Being Vegan with Portia Yiamouyiannis
Q: When did you start your business? What made you decide to be a vegan-only restaurant?
A: I started my business almost three years ago. The reason why it is a vegan-only restaurant is it all started with growing up on a farm. We had animals that we slaughtered to eat: sheep and lamb, and cows and chickens to an extent. I became really close to them, but I did what our parents told us to do. When I was in college, one of my friends had me go see a PETA movie, and I saw how they are really treated and it’s horrific. It’s just so sad, and knowing that my babies—which are just like pets—are going through what these animals are going through, you will never eat meat again. So I saw that and even though I love the flavor, there is no way I could be a part of it. It was a huge eye-opener, not just the slaughter but [also] the raising of the animals. I can’t believe that everyone is not vegan. That’s what got me into the vegan thing; it was love for other beings.
Q: What does good food mean to you?
A: It just means something that keeps you alive, healthy, happy, and keeps you from getting sick. Makes you excited about life; energy has a lot to do with it. You have a better outlook on life when you have good food. When you look all around the world, the people who live the longest and the people who live the healthiest are the ones on the vegan and plant-based diet. That’s what good health is about—feeding your body what it needs to survive.
Q: What is one important food-eating tip you would like to share?
A: I have a good tip for eating healthfully. A couple times a week, when you buy your produce, you bring it home and you wash it and prepare it right away. And get cute little containers for your refrigerator to put them in and have some salads already prepared. Also, have this little thing of cut carrots, washed lettuce, cabbage and all the vegetables that are not going to rot already in there [the refrigerator] washed. So when you come home after a big day you can make a stir-fry and that’s like a five-minute thing. You can make a casserole with different sauces and put it in the oven. You can make a soup. You can make a salad. And you can choose all the different things you have because it’s easy. Cooking beans and rice ahead of time can last a few days, too.
Q: What does it mean to be healthy?
A: It’s the holistic thing. It has to include everything from what you eat, how you think, how you live your life and dealing with emotions. What you eat, of course, is important: a lot of fresh or raw vegetables and fruits. Organic is very important, because you don’t want to be eating toxins because your body has to try to get rid of them and they like to get stored in fat. Getting enough sleep—your body has to repair from everything that happened. Good clean water, having no fluoride in it, is super important. The longest-living beings, they eat a plant-based diet, but they also have a sense of purpose and a spiritual connection kind of thing. When I say spirit, it doesn’t have to be any religion at all. It can be a connection with nature; it can be as simple as that.
Q: What recipes will you be making this spring?
A: There’s a couple, because there’s new ones and ones I will bring from the past. Something new, inspired by my daughter. She would make an Asian slaw [with] kohlrabi, Napa cabbage and radishes. I am going to add apple and cilantro, and flavor it with rice vinegar, coconut aminos, toasted sesame seed oil and sesame seeds. And then my new thing: I am going to make hemp burgers. Hemp is one those super-duper foods that everybody needs because hemp is one of the best proteins for your body to absorb. It gives you Omega-3 fatty acids and it gives you good fiber and all these other minerals. Mixing that with quinoa, brown rice, veggies like onions, mushrooms, carrots, and that’s the base of it. I am still going to experiment with maybe having a couple different ones.
4428 Indianola Ave, Columbus, OH 43214