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One of my favourite things about social media is how easy it is to find new friends with similar passions and lifestyles you never would have otherwise met. I don’t think I would have thrived on my plant-based journey without the strong vegan online community. Through mutual friends on facebook, I befriended Andrea Frenke, a passionate vegan and fitness buff who is a growing star on Instagram.  Check out some of her beautiful photos below, and follow her here.  (You can find me on Instagram here).

Andrea Frenke collage(photos above by a_vegan_frenke)

When Andrea launched her eBook Delicious, Nutritious, Easy, I didn’t hesitate to buy it, since it’s a steal at $3 for 15 healthy recipes, most with 7 ingredients or less and quick to prepare. There is a full-colour photo of every recipe, which I think is crucial for any cookbook I buy.

Earthgiven Kitchen recipes from A Vegan Frenke (2)I made the Strawberry Mint Snow and was instantly reminded of childhood summers enjoying snow cones; now I can enjoy them without the artificial flavours, colours and sugar.

Earthgiven Kitchen recipes from A Vegan Frenke (3)The Avocado Basil Salsa is so delicious and perfect to enjoy all summer long. It would also be a perfect veggie burger topping!

Earthgiven Kitchen recipe from A Vegan Frenke Dessert SmoothieI also made the Dessert Smoothie which is similar to my favourite morning chocolate-banana-kale smoothie, but Andrea swaps greens for luxurious Medjool dates and it’s a fabulous treat.

Other recipes include Kale Hummus, Whole Wheat Banana Waffles and Pad Thai.

Andrea has not only agreed to be interviewed for Earthgiven Kitchen but she’s giving one Earthgiven Kitchen reader a PDF copy of her book Delicious, Nutritious, Easy. Read on for all the deets!

Sarina: How and when did you become vegan?

Andrea: I became vegan overnight after watching Vegucated and then doing some backup research. I had been vegetarian for a year (after watching Food Inc.) and cheese was my replacement for meat. That was almost a year ago and I feel like I have found the key to living a happy and healthy life. I must admit that I was purposely keeping myself ignorant prior to this time. When I finally made the decision to educate myself there was NO WAY I could ever go back, and I don’t want to.

Sarina: Me too! You live in the Toronto area, where there are dozens of vegan restaurants (lucky you!) What are your favourite restaurants?

Andrea: Yes, I am VERY lucky to live in a city that has vegan options and restaurants. My all-time favourite restaurant is Fresh and I am a big fan of Live Organic Food Bar! However I also want to point out that I have been able to find vegan options at non-vegan restaurants also! Usually you are safe with a large salad (sans cheese of course) and asking for some olive oil or balsamic as a dressing. Or I love a good pasta (make sure you ask if it’s egg washed) with a meatless tomato sauce and basil – YUM! I recommend telling your waiter that you have allergies or aversions, rather than expressing that you are vegan. They tend to take it more seriously in that case rather than lie to you, which sadly does happen quite often.

Sarina: You have amassed 10,000 followers on Instagram, very impressive! What tips do you have for those who want to be successful in social media?

Andrea: Social media is a great way to spread what’s important to you and reach a large group of people. My tips are to be authentic, comment on other accounts and try and get to know the people behind them. I have been very lucky to have a close friend with 110K share my account with her followers and have had other large accounts share it also. Be patient and be yourself, it took me a year to get 9,000 and the more followers you have the more quickly your account with grow!

Sarina: What’s the one dish you make the most?

Andrea: Hands down, veggie coconut curry. There is a great recipe in my eBook and really it is one of the easiest recipes to make, hard to mess up a curry!

Sarina: The curry will be my next recipe of yours to try! Aside from nutritious vegan eating, what else are you passionate about?

Andrea: I am extremely passionate about the environment, and educating people on how their decisions have impacts. I am also very passionate about human rights and equality. Lastly I am passionate about fitness, and I have a YouTube channel where I try to inspire people to get active. Really I just want to help as many people as I can to lead healthy, kind and conscious lives.

Thank you Andrea for sharing a copy of your eBook for the giveaway. To enter, simply comment below by July 18th: tell us your favourite vegan dish! The contest is open worldwide. One entry will be randomly selected on July 19th. Good luck!

Update: Congratulations to eBook winner Kathryn Bulver!