I love food. For most of my life, I followed the Standard American Diet more than I wanted to admit. I looked for the "healthiest" options that still added up to mostly a bread, cheese, and soda diet. When I saw something marked vegan I figured it wasn't for me - I wasn't in that club. Now I know, it's not about being in a club. Anything marked vegan is for everyone, no matter their regular eating habits. Vegan is simply an indication that no animal products are involved in that food. Nearly all of us eat vegan food on a daily basis.
Growing up with iceberg lettuce and canned green beans, I wasn't at all thrilled with vegetables. By the time I was an adult, I tolerated an occasional salad and that was about the extent of my veggie consumption. I ate burgers fairly regularly because I thought I actually needed them, since I was anemic. Doctors told me that my kids and I needed dairy for calcium, so we made sure we ate cheese and yogurt daily. Late one sleepless night, the documentary Forks Over Knives provided information that led me to reconsidering all of that. One of the main points I learned was that plant-based whole foods are where the nutrients are, and as humans we thrive on them. I dug deeper, and found all sorts of helpful information that led me to where I am today: happier and healthier - in fact, feeling better than I realized I could possibly feel. I took the Rouxbe Forks Over Knives cooking course led by Chad Sarno and began to realize how wonderfully delicious and beautiful veggies can be. Gradually I began eating more of them, and creating plant-based alternatives for cheese and other foods we had been eating a lot of, and eventually I just didn't want any more animal-based foods.
Shifting the way I eat has brought energy into my life I didn't know could be there. My enthusiasm for food has actually increased - again, a big surprise! Now that I've made the decision to eat more whole plant-based foods and less processed, the health problems I used to have are gone. I realize that I no longer have extreme junk food cravings, my heart is no longer beating out my chest for no apparent reason, and my patience in general has grown tenfold - all since getting off of sugary sodas. At our house, we now love seltzer and fresh fruit-infused water! Oh, and I've lost weight. I'm a believer. I only wish I'd realized sooner how delicious real food can be! Fortunately, my kids did. They've made the choice to be 100% plant-based on their own. Yes, really! I made a point not to dictate (I'm not saying it was easy) and they each made the choice in their own time.
I am learning more all the time about what works for me and my family. I'm so inspired to take charge of my own kitchen now and maintain a plant-fueled lifestyle rather than yet another diet. I've found this way of life to be so much more delicious, doable, and filled with positive results than any diet I've ever tried.
It can be challenging to find, prepare, and eat plant-based foods - especially if you are a family on the go. So a big reason why I wanted to start the Beautiful Ingredient blog was to create a place to share ideas and celebrate quick, easy, and satisfying ways to eat plants - so that we can eat them and want to eat them rather than having to eat them. After even a small change to my daily routine, I quickly noticed health improvements and more energy. I just felt better. Better in a way I didn't know was possible! And I realized I’d never felt this way before in my life.
That said, I am a food enthusiast, not a health expert. While I strive to make positive food choices and am happy to share those choices here, I am not informed about your specific health needs. I recommend everyone do their own research and consult with their doctor before making diet changes. Make the right choice for you - just know that it is a choice. The way we’ve always eaten isn’t necessarily the best way.
I am also a designer who is currently creating products for the wonderful food site Food52. My creations are always made using eco-friendly materials, such as organic cotton and hemp. Fewer pesticides in the world - yesssss!
I have chosen to be very selective about advertising on my site. While it can be profitable, I find it distracting to have random ads popping up and making noise all over the page. I only want positive products here that relate to what this site is all about: a simple, authentic lifestyle focused on food for the body and food for the soul. As an Amazon Affiliate, I currently have two shops that you can choose to visit: one is Tools & Ingredients, filled with items that I find useful for a plant-fueled lifestyle, and the other is the Bookstore, where you can find books that have inspired me along the way. Both of these shops allow you to make your purchases through Amazon quickly and easily, and I will earn a small "finder's fee" percentage of your purchases, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!
You are invited along on this journey to discover just how beautiful real food is. While the recipes here will technically be vegan, I'm hoping that, whatever the lifestyle you choose, you will find them delicious and reasonable to prepare.
Hey, hi there! I'm Kari. Beautiful Ingredient is where - you guessed it - beautiful ingredients are celebrated!
I am a:
designer of eco-friendly housewares
I started Beautiful Ingredient as a creative outlet for all these things, and to discover and share delicious ways to eat real, whole plant-based foods.
I’m also a mom, wife, and dog mom who enjoys yoga, nature walks, and a great podcast, book, song, or show.
What's your favorite beautiful ingredient, at least right now? You can contact me with your answer - I'd love to know! I will happily get back to you with my current favorite. You can contact me here:
If you'd like to be updated on what's going on at Beautiful Ingredient, please sign up to receive the free newsletter. Free links to the latest recipes will come to your inbox, plus news and information relating to a plant-based lifestyle. You can sign up here: