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5 Questions For Vegan Chef, Melissa Costello

Posted Nov 10 2010 1:52pm
I had the opportunity to ask a few questions of  Vegan Chef Extraordinaire, Melissa Costello of Karma Chow , and this is what she had to say.  

Could you please tell me a bit about your company, Karma Chow?

Karma Chow is a multi-faceted wellness company that offers 30-Day Cleanses, Vegan Meal Delivery, Personal Chef Services, Cooking Classes/Lessons, and Wellness Coaching.  Our focus is to teach people how to have a healthy and vital lifestyle through a plant-based diet.

My cholesterol dropped 70 points just 28 days after going vegan.  Could you please list some of the other benefits of being vegan?

Yes!  There are so many great benefits to going vegan if you do it the healthful way.  Many vegans can be unhealthy because they eat the processed vegan food instead of whole foods.  So, if you are thinking about going vegan, or are vegan already, the way to get the most benefit is to eat plenty of unprocessed, whole foods.

Some of the benefits of clean vegan eating are:  clear skin, natural energy, vitality, better sleep, improved digestion, and natural weight loss.

I understand that you've led groups of people from all over the globe through 30-day vegan cleanses.  What does that look like?  And when is the next cleanse?

Yes, I have and it’s such an amazing process because I get to teach people how to change their lifestyle so they can have a happier and healthier life.  The results are phenomenal and the group support truly is life-changing.  The cleanse is led virtually via conference calls and email support.  I provide all the necessary tools to help the participants succeed on the cleanse such as:  recipes, meal plans, shopping lists, snack lists, and so much more.

Over the course of the 30 days, participants will give up what I call "slow poisons” or addictive foods that do not serve us.  Those foods are:  sugar, gluten, caffeine, alcohol and animal products.  Doing this helps to break addictions and cravings and gives the body a rest so it can recover, repair, and balance.  This cleanse is more about a lifestyle change than depriving people of certain things which can lead to overeating or binging.  This happens with a lot of the cleanses that are out there now.  My cleanse also focuses on intuitive eating and coaching people on how to get back in touch with their food and notice when they eat, why they eat, and how much they eat.  So many of us have emotional attachments to food as well as eating on the run, which can result in overeating or not eating enough.  My goal is to bring balance to the participants life and teach them to reconnect to their source of fuel.  

My next 30-day cleanse will start   January 3, 2011.

Business Week magazine has a recent article about the new "Power Vegans."  I'm sure you were ecstatic when you read it.  Who would you like to see added to that list?

Yes, I am very excited that a lot of people are now looking to veganism to become healthier.  The Business Week article  was great, but I didn’t agree when it stated that veganism is for the elite and it’s expensive.  Actually, this way of eating can save you money because the result of it is that you are healthier, which means less money on health care in the future.  I look at it as an investment in your health and your life today!  There are plenty of ways to shop to keep costs down and if you are eating unprocessed, whole foods, you can really save money! When you get into buying all the processed foods that come in a bag or box, that’s when it can get expensive. But we can all learn how to make our own tempeh or seitan and save money!

As far as who I would like added to that list....everyone!  It would be a much happier and healthier world if this were the case, and I also know that veganism does not work for everyone, but if we could all lean toward a plant-based diet and just cut back on animal products, that would make a huge difference!  I am happiest about Hugh Jackman going vegan to train for his next Wolverine role because I LOVE him and I also LOVE the inspiring man who will be training him, vegan tri-athlete,  Brendan Brazier.

Do you offer cooking classes or cooking events in the Los Angeles area?  

Yes, I do.  I teach regularly at Whole Foods in West Los Angeles, as well as in private residences.  I also host cooking parties, which are a great idea for a birthday gathering of friends or holiday event.  You can find that information on the event page on my website: .

I'm a single gal.  Let's say I wanted to prepare a romantic vegan meal for a nice gentleman.  Could you please provide me with a menu?

Ooooo...I love this question!  Yes!  Well, the dessert would have to be raw vegan chocolate truffles because nothing says romance like chocolate, and it’s good for you too!  As for the entrée, I would suggest my heart warming and hearty Sweet Potato Tempeh Stew with barley served with a  Raw Kale Salad with cranberries, pine nuts and miso dressing.  This meal will be sure to please any gentleman and fill him up as well!

And there you have it.  Thank you, Melissa, for taking the time to chat with me.  But most importantly, thank you for your service to the vegan community.

Thank you for reading.
Tamara ZumMallen, L.Ac.
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