You’re a WHAT! What’s a Vegan? What Does That Mean? Local Woman Co-Authors Book

Posted on February 10, 2014 By

Lisa McComsey, Island Heights, needed an edge to win her family’s annual fitness competition. She had heard that a vegan diet might just give her that edge so McComsey decided to try it for a month—why not? How bad could it be? Instead of feeling bored and deprived, McComsey found the vegan diet to be exciting and delicious.

What does a vegan eat? Plant-based foods, which can be lasagna, pizza, muffins, pancakes, chocolate cake, fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains, and any animal-free food. What is not on the vegan menu? Such animal options as meat, chicken, fish and any food that comes from an animal.

Based on her own experience, McComsey realized that changing one’s life-time eating patterns can feel overwhelming at first. That’s why she and her friend Amy Cramer, a former colleague at People magazine and a vegan chef, decided to collaborate on a book that would clearly and simply explain “how” to be a vegan. (The “why” has already been talked about and written about profusely: many of the ills Americans suffer—heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, to name a few—are attributable to a diet rich in animal products.)

The result of their collaboration is The Vegan Cheat Sheet, published by the Penguin Group, a portable, Zagat-sized guide that outlines everything a person needs to know to become a vegan: 21 days of vegan menus, recipes, a vegan travel guide, a fast-food survival guide, a shopping guide, a “how-to” guide for getting through social scenes with nonvegan family and friends, important facts, and party menus.

McComsey said, “I’d really like to convey that going vegan is so much easier and more fun and delicious than one could ever imagine. I consider myself a foodie—I love to eat, yet I never feel deprived. Also, I’m a klutz in the kitchen and have little-to-no culinary skill. The recipes in our book are so easy, even I can make them! Amy and I are unlikely vegans who now have a passion for this way of eating. We run marathons, hike mountains (Amy lives in Boulder), have huge amounts of energy, and feel fabulous.”

Lisa, herself, has completed 25 marathons (26.2 miles), the latest in November 2013 and five of them as a plant-powered runner. She also finished several triathlons and a couple of century (100-mile) bicycle rides. McComsey said, “The point being, you can be a vegan athlete!”

Vegan is making the news recently. New York magazine calls 2014 “the year of the vegan”; and “Haute vegan” was named one of 2013’s top 10 trends in American dining in The Week magazine (12/31/13). Some famous vegans include Bill Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres, Brad Pitt, Olivia Wilde, Mike Tyson, and hundreds of other celebrities who have adopted an animal-free life. ( Jay-Z and Beyoncé became vegans for 22 days.)

McComsey, a Toms River High School South graduate, received a B.A. in art history from Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. She has been a freelance writer, editor and marketing consultant for more than 15 years and is currently the copy director for Allure magazine, a Condé Nast publication. Her experience includes working in the magazine-publishing industry for titles, such as Vogue, People, Life, In Style, Allure, Vanity Fair, GQ, and the New York Times, among others.

McComsey is a board member and past president of the Ocean County Business Association (OCBA), Toms River, and serves on the executive board of the John F. Peto Museum & Studio, Island Heights.

She is the two-time winner of Time Inc. President’s Award; two-time recipient of Ocean County Business Association Member of the Year award; winner of United Way of Ocean County Community Outreach Award; and the winner of RARE Center for Tropical Conservation Volunteer Service Award. McComsey received the Toms River High School South Tennis Lifetime Achievement Award, and has won several awards as a Toastmasters speaker.

And, yes, McComsey DID win her family’s fitness competition and $400.00!

About The Vegan Cheatsheet The Vegan Cheatsheet and author sites: Book: and vegancheatsheet. The Authors Guild:; Amazon book page (reviews):; Amazon author page: . Co-author Lisa McComsey is available for book signings, talks, and public appearances. Contact her at 848-333-6100 or