The Complete Guide to Even More Vegan Food Substitutions is a follow up to the original that came out over 5 years ago. Both of us, as well as the rest of the vegan and plant-based community, have shown an interest in not only cooking vegan, but cooking from scratch. In hopes to eliminate a lot of processed foods and being able to have complete control of the ingredients in their foods. We still mention the amazing commercially available products that are on the market now (it's never been easier to be vegan than it is now!) but also give instruction on how to make it all from scratch.

The Complete Guide to Even More Vegan Substitutions

The Complete Guide to Even More Vegan Substitutions

How did you discover the multifunctional use of chia seeds, coconut oil and coconut cream?

Joni-I work in a health food store (when I'm not developing recipes...) and I am lucky to get to try out all sorts of different ingredients. I am also really into following food trends, so when the Chia pudding craze showed up on the scene, I had to get in on it! Chia Seeds are just a wonderful ingredient, because they can absorb up to 10 times their own weight in liquid which makes them an excellent all natural thickener, not to mention their nutritional benefits. Coconut oil is a favourite of mine and I use it on all sorts of things...even as a body, face, and hair moisturizer! Coconut oil, in its unrefined state, has a lovely buttery coconut-y undertone which makes it a great alternative to butter and other oils in cooking and baking. Refined has virtually no coconut flavour and also works really well in place of other fats. Because it stays solid at room temperature, coconut oil also helps with structure in certain recipes. Coconut cream is such a dreamy ingredient that is so luscious right out of the can.

When and why did you decide to get together to write this book?

Joni- Celine and I are an internet love story success! (lol) We met online, in vegan chat rooms, and through the blogosphere. I would always drool over her food photos. I contacted her to take photos for a project I was working on. Really, it's all her fault, haha. She suggested me as her partner for 500 Vegan recipes back in 2009 and, to date, we have written four books together. We have very complementary skills both in the kitchen and with the written word. We work very well together and love to bounce ideas back and forth. To be really honest, Celine makes me a better cookbook author. Having a partner like her is really hard to find, and I am grateful for our friendship.

Celine- As am I! We really do complement each other well. Joni and I had been saying for quite a while that the original version of this book was due for an update, with all the new discoveries that had come up since it came out. We also really wanted to focus on more plant-based, less soy- and oil-rich options after listening to the feedback of our readers, and following the changes in our own way of cooking and eating.

You are both keen bloggers, so why is it important for vegans tell the rest of the world about their discoveries and experiences?

Joni-My biggest form of animal rights activism is with my food--foodivism, if you will. I love to share recipes with the world in hopes that they too will realize that it isn't necessary to kill or torture another living creature, just to have a tasty meal.

Celine-To make sure that people realize going vegan isn't as hard to accomplish as one might think when​ deciding to make this lifestyle switch: I remember feeling very overwhelmed at first, especially since it wasn't easy to find vegan food options in my town back then. But it turns out that while there are quite a few things to learn, with good guidance found through blogs and books it'll become a new, easy habit in no time.

There are many recognized vegans out there so who do you most admire?

Celine- Anyone who founded, works, or volunteers at a farm animal sanctuary, but Jenny Brown in particular. She's the co-founder and director of the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary and she's a true inspiration. I recommend reading her book if you haven't had a chance to yet: The Lucky Ones: My Passionate Fight for Farm Animals.

Joni- One of my biggest inspirations (in the cooking world) is Isa Chandra Moskowitz. She turns vegetables into works of art. She also proves that you can be yourself and be successful. I also really admire Jasmin Singer and Marianne Sullivan (The duo behind Our Hen House) for the work they do in the animal rights arena. They have a weekly podcast, that features vegan news, interviews, and reviews that spotlight those doing the boots on the ground work to change the world for animals.

How do you handle it when people challenge you about your decision to be a vegan?

Celine-I must live in a bubble, but I cannot say I've come across anyone who had negative feedback about this. And I've been vegan for 10 years! I'm lucky that the only feedback I've ever gotten about the decision has been positive.

Joni-I used to get very defensive. But I have tried to calm down a bit, haha, and look at everything through a compassionate lens. I wasn't born vegan, and I need to respect that everyone starts in their own place. Over the years I have gained quite a big arsenal of facts, figures and compassionate arguments for veganism, and I respectfully share those with those who challenge my way of life. Truth is, though, it just doesn't happen as much as it used to.

What is the best feedback you have ever had from a fellow vegan about one of your books?

Celine- A few people who weren't vegan prior to reading The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions sent emails and said the book convinced and helped them to go vegan, and stick to it. It doesn't get any better than that!

Joni- "Your book [The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions] helped me and my family go vegan." From a woman I met at the New York Vegetarian Food Festival in 2014.

What is next for you both?

Celine- We're currently in the almost-final stages of working on a book all about nuts and seeds. It was a fun one to write, and we can't wait to see it released in 2016!

Joni- It has been a crazy summer and am looking forward to a little bit of a break this fall, but am definitely looking to do some local events. I am really looking forward to the SoCal Veg Fest on November 1, and am thinking of doing some more pop-ups at food festivals and veg-fests. On the cookbook front, I am doing some freelance recipe development, and hope to start working on another book project soon.

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