Holly NollSan Francisco, CA

Chef, Writer, Athlete

Holly has been vegan for a good many years now but didn’t get into it for the health benefits. That all came later. It all began growing up in the food industry, heavily inspired by her father, grand mother and their traditional styles, learning to twist them into healthier, plant based, versions. Once foundations got solidly laid, fear became obsolete, and she became bolder, finding new ways to expand the possibilities with plant based food.

Along the way Holly worked at the famed Cafe Gratitude that changed her vision of food, sweets, raw food and health. Then went on to start the first business, the original Liberation Foods, a whole sale vegan bakery out of Oakland, CA that was dispersed to move to Seattle to work at such renowned restaurants as Sutra, Thrive and Cafe Flora. She also has done many events and classes, guest lectured at the Art Institute of Seattle, written columns on food and music for AMP magazine as well as food, fitness and recipes for various blogs and websites. Through teaching she met and coached individuals on how to use alkalizing lifestyle change to cure their cancers and disease while using diet and lifestyle to cure her own ailments. While in Seattle, Holly joined an awesome team and created Vegan Shortcake, an ongoing cooking and lifestyle show. However, a California girl at heart and the sun beckoned, so she returned to the Bay Area and became certified in Plant Based Nutrition from eCornell to solidify abilities to join food, flavor and wellness. She is dedicated to teaching how to rid ourselves of the perception of what can and cannot be done, not only in food, but also when it comes to improving all that we see around us.

Plant Based Chef specializing in alternative, disease preventing diets without the sacrifice of taste or experience. Currently offering Healthy Workplace Delivery Program, Classes on various aspects of healthy cooking at Kitchener Oakland, meal and lifestyle planning as well as a recently released eBook.

Areas of Expertise: Cleansing, Mood Stabilization, Nutrition, Raw Food, Toning

Services: Meal Planning

Availability: Online

I went vegan about 7 years ago after being veg a few years and honestly being pretty anti vegan, ironic now, right? I was in a co op house in San Francisco, CA waiting for a friend and thumbing through a rack of "zines" when I started reading one on feminism and equality. It's interesting how the small things can change your whole world. I found a very short, not more than one page article on the connection between human females struggle for sexual equality and females of other species oppression in the dairy industry. I was a dedicated anarcho feminist at the time and it shocked me that I could be supporting the sexual/reproductive oppression of others while fighting so hard for my own. The hypocrisy was to much and I went vegan immediately. Best decision ever, although it has certainly not been the easiest. As a person with a career in the food industry and a family full of others who do as well, it's been super challenging... but who would I be to shy away from a challenge?! Although my family definitely thought I was isolating myself and ruining my future career, and after years of facing those who think that in food, being plant based is a massive handicap I'm happy to say I've have changed a few people. The most important to me, has been my family who has finally open up to the idea that v food can be good, maybe even better than their meat mouth options. Especially after getting the Plant Based Nutrition certification and helping a few people through difficult illnesses, thus showing even more what can be done with a little positive evolution!

I am all about leading by example. The vast majority of folks aren't interested in sacrificing all that much for almost anything, they want to feel, look and eat well, so I focus on that. I think that showing others that they can grow closer to achieving the goals they want, whether that's better skin, healthier life, sexier physique, or faster recovery, through adoption of more conscious choices, they are way more likely to do it...and love it. They don't need to think of it as saving lives, so long as they are doing so in the process. My main form of activism is around feel. Making things feel good. To the mouth first and the body second. As far as more overt animal rights, I am also part of a YouTube show called Vegan Shortcake that's all about how awesome and delicious vegan lifestyle can be and the blog of the same name that is constantly evolving with me to showcase the most exciting things this lifestyle has to offer. I have also tried to infuse other venues with healthy vegan ideas such as American Music Press magazine which I wrote a Music and Food pairing column and it's newest evolution: New Noise magazine. Then when it comes to even more direct action, I'll leave that to my favorite animal rights "organization": The ALF.

My favorite animal saving story came from a conversation with one of the people who runs "Precious Life Sanctuary" when we were filming the Thanksgiving episode of Vegan Shortcake. He said that before he was vegan he ended up at a slaughter yard with some people he knew and met a calf that just connected with him. He couldn't stand the idea of this calf getting killed, so he snuck away and scooped him into the back of his van! He said that the calf was mooing in the background when he called his wife from a near by pay phone on his way home to tell her that a calf was returning home with him... to their very small abode. She supported his actions and eventually they had to grow their space to accommodate their new bovine friend which began their journey into becoming a sanctuary for so many animals in need. I love stories about peoples evolution into a larger consciousness, this story brought me to tears and still inspires me to this day.

My best advice to someone who's going vegan would be to strive for perfection but to forgive when slip ups happen, but to always read labels. I would also advise digging into a few plant based blogs that resonate with them (such as Vegan Shortcake!) and playing with recipes. The last thing is usually to be careful not to fill ones world with the obvious vegan choices that are left when the other items are omitted such as pasta, tortillas, rice and bread, but rather to focus on eating colorfully: filling up on veggies, greens, fruits and legumes. Too many people gain weight, and feel awful, when they go vegan because they drop all the protein and veggies out but keep the carbohydrate heavy things, go whole food plant based!