My name is Erin, but everyone calls me Red and that's just fine with me.

I'm a certified VLCE and Vegan Nutrition Specialist, fitness professional, public speaker, writer, consultant, kitchen wrangler, problem solver, host of the popular vegan podcast Red Radio, and right-hand-woman to vegan Wunderkind Chef Jay Astafa. I also co-founded The Seed in 2012, and continue to organize events across North America.

By night I'm a muay Thai practitioner, runner, Bikram Yogini, and tattoo collector. I share my pad with a vegan human, a vegan dog, and two carnivorous cats… all rescued. I hail from Toronto, Canada but Brooklyn, NYC is home.

I hustle. Hard.

Try to keep up.

#Valentina Aragundy


The third installment of my ongoing series about new vegans.  Woohoo! 


Name: Valentina Aragundy

Age: 25

Occupation: Account Executive

Physical Activity Level: I walk the dog. Does that count?

Vegan Since: March 2011

Important Details about Me: 

i am colombian-italian, i grew up all over the place and did not know what a vegan even was until Citizen Radio. i was brought up in a very meat-centric household and ate meat like i breathe air. ever since i went vegan i have noticed that i dont have migraines as often as i did before, and when i get them they are nowhere near as strong as pre-vegan magnitude. when ppl ask why i did it, i say that these two annoying voices in my head (jamie kilstein and allison kilkenny) told me to, this is usually received w VERY concerned looks. or my alternate explanation of: i couldnt eat my grandma’s dog, so why would i eat a even more intelligent animal?


What did your diet look like before you went vegan?

meat meat meat and more meat!! grains, barely any leafy greens.

Did you have any preconceived notions about veganism before going vegan?

nope, i had no fckn idea of what it meant!!

What was your turning point? How did it come about?

i just had to. i mean, jamie and allison kept talking abt it, and it dug deep in my mind. i kept ruminating the notion of where my meat came from, and more importantly, the animals used to produce it, and i could no longer even think of eating it.


How did you immediately feel emotionally, mentally, physically after going vegan? After one week? After one month?

emotionally, it was a shock. my family is one of those families that does everything around a shitload of food, and most of the food has meat, kinda depressing bc i was left out. but phisically i was full of energy, my mind felt more alert, i slept better, and i felt even better the longer i stayed w it.

How did your friends and family react to your lifestyle change?

none of my friends or family knew a vegan, so they were worried abt, guess?, portein!! and iron deficiencies. but after i explained how to eat protein the right way they felt better abt it. now everyone tries to make a vegan dish for me whenever there’s a gathering.

Were there any books that motivated you to change, or helped with your transition?

not really, but blogs were a great urban are some of my faves aside from yours, of course!!

Did you have any slip-ups? How did you deal with it?

i did, i ate a slice of gouda cheese and felt horrible. i hadnt had any dairy in months and it upset my stomach like crazy. never again. the second time it was attempted murder w icecream by my boyfriend. he was on the phone and not paying attention and served my a heaping scoop of cow milk ice cream. i thought it tasted funny but the popcorn kinda threw me off a bit. abt 10 minutes into my binge, i felt my stomach twist. the result was the mother of all upset stomachs and a VERY apologetic boyfriend.

How did you deal with your non-vegan items (kept them, replaced them, donated them)?

my dining room chairs are leather, bought them loong before i even considered going vegan, and i cant really afford to buy new ones so they are staying w me for as long as i cant afford new ones. other than that i didnt have any leather or wool clothes. the leather shoes i had i gave to my cousin, and whatever make up and body wash wasnt vegan i threw out.


Do you miss anything?

yes, ‘postre de natas” a colombian desert i dream of. my food porn. and my signature dessert.

What has been your biggest challenge so far?

veganizing my signature dish, a “magic” coffee dark chocolate cake topped w a layer of coffee flan with a kahlua caramel.

What has been the greatest reward?

knowing that the pleasure i get of eating a delish dish, is not derived from suffering. also my skin glows!!

What are some new foods, cuisines or products you’ve tried since going vegan?

hummus. now it’s basically a food group for me. Kale is pretty swell too. 

Is your significant other/roommate/family vegan? Have they become curious?

my boyfriend, who i live with, is an omnivore. he has been a trooper and will try anything i make. he even tried going completely vegan for a week to see what it was all abt. he still eats meat, but he now knows where it comes from and how great life can b w out animal food but it is his decicion to make.


Do you plan to stay vegan? Why or why not?

yes i do plan on staying vegan. why? bc i cant face myself if i dont.

Have you encouraged your loved ones to make changes? How? What has been the reaction?

yes, they fight me off at first but then usually become more receptive