion for food and life. Don’t let people bring you down. Often when people criticize or emit negative energy to others, it’s because they aren’t happy with themselves.

    On another related tangent, no one said YOU, I or ANYBODY had to be anything! You are who you are, uniquely and beautifully. You are living a life that makes you happy and healthy – to heck with the judgement from others.

    You will be published, not for having rigid views and a straight and narrow direction, but because people see the value in your talent and the love in all that you do! πŸ˜‰

    Ninu

  50. January 20, 2011 11:22 pm

    Your message is a message of inclusion.

    Get up off the damned floor and get back to writing the cookbook. Do you have ANY idea how many people you can help bring over to a healthier perspective on eating and sustainability with your message?

    Dude …

  51. January 20, 2011 11:57 pm

    Don’t worry about comments or anything else, it’s your life you are living. I was criticized recently too for vegans not eating honey and I use honey a lot… so what, I’m not 100% vegan too and I prefer delicious home made honey instead of agave in a jar coming from who knows where.

    We can’t live in incubators and eat only quality food. We are in the city in 21 century, with all it’s temptations and deals. You can’t be sure even what you are served in a restaurant or how it is made, what are you supposed to do – eat only home made food?

    I follow only one simple rule – 80/20. If 80% of my food is good quality, nourishing and healthy, my body will forgive me for the other 20% being not so much πŸ™‚

    Just be happy and work on your book! πŸ™‚

  52. January 21, 2011 2:57 am

    Hi there, I’m a fairly new reader or your blog and personally I find your flexible approach really refreshing. I eat mostly vegan and I am now starting to experiment with raw foods but I would never be able to, or want to, be a ‘perfect eater’ or completely vegan or raw (if such a thing even exists). I hope that comment hasn’t made you doubt yourself too much, I think a balanced and flexible approach is fantastic – good luck with your book – I love the sound of it and will be keeping a look out when you get published!

  53. January 21, 2011 3:45 am

    Just ignore the negative comments. Everyone has their own opinion, judgments and perceptions and more often than not they have nothing to do with you. People just love to be haters. 😦

    Our philosophies sound similar. I think high raw can be great but not realistic 100% or healthy for most people. Lots of raw in my upcoming cookbook and healthy cooked vegan meals.

    If you need any help/advice on the cookbook front feel free to email me. I know the process inside and out.

  54. Nick permalink
    January 21, 2011 4:50 am

    Your comment was perfect, being healthy is all about balancing an enjoyable personal life and eating healthy as much as possible. Sometimes it’s better to get a bite at something not so healthy or drinking a beer while enjoying a good time with some friends. Life is about exploring as much as possible, not about restricting yourself.

    Plus, more and more raw foodists are turning into meat eating and cooked food because being 100% raw didn’t work for them. It’s probably more healthy to be 50-70% raw with occasional animal products than being 100% vegan raw, so why would you be blamed for not being 100% raw?

    I’ve found your blog quite recently and your open mind about different foods is what makes it great, so don’t let anyone get you down! πŸ™‚

  55. dawn permalink
    January 21, 2011 7:00 am

    Everyone has an opinion… Its up to you what feels right.. what gives you balance… a flexible approach is not a bad way of approaching any kind of change of lifestyle.. Being vegan is challenging- being a rawist is even more challenging… My advice is don’t judge and don’t be judged… Be strong in what your message is and say it… Say it loud.. Say it Proud… And you don’t have to explain yourself to me or anyone else – especially if your actions don’t affect anyone else.. And your actions do actually introduce new products to people and give information and technique to inquiring minds… No more posts about doubt! Doubt is wasted energy that can be put into something more productive and more forthcoming… Good Luck in your future endeavors
    Dawn

  56. January 21, 2011 7:21 am

    Putting your life out on a blog means you have to be really comfortable with the choices you make–I know it’s so easy to read someone’s post, make a judgment, and slap up a comment from the comfort of your own home and as a writer, I think you have to be prepared for that, knowing that you make the choices that seem best for you in the moment. Your posts are interesting and enlightening–keep up the honesty!

