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Meet Andrea Pender of The Plant-Based Executive in North Dallas

Today we’d like to introduce you to Andrea Pender.

Andrea, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Almost seven years ago I decided to move toward a plant-based lifestyle and learned as much as I possibly could! I read a book called “The China Study” and it made so much sense to me. There was a big section about health and it was like reading my family history… Cancer, high cholesterol, heart disease, etc… I thought to myself, “If I just change what I can eat my future will be much healthier!” I went from a “meat and potatoes” girl to someone willing to try anything and everything (as long as it is plant-based)!

My corporate career involves a lot of client entertaining and interactions with food. A plant-based lifestyle is the new trendy thing right now and so many people are moving toward it (even if it is just one day a week!) and I wanted a platform to show how easy it can be!

About two years ago I started putting together educational information for my family and friends and then a year ago I started my blog and YouTube channel! I wanted to start educating other business people in the same situation how easy it can be to eat vegan and hold the type of job we have.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
At first, moving toward a plant-based lifestyle was tough. I just didn’t know what to eat or what to do. I used to drink two gallons of milk a week (how is that even possible?!) so there were several habits I had developed over my lifetime that I had to change and replace.

Ordering at restaurants was tricky at first, but after a few months, I knew how to look at restaurant menus. At first, I would look at a restaurant menu and be so sad because there just wasn’t anything at all to eat. There was — it just wasn’t the typical item I was used to in most cases! With all of the new plant-based options, there are only a few restaurants that don’t offer anything for a vegan diet. The biggest piece of advice I give is to look at a restaurant menu before you arrive and when you place your order keep it simple and succinct.

Before moving toward a plant-based lifestyle I had a repertoire of about five items I could cook. I never experimented with anything new and didn’t want to learn anything else. Now I can look in my fridge, see a few items, and create a brand new dish without a recipe! I love putting new meals together and seeing what works and what doesn’t work!

Please tell us about your work.
The Plant-Based Executive, first and foremost, is a great resource for people moving toward a plant-based lifestyle. I have a blog and a YouTube channel that I post on weekly as well as my Instagram account (theandreapender) where I post daily tips/suggestions/etc… I wanted to create a platform that other people in my exact line of work could reference.

With my job I do not have the option of packing a lunch or eating at my desk — and that is what most people advise. I wanted to create a resource where people could see how easy it is to eat out at restaurants, make orders that won’t cause a scene, and also incorporate healthy eating as well.

I highly recommend meal-prepping for the meals eaten at home, but a practical application of “what to do with clients” really was a void that I saw needed to be filled.

I specialize in working with corporate executives and business people who do what I do…a lot of eating out with clients! I want to show how easy it is to be plant-based — even when traveling out of town and on work trips!

I am most proud when people who are acquaintances send me an email and tell me they are doing Meatless Monday or “vegan at home”. I realize my daily videos on Instagram, my blog posts, and my YouTube videos are making a difference. That feels so good!

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I wouldn’t be here without my good friend, Nicole Rosemeyer. She moved toward the plant-based lifestyle about a year before I made the transition and I listened to everything she was telling me as she went through her journey. It all made so much sense! About a year after she had transitioned I knew I would have a support system. I challenged myself to go milk free for thirty days… I completed that challenge and then eliminated all animal products from my diet at that point. Thanks, Rosemeyer!

My mentor, Cathy Hutchison, is a huge reason The Plant-Based Executive got started! I bounced a lot of ideas off of her and got her opinion when I first started putting a program together. She called one day and said, “I looked online and I think you need to start a blog. I looked into a few domains to see if they were available. There are a few website platforms that are user friendly also. I know you can use this to get your information out to the world and I think you should.” That was about a year ago! Thanks, Cathy!

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Image Credit:
Vanessa Corral Photography

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