“Where Decadence Meets Compassion” is more than a catchy line in Anne Lynch’s promotion of her business, The Vegan Goddess.
“I hope that phrase perpetuates the belief that vegan can mean indulgence in sweet, rich and delicious food,” Lynch said. “It doesn’t all have to be that version of ‘healthy’ that many people get in their minds.“People get scared by new ways of thinking, and animal products in food is so ingrained in our Western culture that it can be terrifying for the average person to even consider changing the way they eat.”
To turn people around on their misconception of limited choice and terrible taste when we eat with no animal products, dairy, eggs or honey, Lynch has been known to enlist the transformative power of chocolate.
The Vegan Goddess plan is to change attitudes. She introduces people to food that tastes great, and easy to prepare. She’s begun giving cooking demonstrations at events, to show just how easy it can be to make delicious, healthful vegan food. “You’ve planted a seed, and that’s a start,” said Lynch about her hope for people to be mindful of their food and their choices.
Her high quality, delicious baked goods and restaurant-level main and side dishes have home-grown roots.
Lynch has been a strict vegan for more than 10 years, but she got herself wrist deep in cooking at a very young age.
“Our mother put me and my brother to work helping her, especially with special occasion cooking like her famous Christmas cookies,” Lynch said. “They were so in demand as gifts or outright requests that she began them in October and we helped decorate the dozens of varieties of cookies she made.”
Interestingly, her older brother started out as a vegan and now the roles have reversed.
“What’s comforting is that my family accepts my veganism and shows support, said the Vegan Goddess. “After all these years, they all know it’s not ‘just a phase.’ Even my elderly grandmother is aware of adapting food choices at family gatherings at home or in restaurants.
“Growing up, our family life centered on cooking. Kids were in the kitchen from the start, and that is where we learned our cooking skills and the power of foods to satisfy our needs, to celebrate and to heal,” Lynch said.
In her university years, her meals were mostly pasta. “It was filling and economical,” Lynch said. “Eventually I added vegetables, whole grains, legumes and found there were big savings to be had when meat was eliminated and I concentrated on produce.”
Today, Lynch meets customer requests for vegan foods at home and on the run with in-demand cookies, bars and breakfast pastries as well as soups, salads and sandwiches. She has been a personal chef on-call to clients, and has created romantic dinners for special occasions and catered to small and large groups. The Vegan Goddess does take special orders year round, but now devotes her time to bringing vegan decadence to the public at shows.
“Food activism is a form of direct activism,” Lynch said. While she’s been heavily involved with animal rights movements and events in the past, her activism now focuses on “converting the world to veganism by chocolate.”
In our after-dinner course, we ask The Vegan Goddess some direct and practical questions about her journey and learn a bit more about her family, current projects and some advice.
Helena Kaufman is a writer and communications trainer.
In 1982, success at promoting, marketing and writing about 200 artisans launched Helena as an event publicist.
The designers who sold at the Annual Manitoba Christmas Craft Sale exhibited original functional and decorative pieces in fibre, pottery, metal, oil, paper, wood, distinctive wearable art and more.
Helena worked to raise their profile, bring media attention and increase their sales. She now shares some of that savvy here at Lanterloon as one of our writers. Helena’s writing and communications site can be found here.