  57. January 21, 2011 7:55 am

    The only ones who would take issue with you not being 100% raw are the ones who aren’t themselves, and secretly feel very guilty about it. Thus, they take out that emotion on you, and try to make -you- feel guilty instead. I promise you, this is most likely the case, so don’t worry about them. If it makes sense to you, if it works for your lifestyle (you’re healthy, happy, the whole nine yards) then discard the rest of the nonsense and keep at it. There are plenty of people who are somewhat of a contradiction to their profession, but if you love it and are passion it about it, who cares? The most important thing when I buy a cookbook isn’t how much I adore and admire and want to be just like the author; it’s all about the food, and if I would actually want to make and eat it.

    Besides, you’ve got to get this book out there… I want to do the photos! πŸ˜‰

  58. January 21, 2011 7:59 am

    Wow – don’t let her get you down. I love your flexible attitude towards food and it’s one I share (and so do a lot of others). While I’m always striving to eat healthy wholesome food, I’m not perfect and I don’t expect perfection from others. Furthermore, my definition of healthy and wholesome is in constant flux. How could it not be with all the on-going research into food and health? I’d hate to see you or anyone else get so stuck in their belief system that they were unable to seek new knowledge.

    Hang in there girl. I, for one, can’t wait for your cookbook.

  59. January 21, 2011 8:14 am

    Hello Amber~

    I find the idea of the person wrote that on your blog,well, …well somewhat interesting. I feel that there is no place for Judgement in a raw lifestyle. I feel that eating raw food really frees me of so much judgement for others. What others do is up to them and them only. I think that your blog is excellent and I love your style of writing and the time you spend on it. I appreciate that you spent those long hours on your blog after all the hours you put into 105 degrees academy. I loved seeing all of things you did, it made me feel as if I was there, and as you know I am dreaming of going there one day. I don’t read many blogs but when I do, I love to follow them.

    Anyhow, getting back to your food choices…it’s interesting that this whole blog post was written because just the other day I saw in your blog that you do eat TVP and soy stuff sometimes. I know you don’t eat it all the time and somehow after reading this I felt okay to make my kids a tofu stir fry. I don’t make my kids tofu often. They get so excited when I do serve them soy or even butter or dairy products, but ya know I have to be honest, I am sort of a raw vegan militant at times (IN MY HOME), and sometimes I wonder if I am too hard on my kids eating habits. They are vegan most of the time, eat at least 4-5 servings of fresh fruits and veggies a day and yet I still wonder, “am I feeding them the best I can”. I love your style of eating because I feel that it brings me back to reality and that it is okay to not be “100% raw vegan” all the time.

    I was going to write you on Face book and tell you that I really loved your post Week 2 of p90x because I was finally somewhat calm about serving my kids tofu. Sometimes, I ignore my inner feeling of what I should do out of pure laziness. Looking back now, I kinda wish I would’ve but maybe it’s better said now rather than then.

    I know I am rambling. It would be so much easier for me to call on the phone I am not much of a writer, but since I know it is not possible, I am writing. Just know that I believe in you and your blog means alot to me. I know that you are striving to be the best you can be, and as a perfectionist myself, I know that we are hard on ourselves and We are OUR OWN Worst Critics.

    We will not always like what others say about us, but we have to continue to choose the thoughts we desire.
    And WHEN your book is PUBLISHED, I will definitely BUY IT.

