It’s happened to so many of us – you turn on a documentary, watch it through and something you learn alters your lifestyle forever. For Cameron and Suzy Amis, that doc was Forks Over Knives. After watching it once, the Hollywood couple had stripped their kitchen of all animal products after just 24 hours.
Ever since, these two have been at the forefront of the plant-based eating movement in LA. Suzy’s Muse School is the first plant-based school for children and her new book, The OMD is a complete guide to the vegan lifestyle.
We recently chatted with Suzy, scored this killer veggie chili recipe (it’s vegan, but could convert a carnivore big time!) and got a quick education about how a plant-based diet can positively affect the environment.
“After ten years working with an environmental NGO, no one had ever talked about animal foods and their effect on the environment. But animals are central to all environmental issues. 60-70% off all corn and soy are raised for animals feed. Those crops are a lead cause of deforestatation. When it comes to greenhouse gasses animals – specifically cattle – are the second leading issue to be addressed.”
Suzy’s new book is very practical, in it she challenges readers to create change in the world with one meal a day. Sound simple? We think so. As Suzy says, “There’s no downside — from meal costs to health benefits, all families benefit by creating one plant-based meal a day.”
Start with this chili recipe from the plant-based queen herself…
This is a mild chili that originated in Canada. Over the years we have altered the ingredients to make it fully plant-based. Feel free to add jalapeños, Tabasco or other spicy favorites.
Note: Swapping out the one pound of beef, you save approximately 60 miles of driving, 2,324 square feet of land and 3,202 gallons of water
This chili recipe comes from Jim’s mom, but there’s another twist I added that she’d probably kill me for. (Sorry, Mom Cameron!) One Halloween night, many years ago, I was making chili as is our annual tradition. When it came time to go trick-or-treating, it hadn’t cooked down all the way. Oh, no! I thought. What am I going to do? I had an idea: I put the chili in a big cast-iron Dutch oven, stuck it in the oven, turned on the convection, set it at about 300°F — and we went out trick-or-treating!
When we came back, the chili was all cooked. I thought, okay, this is brilliant. (Note: To be safe, only do this when someone is home! We’d left some non-trick-or-treaters behind.) Now if I’m making soups, curries or sauces, I don’t have to sit there and keep stirring to make sure it’s evenly cooked because the convection cooks it from all sides. I’m proud of this kitchen hack — it has served me very well ever since! (Another good hack for chili is to make it in a slow cooker or even a pressure cooker.)
Suzy’s Family Favorite Chili
2 Tbsp olive oil
6 large white onions, diced
3 (10-ounce) packages frozen “beefy” crumbles (such as Beyond Meat)
3 (14-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
3 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (42-ounce) container dairy-free creamy tomato soup (such as Imagine Foods)
1 tsp chili powder
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a large (6-quart) cast-iron or enameled Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the “beefy” crumbles and cook, stirring occasionally, until the crumbles have thawed, about three minutes. Add the tomatoes, beans, soup and chili powder.
Stir well, transfer to oven and bake uncovered for one hour, stirring every 30 minutes, until it cooks down to chili consistency.