Helping individuals and groups achieve their health goals
through a whole-food, plant-powered and planet-friendly way of
eating; specializing in healthy, vegan cooking classes in San Diego
About Veg-Appeal and Our Instructors
What started out as a healthy eating group called “The Food Buddies,” has blossomed into a company focused on sharing our love of food, flavors, fun, and health! Individually, we had become accomplished, working in the healthy-eating arena for years, with an interest in sharing the joy and simplicity of eating unprocessed, whole plant foods. Meeting on a regular basis, we discussed the possibility of joining forces to help share our knowledge and experience with others. We wanted to demonstrate that eating healthy is not as difficult as it seems and help people overcome those initial hurdles that often come with a dietary change. Here is a little bit about the Veg-Appeal members and our instructors, a group that is here to help you meet your wellness goals!
Health is our natural state, not sickness. The road to better health is paved with our everyday choices we make when we buy groceries, eat at restaurants, and cook at home. A management consultant in my prior life, I have found my true passion as a nutritionist – learning, experimenting, discovering, and enjoying food from around the world.
I have been a vegetarian all my life, and upgraded to a vegan lifestyle since 2011. My toughest crowd as a vegan chef and nutritionist is at home – two toddlers who have palates refined far beyond their age and a husband who has very few countries left on his ‘need to visit’ list. Food speaks about history, culture, and patterns of society, it is a universal experience – I use food to explore world and nourish my soul. I am a Nutritional Consultant from the Global College of Natural Medicine and a Master’s in Computer Science.
My passion is to help people see their inner beauty and happiness by maintaining physical and mental wellness through improvements in diets and lifestyle.
This is my dream job!! I’ve been interested in health and food since my teens. My path towards vegetarianism began in 1977, involved in the 4H program. I took the sheep I raised to the Del Mar Fair but didn’t make really make the connection between my “pets” and people’s plates until my parents bid on and bought a lamb from a member of my 4H club. I refused to eat the meat from an animal I had met. Soon after that, my teacher showed us a slide of a cross section of pork in 11th grade biology. Seeing all the “bugs” living in the meat sealed the deal for me. I could no longer eat meat.
I am a Nutritional Consultant, recently receiving certification from the Global College of Natural Medicine. Previously, at the University of Idaho, I received a B.S. in Business Management and an M.S. in Computer Science. A vegetarian in Idaho in the early 1980s you ask? It’s possible, and I survived! I decided to give up all animal products in 1991 after learning about the cruelty in the dairy and egg industries and finding that using these products was unnecessary for the enjoyment of food and for health.
In 2005, I received training from the Cancer Project in Washington, D.C. to teach Food For Life cooking classes in San Diego County. This is rewarding work, as I have a passion for sharing their mission: the power of nutrition in cancer prevention and survival. I am certified to teach Food For Life Diabetes classes with the PCRM (Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine).
Sharing my enthusiasm for healthy food and introducing people to wonderful, creative ways to make meals without animal products is a joyful experience for me. I want to spread the word about health-promoting, plant-based foods and how delicious, easy and satisfying they can be. I truly believe that as more people become interested in eating plant-based diets, the world will be better for all of us.
I am the mother of two active, vegan teens, so with Veg-Appeal I hope to share my experiences of shopping and cooking healthy foods for a busy family with a hectic schedule filled with activities.
About Our Instructors
Tracy and/or Ami will teach every Veg-Appeal class, and we are lucky to have some expert and knowledgable instructors, further diversifying the foods, flavors and excitement that we provide in our classes! Please get to know our local “gurus!’
Tovah Terranova has led an extremely personal journey to find her life after being diagnosed with an autoimmune and severe inflammatory disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis at age 25. As her condition rapidly worsened she realized some things needed to change in a big way if she was going to get on with her life. After discovering the healing powers of the plant based lifestyle, & raw juicing. Five years later she's thriving and ready to share with the community how they too can change their life, reverse and prevent disease. Disease is not something you have to live with or "survive" you can change your life, learn to move past your illness and still be able to live out your dreams. In addition to cooking with Veg Appeal she's now turned her passion for helping others, writing and events into a business: GreenLife Cleanse & Detox which is the first of it's kind to offer compassion, cutting edge science and educational info & workshops to those wishing to revolutionize their health one meal at a time.
She writes about her experiences and lessons along the way on her blog in her new book, "The Vegan with a Leather Purse.”
Nastasha is a proud mother of two and a realtor by trade, but recently decided to go back to school to pursue a career in nutrition, a HUGE passion! Here is a note from her: Being a single mom, jugging family, home and career can sometimes seem like an easy excuse not to take care of myself, but I promise, that incorporating a healthy lifestyle into a very busy schedule can be done and I’m a walking testament to that.
