As I headed to the book launch of vegan chef Maria Amore last week, my mind wandered back to a day in high school health class. During the class we were shown a video which graphically detailed all the destructive ways smoking ravaged your body. Being the mature, thoughtful teenager that I was, after watching the video I of course promptly went outside and lit up a cigarette. Being told how bad it was for me only made me crave the thing more.

After discussing veganism and trying out some treats from Cooking with Amore, I wondered if I would experience a similar feeling of rebelliousness? Would I leave the book launch and crave a hamburger afterwards? Living on my own, the cost of food is usually the deciding factor of what goes into my shopping cart. Like many others I’m sure, the life of the animal and its journey to the grocery store is honestly something I’ve never given much thought to.

Maria Amore

I’m sure my outlook on food consumption would be very different of course if, like Amore, I was faced with a serious illness. Amore’s first career was in law. And with the long hours and intense pressure that came with being a corporate lawyer, Amore had no time to think about food preparation and nutrition. Because of this, Amore says, eventually her body succumbed to exhaustion.

“With the medical doctors at a loss as to how to help me, I decided to take matters into my own hands and started learning about nutrition,” Amore writes in the preface to her cookbook. While studying nutrition, Amore was horrified to learn about the truths behind factory farming and made the decision to become vegan. Combining her new belief system with her love of cooking, Amore knew she’d found her true calling as a vegan chef.

Amore became so adept at promoting her new profession online (including writing an FTB food column for two years) that she was recently offered an exciting new career opportunity.

“I was approached by investors who’d seen my Facebook page and asked if I’d like to run a vegan bistro in Mexico,” Amore told me during the book launch, grinning widely, “living in a tropical climate has always been something that’s interested me, so it wasn’t a hard decision. And because of the bistro, I’m thrilled to be able to donate all proceeds from the cookbook to the SPCA animal shelter.”

Amore left Montreal last Friday, and Bistro CasAmore will open later this year in Mexico.

Leaving the book launch I did not end up going for a hamburger, but instead thought about trying out some of Amore’s recipes like vegan shepherd’s pie, Portobello burgers and curried chickpeas with couscous. Unlike my teenage self, I am finally beginning to understand the importance of a balanced, healthy lifestyle.

I did finally quit smoking two years ago but I fully admit I still have a long way to go before I can truly say I lead a healthy lifestyle. Moderating my meat intake and combining it with more vegetarian and vegan options seems like a pretty great start.

Here is a recent interview Amore did with Global Montreal promoting her book:

Photos by Adida Khavous

I am delighted and honored to announce that I submitted my cookbook to the publisher last week! After two years of dedicated and persistent hard work, my baby is finally on its way to being printed! In addition to a traditional book, an electronic version is also being made.

In about four weeks, Cooking With Amore: 100 Vegan Recipes for Health, Well-being and Spiritual Evolution will be available for purchase on sites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble and in bookstores. I have a French and Spanish translation of my cookbook in the works; both will be ready in 2014.

I am also thrilled to announce that my official book launch in Montreal, Canada will be held at the SPCA Annexe on December 14, 2013. I will be making dishes from the cookbook for everyone to sample and donations will be accepted to help the animals at the SPCA.

I will be selling and signing books and proceeds from the sale of my books will also go to the SPCA. More details will follow as the date draws near. You are all invited to join me in celebrating this very special day! I will also be organizing book signing events in other cities around the world! I am going global with Cooking With Amore!

Cooking With Amore contains many of the recipes I share with you each week and more. Some of the recipes which I consider quite genius I have saved for the book itself, such as my vegan poutine and vegan tiramisu, for example, as well as this vegan piece of heaven I do with cacao nibs and garden tomatoes (yes tomatoes!).

My goal is simply to get vegan recipes out there. I want people to get excited about cooking delicious dishes, without the use of any animal products.

Why? Because it’s possible, it’s healthy and it’s kind. To those of you contemplating a vegan lifestyle, or maybe just adding more plant-based meals to your diet, in Cooking With Amore, I offer you 100 scrumptious, easy recipes!

Banner Cooking with Amore 2

Let’s cook with love! Are you ready?

My website has also been finished and is ready for launch in the coming days. In the meantime, you can continue to follow me daily on my Facebook page where I share vegan recipes and health-related tips every day!

 

“Now that I have made the connection, I do not eat animals for the same reason as I do not eat human beings. To me, there is no difference between humans and animals, for we are all souls, in different physical disguises. I know that non-human animals value their lives, their relationships, and their freedom to run and play as much as humans do. They feel a wide range of emotions just like we do. I want to create a better world for all animals and that, in turn, means a better world for everyone. ”

~Maria Amore, Cooking With Amore: 100 Vegan Recipes for Health, Well-being and Spiritual Evolution