Supporting Portland's Vegan, Vegetarian, and Veg-curious Community

Northwest VEG is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Portland, OR that works to educate and encourage people to make vegan choices for a healthy, sustainable, and compassionate world.
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Volunteer Spotlight: Julia Guthrie

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April 1, 2011

Anne Goldfeld, Volunteer Coordinator

This month's Volunteer Spotlight is part one of a special double feature, introducing Julia Guthrie as the new co-editor, with Anne Kornfeld, of the NW VEG Thymes. Many thanks to outgoing editor Erin Floresca for her service in helping to make the Thymes into the high quality production you see before you!

Q: How has being veg impacted your life?
I've lost weight, my cholesterol went down, I sleep better, and have more stable energy (no blood sugar lows). I love to cook now. I've made wonderful friends because of our shared veg connection. I am more peaceful and happy. I have more energy. I've discovered a lot of new and different restaurants because I'm always on the hunt for a new place with great vegan offerings. And I've had the pleasure of introducing friends and family to great vegan food. I love when people rave about the taste and are amazed it's all vegan!

Q: How long have you been veg and why?
The first time I went vegetarian was when I was 15. I've always been an animal lover, and it just felt wrong to eat them. Unfortunately, I didn't know much about nutrition so I ended up feeling weak and light-headed and gave it up. For years I'd tried to be vegetarian but always found myself struggling with how it affected me physically. I began to believe I was just one of those people who couldn't survive without meat and dairy. After a while I realized that I didn't feel very well even with meat and dairy and would often suffer low blood sugar symptoms and always felt tired and lethargic. By this time I'd done a lot of research on nutrition. I'd tried numerous diets looking for the one that would help keep my weight at its ideal place and keep me feeling energetic and healthy; raw food, low carb, Weston-Price. None of them gave me the sense of health and balance I desired. In December of 2009 I picked up The Kind Diet and read it cover-to-cover in two days. I was really moved by what Alicia wrote and the way she gently encouraged readers to flirt with being vegan. I decided since I'd tried everything else and all the other books that promised the answer had let me down, I just needed to try what I was drawn to and see what my body told me. I committed to "try on" a vegan diet for one week and judge for myself. I wasn't much of a cook at the time (I always hated cooking when it involved meat), so I relied a lot on steamed veggies and quinoa at home and whatever I could find out and about. By the end of the week I felt great and knew a vegan diet was the right one for me. It wasn't hard for me to follow the diet because I felt so much better that old favorites held no temptation for me. I continued to educate myself about animal agribusiness and felt so comforted by the knowledge I wasn't supporting it anymore. I even felt closer to my pets as I no longer experienced the cognitive dissonance of loving the cats and dogs in my home but eating the cows and chickens.

Q: How did you get involved with volunteering for NW VEG?
I first thought about it at the 2010 VegFest when I saw everyone at the NW Veg table. It was so nice to be surrounded by like-minded people who care about animals, the planet, and health. I thought it would be great to contribute and be a part of a great organization. When I saw the call for an editor for the Thymes, it was a perfect partnership of what I love to do and a cause I love to support. I sent an email, and the rest is history!

Q: What are you most looking forward to as a new editor for the Thymes?
I'm looking forward to working with the writers and staff on all the exciting news about the veg lifestyle in Portland. I love reading about veg businesses, people, events, and books and movies and I'm thrilled to be able to help get the word out to others. I am also excited to support others in their writing craft and getting information out in a fun and accessible way.

Q: What is your favorite veg meal, either homemade or from a restaurant?
That's a tough one because I'm right in the middle of the Crazy, Sexy Diet 21-day Adventure Cleanse, so my favorites have shifted a bit. Currently I'd say it has to be the black bean soup in Vegan Yum Yum. There's coconut milk in it, which took me by surprise at first, but it's delicious! I miss the soy curls at Blossoming Lotus (in a bowl, in a wrap, or in their Happy Hour tacos), which I look forward to having after the cleanse. And I'm excited to have found Divine Pie's delicious raw vegan pies at the PSU Farmers' Market. I have a feeling I'll be making a weekly visit.

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