1.  What does Vegan mean? What Does Plant Based mean?

Vegan a type of vegetarian diet that excludes meat, as well as dairy products, eggs, and all other animal-derived ingredients.  A plant based diet can essentially mean the same thing; it is just a different way of saying it.  A plant based diet means that you eat a diet very high in only healthy plant foods.

2.  Why follow a low fat vegan diet? Why do you eat this way?

Studies show that a low fat, plant based diet is the key to longevity.

(1) “Named the ‘Grand Prix of Epidemiology,’ this project, better known as The China Study, produced more than 8,000 statistically significant associations between dietary factors and disease.  People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease.  People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease. The findings are consistent.”

(2) “The China Project confirmed that there were virtually no heart attacks in populations consuming a lifelong near vegetarian diet and almost no heart attacks in populations consuming a diet that is rich in natural plant foods and receive less than 10% of its calories from animal foods.”

(3) A diet which would achieve superior results in reducing atherosclerosis would be a 10% fat diet provided largely by grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruit.”

I eat this way because with this lifestyle I feel the most vivacious! This is an abundant lifestyle, full of unlimited fruits and vegetables! I have researched, read many health books, and attended health lectures to form my opinion that a Low Fat, Whole Foods Plant Based Diet is the best way for me to live and eat. Diets low in animal protein and fat, but high in legumes, vegetables, and fruit have been shown to help people lose weight, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, reverse diabetes, and protect against cancer. There are so many benefits and no negatives!

3.  What about healthy fats?

Fats are essential.  The problem is that most Americans consume an excess of the wrong fats.  Essential fatty acids are imperative for good health. These fatty acids are important for normal development and the prevention of disease. The key is to create balance of essential fatty acids, which are Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids. The foods with the most balanced ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 are Flaxseeds, Walnuts, and Chia Seeds.

Get your fats as nature has provided them…in their whole, unprocessed form.  (4) “Ground Flaxseeds are healthier than flaxseed oil, as they contain valuable fiber, lignans, and other phytonutrients, not just omega 3 fat.  Remember when you extract the oil from the whole food it was provided in, you remove it from its antioxidant-rich and phytonutrient-rich environment.”

Just remember that all fats, no matter their origin, are equally fattening!

As you will notice, I do offer recipes that use other whole fats like nuts, seeds, coconuts, and avocados.  The key is to have the right balance and make the right daily choice. I always try to keep my daily fat intake less than 10-15% and I also limit my intake of coconuts and avocados.  For example, I am not going to eat nuts for breakfast,  a salad topped with avocado and more nuts for lunch, and then a dinner with heavy cashew cream sauce followed by a raw vegan nut “cheese”cake. I eat fat in small amounts and choose when and how much I eat of it wisely!

4.  How do you cook without oil/fat?

Don’t fret, I asked myself the exact same question! It’s actually really simple.

Replace oil with water or vegetable broth, and “water sauté” your vegetables instead. Onions are so delicious when water sautéed; they are really sweet! Try adding spices to your water sauté.  The water alone helps to rehydrate the spices and they become so much more fragrant.

For baking treats, replace oil with applesauce, bananas, zucchini, mashed beans etc.  Then skip the oil and line your pans with parchment paper or silicone mat.  (I feel that there is no eminent harm if you choose to very lightly spray your baking pan with oil, but that’s up to you.  I like using a silicone baking mat – it makes for easy clean up!)  Soon your body will get used to eating foods without oil.  You’ll find the flavors in your whole foods and spices will start to shine through!

5.  I have noticed that many of your recipes are SOS-Free.  What does SOS-Free mean?

SOS-Free stands for Salt, Oil, and Sugar Free.

*My passion is creating recipes that are SOS-Free!! I have expanded slightly from when I first opened the blog to allow some recipes that contain minimal salt and maple syrup.  I received many requests to include recipes with pure maple, and I also had some great maple recipes I felt were truly worth sharing!! Recipes that are SOS-Free will be listed and tagged as much.

6.  How do you sweeten your desserts in SOS-Free recipes?

By sugar-free, I mean refined sugar free.  These recipes are sweetened by fresh, frozen, or dried fruit.

7.  No salt is detrimental to your health. Why do so many of your recipes not include salt?

Most Americans eat way too much salt to begin with. By presenting recipes that are salt-free or almost completely free of sodium, I hope to show people the true taste of the foods they are eating. Whole plant foods have naturally occurring sodium. Take celery for example, If you went a couple hours without eating and then bit into celery, you would realize how salty it is! In order to control the exact amount of salt you are eating, I think it is better to slightly salt your food once it is on your plate if needed. Remember there is 2,325 mg sodium in just one teaspoon of salt.