    Stay in Peace and in the Flow~
    Angela

  60. January 21, 2011 8:36 am

    First of all there is room in the world for ANY type of raw, vegan , non-vegan chef or cookbook author you want to be!!! and to be honest I think there are more people now days that live between all these worlds! When my husband and I are at home we eat 99% vegan, and I am trying to incorporate Raw. When we are out we eat about 70 -85% vegan depending on our company. I am happy with our lifestyle and I would love a cookbook that showcased the whole spectrum of raw, vegan food. Why does it have to be just raw? or just vegan? I think you should go with what makes you happy and what you feel passionate about and of course people will have their opinions and comments and that is ok because that is what makes this a free country, just consider their opinions and then do what you want, whether that be adjusting to their comments or not, it is YOUR cookbook and people will respect you for sticking to your own path. Just keep up the good work and I think your cookbook will be GREAT! πŸ™‚

  61. January 21, 2011 8:53 am

    I have been reading you for a while and I am amazed at the energy and enthusiasm you have for what you do and for life! It is almost contageous πŸ™‚
    Keep enjoying, I love reading you,

    ruba

  62. Roselie permalink
    January 21, 2011 10:12 am

    I agree with your way of thinking 100% and I believe that we need more people like you to not bind themselves and us with strict rules but practice balance. I can’t wait for your cookbook!

  63. Kim permalink
    January 21, 2011 10:17 am

    When I came first upon your blog, it immediately resonated with me – perhaps, like some others have said, the flexibility, the desire to be healthier without all the other BS, and the great pics that make vegan and raw food so appealing (speaking from someone who is not either a vegan or raw foodist). Above all, I really connected with your energy and spirit and confidence through your blog. I appreciate your willingness to put it all out there – especially your intent publishing your cookbook. I have no doubt you will absolutely do it.
    I think it was Jack Canfield (author of all the Chicken Soup for the Soul books who got turned down 100’s of times before getting a small publisher and then going on to sell over 112 million books) who said it’s not what people say about you but what you say to yourself when they say things about you. Hopefully, this comment and all the support from your readers allows you to gain even more conviction about yourself and the need for your cookbook, blog, and overall spirit. Can’t wait for your cookbook!

  64. January 21, 2011 11:27 am

    Thoroughly enjoyed reading all these wonderful comments. Knowing the passion, drive, will, determination and talents that make you “Amber”, I hope that you are able to put into perspective just how the one comment negative should be taken: it’s a non-issue. There will always be negative people out there ready to deflate one’s balloon, but knowing what you know about all you’ve done and are currently doing and what your dreams are, don’t look back now…You’re on the right track and it’s FULL STEAM AHEAD!!!

  65. January 21, 2011 11:28 am

    Oh my god, that crying rabbit picture is making me have a cuteness freakout!!

  66. January 21, 2011 12:11 pm

    You.Are.Brilliant.

    Really.

    Your blog is real and it’s about real living and real eating. Not pamphlet-blogging where every food intake is taken off a nutritional planning list. I see you as a raw chef and I didn’t even bat an eye when you mentioned you sometimes don’t eat raw food. Please. Same on the vegan count. It’s the mostly, the thrust, of your relationship to food counts.

    I wrote a comment earlier about how much I love your unique voice on the vegan blogosphere. I have been ovo-lacto vegetarian for almost 20 years and increasingly lean on a mostly READ mostly vegan diet. Say 80% of the time. But I neither believe nor feel it’s right for me to eliminate all ovo-lacto products. It’s my decision but you can imagine how THAT sits with vegan orthodoxy.

    And through you, I’m starting to see the benefits of RAW in my diet, too. You are believable, the zealots don’t sound good nor appealing to me (orthodoxy of any kind doesn’t sit well with me and, in fact, makes me suspicious).

    So, I totally get YOU and your approach and I see NO reason why anyone should question you. Please.

    I see you as a real, informed, wonderful person. NOT a public persona blogosphere “it’s all happy and wonderful all the time” shtick.

    Don’t stop being you.

    Loved your “take the train to the land of self-doubt” bit and illustration. Sit there for ten minutes and take the express back to great-proud-me land. That’s where you belong.

  67. January 21, 2011 12:21 pm

    Let me just add: do chefs specializing in Italian or any particular kind of fare eat only that specialty? NO. Does someone question their credibility because they eat Middle Eastern once in a while?

