By day, Roberto Anzaldua is a data scientist. In his free time, he’s a vegan recipe blogger, creator of Natural Goodness, and a self-professed “nutritional self-learner” inspired by a lifelong love of food. Anzaldua’s goal: offer up vegan recipes that promise great-quality results, are easy to make, and inspire his readers to make little changes in their diets and lives.
His website’s popular recipes include vegan gems like mozzarella cheese and no-yeast high-protein pizza dough. “My vegan mozzarella cheese recipe is a total game changer for vegans—it’s super stretchy, melty and delicious,” Anzaldua says. “It’s also very cheap, because the main ingredient is sunflower seeds. I welcome everyone to my site, not only vegans, because I believe that getting a lot of people involved is the secret to generating a bigger change in our food consumption habits. Happy cooking, everyone!”
Q: What do you think are some common misconceptions about vegan consumers and/or vegan diets?
A: The most common misconception is that people think being vegan is expensive, when it is actually very cheap if you eat whole foods, like beans, lentils and grains, as a base for your diet. The second most common misconception is that vegan folks have a protein deficiency. In fact, you need only 46 to 56 grams, depending on your weight, which is very easy to get throughout the day.
Q: How can pizzerias and restaurants do a better job of communicating their vegan offerings to customers and reach the vegan community?
A: I think that videos and pictures are a great way to achieve better results. I haven’t seen many advertisements with really nice pictures of vegan pizzas, and especially vegan cheese! The other thing is, you should probably be working with influencers to promote the business. A lot of vegan people do take into consideration the opinion of the influencers they follow on Instagram.
Q: Why do you see vegan eating as not just a trend but a full evolution of our eating habits going forward (even among meat eaters who are incorporating more plant-based foods)?
A: I feel that omnivores are starting to see the benefits of incorporating plant-based foods into their diets. It is not only about the animals, but also about the reduction of the environmental impact we make with our eating habits, and the improvements to our well-being. Simple changes make a great impact, and I think that most people will really enjoy switching some of the foods they eat to the vegan version—for example, switching to oat milk, eating a bean burger instead of a beef burger, consuming vegan protein powders, etc.
Q: What strides have you witnessed in vegan food options over the years, and what do you want to see or predict for the future of this space?
A: I would like to see food companies more engaged in making more plant-based foods. For example, there are some “veggie stocks” with milk powder, and I really don’t see how that is needed—most people would not even notice its absence, and it’s not enhancing the flavor. Another example is that some crackers include milk, and some refined sugar uses bone char to produce it. But there have been so many changes! Now, most animal-based foods have a vegan counterpart, and given the demand, it is cheaper and easier to find plant-based options.
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