yvonneAbout seventeen years ago, I became a vegetarian. I have considered myself an animal lover my whole life and I had already cut red meat out of my diet, so when I received that fateful PETA magazine with graphic photos of what animals go through in slaughterhouses, it was all I needed to make the jump to cutting meat out of my diet completely.

Fast forward to 2006. I was very unhappy with my weight and my skin. Acne in my 30s? When was this going to end? I was trying to get work as an actor or a host and knew that it was time to get serious about my appearance. I picked up a book I have had for years, the New McDougall Cookbook by John and Mary McDougall, and what I read really struck a chord with me. On June 1st, 2006, I cut all dairy out of my diet and started a regular exercise routine. Within a few months I had lost two sizes, my face had cleared up, my menstrual cramps and headaches vanished and I felt and looked better than ever – at 34!

I was scanning craigslist for jobs constantly when a hosting gig caught my eye. I auditioned and did well, but didn’t get the job. However, something great happened at that audition. I mentioned an idea I had for a show: A show about vegetarian restaurants and travel. It was something that popped in my head frequently as I watched the cable shows that constantly talked about meat, pizza, ice cream, cake and junk food. Where was the show about healthy, vegetarian food? Where was the show for people like me?

The folks for whom I auditioned liked my idea and we talked briefly about shooting a pilot, but as things often go in the business and entertainment worlds, nothing happened. At that point, my now ex-husband and I realized we could do it ourselves. We knew people with cameras! I could write and host and our friends would handle the shooting, sound and editing. Within a few months, we had a concept show and really, the rest is history. The Traveling Vegetarian became a reality in 2007 and I now have two full half hour shows (six internet segments) and are talking to agents and networks. Thank you, Universe!

I am having such a great time producing, creating, writing, meeting great chefs and restaurant owners, eating fabulous food, traveling to fun cities, etc. But one of the most amazing things about this whole process is what I have learned about food and how it works in our bodies, how what we eat affects the planet, and how our food choices affect our friends, the animals.

By simply making a few changes in my diet, I feel I am doing the best thing I can do for the animals, the planet, and my health. I am so full of energy, love and inspiration! Another great thing about these changes is that while I was once one of the pickiest eaters ever, I am now opening my mind and my taste buds to healthy foods that once seemed unappealing. I am no longer afraid of broccoli and spinach and all things green. I joined a CSA (Fresh Harvest Co-op) and I receive beautiful organic produce every week which I am learning to prepare in my own kitchen. I have an awareness about the world around me that I never had before.

A few dietary choices and one big idea have completely changed my world.

I am looking for a network home for The Traveling Vegetarian. I am also working on an album of positive songs and I have several more ideas for books and television shows. It’s an exciting time!