Mary is a Greek-American food blogger who turned her passion for veganism into an entire lifestyle. I had the chance to chat with Mary as she discussed everything about her food philosophy.
Mary’s amazing vegan recipes and her e-book vegan cookbook on Instagram @upbeetandkaleingit.
Mary, could you introduce yourself to the Greek City Times Community? Tell us about yourself.
Hi everyone! My name is Mary Papadimos, and I'm a 30-year-old Greek-American food blogger living in Tampa, Florida. I'm married to my fantastic husband, Alex, a second-year general surgery resident.
My passion for veganism and blogging began over six years ago. I started my blog and Instagram account during my second year of grad school. What started as a hobby quickly transitioned into an entire lifestyle and brand as I began working with food and wellness companies.
My heart and soul went into developing recipes and sharing foods and products I loved while completing graduate school.
Eventually, I graduated with a dual JD/MBA in May 2020 and knew exactly what I wanted to do afterwards- turn upbeetandkaleingit into a full-time job instead of practising law. That's exactly what I did, and I have not looked back ever since; I adore what I do daily. Developing recipes and sharing veganism with my amazing community brings me the utmost joy.
What is your food philosophy?
I one hundred per cent believe in nourishing your body with as many plant-based, wholesome foods as possible, but I also believe in balance. While my husband and I eat healthy daily, we still enjoy my desserts and indulge in anything we want. I don’t believe in depriving myself, but I do feel my best when I focus on eating a majority of whole foods.
How did you get started eating a plant-based diet?
During my last year of college, I saw a documentary that showed the horrifying conditions under which factory-farmed animals are raised. It rocked me to my core, and I became disgusted with the lack of humanity, filthy conditions and awful treatment these animals endured. That made me never want to eat meat again, or even fish! I first went vegetarian but then transitioned into veganism while in grad school. While I believe a vegan diet, when done properly, is the healthiest, I am one hundred per cent vegan for my animal friends. The voiceless need a voice, and I’m here to speak up and show people just how amazing and easy it is to be vegan.
What challenges did you face?
If I had a dime for the number of times people mocked veganism, I would be a wealthy woman. At first, when people judged me or made negative comments about going vegan, I took it too personally. It doesn’t bother me because I live my truth and stand firm by my convictions. I never found it challenging to eat vegan other than going out to restaurants, which I only did occasionally. I have always enjoyed making 95% of my meals at home.
If you could give one piece of advice to new vegans, what would it be?
You’re doing a fantastic thing, so don’t get discouraged if you mess up. Also, utilize as many resources as possible such as blogs, websites, books and any pertinent information to make your transition to veganism comfortable and well-rounded.
Why do you blog?
I blog because it’s not only my job but also my passion. Reaching hundreds of thousands of awesome people worldwide brings me so much happiness. Watching people make my recipes and tag me in posts is super rewarding, and the support from my upbeetandkaleingit community is unmatched. Working with food brands is amazing, and I’m constantly looking to expand my culinary and baking skills. Most of my job doesn’t feel like work to me because it’s so fun.
What makes your website/profile different to all the rest?
Although there are tons of vegan blogs out there, it’s hard to beat mine when it comes to ease and convenience. I want people to see how approachable veganism is; to me, that means not complicated recipes. My brand encompasses an easy cooking and baking style along with real ingredients. Life is incredibly busy these days, but making food shouldn’t be stressful, so I really focus on that.
What’s next for you? Goals and dreams?
I plan on continuing to grow my brand, upbeetandkaleingit. That means expanding my blog, Instagram and TikTok to reach more people. I would love to continue working with fantastic food brands and eventually create my own line of vegan desserts. Having my own tangible product is the end goal for sure.
Be sure to try some of Mary’s recipes. I have, and they taste divine!!