In our Herbivore Diaries series, we chat with your favorite herbivores with one important mission in mind: Proving just how easy it is to be a plant-eater. Whether it’s discovering new grocery cart staples or finding out pro-level preparation methods, you’ll (finally) learn to love your veggies—and then some.
Remy Park is nothing short of a ray of sunshine. The holistic nutritionist, recipe developer, and Veggiekins founder has a bubbly, inviting personality that instantly makes you feel like you’re hanging out with a lifelong BFF whenever you watch her Instagram Story. And don’t even get me started on her pastel-colored feed filled with (almost) too-good-to-eat vegan goodies. It’s straight-up mesmerizing.
With that being said, it’s no surprise that Park’s squad of human beans is now more than 107,000 strong. What you might not know, though, is that she only ever planned on having one. She originally made her Instagram account in college as a way to stay accountable as she worked on healing her eating disorder, and the only person following along was her doctor, who used the platform as a way to check in and ensure she was sticking to her meal plan. But as she’s said in the past, what was initially a product of her pain turned into her passion.
Today, Park is truly living the dream, schooling the world on nontoxic living, teaching yoga and meditation, and—of course!—creating a never-ending supply of creative vegan recipes, from plant-based milk that’s every color of the rainbow to matcha monstera cookies. And this is just the beginning.
Remy Park: From a young age, I had ongoing stomach discomfort and realized it was most likely a dairy allergy. Unfortunately, at the time, I loved cheese and all things dairy, but I decided to completely eliminate it from my diet.
After a few days, I felt more energetic than ever before and had no signs of stomach discomfort. I was also cooking a lot of vegan recipes, because many of the dairy-free recipes happened to be vegan, too. I decided to completely give up meat as well to see whether I’d notice a change, and the feeling alone was enough to convince me that a vegan diet was a way to go. I’ve been vegan ever since and slowly learned more about the ethical component of veganism, as well as the environmental impact.
I had struggled with an eating disorder since elementary school, and although I had been working on recovery for many years, veganism was the first thing that made me excited about food again. For a long time, it was something I feared, avoided, and just hated being around, but getting creative in the kitchen was therapeutic for me. Through realizing what a positive impact I had on the lives of animals, the environment, and of course my own health, eating became something I finally felt really good about again.
RP: I think eating seasonally is one way to really make the veggie-eating experience a lot more satisfying. Picking veggies at their peak for maximum flavor, for example. Aside from that, another great way to make any veggie or plant-based protein taste good is to treat it the same way you would cook meat. Take the time to marinate it, season it, and serve it with complementary sides. The majority of what people love about meat comes from the way it’s cooked and seasoned anyway.
RP: My essentials are:
1. Tempeh: Tempeh is definitely my favorite plant protein. I used to be really into tofu, but I love the texture of tempeh and that it’s a fermented food.
2. Leafy greens: These are a staple. I’ll rotate between spinach, arugula, kale—whatever’s in season. They’re great in smoothies, as salad bases, and with grain bowls.
3. Japanese sweet potato: Japanese sweet potatoes are my absolute fave. I love them because they’re delicious as-is—no seasonings or additions required! They’re dense, and nutrient-rich, so if I’m ever on the run, I’ll usually have baked Japanese sweet potatoes in the fridge and I’ll grab one to take with me.
4. Almond butter: Almond butter is a staple in my pantry for baking, making dressings, and drizzling on bananas or toast. I don’t really cook with much oil, but I love using almond butter as a healthy fat source. It’s so versatile.
5. Grapefruit: This is random, but it’s probably my favorite fruit. I always have room for a giant grapefruit!
RP: My go-to is either my routine Tahini Kale Caesar Salad or Avo Tahini Pesto with zoodles and tempeh. For me, a go-to meal has to be balanced and rich in carbohydrates, plant protein, greens, and healthy fats. It also has to be something I can throw together without having to do any measuring. At this point, I make both of these dishes so often I’ve memorized the quantities!
RP: I think tahini is becoming more and more popular, but it’s still pretty underrated because people only tend to use it in savory cooking. I love using it in sweet recipes—it’s actually become a staple cookie dough base ingredient for me. It makes for an amazing cut-out cookie dough, plus it balances the sweetness of the cookie so it’s not too overwhelming.
RP: I’ve exposed myself on YouTube while eating this really ugly meal, but my favorite is a lentil pasta with nooch sprinkled on top and a little salt. Honestly, it became a thing because I would get too lazy to blend up a vegan cheese sauce, and it kind of reminded me of something I used to eat when I was young—that sprinkle-able parmesan cheese on top of plain pasta. It’s ugly, but it always hits the spot for me… and it’s actually really high in protein!
RP: I’m a firm believer in using the power of plants for colors and dyes. I have to admit that I typically prefer eating darker hues and more vibrant colors—the richer the color, the more nutrient-rich it usually is. When it comes to food styling, though, a touch of beets for pink—or a little pink dragonfruit!—will do the trick. Another great pink source is freeze-dried strawberries blended up into a fine powder. I also love using red cabbage—which is usually very, very affordable—and mixing it with an acid-like lemon to make pink, or baking soda to make blue. It’s always a fun science experiment!
RP: Definitely spend some time looking into the nutrition first and know what you may need to supplement once you make a diet change—like B12, for example. Then nail a few recipes that can become your go-tos: preferably balanced, nutrient-dense meals. That way, you never end up not knowing what to eat. It’s always moments when you’re not sure what to eat that you end up falling back on meals that may not be vegan or nutrient-rich enough to fuel you.