    NO.

    I would not question a renown vegan chef who eats meat. Can he or she prepare awesome vegan meals for me? That’s what matters. Being a chef that specializes in raw doesn’t mean you can’t eat other stuff. Being a vegan chef that personally eats milk/eggs, same thing.

    I’m as riled up as you about that nonsense comment you got.

  68. January 21, 2011 3:04 pm

    Pursue your dreams. No one’s perfect…not even bloggers! Shocking, I know.

    I love your stance on things; moderation and balance is where it’s at. πŸ™‚

  69. hungryvegantraveler permalink
    January 21, 2011 3:40 pm

    Haters gonna hate. Seriously. Try to not let them derail you, because you’ve got great things going for you. Not every single person is going to love it, and that’s okay. As long as you believe in yourself and your mission, you’ll be fine.

    Roll (Rawl?) with the punches, girl, and rise above. You’re doing great!

  70. January 21, 2011 3:51 pm

    I have recently begun to explore the world of raw and vegan eating and I personally hope there is room for flexibility in this world. Currently in my journey I have found that I am not likely ever going to be 100% raw or vegan, but I feel like getting a majority of what I eat into on of these buckets will mean success. Why do we have to be extremists? Life is not all or nothing, life is full of choices and options, and we are all individuals. I think it is extremism that will keep the wonders of raw and vegan food from spreading to us average folk out here. Thanks for all the sharing that you do. Can’t wait to get your book, so get that proposal out there.

  71. January 21, 2011 5:17 pm

    Actually Amber I think that your flexibility gives you MORE integrity, as it shows that you can be flexible and are not a failure if you do not eat a 100% raw or 100% vegan diet or whatever.

    Your flexibility was why I started reading your blog in the first place. I like eating vegan, but it is not a lifestyle choice for me.

    Everyone has their path and dietary choices that are right for them, I am sure that the huge mumber of vegan food on my omni blog has encouraged some people to cut down on their animal products, or try eating a different plant based protein.

    Keep up the good work.

  72. January 21, 2011 5:50 pm

    I think you’re awesome, that’s what I think. 100% awesome. Take that raw food and vegan and whatever else label someone wants slapped on your forehead. πŸ™‚

    I jest, but I’m serious too. I want that cookbook, now get to submitting!

  73. January 21, 2011 7:06 pm

    The flexible approach to raw food really appeals to me because it is something I would like to try more of, but not go 100% raw. I guess people who are vegan for health reason feel the same way about veganism, but for me veganism is such an important part of standing up against horrific animal abuse that I commit to it 100%. Any cut down on animal products helps, but I can only feel at peace with myself being vegan.

    The commenters here who say they like your vegan bloggings, but it’s not the lifestyle choice for them are not thinking beyond the effect it will have on their own lives. Sure there would be a period of change and finding vegan food you love as much as the veggie/meat/dairy food you used to enjoy, but it is possible, easy and enjoyable. The ultimate reason to go vegan is for the animals. Once you realise the suffering and torture they experience on a daily basis non-vegan food just doesn’t appeal, especially when there are so many yummy alternatives, as demonstrated on this blog.

    I think your cookbook will be a success and I would like to buy a copy. I just wanted to put it out there to some of the commenters that there are solid reasons why some people choose to be strict vegans and stand up for animal rights. If you need motivation watch Earthlings or Peaceable Kingdom.

  74. January 22, 2011 2:51 am

    to quote Dan Millman in The Way of the Peaceful Warrior

    “The Warrior does not seek perfection

    A warrior takes responsibility for his acts, for the most trivial of acts. An average man acts out his thoughts, and never takes responsibility for what he does. When we feel stuck, going nowhere — even starting to slipbackward — we may actually be backing up to get a runningstart.

    When you become fully responisble for your life, you can become fully human; once you become human, you may discover what it mens to be a warrior.”

