Think raw lasagna with vegan ricotta, raw pad thai, and quinoa salad with sunbutter dressing. We can’t quit it. Recently we sat down with Kristina and asked her a few questions to learn more about her story and how V-Grits came to be! Read more about her and head to The Weekly Juicery to try out her delicious food yourself!
You’re the famous Vegan Temptress! How did you get that name?
I started teaching vegan cooking classes on the side about six years ago and needed a business name. Some friends said I “tempted” them to switch to a vegan diet with such delicious food, and that’s how the “Vegan Temptress” was born!
When did you develop the idea to open a vegan food business in the South of all places?
I grew up in Shelby County, KY, but the rest of my family is from the south eastern part of the state, where I spent a lot of time growing up. We still have annual family reunions there. I ate southern food every day of my life, so when I went vegan I wanted to show my family and friends that we can still enjoy flavors just as much, if we simply change our cooking style. Launching the food truck two years ago was when I really began to promote the idea of healthy comfort foods.
Your V-Grits food truck has a cult like following. What’s your most popular recipe?
That’s a tough one! Folks love our mac and cheese, and the v-burger, but they will line up an hour in advance when we serve chicken and waffles! To make vegan meats we use a wheat gluten as a base (which is simply the protein part of wheat flour, that gets the texture where you want it to be), and we combine it with a pureed vegetable, to keep it from being too heavy and dense. For the chicken we use steamed cauliflower and plenty of poultry-style spices.
What’s the number one health tip you could share to elevate your health?
Lighten up with the processed foods! I know it’s easy to buy (even vegan) T.V. dinners that are actually pretty tasty, but it’s also easy to warm up a quinoa-based pasta and throw on some cashew cheese. Swap your potato chips for carrots and hummus. Make overnight oats or chia pudding for breakfast. Eating healthy, fresh food becomes a wonderful addiction. You just have to take the first step.
What made you choose to be vegan? What keeps you connected and passionate about this lifestyle?
I love being a representative for a healthy lifestyle and helping people make the switch. I want everyone to know how much better you will feel eating plant-based meals. There are so many food-related illnesses that we don’t have to suffer through. How our energy levels improve, our mental and emotional wellbeing, and never having a stomach ache is a bonus. Also for me, knowing how much lighter of a footprint I’m leaving on the planet. You just can’t be a meat-eating environmentalist. One of my biggest passions is knowing that I’m not doing anything to contribute to animal suffering. It’s so easy to choose not to support something you don’t agree with. You don’t like cruelty towards animals? Get the veggie burger.
What’s exciting inside V-Grits in 2017?
It’s only been two years this month since we launched the food truck, and we’ve already added a meal delivery service, recipe card club, product line that’s in stores, and the new Elevate brand of prepared meals! We’re a mission-driven company, with the goal of making it easier for people to live a healthy, happy, cruelty-free life. We’re not slowing down anytime soon. The product line is cashew-based cheeses, which we hope to expand nationwide by end of 2017. We’re also planning to open a production facility and storefront in Louisville this year!