The thought of veganism legitimately scares my taste buds.  No eggs?  No meat?  No cheese?!  No way.

I always assumed eating vegan was synonymous with eating boring and bland food.  That is, until I met the cook, zumba instructor, and dedicated vegan behind the Oh_My_Vegan Instagram account, Julie Mirliss.  She has even made me consider trying veganism for a hot sec… until I remembered cake existed.

Yummy Vegan things! Photo by Jessica Spivack

Julie, a senior at Michigan, explained why she chose a vegan lifestyle: “I grew up with a very health conscious family who loved eating whole, natural, unprocessed foods. Then, in college, I started doing research on my own and discovered all of the health and environmental benefits of veganism, so I decided to give it a chance. Ever since, I’ve never been happier with the way I feel and the way I eat.”

She’s not the strictest vegan, however.  “I cheat once in a while, which is why I’ve been coined by those who know me best as the ‘easy going vegan,’” Julie admits. But hey, who hasn’t snuck a grilled cheese on a diet once or twice?

To make sure she gets the nutrition she needs, Julie tries to cook as much as possible. Her signature dishes include smoothiesquinoa salads, raw lasagna and stuffed sweet potatoes, many of which are inspired by vegan food blogs.  And she never forgets dessert. Recently, Julie made these homemade peanut butter cups. Need I say more?

With so many delicious recipes, I asked Julie how she finds the time to cook. “Of course it’s hard as a college student to cook for every meal, but by planning ahead, I’ve found that I really can find time to cook and now, it naturally fits into my schedule,” Julie said. “Cooking also distracts me from everyday stresses and helps me relax… Basically, cooking keeps me sane.”

When she doesn’t have time to cook, Julie chooses Seva as her go-to restaurant for vegetarian and vegan-friendly options.  She also recommends Sadako’s Green Grass Roll and anything from The Lunch Room, a vegan restaurant in Kerrytown.

Behold the Sadako Green Grass Roll- who wouldn’t go vegan after this? Photo by Julie Mirliss

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Follow Julie on Instagram and check out her “to cook list” on Pinterest for regular updates and recipes that will make even the heartiest carnivores consider switching diets. Maybe.