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December 14, 2011

Why Miss USA Susie Castillo is a Fan of Meatless Mondays

"Like the fountain of youth"

Susie Castillo, Miss USA 2003

Courtney Lindberg

Actress and Miss USA winner Susie Castillo glows with good health, and she's all about maintaining that radiance through nutritious—and delicious—cuisine.

Castillo recently shared a favorite recipe with The HSUS, and answered a few questions about her journey to plant-based eating. 

Q: What got you on the road to healthy eating and a green lifestyle?

A: I first started thinking more about my food six years ago, after meeting with a nutritionist named Natalia Rose. She told me the truth about food and about what we're supposed to eat.

I first started reducing the amount of meat I eat and eating more consciously in general. Just about eight months ago I finally became vegan. I couldn't be happier with my choice, and think that at least reducing meat intake is the best thing people can do for themselves.That's why I'm such a big fan of Meatless Monday.

Q: What do you like best about a plant-based diet?

A: Eating foods without animal products is like the fountain of youth. It keeps me energetic and youthful and it's the best anti-aging thing a person can do. And with so many delicious vegan foods out there, it's so easy to do.

Q: What opened your eyes to the way animals are treated on factory farms?

A: I've always loved animals, and how farm animals are treated is just torture. It doesn't make sense.

I was really influenced by reading a story about how Portia De Rossi had an "Ah ha!" moment when she saw a group of cows welcoming a newcomer to the herd on her and Ellen's farm. They’re both vegan now, and for Portia, that was the moment it clicked. That story moved me a lot, and helped me realize how farm animals are individuals just like dogs and cats.

Q: As a Miss USA, you are beautifully situated to be a spokesperson for your favorite issues. How have people responded to your message about nutrition and health?

A:  My friends and family are slowly starting to learn a bit more about these issues. My mom, who is 58 years old and suffers from heart disease, is now eating much healthier and eating more plant-based foods; she feels great. My husband had debilitating migraines for a long time, and since changing how he eats, he hasn't had them. It's been wonderful for so many people.

Try out Susie Castillo's recipe for scarlet millet and beets.

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