Well Woman Interview: Veronica Schwartz
Here is the story of how I came to meet Veronica Dr-Cow.
It was September in New York City. I borrowed my best friend’s bike and went exploring. I’ve been to New York more times than I can count but it was my first time exploring the city on a bike. Game changer.
I had heard of a woman making incredible vegan cheeses, with a shop somewhere under the Brooklyn Bridge so I set out under the deep heat of the September sun to find this place. I wandered into many other little shops before stumbling upon Dr-Cow, Veronica’s shop. It’s a tiny little place but it has all the room it needs with a kitchen in the back.
She gave me samples of her cheeses, which not only melted in my mouth but had flavours that exploded on my tongue. I wasn’t a nut-cheese aficionado by any stretch but everything about the taste and texture was cheese. I asked Veronica a lot of questions and we got to sharing stories about plant-based eating, different herbs we were into, cleanses we’ve tried… you know… that rare moment when you meet someone who matches you in your madness.
Veronica is an award-winning pastry chef. After her discovery of raw foods almost 20 years ago, she moved over to the plant-based food world. Now her and her partner Pablo Castro own and run Dr-Cow. The cheese is fantastic and I am absolutely ecstatic about the clever rhetorical excursions that they chose for their name, Dr-Cow.
Enjoy this interview getting to know Veronica and if you come across her cheese, I do suggest you try it, you’ll be better off for it.
(above image from Dr-Cow website)
Describe who you are. What is your favourite quality in yourself?
I’m Veronica Schwartz, born in Buenos Aires Argentina. Self taught, creative, independent, strong. Sometimes I feel like I’m Super woman, multi-tasking and feeling like I can do everything… other times I’m very raw and critical about myself and the world we live in. Contradicted and emotional by nature.
What are your morning rituals? What’s the first thing you do when you rise?
First thing I do in the morning is I take my basal temperature to fill my FAM (fertility awareness method) chart. I was introduced to this birth control method through a friend and realize how important and useful is. Then some tea and 30 minutes of yoga by myself, around 6:30 am.
Does the quality of your morning set the tone for the rest of your day?
Let’s talk food. What does a typical breakfast look like?
First my supplements (B-complex, thyroid support, vitamin E…)
Then Tea or herbal coffee with raw almond milk and a slice of homemade steamed sprouted bread.
Right now I’m taking care of my adrenals so I make a small shake with nut milk, cordyceps, ashitiba and polyrhachis ants.
Coffee or tea?
Tea (gong fu ceremony style) or mate.
Quality of food is so important but so is quality of mind. How do you feed your mind?
Something that I have to remind myself of all the time, is that being well and happy should always be a priority. Sometimes life gets very busy and this is hard to remember.
How did Dr-Cow come to fruition? What inspired the invention of these delicious tree nut cheeses?
Dr-Cow is was created 17 years ago by my husband Pablo and I. We were inspired by two grains, little known back then, quinoa and amaranth. The cheese came four years later, around 2004, after a year of research.
In 2003 we were introduced, randomly, to the raw food diet and we decided to give it a try. We start developing many different products for ourselves and the cheese was the one we loved the most, we thought, we must introduce this to the market.
Are your cheeses probiotic rich, from the homemade culture and fermentation process?
Yes, I also believe this is one of the best ways to incorporate nuts into the diet because the nuts are pre-digested through this method.
What was your transition like from pastry chef to the plant-based world? What inspired this transition?
As soon as I learn about the existence of a living food diet there really was no turning back. As soon as I understood the harm of many of the foods I was using as a pastry chef, I had to make the change. There was no choice for me. I couldn’t do it and ignore the guilty feeling I had about the effect the ingredients would have on others’ health. That is not who I am.
It was a slow transition, I am a perfectionist and never want to do things half way, it took me many years to master the living pastry techniques the way I felt right. It now feels amazing to do something delicious and healthy at the same time.
How has raw, vegan, clean, plant-based foods changed your life?
It has changed the way I think. I think more clearly and without any physical interference. I realize that when my vehicle (my body) is clean I can grow my spirit better, I can feel and hear my intuition better, without noise, without paying attention to physical interference.
When I was in the shop we spoke about cleansing and detoxing a little bit, what cleansing and detoxing protocols have you been turned onto recently?
If you had to choose a favourite herb or superfood right now, what would it be and why?
Cordyceps, I love these mushrooms. They strengthen the kidneys and tonify Qi.
There is a growing holistic and sustainable community focus in New York. What’s it like living there? How do you find grounding and connection in the busy city?
My family and my house. My husband and my daughter keep me connected with what really matters. Our house is my sanctuary…I love it, it brings me so much joy. It is our ecosystem.
How do you take care of your mind, body and spirit?
For me it’s simple. By doing what I love and being true to myself.
Describe mornings with one word.