This post is part of an interview series in which I’ll be asking fellow bloggers and vegan business owners ten questions, with the goal being to share both a little about each of them and also their top advice when it comes to veganism, blogging, and overall happiness.
If there were an award for most enthusiastic blogger (and maybe there is one), I would give it to Cara Reed of Fork and Beans. The amount of love and pure joy she infuses into every recipe and post practically jumps off the screen. And if that weren’t enough, she is the queen of taking childhood favorites like powdered sugar and chocolate-covered donuts, chocolate teddy grahams, and chocolate turtles, and veganizing them without compromising any of the nostalgia of the originals. Not only is there plenty of dessert and chocolate on her blog, but all of Cara’s recipes are also gluten-free. Recently, she’s even recreated more adult, savory favorites like spicy “tuna” sushi and BBQ sandwiches.
Are you hungry yet? Me too.
As you’ll read in her interview, Cara is one of the sweetest people and really makes it a point to interact with her readers, which has created a lovely, supportive sense of community over at Fork and Beans. She’s releasing her first cookbook, Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking, later this fall (you can pre-order it) and I’m so excited to get my hands on a copy. For now though, I will be drooling over the sneak-peek she shared on her blog. Seriously, I am so hungry…
1. What is your food philosophy?
I truly believe that food is all about moderation and to be enjoyed. I do have food allergies and my digestive tract is very sensitive so it’s difficult for me to break down certain food. Aside from those foods that I need to avoid, I don’t like to create any rules or guilty feelings (French fries and dessert, please!) around food. I try my best to understand that each body needs different foods to function properly and because of that, I don’t judge what other people eat and I would hope that the same respect would be given to me.
2. If you could give one piece of advice to new vegans, what would it be?
Be prepared for others to not understand your choices but always follow your heart and what you feel is right. That’s good advice for most things in life really—not everybody will support your decisions but thankfully you aren’t meant to please everyone.
3. Why do you blog?
When I first found out that certain foods were actually making me sick, I had nowhere to turn. I was clueless about how to bake without gluten, eggs, and dairy and the recipes that I would try were terrible. I was really disappointed when I reached out to the few blogs I knew of at the time for help and never heard anything back. I realized that I couldn’t be the only person who ever felt this way so I created Fork and Beans to be a place for exploration, support, encouragement, and education for those who are newly diagnosed with food allergies. I know how overwhelming it initially is so I try my hardest to respond back to every question as well as provide recipes that show others that just because you can no longer eat certain items (whether it is due to allergies, moral reasons, or preferences), it doesn’t mean that you cannot still eat creatively delicious food.
4. If you could give one piece of advice to new bloggers, what would it be?
Always celebrate where you are at. Someone will always have a better site, better photos, better recipes, more social media followers than you if you compare yourself to others. Instead, give yourself some credit and truly see yourself for the awesome blogger that you are!
5. If you had to choose a favorite and a least favorite word, what would they be?
Least favorite word: It’s a tie between “Hot lunch,” “Moist,” and “Bomb.”
Most favorite word: Scrumptulescent
6. If you weren’t you, who would you be?
I would choose Martha Stewart, at least for the day.
7. What is your idea of happiness?
Happiness to me is having the ability to be in the midst of day-to-day life while not allowing the negative to overpower the positive.
8. What makes you unhappy?
Judgmental people who cannot allow others to just live their lives and make their own choices.
9. What is your best-kept beauty secret?
I use a foundational base called Everyday Minerals and it is the best makeup ever! (I have to thank Somer of Vedged Out for turning me on to it). Also, I drink tons of water and my skin has never looked so good.
10. If money did not matter, how would you spend your days?
I already love what I am doing currently: working for myself and building up a brand with Fork & Beans but I would love to also open up a gluten-free vegan bakery.
Native of Los Angeles, Cara is the face behind the website Fork and Beans—a place where you can find all recipes creatively gluten, egg, and dairy-free. It has become her personal mission to understand and conquer allergy-safe baking because in her opinion, no one should ever have to skimp on the fun of eating simply because they must avoid certain foods.