Name: Kristina DeMuth, MPH, RD
City: Plymouth, MN
Occupation: Master of Public Health, Registered and Licensed Dietitian. I have my own business (kristinademuth.com) and offer a number of services for individuals and organizations, including: nutrition coaching, food photography, recipe development, research and writing, and more.
What inspired you to switch to a plant-based diet?
I loved baby pigs, so I wondered, "Why am I eating them?" It just didn't make sense to me. So that was the first thing to come off my plate when I was about 10. A couple years later, I wondered, "Why am I eating other animals?" and I became vegetarian.
I adopted more of a plant-based diet when I went to Haiti. Environmental impacts in Haiti were very real to me. Seeing firsthand things like climate change and how it affects people, environmental disasters and knowing our food supply can't feed a growing population on an standard American diet, it made a lot of sense to switch to even more of a plant-based diet. Understanding how populations could use plants instead of animals to meet nutritional needs.
What 3 words would you use to describe yourself: Energetic, Compassionate, Lifelong Learner
Are you a member of any vegan-related organizations?
I am part of the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group which focuses on plant-based nutrition. They're a great resource! I'm also a member of HEN, Hunger and Environmental Nutrition which is part of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
What do you do to stay physically active?
Right now, I am really into high intensity cardio intervals with circuit training; I do this most days of the week. I also practice yoga and recently started barre. When the weather is nice, I enjoy walking and biking. In the winter, you'll find me jumping and spinning on an outdoor rink. If I could, I would probably skate everyday; I've been skating since I could walk.
Click here for Kristina's delicious Stuffed Pepper Recipe featuring our Ground Beef!
Is there a book or movie you would encourage people to check out regarding veganism?
Forks Over Knives really got my brain ticking, especially when I moved to Haiti to volunteer my services at an orphanage's feeding center. Dr. Campbell's experience in Haiti really resonated with me, and it led me to read more about the research on the "nutrition transition" and dietary shifts in low-socioeconmic countries. It has had a huge impact on my passion for public health and prevention.
Jack Norris and Virginia Messina's book, Vegan for Life and Sharon Palmer's book, The Plant-Powered Diet were two of my first reads when it came to plant-based nutrition; I found both really helpful. Nutritionfacts.org is my go-to nutrition website for all things health and wellness-- you can find so many health topics on here! You can always do your own research too; unlike most blogs on the internet, there is always links to the studies referenced. Dr. Greger's book, How Not to Die, is well researched and a great read!
Favorite local restaurant: I love Ecopolitan. It's so amazing how you can take raw food and make it taste so good. When you can see how diverse vegan food can be, it's inspiring.
Favorite place to buy groceries: I go to Whole Foods and CostCo a lot. I love the co-ops and farmers markets, too.
Favorite animal: I really love elephants. I think they're my spirit animal. I saw them in Africa and they're so beautiful. And baby pigs, too, of course! And puppies.
Tell us one thing on your bucket list:
I kind of have 2. I want to write a children's book, which I'll hopefully do this year. I also want to go to Sadhana Forest. There's one in Haiti and I love what they're doing to educate people about reforestation and taking care of the Earth. They also promote a plant-based diet.
What’s some advice you would offer someone who is working on the transition to a plant-based diet?
What recipes or meals do you make that are already plant-based? How can you make changes to meals that are not plant-based? Maybe it means swapping in a plant-based milk instead of cow's milk, or using lentils instead of ground beef. Many recipes can easily be made plant-based or a plant-based version of it exists on the internet! You might be surprised what you find and how creative you can be with plant-based foods.
Even if you don't give up meat or other animal products cold turkey, crowd your diet with more plant-based foods. For example, use less meat, and add in more veggies and beans. Think about what plant-foods you can ADD to your meals.
My podcast with CAA on Tips for Going Veg in the New Year may also be helpful for some of you. I like to think about the plant-based eating as a lifestyle, not a fad diet.