Our students, graduates, and staff have inspired us since our founding back in 1998. Back then, the plant-based movement wasn’t much. However, since that time we’ve been able to train thousands of people from over 60 countries around the world. These people have helped power the movement into the mainstream. Jen Barbato is yet another example. She works at Living Light and supports our kitchen and operations. She also happens to be a published author of the innovative cookbook, Jen Barbato’s Vegan Kitchen.
After a lifetime experimenting with diets from animal-based to vegetarian, to raw – on her birthday on January 16th, 2017, she confidently committed to a plant-based diet. It was from this clean slate that the self-described “passionate vegan” redesigned her entire kitchen and began creating a log of the food she bought and the meals she was preparing for her and her daughter.
While her initial interest in a plant-based diet stemmed from feeling physically drained, it was a conversation with a client about the ethics of veganism that solidified her decision. Jen is also a graphic designer and was designing a book cover for a client who was writing a book on animal liberation. Through her client describing what her book was about, she suddenly saw things differently and could not go back to her usual ways of being in the world.
“Food is love,” she says. “It’s the first thing we have when we drink our mama’s milk. When we are with someone we love, we make them food, Families eat together. Food can open hearts and I believe that if people can change their food habits then it will be easier to change other habits as well.”
In part, she created the book as a way to empower others during this time of great ecological and social change. “Our culture could use a mind shift of how we can live in harmony with the planet,” she explains. “We can support community and governmental efforts to confront issues such as climate change, but it’s really up to each of us as individuals. When we combine our personal efforts with others then together we can do something really big. Veganism, in my opinion, is an important step in healing ourselves and the planet.”
The book is ideal for new vegans and new cooks in general. The recipes are simple and easy to make. The minimalist, artistic photography and design layout all created by the author are a pleasure for the eyes. The book is 100 pages and consists of 31 recipes with space in the end for you write in your favorite recipes.
“Eating a plant-based diet is doable,” she explains. “Anyone can do it if you want. The cookbook is a tool you can use to keep it simple. If you can make guacamole, you can eat vegan.”
Find out more about Jen here.
Pick up a copy of Jen Barbato’s Vegan Kitchen here.