In 2012, California native Lynda Santos opened her restaurant Healthy Junk. Located in the heart of downtown Anaheim, California the restaurant serves up healthy, vegan and gluten-free dishes. Lynda will soon share her love for all things vegan outside her restaurant with the Vegan Faire.
On Saturday, July 26 from noon – 6 p.m., in the Center Street Promenade in Anaheim, you can explore all vegan food, live workshops and enjoy live music at the Vegan Faire. You can even join in the fun as faire attendees attempt to make the longest line of people in the warrior two yoga pose.
Below, Lynda shares with us what it was like transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, opening a restaurant and organizing the upcoming Vegan Faire.
Did you grow up vegan or was it a transition you made later in life?
When I was 16 years old I went vegetarian and I stayed vegetarian for many years until 2004. I decided to go vegan mainly because I was managing a vegan chain of restaurants and products came out that made it easier to be vegan.
What was the transition to being vegan like?
It was awesome to actually be able to give up cheese and dairy products because of health. I felt a huge difference. My feeling is that cheese should be used as a condiment, not as your main meal, and if you start cutting back, your body starts to react to that. Try it for one week and just leave it alone, and you’ll feel great! Also, there are so many great products out there that are plant based now including yogurt, butter, cheeses and milk products that are widely available through your regular chain grocery stores or your local health food stores. I recommend everybody should try it at least once!
What inspired you to open Healthy Junk in Anaheim?
I always wanted my own restaurant. I collected recipes over they years of my favorite things to eat and I figured one day I would be able to share these recipes with everyone, not just my friends and family. One day an opportunity came up and I took the chance and so far it has been a really great experience!
What advice would you give someone of opening up their own restaurant?
Whoever opens up a restaurant needs to have the true love of what they’re doing because it will be tested by long hours, talking to a lot of people, your guests, making sure everything is taken care of, and also having enough equity in your account to sustain you for a couple of years. It takes a long time to get established because of funding. Most restaurants fail because of lack of funding.
How did the Healthy Junk Vegan Faire come to be?
It is Healthy Junk’s second year in business, it was our birthday and I was thinking, “what could i do to celebrate with everyone and celebrate with other vendors that are vegan and provide vegan products to the community?” Then I though about the best way I could celebrate, and I thought of a Vegan Faire!
What should people expect to experience at the faire?
I am hoping that they will come and be delighted with the food, the displays and the music and all the good things we are trying to achieve to being healthier, wiser and happier. And I hope everybody walks away somehow being enlightened and that we touched them in a good way.