Q+A w/ @veggiekins (AKA Remy Morimoto Park)
Remy Park’s personality is just like her photography style – bright, light and lovely. A yogi, holistic nutritionist and vegan recipe developer whose creations are (almost) too gorgeous to eat, you wouldn’t necessarily think that there have been dark times in Remy’s past. However, her current state of exceptional health, mental clarity and overall well-being was not always her reality. Having struggled with substance abuse and an eating disorder, Remy turned her “pain into passion,” dedicating her time into @veggiekins, her Instagram and blog about plant-based food, positivity and wellness.
Starting as a tool to help Remy heal, today @veggiekins has an active community of almost 100K followers. Remy has been sought out by major brands like Whole Foods and Asics for collaborations and partnerships. It’s safe to say that her career is thriving. We absolutely love Remy’s vegan (and mostly gluten and oil-free) recipes, and we appreciate the dedication she puts into creating her unique aesthetic. Scrolling through Remy’s feed is eye-candy!
by CHLOE.: Hi Remy! Thanks for chatting with us. Please introduce yourself.
Remy: Hi! I am a New York City based recipe developer, health and wellness writer and founder of the Veggiekins blog. Outside of the kitchen, I am a certified yoga and meditation teacher, mindfulness coach and holistic nutrition coach. I’m a serious cat lover, kombucha addict, and one of my favorite hobbies to do is travel!
bC: Talk to us about your plant-based journey. What inspired you to adopt a vegan lifestyle?
RP: When I was in middle school, I actually used to tell people I was vegan in order to avoid eating most foods. I was struggling with an eating disorder, and used it as an excuse (although I had no idea what vegan meant). Later in college, I went vegan, mostly for my own health because I noticed that dairy started to really make me feel sick when I had too much. I swapped to non-dairy alternatives for a week and felt so much better so I decided to just go completely vegan and haven’t gone back since! Later on, I learned more about the ethical and environmental impacts of becoming vegan and that’s what keeps me connected and committed to the lifestyle. Although I was technically “recovered” before I went vegan in college, I noticed that going vegan actually healed my relationship with food more than any treatment had before. It was the first time I thought about where my food came from, how my food choices impacted others, and also, started cooking. Cooking became therapeutic for me, and I actually enjoyed being around food, eating food and experimenting with recipes, versus fearing it like I used to.
bC: Can you tell us a little bit about your method for recipe development? What are you inspired by?
RP: I focus on a whole food, plant-based philosophy, favoring real food, and using natural flavors and colors in plants to make delicious food that feeds you and loves you back. I take a lot of inspiration from the health benefits and healing properties of plants as well as the produce that’s in season. Color is another big thing for me because often, vibrantly colorful plants are the most nutrient dense, and of course, it’s a feast for the eyes as well 🙂
bC: On your blog, you discuss having a holistic approach to wellness. What does this mean to you?
RP: As much as I focus on food and recipes, I don’t think you can be well without considering your mental and spiritual health too! Being well and healthy to me means mind, body and soul.
bC: As a certified yoga and meditation teacher and mindfulness coach, what are your tips for incorporating mindfulness practices into a busy life?
RP: I think that mindfulness is easier than we think. In New York City especially, it feels difficult to live mindfully due to the pace of life and of course, all the noise. I’ve found that implementing just one small practice or moment of self-care/mindfulness a day grounds me. It could be as simple as taking the subway and instead of looking down at your phone, or multitasking, being present during the ride and taking notice of your surroundings. It could be a 5 minute walk outside, enjoying your coffee or tea to-stay, instead of to-go.
bC: How do you practice a plant-based lifestyle outside of the kitchen?
RP: I’m conscious of my purchases as it relates to non-food items, so that means everything from the clothes and accessories I wear to the beauty and lifestyle I products I use are also vegan. For the most part, that means not purchasing things made from materials like leather, wool, fur or in beauty products, honey and beeswax, for example. The environment is another reason why I embrace a vegan lifestyle, so I do my best to purchase thoughtfully and reduce my waste where I can.
bC: What is the best part about living in NYC?
RP: I love the speed of this city. Not to be cliché, but what they say about this city never sleeping is definitely true! I’m naturally a (very) early bird, and it’s one of the few cities that is awake when I am too. No matter what time it is, you can find something open in the city, like yoga classes at 5am, or a bodega after a late night out at 2am. I also love that there’s something for everyone. NYC really caters to my lifestyle, with vegan and gluten-free options galore, farmer’s markets, you name it. It’s such a blessing to have options!
3 objects you can’t live without? Portable phone charger, scrunchie (I have a lot of hair haha!) and my reusable water bottle.
Favorite meal to cook? I would have to say baking of any kind. I find it therapeutic and it makes the house smell incredible!
Last song you listened to? Sweater Weather by The Neighbourhood — never gets old.
Favorite place on earth? I think my favorite place is Thailand. My ideal place would be somewhere tropical and close to the sea, but also a busy city, which doesn’t typically go hand in hand but a girl can dream!
Whatcha readin’? I’ve been loving reading Chickpea Mag, which is a beautiful plant-based magazine focused on cooking, lifestyle and personal stories. The content is always helpful and the photography is absolutely stunning!
Current favorite beauty product? My gua sha tool—it’s an awesome way to give yourself a little facial massage and encourage blood-flow. Love it in the morning to wake my face up!
Savory or sweet? Sweet! I have a terrible sweet tooth, and am a chocolate chip cookie fiend!
Dream dinner guest? I’d love to eat plants and chat with Sandra Oh. I loved her on Grey’s Anatomy, and she also happens to be vegan.