Wednesday, March 21, 2012

March of the Hot Vegan Army - Day #21 - Ani Phyo

Ani Phyo

Know her from: Ani is a raw vegan chef, an "eco-lifestylist," and 5-times published author. Ani's name and image have become almost synonymous with raw vegan food, and she is constantly enriching and expanding the world of raw cuisine. For her, raw food isn't just wheatgrass smoothies that taste like lawn clippings, it's pad thai, cobblers, cakes, lasagna, etc.

Why she's vegan: Ani gave up red meat back in 1986, and gradually cut other meat and animal products from her diet over the next few years. The moment that solidified her decision to go completely vegan was a bite of horribly-cooked fast-food hamburger on a late night food run. The meat was not only distasteful to Ani, but she knew it wasn't healthy either, so she decided that only healthy, tasty food would be on her menu from that point on.

Ani also believes in sustainable agriculture and making as minimal an impact on the natural environment as possible. Plant foods are generally easier on the environment than animal food, and animal food production generally includes cruel factory farming practices. Ani has also revealed that her father served many raw foods and (sometimes gross-tasting) healthy concoctions to Ani's family when Ani was growing up. But Ani is a foodie, and prefers her own tastier recipes now. Ani also doesn't mind the pleasant side-effects of her clean, healthy diet, in the form of clear, glowing skin, mental clarity, and a lot of energy for her many physical fitness endeavors. She enjoys dancing, kickboxing, hiking, weight training, running, biking, swimming, and working out in general.

Why she's awesome: In addition to being a physical powerhouse of a woman with all of the above activities, Ani has written several books (find them here on Amazon), contributes to a variety of blogs, magazines, television, and other media, and hosts her own Youtube cooking(/un-cooking?) show. In the late 1990s, she founded a catering company which went on to provide healthful menus and foods to clients like Whole Foods Market, Carnival Cruise Lines, STOMP, and Adidas. Ms. Phyo currently runs her own online store, in which you can find all sorts of accessories and food for the raw lifestyle. In her "off" time, Phyo teaches urban farming skills to underprivileged youth, works with several animal-friendly charities, and she loves to travel the world. She also is an attractive, fit 43 year old.

Even if you are familiar with Ani, you may not know that she is also a multimedia wiz, and formed her own multimedia company in the mid 1990s, which often hosted multimedia events for various big-name clients. Ani also taught multimedia classes at 3 California universities, helped to
produce numerous websites for clients, and
contributed CG animation work to a Denzel Washington/Russell Crowe movie called Virtuosity.

Ani is a trailblazer, an entrepreneur, and an intelligent and kind individual who encourages people to adopt healthy changes at their own pace. She feels so strongly about the benefits of her virtually unprocessed diet and active lifestyle that she of course suggests that others try it, but she knows that everyone moves at different speeds. She has said that what works for her might not necessarily work for everyone else. Making good choices for animals and the environment is important to her, but she urges people to be mindful of their own nutritional needs when making any kind of dietary transition.

So Ani, you're pretty much going to be our go-to in the Hot Vegan Army. Whether we're stranded on some tropical island where all of the hot vegans are forced to wear nothing but army fatigue swimsuits and leaf skirts (but I digress...) and we need someone to make us food with no electricity, or we're launching a global multimedia campaign for healthy veganism, we know you'll be in there pitching. And besides, you can teach us all to grow food and be even more attractive while covered in dirt....

So Ani, welcome to the Army.

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