Note: If you are going to add salt, try using fresh ground salt. Freshly ground salt, like Sea salt, is composed of larger, flakier crystals and what you “taste” is the crunchiness of the salt texture. When you bite into a larger crystal of sea salt, you get “shots of flavor.” You will use less salt by grinding it yourself.

8.  I follow the Fuhrman and/or Mcdougall and/or Esselstyn diet; how do I know what recipes meet my diet’s guidelines?

Each recipe is tagged at the very bottom of the page appropriately.  The recipe will be tagged Fuhrman, McDougall, or Esselstyn.  (Tags are located the the bottom of each post.)

9.  I’ve decided to become a Whole Foods Plant Based “Healthy Vegan,” now what should I do?

Do your research and make sure your doctor knows you are changing your diet. A person on a vegan diet most likely needs to take a Vitamin B12 supplement.

Recognize your hidden habits and do away with or minimize them.  Example: your daily carmel latte. Quick Fix: 1) Replace with a healthy version. 2) Minimize consumption; make your new version a reward, not a daily occurrence.

Clean out your pantry of all the processed foods and start making that new grocery list!  Invest in your kitchen; you’ll be spending more time in there! You may want to invest in a heavy duty blender, a large food processor, a rice cooker, pressure cooker, dehydrator, etc. Just a few ideas to get your mind churning!

Here is my blog post on “Tips to Starting a Plant Based Diet.”

10.  What about eating out? How do I stay on my healthy vegan diet?

This may require a little more planning than normal, but don’t be weary! Most restaurants are happy to work with you! Depending on how strict you are on your diet, what you look for in a restaurant may vary. Many restaurants have their menus available online, so take a look before you venture out. Chefs are very aware now that people have unique diets, so don’t be afraid to call ahead and ask them to prepare you a special meal. Call a few days before you plan to dine out and tell the chef you have a special diet that excludes animal products and/or oil. Most chefs will be excited for a challenge like this!

11. How do I travel and still stay on my diet? 

Not as hard as you think! It’s all about planning ahead. (Future post is coming on this topic!) Here’s a few quick ideas:

-If driving, pack a big cooler filled with fruit and veggie containers.

Hummus is great to dip & go while driving!

-Bananas are the perfect travel food!

-Stay in a hotel that offers a refrigerator you can store healthy food in.

-Bring a small blender in your suitcase. (Ex: Nutri Bullet or Magic Bullet)

– Call hotel restaurants ahead and let chefs know your about your clean diet.

12.  What books do you recommend to help me on this new journey?

The China Study, T Colin Campbell

Eat to Live, Joel Fuhrman MD

Super Immunity, Joel Fuhrman MD

Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, Caldwell Esselstyn MD

The Starch Solution, John McDougall MD


(1)  Campbell, T. Colin, PhD, and Thomas M. Campbell, MD. Introduction. The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health. Dallas, TX: BenBella, 2005. 1-8. Print.

(2)  Fuhrman, Joel, MD. “The Dark Side Of Animal Protein.” Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss. Boston: Little, Brown and, 2003. 81-111. Print.

(3)  Esselstyn, Caldwell B., MD. “Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me.” Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-based Cure. New York: Avery, 2007. 57-66. Print.

(4)  Fuhrman, Joel, MD. “Nutritional Wisdom That Makes You Thin.” Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss. New York: Little, Brown and, 2011. 113-46. Print.


What type of beauty professional are you?

   I have been a licensed cosmetologist (hair, skin, body, nails) for 10 years.

What are your tips for healthy hair?

Healthy hair depends on diet as well as heat protection.  Foods rich in Vitamin E are great for growing strong hair, keeping hair shiny, as well as keeping nails strong, and skin supple.

Make sure to use a heat protectant on your hair if you are going to use hot tools.  Do not set flat iron above 250 degrees.  Any heat higher than that causes keratinization of the hair strand and you will slowly start to have breakage.  Turn the heat down and take smaller sections of hair to iron.

Do a hair treatment once a week, and if you live in a dry climate you may want to use a hair mask twice a week.  Moisture is key!

I do NOT recommend “hair vitamins.”  The main ingredient in hair vitamins is generally BIOTIN, and biotin has been shown to cause Cystic Acne during its usage.  If you have begun to see signs of acne while taking a hair vitamin…it is most likely that hair vitamin causing your acne.

Does trimming my hair make my hair grow?

Absolutely not.  It’s an illusion.  The ends of your hair have nothing to do with the root.

Keeping your hair trimmed on a regular basis only allows your hair to grow if your hair shaft is strong enough to withstand the length.  Think about it, if you have split ends, they only continue to split for the rest of time and your hair will always be the same length.

