By: Lisa Ng
I first met Lauren Toyota when I was judging a ping-pong and bowling food competition (for reals) in Toronto. We had bumped into Lauren at the end of her work day at MuchMusic and convinced her to come play ping-pong with us!
What did I learn? Lauren and I are terrible at ping-pong, but she is such a down-to-earth and super easy person to get along with. Lauren thinks fast on her feet, has interviewed some big name celebs and is a serious inspiration. She’s also an amazing vegan cook!
What made you decide on a career in television?
I grew up in front of the television and I was pretty obsessed with it. I used to be ashamed of saying that because you’re not supposed to watch a lot of TV, right?! But I am not ashamed because it taught me everything I know! I always dreamed of being on television and one day it happened.
You’re the co-founder of a vegan blog called hot for food! What made you want to go vegan and what is the blog all about?
I went vegan after years of being vegetarian and then going back to eating everything and feeling guilty and sick. Once I learned about where my food comes from and woke up to that cruelty, I couldn’t go back so I became vegan. The blog is all about breaking the misconceptions of what it means to eat vegan. It’s just as satisfying, tasty and mouth watering and our recipes will prove that to you.
What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
For breakfast it’s usually a power smoothie with one of the best plant based proteins, hemp seeds, plus other fruits or veggies. Lunch is usually a kale salad with a creamy nut based dressing, avocado, chickpeas or quinoa, and other veggies. Then dinner can go many ways. It might be a buckwheat noodle dish with miso, seaweed, and greens or something involving a “meat-like” protein; sausage, chicken, or seafood made with plant based proteins.
You recently left Much and MTV. What can we look forward to seeing from you next?
I am focusing on the blog in addition to writing contributing columns coming up in magazines and other bigger food blogs. John, my partner, and I also have appearances set to talk about the blog and living a vegan lifestyle. I’ll be doing regular speaking engagements at colleges and universities, helping students find their true life’s passion and hopefully inspiring them to follow their dreams. And sometime soon I hope we’ll have a big announcement about a new food-inspired reality show we’ve been developing for North American television. Fingers crossed!
What is the single most important non-negotiable thing for you when designing your lifestyle and career?
I have to love what I’m doing, who I’m with, and what surrounds me. A lot of this happiness became more noticeable once I went vegan. Living consciously and compassionately really comes back to you in a positive way. Plus I’ve had jobs in the past that were stepping stones to get where I am today, and while I continued to work really hard, I knew deep down that I didn’t enjoy myself. There was no fulfillment. I can’t have that. It just drains my soul.
How do you stay active with your busy schedule?
I make time to do yoga a few times a week. That keeps me breathing and flowing with everything life throws at me. I would rather do yoga then any other form of exercise, but I still try to incorporate some gym time and/or jogging, and getting a bike this summer has been great too!
What do you do to de-stress?
In the last couple of years I have found peace in meditation. It was always something I was curious about or wanted to do, but never did it. Then I went to a retreat called Peace By The Water and it changed my life. I meditated for the first time and recognized the power within me and around me. It’s so important to be silent, make time for yourself, and shut out all the noise.
Best piece of life advice to share?
I’ve always known this but more recently I’ve been practicing it deliberately and I know it’s true. I would tell people to keep this in mind: you become what you think about.
Check out Lauren’s blog at: http://www.hotforfoodblog.com
Loved this? Read more of my This Beautiful Life profiles!