People Meet People: Lauren Toyota
Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life. Former Much Music VJ Lauren Toyota and her partner John Diemer have been uniting food fans with vegan versions of popular comfort food since they launched their blog, hot for food, in February 2014. Making plant based diets far from boring this talented twosome have recently become The Food Network Canada’s first vegan bloggers. Amidst the constant cooking, photographing and tasting, Lauren managed to squeeze us in for a chat about career transitioning, compassionate living and what it means to truly relax.
What does being vegan mean to you?
It means living alot more consciously and also compassionately. Compassion is a word that I never really understood in the past as I never really considered myself an emotionally sensitive person. I have, however always felt a connection to animals and the world around me and I never really knew what to do about that. It can feel really overwhelming to think, “Oh I’m going to try to save the planet!” Once I realized that my food choices 3 or 4 times a day could have a huge effect on everything thats going on in terms of climate change and our planet, becoming vegan was something that came about very naturally. I wanted to live more thoughtfully and be more compassionate and to be vegan encompasses those two ideas entirely.
Tell us about your transition from working as a Much Music VJ to becoming a full time food blogger?
When I was getting into television, I had this hustle type of focus, I really wanted to be on TV and I really wanted to make my career a priority. I was neglecting my own well being and self care just to succeed in a job. Once I was on television and my dream job became a reality and I was getting recognition for what I did, thats when I went back inside and started looking at myself, and that’s when I became vegan. Then my interest in cooking and blogging grew, and my whole attitude changed. Now, food blogging is my job, I’m making my own wellness a priority and the work is a reflection of that.
If you had an extra 2 hours everyday what would you do with it?
I would be running, biking, hiking or doing yoga.
What do you most look forward to at the end of the day?
Eating good food, because I can spend all day doing stuff like making and photographing food but at the end of the day I get to eat what I made and I feel proud of myself because it tastes so good and it gets me excited to do more.
What does leisure mean to you?
Truly relaxing, really being present, and taking time for yourself. Doing something that you love that allows you to be in the moment without thinking about your to do list.
If there was one thing you wanted to tell people about Veganism or transitioning into Veganism what would you say?
Veganism has this misconception about being restrictive and taking alot of things away from yourself but its the opposite, it actually enriches your life so much more and it gives you so many more options of food to eat that you probably aren’t eating. Veganism provides you with more than it takes away. I want people to focus on the abundance of the vegan lifestyle as opposed to the lack.