Cookbooks: Chasing Vegan by Mika Altidor and Victor Munoz

Chasing Vegan

Award-winning vegan baker and author of the Chasing Vegan, Mika Altidor is making a difference in her community and nationwide with her story of how a plant-based diet saved her life.

Altidor and her partner, Victor Munoz are spreading the message of how a plant-based diet can radically alter the state of your health. Studies have shown plant-based eating can improve not only body weight, blood sugar levels, and the ability to control cholesterol, but also emotional states, including depression, anxiety, fatigue, sense of well-being, and daily functioning.

Altidor’s story began almost a decade ago. Altidor was in demand as a professional stylist. She was courted by media outlets nationwide as she glammed-up celebrities with her iconic jewelry line that were the statement pieces that celebrities were dying to get their hands on.

“It was a fabulous, jet-set lifestyle,” says Altidor. “I was rubbing elbows with fame. And I got caught up in the hustle and bustle of the industry. It was then, that I realized that I was neglecting my health.”

Altidor found herself, on more than one occasion, doubled over in severe abdominal pain. As she rationalized this state of discomfort, she tirelessly built her empire and ignored the signs. “During this time, I ignored my health. I was all about comfort food-on-the-go-. I indulged in burgers, soda, hot dogs — you name it and you could find remnants of the fast-food bags in my car.”

Unable to ignore the intensely sharp pain any longer, Altidor found herself in the doctor’s office with the news that she had several large masses growing on the outside of her uterus. This is when the game changed and she knew she had to make a decision. She researched a plant-based lifestyle and began to embrace the vegan lifestyle. Fast forward several years, Altidor has radically altered her health without surgical intervention and lives with these tumors that have almost completely disappeared. “It was not a miracle,” says Altidor, “It was a mind-shift and an intentional way of living.”

The Center For Disease Control has studied the effects of a primarily meat-based diet and heralds the necessity of incorporating more nutrient-rich vegetables into your diet. Despite the health benefits of fruits and vegetables, Americans are not consuming enough in their daily diet. States and communities can help citizens consume more fruits and vegetables by making them convenient and affordable in the places where children and adults live, work, learn, and play. This is particularly important for individuals and families that face food insecurity or lack access to stores selling quality products at reasonable prices.

Following Altidor’s recovery, she and her partner, Victor Munoz, knew they had to make a difference in their community in central Florida. “We knew that we had to give our community vegan options … that tasted really good.” Altidor, with her artistic flair for the fancy, dove into her next project: Victor & Mika’s Bakery. The headquarters is centered in Winter Haven, Florida.

Victor & Mika’s Bakery is now an integral part of the community-and only vegan bakery in their county. The baking duo now are spreading their inspirational story with their new cookbook, Chasing Vegan. ◊

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