Do yourself a lovely favor and keep your hair trimmed! 🙂  No matter what length it is, Healthy hair is ALWAYS the prettiest.

Do you use 100% natural, non-toxic, vegan makeup & body products?

Slowly over the past year I have been switching out old products for new “less-toxic” and natural 100% vegan products.

I call all natural brands “less toxic” as opposed to “non toxic.”  Let’s be real…unless you are going out to the berry patch to pick fresh, organic raspberries to smash for cheek stain, then your products are not 100% natural non-toxic….but they ARE “less-toxic” and they are still a wonderful alternative to smashed berries considering you live in civilization (i.e: any place where there are other humans)

What ingredients in vegan makeup/body products do you avoid?

I try my best to avoid formaldehyde, parabens, phthalates, toluene, and aluminum.

What are your favorite natural hair product brands?

That’s a tough one!  I love Nevo by Pravana, Pureology, and Derm Organic’s Leave-In Oil Treatment!

What are some brands that you recommend for makeup?

A few brands I enjoy are Au Naturale, Tarte Cosmetics, Urban Decay, 100 Percent Pure, Ilia Beauty, Aromi Beauty, Josie Maran, HoneyBee Gardens…

What skincare products do you recommend?

I like 100 Percent Pure, Paula’s Choice, Tay, LaVanila, Arbonne…

What about deodorant?

I love Schmidt’s Lavender Sage deodorant and Alvera deodorant!  They both work fantastic!

Do you use non-toxic nail polish?

I recently started using less-toxic nail polish after a 15 year love affair with acrylic nails.  I’ll be honest and say that I miss the acrylic nails because I am nail design obsessed, but I thought it would be appropriate and a fun idea to experiment with going “au naturale” while being healthier in the process.

Some polish brands I like are Zoya, LVX, Priti NYC, ncLA…

What is one secret skin care secret?

I ALWAYS wash my face in the morning and at night, being sure to thoroughly remove all makeup!  I love to use Young Living Essential Oils on my skin and face.  My favorite oils to use on my face are Lavender, Frankinsince, and Lemon with coconut oil.  This combination is relaxing and wrinkle/line reducing!

Mid-day if I am not wearing any makeup, I like to refresh my skin with Pure 100% Witch Hazel as a toner!  Witch Hazel tightens skin and minimizes pores!  I love it!


 Is your hair natural?
   Not at this moment!  I would love to say that my hair is long and thick all the way down my back because I eat healthy…but it’s long and thick because I wear hair extensions.  Why wear extensions?  Because I like to!  I like to change my hair and the quickest way to change my look is playing with extensions!  I am a hair stylist remember!! 🙂

Actually my natural hair is very healthy. To be completely honest, one cannot make make bad hair look good just by adding extensions.  The best hair extensions look so good because the head of hair they are applied to is shiny, strong, and healthy.

Do you work in a hair salon right now?

I recently sold my hair salon.  I only do hair extensions for select clients now.

What kind of workouts do you do?

Zumba mostly!  I am addicted to zumba, although I love trying all new kinds of exercises.  I do yoga, aerial workouts, and at home aerobics/stretches.  On another note, I also practice meditation, which I think is necessary for a healthy balance.

Who takes your photos on the blog?

I take the photos of all the food, beauty, lifestyle, etc…

My friend, Melanie, of MJBlack Photography takes the photos of me.  I sometimes hire my husband, Danny, to take photos as well! 🙂

What kind of camera do you use on the blog and Instagram?

I use a Canon 5D Mark III for my blog post recipe photos.  My instagram is a mixture of my Canon camera and my good ‘ol handy iPhone.

Do you eat vegan all the time?


Is your wardrobe completely animal-friendly?

Not at this time, but I am heading in that direction.

The only brands I promote and recommend on my blog are vegan/animal friendly items. 🙂

Do you recommend any fashion brands that are animal friendly?

I like Stella McCartney, Kate Landry, Deux Lux, Nila Anthony, Bebe often has cute shoes & bags that are made with man made materials.  Also Steve Madden and Jessica Simpson make many shoes that are of “man-made” materials.  I recommend browsing stores and check their stuff out!  Sometimes items are animal friendly without you even realizing it.  Just check the label.

Do you drink out of plastic, eat soy, or drink alcohol?

Yes; I am not perfect.

Drinking and eating out of glass is better – do this if you have accessibility to glass. If you drink out of plastic, try your best to make sure its BPA-Free.  I do travel often, and let me put it this way…if i have to choose between NOT drinking water or drinking out of a plastic bottle, I’m going to drink out of a plastic bottle. I will survive.  We all do the best we can in the situations we are given.