My journey started with a desire to be fit and shortly thereafter came the realization that it’s very difficult to eat junk and have the energy and endurance to workout! In the beginning, exercise and healthy eating was a chore, but now it is a passion and love of mine! I’ve fallen in love with this lifestyle and wouldn’t change it for anything! If you are new to the idea of eating healthy and fitness, I have a few words of advise. Don’t look at the bigger picture! Take baby steps, making small commitments that you know you can stick to. When you get used to one dietary or fitness change, add another. It’s like running a marathon - if you start off thinking about the 26 miles you might give up before you begin! However, if you just take it a mile at a time, when you cross that finish line you will look back in amazement at how far you have come!
I’d like to personally invite you to join this journey and together we can strive for a healthier future!
There’s nothing better than being able to get into your skinny jeans! Three years ago I was not that fortunate, I had gained over twenty pounds from working long hours and commuting over 500 miles a week. Even with regular exercise I was unable to lose weight. That all changed though soon after my son introduced me to the vegan diet. At first I was skeptical but after reading Alicia Silverstone’s book The Kind Diet and seeing the film “Food Inc.,” I woke up one morning and decided that going vegan was the right thing to do. Since then I have researched, studied, and immersed myself in all things vegan and I lost all twenty pounds!
Before becoming a vegan I was a traditional culinary arts instructor and had a second career working in education as a recruiter and consultant. I have degrees in Spanish, Management, and Culinary Arts from CSUSM, National University, and UCLA Extension. Today my passion is sharing the incredible good news about the benefits of a plant based diet through cooking classes and lectures. Going vegan will not only improve your health, it also has great environmental benefits - it’s a win, win diet plan that is paving the way to a better future for all of us! Every day I am grateful for all the delicious plant based foods I get to enjoy, I’ve finally found a place in life where food is good and it’s pretty much guilt-free. Adopt a vegan lifestyle and you’ll find an incredible number of people, resources, and opportunities to help you enjoy every step of the way. I’m excited to be a part of the Veg Appeal team and hope to see you in class soon!
About Two of our Original Founders
One of our three founders, Sheila has recently moved on to other endeavors, but remains one of our “Director Emeritus.” Here is her bio: My path in life started changing dramatically when in 1978 I no longer had a desire to eat red meat, chicken, fish and eggs. I could no longer tolerate the texture, taste, and the thought of killing the animal in order to eat it. Several years later, I gave up eating all dairy products. I developed an allergy to a milk protein and became violently ill every time I had dairy in my diet.
I started reading as much as I could about healthy eating and in 1990, I decided to officially study nutrition. I continued working while attending college and in 1996, I received my degree in Food and Nutrition from San Diego State University.
That same year I started working at the University of California, San Diego Cancer Center where I held the position of a Dietary Counselor. While there, I worked on many different research projects that studied the relationship between diet and cancer. I counseled hundreds of people during my 13 years with the University.
My passion for teaching healthy eating grows stronger the more I see the health of people in our country deteriorate and our sick care costs increase. My personal progression of eating healthier through the years made me aware that I did not know how bad I felt until I started noticing how much better I felt: no colds, no flu, and more energy.
Through Veg Appeal I can continue to help others in their understanding of how to feel healthier and more importantly, how to be healthier.
Marge has moved on to other endeavors, but remains our “Director Emeritus.” As a founding member and generous soul we know she is always there if we need her! Here is her bio: Growing up as an omnivore in South Dakota I ate the normal fare of meat and potatoes, but also ate many vegetables and fruits. Unfortunately I over-consumed almost everything and ended up weighing almost 200 pounds by the time I was 37 years old. I developed quite a sweet addiction and struggled with food issues for many years.
In 1993, after taking a vegetarian class from a friend, watching a powerful video by John Robbins (Diet for a New America), and being called to task by a colleague to bring my eating in line with my environmental views, I decided to let go of eating anything from animals. My husband, Keith, joined me on this adventure, and we no longer eat meat, dairy, or eggs. I am not perfect with that, but almost all of my choices are from the enormous variety of plant foods. We love eating and have discovered a whole new way of eating the delicious abundance from the plant world. I used to dislike cooking, but now I enjoy it, especially when I cook foods from my garden.
Since that powerful change almost 19 years ago, I have lost 60 pounds, feel healthy and energetic, and am at peace with my eating. Through eating a plant-based, whole-foods diet and adding daily exercise to my schedule, I stay healthy and fit and love to share what I have learned. My food choices reflect my reverence for life and for the earth, and I am committed to sharing my experiences and knowledge with others who want to feel healthy, vibrant and peaceful with their eating.
I have a Master's Degree in Public Health from UCLA School of Public Health and have a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell University. I'm trained as a teacher and have taught science, health education and teaching methodology. I've been a healthy eating educator and cooking instructor in community settings for over 12 years and had my own business teaching people about simple and healthy eating.
Website design by Keith Mesecher & Mike Collier & Veg-Appeal staff