You might think the tough-talking, dirty-mouth author of the infamous Skinny Bitch books would be–er–overwhelming in real life. Instead, what you discover in the first thirty seconds of a conversation with Kim Barnouin is she’s a regular gal. Mom to one. Wife to a chef. The sort of neighbor you’d borrow an egg from, should you happened to run out of them mid-recipe.
Of course, it’s unlikely you’ll be borrowing eggs from Barnouin’s home. She’s a dedicated vegan, which means she focuses on consuming a plant-based diet, cutting out all meats, eggs, milk, and cheeses from meals. She’s eaten this way for years, ever since transitioning her own junk-food regime to the earth and body-friendly vegan diet. Sound extreme? Yeah, Kim gets that a lot.
“People think you’re this hippie, salad loving girl. But one of the things I love to show people is that you can be vegan and eat desserts. Only, with the vegan version, you don’t feel guilty, you don’t feel gross. Once you know which alternatives to swap in for your traditional ingredients, you can create food that is literally so good, no one can tell the difference between vegan food and the traditional version.”
The secret to transitioning from a traditional Western diet (one with a heavy focus on meat, dairy, and processed products) is to know the swaps. The change doesn’t have to be radical, and it doesn’t have to be extreme.
“I always say, don’t just hit it hard core. Transition, go slowly, take baby steps. Try a vegetarian or vegan diet just a few times a week to start. Anything you can do to lighten the load of saturated fats can affect your health in a positive way. Learn about a new grain, introduce vegetables. Don’t take things away, slowly start adding new ones until you feel comfortable with a new way of eating, then you can start to get rid of the food that isn’t serving your health.”
Pretty realistic, reasonable advice from the girl who has come to fame with her bad-mouthin’ Skinny Bitch ways, eh?
Good news. Her fun, sassy approach to vegan eating isn’t all sugar. There’s still more than a little spice to go with her latest advice, Skinny Bitch: Book of Vegan Swaps.
If you’ve ever wanted to take the plunge and attempt a vegan diet, this little book offers a no-nonsense guide to taking the baby steps needed to change your ways from drab diet to fab plant-based eating in no time at all.
As Kim puts it, “what you need, my friend, is someone who can show you the way; someone who’s looking out for you. Um, hello?! That would be me, bitch.” Thus begins a book chock full of seriously hysterical, and totally useful advice–from ‘Where the Hell to Shop’ to ‘Egg and Meat Swaps’ to ways you can become a ‘Weekend Vegan’.
Can’t wait until you get the book into your own kitchen to start following Kim’s advice? Lucky you. She offered us an exclusive list of her top 5 Vegan foods that will set your tootsies on the road to success. Grab yourself a copy of Vegan Swaps, check out Kim’s list of vegan must-haves below, then stop making excuses and start baby-stepping your way to a diet which will nurture your body, your health, and your family.
Kim Barnouin’s Top 5 Must-Have Foods for the Vegan Pantry
- 1. Earth Balance. This is a butter alternative, and it’s one a good, creamy consistency and flavor that even Kim’s husband (a french chef) likes to eat..
- 2. A Variety of Canned Beans. Anyone with kids knows you don’t have time to soak beans. Canned beans are great. You can even get versions with lower sodium. They are loaded with protein and make several quick, healthy meals in minutes.
- 3. Almond Milk. Some parents get worried about giving their kids too much soy, so almond milk is a good way to transition to milk alternatives without hyping up the amount of soy in your diet.
- 4. Firm Tofu. It’s just versatile. You can mix it or saute it and it will take on whatever flavor you like. Toss it in teriyaki sauce and veggies for stiryfry. Cube it and saute it with a bit BBQ sauce, then serve it with toothpicks for a quick afterschool snack. This is a must-have item to have on hand for quick eats.
- 5. Rice. Mix half-white and half-brown rice together and no one will even know you’ve gone all healthy on them. Keep it in the fridge to add some healthy, filling carbs to any meal.