    πŸ™‚

  75. January 22, 2011 8:23 pm

    I get very Momma Bearish when I see people leave critical comments on genuine/nice people’s blogs. If she didn’t mean her comment to be critical, she could have worded it differently. “Why are you even…” – NOT nice, Lily. I love that your knight in shining armor came to defend you. πŸ™‚

    So…I don’t know anyone MORE vegan than me. I’m absolutely a vegan. I don’t know why everyone in the world wouldn’t want to be vegan. I really like to eat healthy, too. Having said all of that, the “very vegan me” has never once felt annoyed/offended/disturbed/bothered by anything you’ve written in your blog. I’ve already said that I would absolutely buy your cookbook. I love that you became a raw chef, and I feel genuine happiness for you at your success. You’ve never once pretended to be anything other than who you absolutely are. I don’t personally read your blog because you are flexible and open-minded. I just read it because the general content appeals to me, and I like you. Don’t apologize for anything and know that you have “fans” who think you are great.

    Anyway, I thought there is some debate with the whole MSG/autolyzed yeast situation, and I wasn’t aware, either, that anything has been “proven” about soy. That was a very bold and presumptuous claim to make.

    • January 22, 2011 8:25 pm

      I’ve also never walked away from your blog, thinking, “She sure doesn’t eat healthy.” The very idea is ludicrous.

  76. January 23, 2011 6:33 am

    Of course! Without a doubt. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Girl, you have a talent, and knack for the written word AND the food side of things. Usually those two are hard to get together but you do it so perfectly. Sometimes in blogland, there can be alot of scrutiny and honest, meh to that. You are you, and the way you live your life, and write about it, is appealing because it is you. I am actually doing a video post very soon on my food philosophy and it is very similar to yours. Not in the sense that we eat the same, but in the sense that it is ‘mine’. Like you said “my perspectives on food, diet, and health, about which I am always up-front, candid, and honest”

    Go girl. πŸ™‚ I’m cheering ya on.

  77. January 23, 2011 12:05 pm

    Amber, I really wouldn’t worry too much about a critical commenter. She obviously doesn’t understand that the world is not black and white.

    Eating food is very personal and individual. Everyone must do what is best for their lifestyle, health issues, tastes, etc. And it’s no one else’s business to judge or criticize.

    Your post struck a chord with me. I have some similar fears since I just went back to school to study nutrition. I wonder if someone will visit my blog and think, how can she be studying holistic nutrition if she eats – gasp – chocolate cake! Yes, I love chocolate cake. And I will consume it in moderation!

    I happen to really enjoy your blog and can’t wait for your cookbook. If you don’t get a publisher, why don’t you sell it as an e-book on your blog? Then people can just download it as a PDF.

  78. January 23, 2011 3:17 pm

    there are always naysayers. are you doing this for them or for you?

    that’s what you have to remember. be true to your own path. the rest will work itself out.

  79. January 23, 2011 7:05 pm

    You’re not alone! I read a ton of blogs…and believe me, there are others who are in the same boat. I also have thought about what people would think if I took a bite of cheese, or ate something that had some honey it, etc….now that I’ve gone mostly (99.9%) vegan. I know I shouldn’t worry what other people think. I originally changed my diet for health reasons…and I’m in very good health now. I’ve read others’ blog posts on this very same subject. I know there are some very strict vegans or raw foodists out there….but I believe they may be in the minority.

    Go for it! I can’t wait for your cookbook. And I love reading your blog, you ALMOST VEGAN you πŸ™‚

  80. Deb permalink
    January 23, 2011 7:44 pm

    I don’t know why people just don’t zip it if they don’t have something nice to say…..you foodies put your heart and soul into your recipes to make OUR lives sooooo much easier…..nay sayers, if you don’t like the look or sounds of something, then skip over it or delete it!!

