Recently, I was having a conversation with a friend who had gone on a vegan diet, but hadn’t experienced the great weight loss that she had expected. When I ate vegan for 30 days back in 2018, my pants got significantly looser, but my friend’s weight plateaued after an initial weight loss. The conversation made me think of the interview that I had done with an amazing vegan blogger back in March of 2018 in preparation for my “30 Days of Vegan” series. That blogger is named Gina Marie, and her blog, Vegan with Curves, is loaded with tons of delicious recipes.
I searched my website to share the interview with my friend because I remember that Gina Marie had said something about eating a vegan diet to maintain a healthy weight and not become overly skinny and devoid of curves. (Actually she just didn’t use those exact words, that was just me being verbose.) I searched my site, but I couldn’t find the published post. I dug around the back of my website and discovered that I had never finished writing the post, so it wasn’t published. I was mortified. After all, Gina Marie had taken time from her busy schedule to answer my questions, and I dropped the ball. (I’m sorry, Gina Marie.)
So, today, nearly two and a half years later, I am finally publishing the interview with Gina Marie, Vegan with Curves. Please remember that all of these responses are over two years old. The interview was completed before our 30 days of vegan challenge.
An interview with Gina Marie from “Vegan with Curves”
In this interview, we get to know Gina Marie, the genius behind Vegan with Curves. She is an amazing cook, a great food photographer, and she has a heart to help others.
Gina Marie, thank you so much for agreeing to allow me to interview you about a vegan diet . I really appreciate your help with my 30 days of vegan challenge. This isn’t going to be easy for me. My husband is a big carnivore. I’m hoping some of your recipes will help to get us through this.
Editor’s Note: A couple of Gina Marie’s recipes did, in fact, help me to keep my husband happy during our 30 days of vegan. The Barbecue Lentil Balls and the Red Lentil Vegan Zucchini Pasta were two of his favorites during the month.
What was your inspiration for beginning your blog “Vegan with Curves”?
It started off as a bet. lol. A former co worker did not think you could keep healthy weigh on as a vegan, so I wanted to prove him wrong. I never intended to turn it into a blog but people kept asking questions, so eventually, I decided to start one.
Tells us about yourself and your blog.
My name is Gina Marie. I have been a vegan for 6 years (this April!). I love cooking, photography (I got that DNA gene from my dad.), fitness, writing poetry, and cats. I REALLY LOVE cats lol. My blog is a space where I teach women how to maintain healthy weight or gain healthy weight on a plant based vegan diet. I also share tips on how to transition into a vegan lifestyle and delicious plant based recipes.
Editor’s Note: At the time of this interview’s publication, Gina Marie has been vegan for 8 years.
How long have you been blogging?
I have been food blogging for a year and a half.
Editor’s Note: At the time of this interview’s publication, she has been bloggining for nearly four years.
How long has your blog focus been vegan?
A year and half
Editor’s Note: At the time of this interview’s publication, her blog’s focus has been vegan for nearly four years.
What prompted your choice to become a vegan?
It started out as a health journey. My intentions was to never become a full vegan. But then, I started to study the environmental issues, and ethical issues, around animals, and that is what made me want to go full vegan.
How did your family react to your choice to be vegan?
My family was extremely supportive and even curious and inspired. They are always trying my recipes and my dad even did a 30 day no meat challenge.
What is your biggest challenge as a Vegan?
My biggest challenge is the lack of education I deal with from others outside the home. Sometimes, people say some very ignorant things to me, and it can make you feel isolated and annoyed, but overall, I learn to ignore it.
Beginning April 1, 2018, I am planning on posting a Vegan recipe every day for 30 days as our family eats vegan for the month. What are some must have ingredients I should have on hand?
Beans!! Beans, for sure, are a HUGE part of my diet. They are a staple, plus they’re inexpensive. You can do so much from making soups, adding to stir fries, veggie burgers, tacos, burritos, etc. Grains are another staple; rice, oats, healthy versions of pasta…those things really keep you full. Fermented foods like kimchi or raw sauerkraut for those probiotics (you can make your own for very cheap!l) And fresh produce. Especially a lot of green leafy vegetables. Sometimes vegans miss this, ironically lol, but lots of fresh produce will have you feeling AMAZING on this diet.
Do you have any tips for buying groceries for a vegan diet?
