This is a first: Yoga instructor Lisa Dawn Angerame has such an inspiring, bountiful, vegan refrigerator that her babysitter sent us a picture of it with the message: “You HAVE to do a feature on her!” (Hopefully she got permission.)
Turns out, Angerame loves to create vegan recipes and shares them on her food blog called Lisa’s Project Vegan. She’s also the owner of Project: Yoga in Northport, Long Island, where she puts her advanced Jivamukti certification into practice as an instructor. And she regularly speaks about veganism, yoga, and ahimsa.
In addition to chatting with Well+Good about these topics, Angerame tells us how she creates vegan comfort foods, why she makes the same breakfast smoothie every day, and what she does with her giant collection of nut butters.
What a well-stocked, vibrantly colored refrigerator! Is it always this full? Always. I cook three meals a day, every day, except two times a week when I go to Candle Café for lunch.
Nice! What’s in all of your Tupperware containers? So there’s leftover quinoa, pre-boiled navy beans, and [laughs] organic potato flakes. The potato flakes are in the container underneath the gluten-free English muffins. If I’m stuck and have nothing left, I can always make mashed potatoes!
And they’re always in season! You have a LOT of nut butters. Do you have a variety of uses for them? The peanut butter, I use in cookies. There’s also sunflower seed butter, which I use in some vegan African stews. My favorite is almond butter. For breakfast, I’ll have a shake with almond milk, almond butter, and bananas. I’ve been drinking that shake every morning for many years. My two-year-old has it every morning, too.
Why the same breakfast every day? I like to start my days off the same way, I guess. It makes me feel better, more balanced. Maybe it’s a blood sugar thing, because if I don’t have my shake in the morning, I find throughout the day that I’m craving carbohydrates and getting hungrier sooner. Plus, it’s good to know that no matter how busy I get during the day, I have control over what I eat for breakfast.
Starting off right makes sense. What about dinner? I like to call my dinners “blue plate specials.” They’re pretty complete. I’ll start with a tofu dish, a grain base, or rice and beans, and then add toppings and sides. Last night I made mashed sweet potatoes with onions and corn and added some grilled tofu and avocado puree to top it all off.
Delish! So where do you get the inspiration for the recipes you post on your blog, Lisa’s Project Vegan? I try to make food that makes sense to me. I like to reimagine comfort foods and create my own. You know, there was a time when I first became vegan when I had to mourn eating the dishes of my childhood. The “comfort foods” that made me feel at home. Now, I have my own comfort foods, and they’re healthy and vegan, and I can be proud of feeding them to my family.
You’re very active in the vegan movement and often speak at Jivamukti events at about why the yoga lifestyle is a vegan one. How do you respond to critics who find that approach to be too narrow? One of the main tenets of Jivamukti is the ahimsa—or nonviolence. The idea of doing the least amount of harm in this world is important, and inherent in that would be a vegan diet. It is not a requirement. It’s a suggestion. It’s a teaching. We educate people active in Jivamukti about kindness, about factory farming, and about how to do the least amount of harm.
In your opinion, is it impossible to be a true yogi and a meat eater? Yoga is about attaining peace and happiness in this world. For me, attaining happiness means to live a vegan lifestyle. I can’t speak for all of the other yogis out there. I think it’s a choice that everyone in yoga needs to make for herself. You have to ask yourself, Why are you practicing? What is your practice about? Whether you’re on the mat, chanting the yoga sutras, or meditating. —Elizabeth LaRosa