By Elyssa Schwartz
From easy bake oven to queen of the kitchen. Lauren Forster Walls has always loved cooking.
“Eating was such a huge part of my life,” Walls said. “If I still lived in Texas, I would weigh 400 pounds and I would die.”
Currently, she resides in Southern California. Her happiness is contagious and her way of life radiates livelihood. In fact, her iconic image is how she got her name “vegan radiance.”
“I started getting so many questions from family, friends and coworkers. I do this just for fun on the side,” Walls said. “Eventually I would love to get into it full time.”
Ultimately, Walls goal is to help the everyday person. She wants to teach the mom with four kids and a full time job, the typical bachelor and her neighborhood friends how easy it is to cook these meals in accord to their individual lifestyle.
In a Q&A, Walls told iEG that her life has been affected mentally, physically and spiritually by adopting a nutritarian lifestyle along with shedding over 30 pounds. She advises that since she started this way of life she lives free of headaches, backaches, seasonal allergies, has clear skin and admits to being PMS free!
“I can jog now. I’m a grandmother; I have nothing to complain about.”
iEatGrass: What is nutritarian eating?
Lauren Walls: It focuses on eating nutritionally dense foods for health and wellness and reversing disease as well as providing a vegan diet. Dr. Joel Fuhrman wrote Eat to Live and that was my first intro to nutritarian eating. He flat out says that the majority of disease is caused by what we put in our mouths.
iEG: What are some basic nutritarian guidelines?
Walls: Salad is the main dish, thinking in terms of leafy greens, both cooked and raw. Fruits, beans and also eliminating processed foods. No added sugar, oil or salt. I use whole food sweeteners such as dates and raisins. Healthy fats: nuts and avocados. I’m not talking about little salads. I start with a mixing bowl, just for me, with greens and add all kinds of great stuff. I also make really great soups, stews, chilies, lasagnas and enchiladas.
iEG: So you’re not missing out on anything?
Walls: Oh, heavens no! I’m a foodie. I wondered that at the beginning. It’s all about flavors and seasonings while eating whole foods.
iEG: This sounds like a lot of food prep, how long does a meal take?
Walls: *Shop, chop, drop, plop. During the week, I try my best not to actually cook. I’m just ploppin’ everything together. Chili and soup has been cooked and is prepared for the week. Nobody has the time or patience to do that every day. My average dinner takes about 10 minutes to cook every night.
*Lauren’s quickie prep method:
- Shop-Pick your day of the week to go shopping. You’ll be picking up lots of veggies so you’ll need to plan some time to…
- Chop-Turn on your favorite music, get out that cutting board and start chopping up the veggies and fruits. Store in airtight containers.
- Drop– vegetables into a pot and make a soup, stew or chili for the week.
- Plop-Because you’ve done the prep work, you can now enjoy your week. Plop down in your favorite chair and relax with a good nutritarian meal. During the week all you’ll be doing is assembling all the pieces into yummy sautés, smoothies, salads and main dishes. Enjoy!
iEG: You used to own a wedding cake business, any upcoming business endeavors?
Walls: I get asked every day “are you opening a restaurant, can you come to my house and cook?” In my dream world, I would love to go around the country teaching people how to make yummy things out of plants. Being able to reach out and talk to people is really my passion. I just want to get this food in people’s mouths. I have a pretty dynamite cupcake recipe. I’m currently perfecting cupcakes to sell at Whole Foods [Market].
iEG: What is your favorite part of this way of life?
Walls: I feel amazing. I feel like I got my life back. I was on two high blood pressure medications. I tried every single diet in the world. I’ve always been interested in health and well-being as far back as I remember but I could never find the right combination to live well and be well inside and outside. I just can’t explain it. I sleep well. I have energy. My mind is clear. It’s literally like I got a whole new life. I woke up one morning and I was like “oh hey, there you are.”
iEG: Who inspires you?
Walls: People who are absolutely unafraid to be their authentic self. Whenever I meet someone like that it just resonates to where I’m trying to go with my life. Those people inspire me because they are generous with their transparency and they are so willing to show up. I rather sit on the sidewalk and pick lint out of my navel with them than anyone else in the world!
iEG: When you are feeling down, how do you get yourself going again?
Walls: My friend Kathleen used to always remind me when I was doing my pity party to bring out your gratitude list. For me, what it means is my perception is off and I’m looking at a situation and framing it a certain way. [I ask] “Wait, time out… what am I grateful for in this situation? What qualities does this situation bring out of me? What can I learn from this?” I re-frame it and immediately pull out my gratitude list. In 10 minutes I am back.
iEG: What’s in your lunch box right now?
Walls: Mexican southwest salad. And that is simply romaine, pinto beans, corn, some red onions and cilantro. And then I make a dressing, delicious, chipotle southwest dressing. On the side, sometimes I’ll have a bowl of veggie soup. Everybody that eats this that walks into my house says they need the recipe now.
iEG: What is the most important advice you give to others?
Walls: Do you! Don’t waste time trying to imitate someone else. I wasted so many years trying to learn this lesson. Just be yourself. Know that you are enough and what you bring to life’s banquet table is needed and will bless everyone around you.
Closing Thought: Food has taken on a whole other meaning to me. It’s keeping us going, it’s our fuel. I think so many of us just don’t know. I never anticipated — I never had a goal of being a vegan. I was lying in bed with steaks marinating… out of nowhere a voice told me I had to stop eating meat. I volunteered at the gentle barn, an animal rescue place in So Cal. [It’s nice] watching all the little stones on the path lead us to where we are today.
“The vegan lifestyle jump started my life. It’s a whole new world and I’m still learning so much every day.”
Keep up with Lauren on Facebook to check out followers’ before & after photos as well as her own.
“I really try to create recipes that are easy to make but look like a chef created them! Try this yummy fall delicacy for a weekend brunch or dessert! No oil, no sugar, no salt, no regrets!”
Warm Apple, Caramelized Banana, Sweet Potato with
Cinnamon/Walnut Whipped Cream
Cinnamon/Walnut Cream Ingredients
- unsweetened almond milk
- raw walnuts
- pitted dates
Blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
• 2 sliced apples
• 2 sliced bananas
• 1 baked sweet potato
• 1-2 TBS almond milk
• 1/4 tsp cinnamon
• 1-2 dates (optional)
Place sliced apple (with skin) in non stick skillet with about ½ cup water. Sauté on medium-high until soft. Let sit on medium heat until slightly brown. Flip over to brown other side.
Peel bananas. Slice bananas on an angle. Place on nonstick baking sheet. Broil until browned. Do not flip. Let cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes. The bananas will be very soft when they first come out of the oven. They will firm when cool. Use a thin spatula to remove them.
Blend the sweet potato with a few tbsp almond milk, 1-2 dates (opt) and ¼ tsp cinnamon
1. Place a scoop of whipped potato in a bowl.
2. Layer apple and banana on top
3. Place a dollop of the cinnamon/walnut cream on top
4. Sprinkle with cinnamon
5. Garnish with a walnut if desired.
For more of Lauren’s nutritarian recipes click here.