Definitely keep staples around. You can view my curvy vegan pantry for a more detailed list. And shop local for your produce. It’s so much cheaper, and the quality is much better. Plus, you get to connect with others and meet some cool people.
Are there specific things I should look for on ingredient labels—hidden animal ingredients with names I wouldn’t recognize?
Casin: You will find this ingredient in some “vegetarian” based cheeses, but it is a diary by-product. Make sure the package says vegan, or that this is not an ingredient in the food. Also certain meat substitutes are made with with egg whites so always make sure to read the ingredients.
What has been your greatest recipe success since beginning your vegan journey?
By far BBQ Lentil Balls! It’s my favorite recipe to make and others seem to enjoy it as much as I do!
Those meatballs look amazing.
What are your favorite vegan recipes?
All of those recipes look amazing. I’m practically drooling on my computer keyboard.
Your blog has beautiful photos and delicious looking recipes. I still struggle to get good photos. Your photo of the “Beefy” Vegan Lentil Loaf looks so much more appetizing than my meatloaf photos. Do you take your own photos?
Thank you so much! Yes I do I LOVE photography it comes natural for me, but I still work at it to help improve my skills. I have to give credit to my dad for that…I got that trait from him. He’s a photographer.
Do you have any tips for other bloggers to improve food photography?
Learn from the pros! Whether its free information or paying for a course. I highly suggest learning from someone who is doing what you are doing. Also learn your camera. I’m not an equipment junkie. I believe you need to max out your current camera (and lens) potential. It is not the the equipment so much that will take good pictures. It’s your skill and your understanding how to better utilize your camera.
How do you motivate yourself to keep up with your blog and stick to the vegan diet?
The diet is kinda easy now since it’s been so long set, but in the beginning, what kept me motivated was my reason. I feel if you have a strong enough reason to do something you will stick to it. For me it was animal cruelty. As far as with my blog, I would say it’s my readers. Sometimes, I get burnt out, but when I get an email telling me how my advice from a newsletter I sent helped them, or a recipe that someone tried and loved, it motivates me to keep going.
Are there any special tips or tricks to keep the entire family happy while eating vegan?
Make it a challenge, like a game of some sort. See who can last the longest eating a vegan diet, and whoever does, gets a prize and bragging rights. LOL. Make it fun!
Do you go out to eat often? Is it hard to find Vegan items on menus?
I don’t go out to eat as often as I use to because it can cost a lot, LOL, but nowadays, there are vegan restaurants almost everywhere, and even restaurants that are not vegan, have a lot of options, so from my experience, I have not had much trouble eating out.
Gina Marie, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions and share your knowledge and recipes about a vegan diet. I can’t wait to try your meatballs, the red bean lentil spaghetti sauce, and macaroni and cheeze. They all look and sound amazing.
I would encourage all of my readers who have considered a vegan diet to head over to Gina Marie’s site “Vegan with Curves” and check out her tips and recipes. Her Vegan Pantry Staples is a great resource if you’re just starting out, and so is her list of Vegan Kitchen Essentials.
If you’re a vegan who struggles to maintain healthy weight, Gina Marie has a new Vegan with Curves 28 Day Meal Plan that can help you to maintain, or gain, healthy weight. If you’re not a vegan, this meal plan can help you to improve your overall health by going from the Standard American Diet to a cruelty-free lifestyle. Plus, adding some meatless meals to your menu can help you to save money on groceries.
Gina Marie is an amazing blogger who is committed to helping others maintain a healthy weight on a vegan diet. She even has resources for people who are beginning their vegan journey and for people who simply want to start eating less meat. You really need to check out her site!
Gina Marie has partnered with some other vegan bloggers to create the Vegan Made Easy Bundle which is an amazing resource whether you’re a long time vegan, or just starting your vegan journey. The Vegan Made Easy Bundle contains four meal plans, seven cook books, three guides, and even two video courses. It’s a great resource, providing you with “everything you need to enjoy a vegan lifestyle,” and it’s available for a great price, too, so you definitely need to check it out.
I hope you enjoyed this interview Gina Marie from Vegan with Curves. If you did, will you please share this post on social media? It will help both us, and Gina Marie, reach more people.
Thanks for visiting Patty Cake’s Pantry.
This post was completed in collaboration with our friend, Angie, from Kitchen Southern Hospitality. Check out her post “Interview with a Food Photographer – Matthew Roybal, Mateo J Designs.”