I can’t recall when I first heard of Victoria Moran, but I remember that her work really caught my attention when she started her Main Street Vegan Academy. I had been looking for a new path, a chance to start fresh, after healing from the worst stages of my chronic illness. I was looking at pursuing life as a health professional, but that was a bigger commitment (both in terms of energy and finance) than I was able to give at the time. The more I looked into the Academy, the more I was completely convinced that it was the perfect fit for me. It’s a 5-day intensive, and while it’s a monetary investment, it’s far more affordable than a masters degree. Most importantly, her style jibed with me. Her faculty was impressive and inspirational. The value was immeasurable in monetary terms.
After I was accepted, I read as many books of hers as I could to familiarize myself with her message. One of them, Main Street Vegan, was part of the curriculum, but another three of them I eagerly devoured for purely my own pleasure.
There’s something so special about the way that she writes, the way that she thinks, and the way that she sees the world. Not only is this vegan veteran a healthy, shining example of what a gift this lifestyle is, she has this way of presenting these potentially big lifestyle changes in an extremely accessible manner. When you listen to her speak, or read one of her (now 12!) books, any doubts about the seemingly daunting shifts in lifestyle will wash away. Don’t believe me? See, listen, read for yourself!
Her newest book, The Good Karma Diet, is an important addition to the vegan book world. The good karma diet is actually not a diet but a full lifestyle change that begins with consuming a plant-based vegan diet, light on the processed foods and generous with the raw foods. Why does it start with a vegan diet? She explains, “…I contend that only a vegan meal is capable of producing in the person who consumes it the deepest level of well-being, satisfaction that comes without any glimmer of conscious or unconscious guilt.”
Not sure you can make the shift? Never fear, there are tons of user-friendly tips sprinkled throughout the book as well as a few sections that outline clear steps to help you on your merry vegan way. Like I said previously, the Good Karma Diet isn’t just about a diet. You’ll learn about food justice, treatment of animals, emotional eating, nourishment beyond food, vegan beauty and fashion, and more topics that round out the lifestyle of a good karma dieter.
I’m a person who loves examples. The more examples the better. I like to understand new ideas as fully as possible. One feature of books that I can’t get enough of are people’s real life stories that enhance the information being presented. There are 17 good karma diet stories featured at the end of the chapters within this book. I was over the moon to have been asked to be one of the contributors (you can find my story at the end of chapter 4), not only because I admire Victoria so much, but also because the other contributors stories are such a powerful testament to what kind of life is possible when we choose compassion. I was, on one hand, blown away by their stories and, on the other, unsurprised because I’ve experienced it, too!
In the last section of the book, there are a collection of beautiful recipes by self-described “raw food alchemist” (I love that!), Doris Fin. She traveled the world and studied foods in their native environments for the full experience. She’s used this knowledge as well as the concept that when using fresh, whole plant foods, there is no need to complicate a recipe (right on!) to create a delicious array of good karma recipes that anyone can make and enjoy! I’m sharing one such recipe here for you, dear readers. This Pie in the Sky can be your first foray into the good karma lifestyle, or it may be an affirmation of the deliciously rich good karma life you already live. Either way, savor this pie. And after that, go order your copy of the Good Karma Diet by Victoria Moran and savor that, too!
Pie in the Sky
1 cup pitted dates (if too dry, soak in warm water 20 minutes and drain) 1 cup raw hazelnuts, pecans, or walnuts, soaked 4-6 hours, rinsed and drained
Replace 1/2 cup nuts with 1/2 cup unsulphured, unsweetened, dry shredded coconut
2 medium ripe avocados
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla bean
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup maple syrup or 1⁄2 cup pitted dates
1 cup raw cashews, soaked 4 hours, rinsed and drained
1 cup berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc.) 2 cups seasonal fruit slices (apples, peaches, pears, plums, cherries, etc.)
1. Combine dates and nuts (and coconut if using) in a food processor until a ball forms. Nuts should be chunky.
2. Cover a 7 or 8-inch pie dish with plastic wrap and press the date-nut mixture evenly into the pan. Refrigerate while preparing the filling.
3. Pure the avocados, vanilla, lemon juice, lemon zest, and sweetener in a food processor until creamy. Add the cashews and continue to blend until creamy.
4. Pour or scoop the filling mixture into the prepared crust. Wiggle and whack the dish on the countertop to spread the filling evenly.
5. Freeze for 4 hours or overnight. Remove plastic wrap and place on a serving dish before decorating.
6. Before serving, decorate with toppings, piling the fruit high.
7. This delicacy thaws quickly, so it can be served frozen, half-frozen, or completely thawed as a custard pie.
Makes one 7 or 8-inch pie
Excerpted from THE GOOD KARMA DIET: Eat Gently, Feel Amazing, Age in Slow Motion by Victoria Moran, with the permission of Tarcher/Penguin, a division of Penguin Random House. Copyright © 2015.
Photo and recipe by Doris Fin, CCHP, AADP.
Marissa Podany is a Main Street Vegan Academy-certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach who hails from Pittsburgh, PA. She can often be found feasting on seasonal fruit, hiking in the woods with her furchild and vegan partner, or trying out new meditation techniques. She has recently launched her new venture Vegan and Beyond Lifestyle Coaching and blogs at veganandbeyondcoaching.com/