  81. de cannelle permalink
    January 23, 2011 10:00 pm

    Personally, I think that there are so many people out there who want to learn to eat healthier but are scared off by people who criticize them for differing slightly from a 100% (diet type goes here). But we need transitions to progress. Suddenly eating 100% raw or vegan is a shock to the body and can actually be more unhealthy for you. Your blend of healthy eating + what suits you that day is a transition nutrition plan that balances health and taste (if ppl like the taste, it digests better, too). I think your blend is the bridge between ppl who want to eat healthier and ppl who are perfectionist eaters. So, don’t let anybody sink your bridge! As a transition leader you are pretty much a teacher (science and art) for yourself and your followers, therefore you have the right to make and write about food the way you want, to make definitions you see fit (for health, for raw, for vegan, etc.), and to grow closer or further away from 100% plans as your body tells you.

  82. January 24, 2011 10:02 am

    I guess my advice would be to try and shake the comment off. You are entitled to eat in whatever way you see fit at any particular time, and this in no way means that you are not allowed to create a cookbook on anything you would like to create a cookbook on! I’ve gotten a lot of hate mail on my blog this past week or so, and it is wacko stuff like people wanting me to die, etc., so in comparison, your negative blog reader does not seem so bad… πŸ˜‰

  83. January 26, 2011 11:46 am

    Ok Miss Amber, I’m late to the comment game on this one but you know I just have to give my two cents too! When I first started blogging I was asked to contribute to a vegetarian/vegan site (which I still do). It’s a fantastic site and I was honored to be asked. My FIRST post on the site received TWO negative comments and I was devastated. So here I am reading this post and I so feel for you because I felt (and still do to some degree) the same way. I find that there are a lot of people out there who ‘pshaw’ people like us with ‘flexible’ diets.; almost as if they think we aren’t worthy of representing a vegan or raw diet because we aren’t 100%. The bottom line though, is THEY do not create the rules and the terms ‘vegan’ and ‘raw’ absolutely do not have to fit inside a cute little square box. You can do whatever you want and you should continue to do what you are doing because it is helping, motivating and inspiring far more people than the few nay sayers that are out there. You keep doing what you are doing and don’t let any negativity distract you from your goals!

  84. Josh espana permalink
    January 26, 2011 10:43 pm

    I see your culinary flexibility as a good thing. I’m a strict vegetarian, but i know lots of veggie types that will eat meat so as not to be rude or for special occassions. Personally, i admire the way they are able to do that. I am only such a stickler because i am afraid that without the taboo i’d be back at mcdonalds in no time.
    Hope it helps.

  85. February 13, 2011 12:36 pm

    Hi. Although I do think the comment didn’t have any place, at the same time I can understand where they were coming from. With the title “Raw Food Chef” it doesn’t indicate that you are a beacon of the ultimate health lifestyle, nor do you stand on a pulpit and tell readers what is healthy (or what they should eat). Thus, I think the comment really didn’t apply to you, as being a “chef” doesn’t mean you need to be an example of the perfect diet. However, I do think the comment is perfectly applicable if you were a “raw food nutritionist”, and I think that might be where the commenter was coming from.
    I’m a raw food nutritionist, thus I need to really eat what I promote. However, being a chef, it just indicates you find inspiration in this lifestyle for foods, etc but I don’t believe you are promoting yourself badly in any way. It makes you more approachable and I’m sure because of your flexibility more people will feel they can accomplish recipes in your book and want to buy it.

