Pro-surfer and entrepreneur Tia Blanco recently celebrated her birthday month with us by sharing her thoughts on the advantages of a plant-based lifestyle, her skin-care line and her favorite vegan foods.

When did you get introduced to veganism and what (or who) inspired you to embrace a plant-based lifestyle?

I went vegan 5 years ago after watching informative health documentaries such as Forks Over Knives and What The Health.

How has a plant-based lifestyle benefitted you?

I used to eat a lot of dairy products and after eliminating those products from my diet I felt more energized! I also felt stronger.

As a world-class Olympic athlete, nutrition is such an integral part of your life. What are some tips you have for other athletes who want to eat healthier and more plant-forward?

I would recommend that athletes watch the documentary “What The Health” and make sure they are well educated on plant-based nutrition.

Do you have any favorite, go-to vegan food products?

I love Beyond Meat! I love the plant-based burgers and sausages they make.

If you could debunk a single myth about eating vegan, what would that be?

It is not hard to get enough protein.

Having traveled all over the world, you’ve had the fortune of experiencing amazing global vegan cuisine! What are some of your favorite vegan restaurants?

My favorite vegan restaurant would have to be BY CHLOE in L.A. My favorite places to eat vegan foods are London, Oregon, L.A, and New York.

Who are some notable chefs, bloggers, or other public figures who keep you inspired online?

I love to find recipes by the Minimalist Baker. She keeps everything delicious and simple.

Tell us about Dear Self Skincare and what inspired you to create your very own vegan product line?

My sister and I have always wanted to start a skincare line together ever since we were little. We love natural skincare and wanted to be a part of the cruelty-free beauty movement.

What do you hope to see more of in the vegan and skincare, advocacy movements?

I hope to see people making more conscious and cruelty-free decisions!

Vegan Recipes?

I post all of my recipes on @tiasvegankitchen on Instagram and I also make food video tutorials on my YouTube channel!

Photo courtesy of Tia Blanco