March 20, 2017
She’s conscious of sustainable food choices.
She’s active in her pursuit and her beliefs.
She’s deeply passionate about animal wellness.
She’s raising her family to be the healthiest version of themselves as possible.
She’s celebrating five years of being vegan, this month!
She’s Debbie Somers and she’s a Vegan Warrior.
Debbie began her journey toward veganism 24 years ago, when she was in high school. Being raised in an Italian family where traditional foods are the epitome of culture, affection, and familiarity did not give Debbie much wiggle room when it came to choosing a diet that was right for her.
Since veganism wasn’t an option in her teen years, Debbie became a pescetarian after hearing the sound of rabbits screaming as her father butchered them. This struck a chord with Debbie: “I just knew at that point that I didn’t want to contribute to hurting animals,” she says, “because I found that it wasn’t necessary.”
Through her journey of annexing animal and animal by-products from her diet, Debbie learned that the reason she loved certain childhood foods so much, such as rabbit, was largely because of her mom’s deliciously seasoned tomato sauce.
Extremely well versed in the facts and figures of plant-based eating, Debbie has educated herself through, and seeks inspiration from, the documentaries Earthlings, Forks Over Knives, and Food Choices, as well as Dr. Michael Greger’s book How Not To Die—the latter of which highlights how almost all diseases can be eliminated by a whole-foods, plant-based diet.
“We were blown away that eating a plant-based diet was actually the healthiest diet,” says Debbie, after learning so much from her research.
“There’s an average of 15 to 20 grams of protein in 1 cup of beans,” Debbie informs us, “which is much higher than animal-based proteins.” Hemp seeds have about 10 grams of protein per every 30 grams and fruit is made-up of about 2 – 5% protein.”
“It’s impossible not to get your protein requirements through a plant-based diet,” says Debbie, debunking the myth that a vegan diet is void of protein. “For some reason, I think with all the advertising and all the meat commercials out there that people have it in their heads that vegans are deficient in protein and it can’t be further from the truth.”
Another thing that has made headlines and caught Debbie’s attention was the World Health Organization declaring last year that processed animal products, such as bacon and sausage, are considered a category 1 carcinogen, which puts them in the same category as tobacco and plutonium.
Two of the most interesting foods Debbie has discovered since becoming vegan are yellow watermelon and cauliflower wings. She also loves persimmons: “It’s the sweetest thing. It tastes basically like caramel.”
Cashews are also a favourite in Debbie’s home. “I never knew cashews could be the most delicious, creamiest, and cheesiest ingredient to a recipe,” she tells us. Her and her husband add cashews to soups and smoothies, as well as use them as a base for creamy Mac N’ Cheese and homemade nut milk.
While these tasty items help make her vegan journey a delicious one, Debbie’s road to veganism is about much more than the food she eats—it is ingrained in her morals and ethics.
“My morals extend beyond just what I eat. They extend into how I live,” explains Debbie. Her vegan journey opened her eyes to realizing the importance of questioning the who, what, where, when, and whys of everything. Thus, Debbie carefully researches what she buys: “I try and buy things that are fair trade, organic and support local.”
Focused on long-term sustainability rather than short-term satisfaction, Debbie tells us: “Becoming vegan has really changed me as a person and I think it’s made me a better person because I care not just about myself, but also about our planet and the environment. Not only are we helping ourselves and the animals, we’re also helping the environment.”
In line with her consideration for the environment, Debbie shares that “each day we adopt a plant-based diet, we’re saving at least one animal and about 1,100 gallons of water and 45 pounds of grains. Veganism has really helped me do the best I can and give my family, especially my son, a future.”
Debbie is an administrator of Plant Empowered London Ontario, which is a member of the PlantPure communities, based on documentary PlantPure Nation—the latter of which is premised on the thesis that the world needs to be changed from the bottom up. Watch the trailer HERE.
The group that Debbie administers is a network of people that share science-based information on nutrition in London, Ontario. They meet once per month at locations around the city that have lots of great whole food, plant-based options available, such as Plant Matter Kitchen!
“It’s nice to connect with people who are also interested in the health aspect of veganism,” says Debbie, “and living the healthiest possible way.”
For those new to veganism and to the scene, Debbie offers some advice: “It can be a very difficult and challenging world when you’re doing something that is maybe not in the majority right now, so you can connect yourself with people and have support and be able to ask questions either online or maybe face-to-face.”
Join the Plant Empowered London Ontario group on Facebook.
“Another thing that has helped me and my family along our vegan journey,” says Debbie, “is wonderful plant-based restaurants such as PMK because they cook the way I cook at home: only using local and organic ingredients and not using microwaves.”
It’s incredibly comforting to hear Debbie say: “We don’t have to worry about our food at all then we travel and go to PMK.” Debbie, her husband, and their son love frequenting PMK because of the fun, friendly, and open environment that allows guests to see what the chefs are cooking and everything that goes into making the food.
Debbie is an inspiration to everyone at Plant Matter Kitchen, to Plant Empowered group members, and to vegans everywhere. She works hard to raise awareness to the health benefits of plant-based eating and living, and change the world with her passion, dedication, education, and compassion.
“Becoming vegan is the most amazing decision I have ever made in my life,” Debbie says with a genuine glow, which is exactly why we are proud to call her a Vegan Warrior!