Being in the online candy business means that we get to connect with all sorts of interesting people around the world. But sometimes the best connections happen right in our own neighborhood. In constantly striving to make our site better and easier to shop, we found ourselves in need of some dietary expertise.
Enter Rebecca Gilbert… a former competitive figure skater, founder of Yummy Plants, and advocate of a whole, plant-based diet with a self-admitted sweet tooth. Rebecca was a featured speaker at the 2012 New York City Vegetarian Festival and the 2012 Vegetarian Summerfest in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. She’s helped us make our new vegan candy section a reality.
Q: Rebecca, you founded Yummy Plants to help people explore a vegan diet. How did you hear about Candy Favorites?
A: Luckily both Yummy Plants and Candy Favorites are based in Pittsburgh, PA. I met Jon Prince, owner of Candy Favorites, and learned that he was building a vegan candy section. I must admit that I began to drool a bit at the thought of my favorite vegan candies… all available in one easy place!!!
Q: You’ve mentioned that Yummy Plants is a community to help people discover a plant-based life – what do you offer your community members?
A: We actually just re-launched the site with a focus on the community aspect of Yummy Plants. Since its creation, we have offered vegan recipes, health and nutrition tips, vegan-friendly restaurants, product reviews, and lifestyle articles like interviews, and entertaining. As part of the re-launch, we just added a special “New? Start here!” section to help new vegans get started. Now we also offer our community members the opportunity to create profiles and connect with other vegans all around the world. It’s really valuable to new vegans and all community members to be able to ask questions, to get answers, and to have people share what works for them.
Q: What made you start Yummy Plants?
A: I remembered how overwhelming it was when I first switched to a vegan diet – and I wanted to make the path easier for anyone else to follow. My goal is to show people how easy (and yummy!) it can be to follow a vegan diet: at home, at work, and out on the town. We have a whole section called the Yummy Plants 101 to help people make a vegan diet workable in their lives.
Q: What made you decide to become a vegan?
A. It was a very roundabout story. I was a serious competitive figure skater. One day in college, my knee completely gave out. I went to many specialists and surgeons. I tried everything western medicine had to offer: cortisone, physical therapy, and eventually surgery. To my dismay, nothing worked. For about 5 years I lived in constant pain and a very debilitated state… hardly being able to walk on flat surfaces and absolutely unable to walk up and down stairs. I read about a Scandinavian study where the experimental group went vegan for six months and reported a significant reduction in their arthritic knee pain. The very next day I went vegan – and within five weeks I had healed so completely that I returned to the ice!
Q: Now that the Yummy Plants community is almost two years old, what are your plans for the site?
A: My vision is to connect people on a global level. Yummy Plants started as a place of unity on the Internet to help a community of new vegans, and it has grown to become a place of compassion and support to all people who are looking for more information about a vegan diet and how to implement it in their lives.