I eat soy, and I’m not worried about it because I do not eat soy as a FOOD GROUP.  Unless you have a soy intolerance or thyroid problem then in small quantities (always organic) it is fine.

I drink alcohol moderately.  Why? Again…because I like to.  I enjoy getting dressed up and having a fancy schmancy cocktail sometimes.  I do realize that alcohol is not the ideal beverage to put in our body.  My diet is extremely healthy and if I find enjoyment out of a cocktail every so often, then I am going to live my life and live it up in the process.

What made you start this blog?

I have always had the passion to help people, and about 5 years ago came very close to starting a Hair-Makeup-Fashion Blog.  I was so busy with my salon, that a beauty blog never materialized.  After I sold my salon and we moved to Las Vegas, I began to revisit the blog idea and at this point in my life, everything fell into place!  This second time around, I realized I wanted to incorporate nutrition and wellness into my Blog…because what is beauty and hair if we are not healthy on the inside?  To me, a blog that focused on all things that make us happy and healthy…the inside & the outside…was the perfect marriage.  Thus, Lipstick and Berries was born!

Everything I talk about on my blog is super positive.  Unfortunately there are so many negative things in our World, the Meat/Dairy Industry, and our beautiful planet, but I do not feel that Lipstick and Berries is the place to spread a negative message and get people upset and angered.

I want to reach people through my website who may have never thought about eating healthy!  I just want my readers to smile, laugh, learn some fun tips, try some healthy plant food, and forget about their problems for a little while they are here.

My whole point is to convey a message of Healthy Living in a playful, charismatic, fun, and interactive way!

Although “vegan” definitely has a stigma…being healthy, happy, and vegan doesn’t have to be weird! I want to change the stigma!  Fruit & Veggie people are freaking awesome, and can totally function in a social society all while being super chic and fabulous.

How did you come up with the name Lipstick and Berries?

I dreamed about it!  No…really!! I wanted a name that was catchy & cute, and that got my whole brand’s point across in two words.  I needed one word that symbolized “feminine” and one word that symbolized “healthy.”  I was slightly waking up one morning and somewhere in-between asleep and awake, the words “Lipstick and Berries” came into my mind!  I jumped like 15 ft out of bed and dashed to the computer to see if the domain name was available…IT WAS! The rest is history! 🙂

I want to start a blog! What are your tips to getting started?

Set your focus.  Decide what you want to do before you start writing, or starting any type of social media pages.

Create a consistent brand throughout your blog and all the social media pages.  Use the same image of yourself or logo that way people can start to identify you.

Think of a great name, that isn’t too long, and doesn’t use all sorts of # _ @ – /

Remember a picture are worth a thousand words.  Humans are visual, unless you are a medical doctor, professor, or have some sort of unique PHD/certification…most people do not want to or have time to read paragraph after paragraph of words.  Create high quality visual stimulation (photographs) to make reading through your blog easier and more pleasing.

Write Often. Be Consistent. Create some sort of schedule with your blogging.  If you can’t blog everyday, start with new blog posts every Tuesday/Thursday or Monday/Wednesday/Friday.  Just remember, the top blogs post everyday Monday-Friday, sometimes multiple times a day.  In the internet world, if you snooze you lose, and if you are not staying at the top of your game the next girl will.

Make sure your blog is easy to navigate through.  Make sure to have a Search Bar for visitors to have easy access to a particular post.

Find your passion (or focus on a niche passion) and blog from the heart!  If you are doing what you love, then your work is effortless.  Nothing is more difficult or more depressing than trying to pretend like you love what you do.

If you truly love what you are doing, you will be happily obsessed with your blog!  Just a reminder, it is completely normally to think about your blog 24/7…after all your is YOUR own business!  Good Luck! 🙂



  1. hi can you tell me recipe of home made hummus ? thanks

  2. What doyou mean by infused water? 🙂 Why does it need to be put overnight in the refigerator ?

    • Hi Beatriz! The fruit infuses flavor into the water. So it becomes flavored water. You put in the refrigerator so the fruit will not spoil. It needs to be overnight because it becomes more flavorful that way.

      Peace, Love, and Berries

  3. Hi Ashley!

    Do you have any recommendations as to what blenders/food processors to get started with? I have no idea what features are necessary!

    Thanks 🙂

    • Hi Maegan! I like the Vitamix blender the best because its commercial grade and it requires little prep work/ pre chopping. They are pricey, but in my opinion worth the investment. I use mine 2-3 times a day! Another type of blender that is really cool is the NutriBullet.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: