Joyful, Delicious, Vegan: Life Without Heart Disease by Sherra Aguirre
1- Vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, flexitarian, beegan, paleo, plant-based diet- How is a person to choose?
The terms can be confusing, and there’s overlap so I advise starting with your goal in mind. If your focus is animal welfare and preventing unnecessary suffering, then vegan or plant-based would be a logical choice because it means you would eliminate all animal products including milk, eggs and all dairy products from your diet. These two terms are often used interchangeably.
If your goal is decreasing environmental harm, similarly you would want to eliminate meat and dairy, the foods that contribute as much to greenhouse gas emissions as the fossil fuel industry. It turns out that what you eat is more important than what you drive!
For maintaining good health as we age, vegan or plant-based eating is your most powerful ally providing high fiber, high nutrition, and lower saturated fat, all scientifically proven to lower chronic disease risk.
Flexitarians eat as they like including animal products and plant foods. Pescatarians typically avoid land animals, however they may still have the milk and dairy. Paleo eaters often focus on weight loss and include lean meats, vegetables and fruit, while limiting dairy and grain.
2- Would you please, in 160 characters or less, give a #WriteTip ?
Looking at a blank page can be paralyzing, so just jump in and start! The first draft is just that, a starting point.
3- What most motivates you to read a new book?
Lately it’s the subject matter. I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction on topics which shed new light on old social, political and economic issues.
4- Do you have a favorite celebrity chef/ cook?
Yes! It’s Bryant Terry! His Vegan Soul Food Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African American Cuisine, published in 2009 is a classic. It’s Southern cooking reimagined and it encouraged me to remove the limits on what is possible with all plant-based cooking and baking.
5- Would you share a picture with us of your book with something yummy you made?
6- In your opinion, why are African American women more vulnerable to heart disease in the US?
There are several factors. The first is our socio-economic status which means our communities overall have less access to quality health care and are often located in underserved areas where safety, food deserts and even environmental hazards are not uncommon. More attention is now being focused on the stress of economic instability as a health hazard in and of itself.
Our food traditions can compound the problem with an abundance of fried and processed foods, and often a reliance on salt, sugar and fat to make what is affordable taste really good. The fast food industry capitalizes on our food culture and lack of means to afford fresh fruit and produce by advertising cheap, easy to access, commercial grade versions of traditional southern foods that even more unhealthy than the originals.
7- What's your Twitter handle, and do you have two or three writer friends on there to shout-out to for #WriterWednesday ?
It’s @SherraAguirre . My shout-outs would go to my author daughters @atticalocke and @TembiLocke along with @stephycha , @byanygreens Tracye McQuirter.
8- Do you have a favorite #bookstagram image or account/ profile?
I don’t. Something to consider.
9- Are you a Plotter, Pantser, or Plantser, and how did you adopt that style?
I think this may more easily apply to fiction writers. That said, with this book I was more of a plotter. Writing is always easier for me when I start with an outline. It tells me where I want to start, where I want to go, and the road to take me there.
10- What does your basic writing schedule look like, and how often do you write?
Although I don’t have a strict schedule my mornings are my creative time. I ideate in the morning and execute those ideas later in the day after they have percolated a bit. I write when I get excited or intrigued about an idea or when I have a deadline!
11- What is your favorite book by someone else, what's the author's Twitter handle, and what do you love most about that book? #FridayReads book recommendation time!
Author name: @saileshrao
Title: Carbon Yoga: The Vegan Metamorphosis
Love because: It offers the vision of a compassionate and sustainable future for humanity.
12- What emotions do you hope your book will evoke for the reader?
As my title suggests, joy based on the possibility of maintaining good health throughout our lifetime; gratitude for the enjoyment of colorful, delicious vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, grains and spices prepared in an infinite variety of ways.
13- What kind of impact do you hope your book will have?
I want to empower people with the simplest, and in fact the only way to prevent or reverse the chronic illnesses like heart disease. It is our greatest killer and is preventable or even reversible by changing how we eat.
14- What is your favorite creative non-writing activity to do?
A few years ago I would have never thought this, but cooking is an amazingly creative activity that involves all the senses. Before, I never liked it, wasn’t good at it and saw it as a chore. Now I absolutely love it because even though I am no chef, the food I make and enjoy is really good and it loves me back. If I could make this transformation, anyone can!
15- In what ways are the main characters in your book diverse? diversebooks.org #WeNeedDiverseBooks
As an African American writer I certainly agree that we are all richer when diverse voices are heard. I am an advocate for food security and food justice for our marginalized communities, and a sustainable food system for all of us. Attaining these goals will require the inclusion of all segments of our communities in the conversation and problem-solving processes.
16- What method do you feel is the best way to get book reviews?
I think reviewing and sharing books you love with other readers across various platforms is a very good way. People appreciate this and often reciprocate.
17- What was the deciding factor in your publication route?
I submitted to She Writes Press, a hybrid publisher, and winner of the 2019 Indie Publisher of the Year award. I liked their business model and that they prioritized new voices among women writers. They offered the services and distribution network of traditional publishers.
18- What's the biggest writing goal you hope to accomplish in your lifetime?
Writing Joyful, Delicious, Vegan: Life Without Heart Disease was a means to my goal of sharing a lived experience of reversing my hypertension, despite family history. I was encouraged by the science, but it was the stories of others that inspired my health journey. While I want every reader to take something from this book that will make a difference in their health and wellbeing, my goal is to use the book as a tool to engage with people in our communities that can benefit most from the message.
19- Would you please ask our audience a question to answer in the comments?
What is the secret you share in your book to making and sustaining any healthy lifestyle change?
20- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?
"Joyful, Delicious, Vegan: Life Without Heart Disease shows you how to use whole plant foods and mindful living to bring health and joy to every stage of your life".
--Brian Wendel, founder and president of Forks Over Knives
Before becoming a food activist and author, Sherra Aguirre founded and led a successful business for three decades, winning national awards for entrepreneurship, innovation, and service excellence. She sold the company to focus on her passion for healthy diet and lifestyle, having spent many years researching and reading extensively about the relationship between what we eat and preventable chronic diseases. In Joyful, Delicious, Vegan: Life Without Heart Disease Sherra shares her personal story of reversing her hypertension, despite a lengthy family history of heart disease, by adopting a whole plant-based diet. She is passionate about empowering others to maintain vibrancy and good health throughout their lifetimes.
Joyful, Delicious, Vegan: Life Without Heart Disease by Sherra Aguirre