OCEANSIDE — Eleven years ago, Oceanside resident Liz Murphy’s life took a turn that forever changed the way she lived. Murphy, a vegan chef, said she began to experience autoimmune disorders and food intolerances that she had never encountered before.
“I immediately had to change my diet to help my body function,” Murphy said. “At the time that meant no wheat, adding some veggies and eating less processed foods. About five years ago, I became pescatarian and then have made the journey to a vegan diet. It became abundantly clear that for my health, the planet and the animals, eating plants is the way to go.”
Today, Murphy is helping clients across San Diego County make the same change with the goal of creating healthier diets, and thus, healthier lives.
Murphy is the chef behind Santosha Nutrition, a food-based consulting service that offers clients everything from educational and cooking classes to catering services.
An Arizona native who moved to Oceanside in 2016, Murphy said she hopes to squash misconceptions surrounding food while helping clients find enjoyment in plant-based meals.
“We are built to eat and process plant-based fuel,” said Murphy, who finds inspiration from people like Jessica and Davin Waite of The Plot, a plant-based restaurant in Oceanside. “I’d say the most common misconception about eating plants is one’s ability to consume enough protein, but all we have to do is look to some of the best athletes in the world — they’re figuring out that a vegan diet promotes performance, builds muscles and aids recovery.”
Murphy, whose earliest memories in the kitchen include making a pumpkin pie with her Great Aunt Delores, said some of the easiest ways people can improve their diets is to just eat more plants.
“I encourage you to try plant-based a few times a week and see how you feel,” Murphy said. “If you’re already enjoying a vegan diet, then make sure you’re getting the full spectrum — eating real, whole-foods, not too much of the processed, replacement foods. It’s all about balance, whether we’re talking the foods we eat or the life we live.”
Steph Olshanski, who met Murphy about a year ago, said the vegan chef has taught her many lessons about how to live a healthier life through diet
“As a chef, Liz has taught me not only what good vegan food can taste like, but how to purchase ingredients in a cycle of seasons in order to work and exist alongside the planet, not against it,” Olshanski said. “She will give everything she has to offer and then find you an answer or solution beyond what she herself can give, is purely inspiring. We need more humans like Liz. When they say that yes, only one person really can make a difference, she is a shining example to her core and it is a privilege to be connected to her.”
Murphy said she hopes to continue to share her passion for years to come through new projects, such as an upcoming eco-festival and a cookbook. More importantly, she wants to share the knowledge she has developed over the years so as many people as possible are living healthier lives.
“On both a personal and professional level, I would quite simply like to make a positive impact on every individual I interact with,” Murphy said. “This means the people I meet, social media, my food — the ultimate goal is to incite change through education and delicious plant-based food. My hope is that with every bite I will inspire someone to eat more plants and through their example, they’ll inspire others. Change happens one person at a time, until it becomes reality.”
For more information about Liz Murphy or Santosha Nutrition, go to santoshanutrition.com or follow her on Instagram at @SantoshaNutrition.
Hoa Quach has 15 years of experience in journalism, garnering multiple awards ranging from investigative reporting to feature writing. She’s been named a “Woman Who Means Business” by the San Diego Business Journal, featured in BuzzFeed during International Women’s Day and recognized by the California Legislature for her work. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.