I like to think that I eat relatively healthy, but I know that I can do better. One of the things that I am trying to lean into is eating more plant-based meals. If I can devote one day a week to vegetarian or vegan meals, then that is a step in the right direction. Enter the “Food Is Love: there are no rules in food and love” cookbook.
I know there are health benefits to eating a diet rich with vegetables and fruits. I’m also trying to cut back on processed foods or foods that are high in sodium. As someone who likes eating chicken, fish and occasionally meat, I was looking for a cookbook with vegetarian or vegan entrees that will encourage me to adopt a “Meatless Monday.”
“Food Is Love” is a book filled with delicious, vegan recipes and the tale of Chef Angelique Santana’s journey of self-discovery and transformation. Overcoming her own struggle with weight loss and learning about eating a healthier diet, Chef Angelique wanted to share her message by cooking for others and showing them healthier food options.
Recently, I had the opportunity to talk to Chef Angelique Santana about her cookbook. Chef Angelique is a plant-based chef who cooks strictly vegan dishes. She has a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and holds various certifications in nutrition and as a health coach.
“Food Is Love: there are no rules in food and love” – can you share your thoughts on the title of your book?
Chef Angelique: The book title came about over conversation during a mastermind I was participating in which also sparked the idea of writing a cookbook. First, I love love. I love hearts. I love people and serving them. While we were eating dinner together, I mentioned that food is an expression of love and that is how the main title came about.
The subtitle – “there are no rules in food and love” came from all of the conversations I have had with people about food, diets, and love from our families, friends, society, and media. I received my health coach certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and landed on veganism for myself after going vegan for 28 days and losing 25 pounds. I also landed on intuitive eating and your body knowing what it wants based on its needs. This conversation could go on and on.
Your cookbook is dedicated to your family. Did they inspire you to write a cookbook?
Chef Angelique: I dedicated my cookbook to my family because they are extremely important to me and although there are many people that have contributed to my growth and success, none of it would be possible without my immediate family. They are the core and center of my life. We also lost my father to lung cancer in 2015 and I moved back home to NJ from Fort Lauderdale in April 2017 while I was still writing the book which I self-published in August 2018. It was in my heart to dedicate it first and foremost to each one of them as a thank you for what they have given to me.
As a plant-based personal chef, do you ever have clients that ask to include meat, chicken or fish into your dishes?
Chef Angelique: When I first started cooking I was a vegetarian and I did still cook eggs, cheese, poultry, fish, and for one client occasionally ground beef. When I went vegan five months later, it did not take me long to tell them I was no longer going to be preparing animal proteins along with a list of vegan alternatives. I expected to lose clients, but I didn’t. Since then, I have acquired many new clients and everyone always asks me if I am vegan and then if I only cook vegan. The answer to both questions is yes. No one asks me to cook anything for them since it is clear when we start working together that I am vegan and so is all of the food that I prepare even though none of them are vegan.
What is your favorite recipe in the cookbook?
Chef Angelique: One of my favorite recipes to make is the Crab-Less Cakes. They are fun to make and it is a client favorite. Some clients order them every week.
I find it interesting that many of Chef Angelique’s clients are not vegan, yet they enjoy eating a plant-based diet. Much like her clients, I don’t see myself going completely vegetarian or vegan, but I can certainly dabble in it occasionally. What’s nice is that the food industry has a wide variety of choices now, from Daiya dairy-free cheeses to Impossible burger and chicken products.
Speaking of dairy-free cheeses, there is a recipe in “Food is Love” on page 53 for Zucchini Lasagna (no pasta).
The recipe calls for just a few ingredients – zucchini, vegan mozzarella cheese and marinara. There’s even a marinara recipe on page 55.
I’m looking forward to cooking many of these dishes from “Food Is Love: there are no rules in food and love.” The cookbook can be found on Amazon. If you’d like more information, check out the author’s website at www.eatwithangelique.com. Also, check out her Instagram to see yummy foodie pics and to get the latest updates! I hear there might be another cookbook in the works. 😉
Disclosure: No monetary compensation was received for this post. I received a complimentary book which helped facilitate this review. All images are my own unless otherwise noted. As always, my opinions are 100% my own.