Amber Poupore is synonymous with vegetarian cuisine in southeastern Michigan, having worked over a decade at the premier vegetarian restaurant Inn Season Cafe, opening her own businesses Cacao Tree Cafe and The Clean Plate as well as her former role as an integral consultant for reputable GreenSpace Cafe in Ferndale, which is owned by renowned vegan cardiologist Dr. Joel Kahn. Her passion for providing well balanced, enriching and nourishing foods is representative through her involvement and commitment to her clientele and the community. Amber is involved with educational and instructional classes throughout southeastern MI and is the exclusive caterer for the Plant Based Nutrition Support Group (PBNSG). She has recently been featured in the full length documentary Eating You Alive and has appeared frequently on Fox 2 News, Channels 4 and 7, as well as numerous articles in local publications.
How Long Have You Been A Vegan?
Plant based 19 years
What made you choose a vegan lifestyle?
Educating myself and becoming aware of the effects of animal product consumption on a mass scale. The dangers to the environment and health, physical and mental. Realizing that all of the modern chronic disease we are suffering from is directly related to the consumption of animal products and processed foods. I encourage people to support only local farms if they are choosing to consume animal products. The environmental effects are greatly reduced and the majority of animals actually live a meaningful and comfortable life.
How Long Have You Been A customer at Avalon? What brought you there? What keeps you coming back?
16 years. I discovered Avalon shortly after their inception when I moved back from the west coast in 2000. I had recently become vegan and was overjoyed at the vegan dessert options and baked goods Avalon offered. I always feel at home when I enter the Willis bakery, as it reminds me of a quaint west coast style small business. It is always warm, inviting and welcoming. The artwork and creativity that is expressed has always been impressive to me. The signage is fun, creative and ever-changing. I feel nourished when I eat Avalon bread, I feel the love that goes into every single loaf of bread. The creative combinations and light fluffy texture have always been the perfect compliment to any meal, especially soup, salad and sandwiches, which I basically live off of.
What is your favorite product there?
sweet: peanut butter chocolate chip cookie
savory: sourdough farm bread
What books/resources have been the greatest influences on you?
I enjoy reading information that has been scientifically researched by doctors which has evidence supporting it.
Dr. Neil Barnard (PCRM.org), Program for Reversing Diabetes, Power Foods for the Brain, Breaking the Food Seduction
Dr. Esselstyn, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, Engine 2 Diet
Dr. T Colin Campbell (nutritionstudies.org), The China Study, Plant Pure Nation film
Dr. Greger (Nutritionfacts.org), How Not to Die
If there is one thing about the plant based lifestyle that you would like to share with Avalon vegans and non-vegans alike, what would it be?
A plant based lifestyle is not deficient in animal products, it is featuring all of the incredible and creative applications in which you can use plants in a natural, practical and sustainable manner. From food to clothing and housewares to fuel, you can harness the energy of our natural surroundings and live harmoniously without causing harm or damage to any beings.
What would be your advice for “plant curious” people as they explore a plant-based lifestyle?
Educate yourself and then make the best and most informed choices for you. There is a wealth of resources available from medical books, cookbooks, documentaries, websites, blogs and smartphone apps. Always consult your doctor before implementing any serious dietary changes, especially if you are on medications.
Is there anything else that you would like to share?
I have always been someone who stays away from labels like vegetarian, vegan and raw. I love to recommend others to refer to "plant based" because if you eat primarily plants you can maintain an optimum state of health combined with healthy physical and mental activities. This encourages others to focus their diet on plants but have some breathing room for the reality of life's special occasions and inconvenient situations. If considering being plant based, always be patient and forgiving with yourself. Change doesn't happen overnight, create subtle changes and set yourself up for success rather than failure. Create a new lifestyle, not a temporary diet. Participate in local support groups like PBNSG and Chickpea & Bean, surrounding yourself with others who are on a similar journey.