  86. catherine permalink
    February 15, 2011 2:23 pm

    dear almost vegan girl, I just discovered raw cuisine a year or so ago and am happily reading raw cookbooks and making “raw” creations. Many of my “raw” creations are made partly with raw ingredients and partly with cooked ingredients. For example, I make my own raw almond butter, but then i put it on bread from the supermarket. I make Milk Chocolate Mousse from Sarma’s Living Raw Food cookbook, but i use commercial cocoa powder (usually) instead of the raw cocoa powder. and i make some traditional baked goods and puddings, but use almond milk or cashew milk.
    my point is, that mixing and matching raw and vegan ingredients with traditional S.A.D. ingredients is totally ok because i am in transition, and i also think its ok because i am a busy wife and mother, daughter and employee, and i choose not to obsess about the ingredients if some are significantly easier to use or on hand or cheaper or tastier. All that being said, I was saying to Hubby the other day (who happily plows through raw vegan desserts and falafel and onion bread and chia seed cereal and cocoa avocado pudding and green drinks) that perhaps i should write a cookbook that COMBINED raw ingredients with “regular” ingredients for those of us who are either transitioning slowly or just not as obsessed with raw, but still really like it. so, now it sounds like you have done just that, and i applaud you, and now i dont have to do it, and i look foreward to seeing yours!!!!! way to go! keep up the good work!
    catherine
    working very slowly toward vegan and raw, with 5 kids and hubby and a job.

  87. February 20, 2011 9:55 am

    I realize this response is pretty late, but I’m catching up today on lots of overdue reading. Just wanted to say that there is most definitely room for your message in the raw and vegan world, and I believe your perspective of flexibility can help attract many people to the vegan lifestyle. Keep on doing what you’re doing!

  88. December 30, 2011 7:17 pm

    well, at the end of the day, it doesn’t look like that little comment stopped you from forging ahead whatsoever. congrats on all your success. you are great!

  89. February 8, 2012 2:11 pm

    Well, it’s WAAAAY past that comment now, and obviously you didn’t let it stop you. πŸ™‚ Your book is on my list, and love the fact that any chef can be open and say yes, I specialize in this type of cuisine but I occasionally eat other things. I think that actually makes you a BETTER chef. You have something to compare. I am a baker and have been creating cakes and amazing recipes for a long time. I’m proud of it. A few years ago I decided to follow my blood type diet *loosely* and lean towards the gluten-free and slightly vegan lifestyle. I say *loosely* because I listen to what my body requires and desires on that particular day. Hormones have so much to do with what our bodies need on an individual basis, and sometimes I NEED animal protein. I love animals and do not like to eat product that is commercially farmed, but my body does a lot better when I have some free-range turkey and wild-caught fish. In fact, my thyroid dips low when I am avoiding those protein sources. My point however leads me to this. I recently started my own blog…not much there yet and not many readers, but the magic will soon unfold. I went back and forth with keeping my blog strictly about gourmet bundt cakes, which is sort of my *specialty*, or including my gluten-free and vegan creations as well. Would people take me less seriously because I also offer healthier versions? And would strictly g-free eaters not visit my blog and take advantage of the wealth of knowledge I have to offer because more than half the content will include wheat flour? I think that the fact I still bake my beautiful bundt cakes actually gives me an EDGE over strictly g-free authors and bakers. I have incredibly high standards for my gluten free and vegan baked goods because I love the texture and moisture that a wheat-based cake has to offer. So you won’t crumbly, saw-dust cakes on my blog or in any of my future books or bakeries.
    I love flexibility, and I hope you continue to include it in your works. This is a great blog, glad to have found it…and in K.C.!!
    Hugs,
    Trish xoxo

  90. October 22, 2012 11:14 pm

    This reply is late in the day, but I just wanted to add another voice to the dilemma of being challenged. We can’t avoid it in life. I view it as a test. You will not fully know about yourself and your progress without the tests. I recently gave my first public presentation of the research work that I am engaged in on my blog and I had a heckler! It would have frightened me and made me panic before, but this time it did not. I feel sure at this point in my life, career and my HEALTH COACH project. But when you don’t have decades of experience between you and someone who responds without care to your work it can really wound. I invited my heckler to join the discussion in a productive way, but when she did not, she made herself look very bad.

    You have handled this test well.

    I like this talk by Pema Chodron. It helps to put things in perspective with humour and gentleness.

    Best Regards, Valerie

    ! !
    U

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