Vegan Women Who Inspire Me: Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

For more than two decades, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau has been spreading her very personal, extremely effective brand of joyful veganism and sustainable living with the world through cookbooks, cooking classes, podcasts, and blogs. With her tens of thousands of social media followers, I’m not alone in my Joyful Vegan fandom, but not everyone knows the woman behind the brand. I’m thrilled to call her a friend and colleague, and believe we need more CPGs in the world.

Vegan for:
24 years

What do you love most about your vegan life?
The fact that I'm manifesting my deepest values in my daily choices.

What does your morning routine look like?
I wake up at around 5:30 am, work out (spin bike + weights), make tea, journal, read, create a to-do list for the day, shower, make the bed, make more tea, and arrive at my desk by 8 or 9 am.

What is your evening routine?
I make dinner for me and David, we eat together, go for an evening walk together, and either read in the living room or watch a movie in the den. David does the dishes, and I feed the cats!

What are some tips for productivity you swear by?
Deciding the night before how you want to start the next day when you wake up, writing lists, creating and sticking to routine.

What's your go-to breakfast each morning?
Always green tea and some kind of fruit; either apple cut up with peanut butter or banana with peanut butter or banana-oat "cookies" (just mashed-up banana, oats, and cinnamon shaped into cookies and baked for 15 minutes).

What are your must-have healthy vegan meals?
Big ol' salad and baked Japanese sweet potato, rice and beans, or garlic and greens soup.

How important is a healthy lifestyle to your quality of life?
It's everything. Most of life is maintenance and preparation for everything we deal with; without the fundamentals of healthy choices (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual), I'd have no reserves, no foundation, and no coping mechanisms for when things get hard. And then when things aren’t hard, it just feels really good to take care of yourself in those ways.

Please share some of the ways that you unwind and create a work/life balance.
I have a beginning and end time that I work; I've always been pretty rigid about keeping a "9 to 5 schedule." I make a lot of time for social engagements—hiking, walking, eating, drinking—with friends, and I have a lot of interests that enhance my life and feed me in addition to my work: hiking, learning, reading, volunteering.

What tips would you share with entrepreneurs in the making?
You can't be expert in all aspects of running a business, while also being expert in your field, so just be smart enough to surround yourself with (ie, hire) those who are expert in the areas that will enable you to focus on what you're good at and what no one but you can do. Hire others for the business aspects that take you away from what you started the business for in the first place.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Let go.

Who inspires you?
Anyone and everyone who does direct animal rescue; people hold onto their integrity and compassion even in the most difficult situations.