Molly Patrick Interview
An Interview with Molly Patrick, author of several vegan cookbooks including “Bold Vegan: Food for the Body and Soul,” and “Bold Vegan: Food of South East Asia.”
Interview questions were written by Healthy You Network volunteer, Denise Rose.
Q: Your website, boldvegan.com, features several books and resources for plant-based eaters as well as folks who are not vegan eaters. Please describe the resources you have available for each of these groups?
Molly: I have lots going on! I wanted to create a place where people who weren’t vegan could come and find yummy recipes without feeling like they didn’t belong because they weren’t vegan. I also wanted to share recipes that are on the super healthy side of plant-based eating, so I kind of married those two ideas within my site.
When you go to boldvegan.com, you will find loads of recipes that can be sorted by what kind of vegan recipes you’re looking for. If you’re looking for hearty recipes that will appeal to meat eaters, you can sort the recipes by that criteria. If you follow a low oil diet, I have you covered as well.
I also send out a weekly newsletter with new recipes, witty banter and a lot of embarrassing stories about myself. I have a free cookbook for people when they sign up for my emails, and I also offer a free 5 Day Clean Food Throwdown. It’s 5 days of introducing super healthy items to your diet.
I like to keep things lively and offer people things that will really help them.
Q: You have written several cookbooks that showcase vegan recipes. What have you learned between the first and last book you’ve written in terms of making them more appealing and useful to people interested in vegan cooking and eating?
Molly: After my third cookbook, I decided to pivot my focus. Through a lot of research and really looking at my readers, customers and audience, I learned that people want to eat better, but they need guidance, and cookbooks don’t give guidance. So my focus went from writing cookbooks to offering a guided digital one week program that helps people break up with junk food.
Q: What kind of reader feedback are you receiving regarding your cookbook recipes? Are there any clear favorites that readers love to make and eat?
Molly: I get a ton of feedback from moms who’ve decided to drop meat and dairy, and their partners and / or kids haven’t. They buy my cookbooks, sign up for my emails and get recipes from my blog because they can find recipes that their whole families can enjoy.
I hear a lot of: “My husband hates vegan food, but he loves your recipes”.
Q: Some of your cookbook recipes use oil or the spread Earth Balance. What advice do you have for readers who want to avoid these foods but want to use your recipes?
Molly: It really depends on the recipe, but if you go to my blog and look for the “I want little to no oil” tab, there are a ton of recipes without either oil or Earth Balance. I encourage people to email if there's a particular recipe that they want to make oil or Earth Balance free.
Q: You say you have been a vegetarian since you were a girl. What motivated you to stop eating animals at that time? Did you know other vegetarians and, if so, did they influence you?
Molly: I have never eaten meat in my life, so I never had to give it up. My mom raised me vegetarian and it stuck. I’ve been vegan since 2008. My mom has been vegetarian since the 70’s and vegan since the early 90’s. She does amazing and magical things in the kitchen, so I grew up with extremely yummy food all the time. Lucky for me, my mom encouraged my being in the kitchen and helping her cook from a very young age.
Q: What motivated you to become a vegan and not just stay a vegetarian? Did you find it easy to make the switch or was it somewhat difficult?
Molly: It was incredibly easy for me to make the switch. I couldn’t believe how much better I felt from just dropping dairy and eggs. I didn’t expect it.
I was starting a new job with a vegan company and I felt like a hypocrite eating cheese, so I quit. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done.
Q: One of the resources you have created for people wanting to try out a vegan lifestyle is the e-book, “21 Days to Awesome: Simple Guided Steps for Awesome Change.” Have you received any reader feedback from folks who have taken this journey? If so, what were their experiences like?
Molly: I have received lots of feedback, and it has helped a lot of people. The one thing that kept coming up was that people wished it was more guided and personalized, so I created my One Week Clean Food Reboot. It is totally guided, and I really hold people’s hands through the process. Eating food without meat, dairy, oil, wheat, and processed sugar is extremely daunting for most people. I wanted to create a program that people felt completely supported from start to finish. I am really proud of this reboot. I have received emails from people when it’s over telling me that it has changed their entire life.
Q: Fortunately for plant-based eaters today, there are several vegan cookbooks now available. Considering this fact, how did you approach your cookbooks so they would have your own unique stamp on them? What kind of decision-making process did you use in choosing your recipes and creating your books?
Molly: I started out doing this as a side project. I had a full time job, and this was my evening and weekend hobby. I didn’t expect that one day I would be doing this full time! I never really had a process while writing my cookbooks, I made what I was hungry for or craving, and what I would want to see in a cookbook.
I’ve been doing this full time since January 2014, and in that time I have pivoted the focus of my business away from cookbooks towards developing guided ways to help people eat better. So my process has changed quite a bit. I have learned how to create exactly what people want, instead of what I want. That has made a big difference in my business.
Q: You indicate your love for traveling and that you have spent time in Southeast Asia. What advice do you have for plant-based eaters who want to stay entirely plant-based on their travels and still seek food that is yummy and healthy? How does one get by in places where fish sauce and other animal ingredients are prevalent?
Molly: It can be really tough. I have traveled all over South East Asia and for the most part, it’s pretty easy to stay away from meat and dairy. Fish sauce and eggs are probably the hardest to avoid. It just depends on where you travel. In Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia for example, there are a ton of vegan restaurants to chose from and Malaysia is an english speaking country. When I traveled in Thailand it was much harder, because of the language barrier. My best advice is to stay somewhere with a kitchen, shop at the local markets and cook your own food. Either that, or have a translator.
Q: What else would you like Healthy You Network newsletter readers to know about your work and your perspective on cooking and eating vegan food?
Molly: I have always been very inclusive with my audience. People are at all different stages of their healthy eating journey. I never want people to feel the need to defend or justify what or how they eat. When they’re ready to eat better, they will make changes, and I am happy to be a resource for them.
I personally eat an extremely healthy whole-food, plant-based diet, and I know that how I eat is not how most people eat. And there’s nothing wrong with that!
I’ve never understood vegans who preach to people about what to eat or not eat. I believe that you must be inclusive to create change, or you will scare people away. My goal is to pique people’s curiosity and inspire them to try something new.
You can sign up for my Saturday emails here boldvegan.com/signup and my 5 Day Clean Food Throwdown here boldvegan.com/5-day-clean-food-throwdown-signup. To learn more about my One Week Clean Food Reboot, go here boldvegan.com/one-week-clean-food-reboot-program.