As you've probably guessed, my name is Danielle. I was born in Riverside, California and grew up in the small town of Wrightwood, California -- home of Mountain High Ski Resort.

My first job was ironically flipping burgers at McDonald's when I was 14 years old. During the winter season I also worked in the kitchen at Mountain High serving pizza and cashiering.

Since then, I've moved all around California, but have called San Diego my permanent home since 2012.

I have always been a fan of cooking -- in fact my maternal grandfather was a chef. I remember as a young girl cooking with him in the kitchen for hours at a time. My grandfather passed away when I was very young, but I continued to cook with other family members.

I have been working in restaurants since my first job at McDonald's. In my late teens and early twenties, I made some pretty bad choices in life, which led me down a terrible path of addiction and self-harm. In 2007 I had a horrendous motorcycle accident (I was hit by a semi-truck), which landed me in the hospital with a shattered ankle and multiple skin grafts. I feel extremely lucky with the outcome, given my circumstances.

Unfortunately, the position I was in before the accident and my accessibility to drugs, combined with a growing prescription drug addiction from the accident, let me to a nearly deadly heroin addiction. The details are long & gruesome, so if you're interested, feel free to listen to the whole story here: Episode 52 - Stripping the Layers

Thankfully, rehab and a geographical change worked this time. I found myself in San Diego in 2012 and haven't turned back.

My healing journey started with detox, rehab, anonymous meetings, counselling, and other forms of therapy. I slowly began to change my life for the better, eliminating cigarettes and junk food around 2013. In 2015, after watching a few documentaries, I decided to go vegan, which prompted me to dive into vegan cooking.

In early 2017, I was trained as a cook by Top Chef, Angelo Sosa at Greens Please in Poway. (A photo I took is still a GIANT window sticker across the front of the restaurant - GO ME!) 

Around the same time, in 2017, I started my own podcast. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but I figured I'd give it a shot. I absolutely love what it's become! I've had some amazing guests and am extremely grateful for the experience I've had as a host! For more information, check this out ---> Podcast.

Currently, I've been diving more into the "Animal Activism" aspect of veganism, because I feel it's where I'm most effective. I love participating in events such as those with Anonymous for the Voiceless, because it allows people to witness events and ask questions about it at their own will.

Even though the animals my main focus in everything I do today, I feel that physical fitness is a HUGE motivator for others to be attracted to our movement. Of course, I personally benefit from being fit as well, but, I think the defiant part of me just wants to prove to everyone that I'm nothing like that fictional, yet stereotypical "weak vegan" that people have in their minds.

I'm not a Certified Personal Trainer, and, No, I don't do Crossfit; I'm just a chick who lifts heavy shit.

© Vegan_Danielle 2018

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