Amelia and JP - Founders of LottaVeg

Meet Amelia & JP

Hi. I’m JP…the writer. I’m the one who documents the recipes and writes the blog posts. It was my idea to start LottaVeg so we could document our vegan journey and share the delicious recipes we make.

Amelia is the head chef and meal planner. A few of the recipes are mine, but the vast majority are hers. She’s a lifelong studier of nutrition and fitness, and a darn good veggie cook.

She also obtained her Plant-Based Nutrition Certification from eCornell and T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. That means she knows a lot more than just how to make delicious Whole-Foods, Plant-Based recipes. She also knows what makes them healthy or not, and the supporting science behind it. Learn more about her certification here…

The Defining Moment

Going vegan, selling nearly everything you own and minimizing your lifestyle normally doesn’t happen on a whim. There’s usually something major that happens that makes you take stock of your life and question the choices you’ve been making.

For us, that moment came after I had two surgeries in the span of four months in late 2015. Having lost a considerable amount of feeling in my hands, legs and feet, I went for an MRI and was diagnosed with a shattered disc in my neck and three ruptured discs in my lower back.

As you can see in the picture, my spinal cord was nearly pinched off. This required emergency surgery and now I have a nice new artificial disc in my neck.

In December 2015, I had a 5-level lumbar fusion surgery and spent 8 days in the hospital, and several months on debilitating medication. After more than a year of recovery, I can say I’m about 95% of normal with quite a bit of my lost feeling back.

Recommended Documentaries

The Awakening

Coming down off the medication from my back surgery and looking for something to watch (having finished the entire series of NCIS), Netflix was kind enough to recommend a few documentaries.

I started with Fed Up, which opened my eyes to the corruption in the food industry. I didn’t know the history of the “low fat diet” craze that started in the late 70’s, which led to replacing fat in our processed foods with sugar. I also didn’t know that our livers convert sugar to fat, and refined sugar gets converted almost immediately to fat. I also didn’t know sugar was more addictive than cocaine.

Having the false perception shattered that our government monitors these things and protects us from evil-doers, I wondered what else Netflix had in store with their mind altering documentaries. I’ve shared them on a separate page so you can easily share them with your friends:

It took me several months to watch all of these (plus a few others), and collectively they had a huge impact on my worldview and Amelia’s, by proxy.

Before, I thought our country was the greatest nation on earth. I thought our government was basically good. I thought it was protecting us from harm. I thought it was keeping an eye on corporations to make sure they don’t get too far out of control. I thought the war on terror and the war on drugs were legitimate causes worth fighting.

Now I realize that our government has been complicit in the rape and pillage of not only the American citizens, but even more-so, the citizens of other nations. Our government has worked hand-in-hand with large corporations to pass laws and commit horrific atrocities at home and around the world to benefit their bottom lines while padding the pockets of corrupt politicians…at the expense of the people’s and the planet’s wellbeing.

This is now the world we live in. A world ruled by greed and corruption, fueled by fear and ignorance. This is not a world Amelia nor I wish to fully embrace, so we’re doing our part to protest by limiting our contribution to it.

The China Study Revised and Expanded Edition

Recommended Books

In addition to documentaries, here are some good books we recommend reading:

  • How Not To Die – this book by Dr. Michael Greger reviews hundreds of studies that explore the causes of our most common diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, and others. Spoiler: Most of the diseases that kill us are caused by what we eat and the best treatment is to change what we eat.
  • The China Study – the longest and most comprehensive study of nutrition every conducted.
  • The Starch Solution – this book references several studies that debunk the myth that carbs are the enemy. There’s a difference between simple carbs like sugar and those found in processed foods, and complex carbs like those found in potatoes and brown rice.
  • Breaking the Food Seduction – there’s more to life than food. This book shows you how to break your addiction to food so you can make more conscious, healthy dietary decisions and not be ruled by your addiction.
  • Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition – how our bodies process nutrients is far more complex than a simple analyses of individual nutrients can explain. This book challenges the reductionist science that has dominated our study of nutrition.

The Road Less Travelled

Even though I was covered by Obamacare, my surgeries still wracked up a lot of debt. Being self-employed as a web designer and writer, I was out of work for over six months with virtually no income.

Add to that, Amelia had to give up her high-paying regional sales job and take a much lower paying job so she could stay close to home and take care of me during my surgeries and recovery.

With the hit to our income and increased expenses, making a $3,000 mortgage payment became a monthly ritual of robbing Peter to pay Paul. I’ve never been in that position before, and I hope I never will be again.

Our awakening combined with our debt meant we had to make a change. Selling the house became a foregone conclusion, but what to do next was not so clear.

I’m not gonna lie…it’s scary as hell to cast off the shackles I’ve always known in favor of a freedom lifestyle I’ve never lived, but I’m putting my faith in the journey…the adventure ahead.

To quote Robert Frost, “Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” Here’s to Frost and his wisdom. May the road we take make all the difference.

Onward and upward.