I’m a devout foodie who grew up cooking, waitressed in college, did a stint of classical training with Anne Willan at La Varenne Cooking School in France, and enjoyed food writing over the past decades in my Everyday Gourmet column. I’ve cooked and eaten and loved it all! About a decade ago I tried the Paleo diet with my Crossfit pals and made the giant mental and physical leap to eliminating processed foods from my pantry. That was a mind-expanding experience that empowered me to think anew about food choices—and one I will cherish, as it opened the gates of possibility for me. The Paleo was fun for a while, but my aging body yearned for more, so I decided to try going vegetarian—and loved the results. Since then, I’ve gradually adapted towards a 95% plant-based/vegan eating lifestyle . Once a month I might have some eggs or a bit of fish depending upon the social situation, I find the small ‘wiggle-room’ factor helps me to make consistently good choices stress-free when I’m traveling and cannot cook for myself. I don’t make mention or fuss about my preferences when I’m a guest, I just choose the cleanest, most nutrient-dense food available in the moment. I’ve never felt healthier, stronger, or leaner—so in this section I’m going to share with you some of my discoveries and delights. I’m finding a fun paradox at work here: restricting ingredients is actually making me a more creative and daring cook. Cashew cream, pickled golden berries, and spicy romesco sauce adorn my daily table and they are mind-blowingly good! I’m not into the processed mock meats, or trying to mimic classic dishes, or even the fabulously fattening vegan-baking (just because it’s vegan, doesn’t make it healthy!) rather, I’m learning new skills and creative ways of incorporating the rich inventory of healthy plant-based foods to create fresh new flavor profiles and hearty-healthy dishes. I hope you’ll join me in the kitchen—and please, share your discoveries with me, too!