Plant Sumo Interviews

Michelle Cehn

World of Vegan

Michelle Cehn is the founder of WorldofVegan.com, author of The Friendly Vegan Cookbook, co-host of the Plant-Powered People Podcast, producer of the ‘7 Days’ mini-documentary, co-creator of PlantBasedMealPlan.com, and a YouTube personality who has reached millions through her creative, relatable, and engaging videos. Michelle is on a mission to make vegan living enticing, easy, and fun and you can find her dishing up delicious and inspiring content daily on Instagram (@vegan) where she has built a conscious community that’s more than a million strong. She lives with her rescued dog, newborn son, and husband in Sacramento, California.

Company Profiles

What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why?

The Compound Effect which is great for anyone looking to become more thoughtful about how they spend money. The Boy the Mole the Fox and the Horse is ideal for children and adults alike who could use a dose of calm and inspiration. And my cookbook, The Friendly Vegan Cookbook, is a perfect gift for anyone looking to try more plant-based meals!

When You Feel Overwhelmed Or Unfocused, Or Have Lost Your Focus Temporarily, What Do You Do?

I shift to another project. There is always something new and exciting I can work on instead of whatever is feeling "blah."

In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?

My default answer to opportunities has become "no." This was really hard for me to adjust to because I'm a people pleaser and find a lot of joy in saying "yes" to everything. But it's been great. Now I'm finally able to direct my time toward the most important projects I want to pursue and I can have a much greater impact that way.

If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it — what would it say and why?

This is tricky because I'd love to shout "please eat vegan" from the rooftops, but that's not effective. I would probably find a soft and inviting approach, sharing a resource with delicious plant-based recipes since so many people want to eat more plant-based foods and just don't know how to do it.

How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favorite failure” of yours?

I was laid off from a job I had poured all of myself into and it was devastating. One of those bellowing-on-the-floor moments because it was so unexpected and painful. If that had never happened, World of Vegan never would have been born. That shattering layoff turned out to be the greatest gift, freeing me from a very negative work environment and empowering me to work for myself.

What is the most significant thing that someone much younger than yourself has taught you?

Very few things we get caught up in are actually a big deal.

Tell us about your business. What does it do and what value do you add?

I founded World of Vegan to help make vegan living easy, accessible, and fun through guides, videos, articles, recipes, art, and more.

Where do you see your industry in the next 5 years?

It's hard to say because we're in such a period of exploding growth in the vegan space, but I'm certain there will be a much greater percentage of the population that identifies as vegan, vegetarian, or plant-based, and that there will be more companies, products, documentaries, and beyond to support a kind and sustainable lifestyle.

What is a 'hack' you have for success that most people don't know about?

If you're not already listening to podcasts in wireless earphones while you do the dishes, fold the laundry, and even drive in the car, try it and it will be game-changing for you.

What one song can you listen to every day non-stop?

None. This sounds like the easiest way to ruin any wonderful song. LOL.

How has Covid-19 changed your industry?

It's been hard for a lot of companies who are pulling back in many areas, and even closing doors. It's heartbreaking to see.

What's your favourite colour?

Aqua

What popular celebrity do you admire the most and why?

Megan Evans (@MegUnprocessed) inspires me in her approach to kind and healthy parenting and conscious living.

What's something exciting you're currently working on/learning that only a few people know about?

A vegan-inspired coloring book to support parents and kids during these crazy times. Stay tuned...!

Are you vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian or something else entirely?

Vegan

What's your star sign?

Libra

What Purchase Of $100 Or Less Has Most Positively Impacted Your Life In The Last Six Months?

Reusable cloth paper towels (I've been buying the "Unpaper Towels" by Marleys Monsters). They roll up just like paper towels and I wash them regularly with my other kitchen rags and towels so they don't even require additional loads of laundry. It it a great win for the environment and will also save my family a lot of money over time!

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

You have to be perfect to be vegan. The reality: there is no such thing as a perfect vegan!

What's your favourite vegan meal?

Fettuccini Alfredo! I included my favorite recipe of all time in The Friendly Vegan Cookbook 🙂

What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made?

As an adoptee, I invested time and money and took a risk in looking for my birth father, who never knew I existed. I found him through a DNA test kit site and it led to the greatest chapter of my life.

When did you first become a rebel?

I went vegetarian when I was 8 years old, rejecting my family's food and way of eating. I didn't know any other vegetarians (let alone vegans) at the time but I was committed and haven't eaten meat since that day.

What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the “real world”? What advice should they ignore?

Don't let what you study in college direct your career. Most of the happiest and most traditionally "successful" people I know are working in fields that are completely different from what they studied in school. I was a biology student studying to become a veterinarian and I'm so glad I was open to another path because I am able to help infinitely more animals through the work I do now.

What careers advice would you give to your 21-year old self?

Do what you love.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

I've dabbled in wedding photography and videography and loved it. If the one day our world becomes a kind and happy place and I no longer feel the need to help reduce suffering, I'd love to focus on photography and capturing special moments for people.

Tell us about someone you admire and why you admire them?

Toni Okamoto from Plant-Based on a Budget because she has endured so much hate on the internet and stays positive and strong.

What is a useful skill someone could learn in one minute?

How to tear the leaves off kale. Hold the bottom of the thick stem with your left hand. Using your right hang, wrap your fingers around the stem next to your other hand and swipe your right hand quickly along the length of the stem to rip the leaves off in a moment. A great tip I learned from Rip Esselstyn.

What is the most surprising thing you've seen in your industry?

Judgement and hate. Being vegan is about kindness and compassion and it always saddens me to see people apply that to animals but not to their fellow human beings.

How has Covid-19 changed your company?

Our small team has been impacted but we're doing our best to stay focused while also knowing that these times will look different, and whatever that will mean to get through them is okay.

What's your favourite holiday destination?

Staying Home

What one thing in life do you consider to be overrated?

Stevia. Yuck.

What's your favourite vegetable?

Baby trees. I mean Broccoli. 😉

What are you NOT Very Good at?

Doing things I don't care much about.

What did you have for breakfast this morning?

A smoothie with fresh ripe banana, frozen mango, almonds, cashews, oats, and water.

About the Author

Heather-PS

Heather Wilkinson is a globe-trotting content creator and PR enthusiast who’s finally put down roots in her native UK. When she isn’t working, you’ll find her pretending to care about Minecraft for her son’s sake, while secretly reading the latest Ace Atkins novel (or sleeping – her second favourite past-time).