You've got questions...
Q: I'd like to ask your opinion about wood/bamboo cutting boards. I'm thinking about getting one, but on the package they usually say you have to handle the raw cutting board with some special oil before you start to use it, so the board gets protected and will last longer. Is it OK to use some oil on the cutting board or will this oil end up in my food later?
A: I have three bamboo cutting boards. You're supposed to put mineral oil on them, though I never have. Maybe they would last longer if I did, but I'm generally very hard on my cookware, and even then my boards last me several years.
I don't think oiling the board would be an issue because it will be soaked into the wood. (Though you probably would want to wait 24 hours).
Q: (Cutting board, cont'd.) My second question is how you clean it. Obviously you can't clean it in a dishwasher, so I suppose you need to wash it by hand. Will this method kill all the bacteria and clean the cutting board properly?
I wash mine manually, but I don't have a dishwasher to be tempted with that option anyway ;)
If you're concerned about bacteria, etc., microwave the board for a minute. Some websites suggest combining equal parts water and white vinegar, then submerging the cutting board in the mix for a minute or so before microwaving, but I think microwaving probably does the trick by itself. Let it cool in the microwave for a few minutes so you don't burn your hand, though.
Q: I was wondering what products you use for teeth cleaning? Your teeth are so white and beautiful, they just look super healthy!
Aww thank you. I use IPSAB tooth powder in lieu of tooth paste, but it's basically just baking soda with some mint mixed in. As much as I love IPSAB, I feel it's my diet that has made all the difference in the health (and appearance) of my teeth. The better I eat, the whiter they are!
Q: Do you have any beauty tips? What products do you use on your body and hair?
A: I'm afraid I'm painfully boring. I usebaking soda for pretty much everything. I attribute my skin's glow and my long, shiny hair to my diet. I eat a whole foods, low-fat, plant-based diet — absolutely no animal products or oil. Prior to cleaning up my diet, I used all kinds of products, including medically prescribed treatments and really expensive salon stuff and my skin and hair (and nails!) never looked like this. When you put good in, glow comes out!
You can also check out Gin's posts:
Vegan Skin Care (tips from a professional vegan makeup artist!)
Vegan Make Up (get the glam!)
Q: Our family has been plant-based for 18 months, but my daughter is going to the Dominican Republic for spring break and will have no meal choices as they will be dining as a group. She is also conflicted, wanting to fully immerse and enjoy the local cuisine as much as possible as part of the cultural experience. She feels she can eliminate the meat, but may have to eat cheese that will be in prepared dishes, and she has concerns about being sick because of it. Since you have traveled so extensively, do you have comments/suggestions?
A: I've traveled all over and never felt like I needed to eat local foods I would never eat at home to "get the experience." In fact, if I had eaten meat or dairy, in, say, Italy, I would have had a terrible experience — digestive issues, feeling icky, and of course the heavy heart of knowing some animal had to suffer for me to "vacation." That wouldn't make for a happy experience or a happy memory — at least for me. Plus, I just don't look at non-plant foods as "food" or an "option." They're off my radar because I see them as poison. I'd rather eat foods I know, love, and are good for me.
On another note: I've also been to the Dominican Republic and it was easy for me to be vegan the entire time. A family I'm close to is vegetarian, and they vacation in DR every year and have for the better part of the last decade. For me, I travel for the experiences, NOT the food :)
Q: Have you written anything about being vegan and gluten-free with tips and tricks to make it easier?
A: Many times over! See the blog posts below. Plus don't forget our meal plans are always gluten-free! All 3 of my cookbooks are mostly gluten-free as well.
See these posts for more tips and info:
What is Gluten-Free?
Flour — White, Wheat or Gluten-Free, Part 2
Using Gluten-Free Flours
Everything You Ever Need to Know About Low-Fat (Oil-Free) Vegan Baking (Gluten-Free Tips Included!)