Vegan coach Patty “Sassy” Knutson

Patty “Sassy” Knutson


Patty “Sassy” Knutson is a vegan coach who believes you don’t need to give up taste and decadence to eat a healthful, vegan diet. Her website,, provides useful tips, recipes and inspiration for current and aspiring vegans and vegetarians. Her book, Get Sauced with Sass!, was published last fall and shows how to make vegan sauces. It’s available through her website.

What does a vegan coach do?

I use most of my website to reach people across the United States and across the world to teach them how to go vegan, how to do it in a smart way so you get the nutrition you need and to show it’s not difficult; it’s actually quite easy. The majority of my site focuses on how to cook and how to make food that’s really simple to prepare. I think people get overwhelmed when they think about vegetarian food or vegan food, but it’s really delicious and fun to make.

A lot of people stop being vegan after a few years. You’ve done it for 15 years.

I think a lot of people have the desire to go vegetarian or vegan, then somewhere along the way they lose hope, or they start to feel icky or rundown, and I think that’s because most people take their standard diet they’ve been eating their whole life, then they just take out the [animal products]. But there are so many things you need to add, like beans, whole grains, lots of veggies and fruits, and healthy fats—a lot of people are afraid of those, but if you’re eating the right kinds of fats, your body really loves those and responds to that, like avocados and nuts and seeds.

There are a lot of aspiring vegetarians and vegans, who occasionally eat meat.

I think a lot of people feel that if they can’t do it all the way, they’re failures and won’t do it at all. But it’s important to know you can be vegan one day a week or three days a week. Just be really gentle on yourself and do the best you can.

What kind of advice can you offer people interested in going vegan?

The most important thing to do is really add a lot of vegetables to your diet. A lot of people are used to their standard way of eating. They’ll have just a tiny pile of broccoli or something, but if you’re doing vegetarian or vegan in a smart way, most of your meal will be vegetables, with beans or whole grains in a smaller amount.

What do you think of fake meats and cheeses?

These non-animal type replacement products have a purpose. If someone really wants to stop eating the animal parts of these foods, they help to transition. But they’re not health foods. A lot of them are processed and have ingredients not even good for you. Eventually you want to get to the point where you’re eating mostly whole foods, which is a lot less expensive than buying these fake cheeses and bacon. … For the most part, my diet is based on whole foods, and that’s what I teach on my website.

If someone wanted to be coached, how does it work?

I charge $125 for a 45-minute consultation. The person fills out a nutritional analysis. … I’ll review their diet and find out where there are holes, then I’ll make recommendations for easy changes they can make. They can also do $75 follow-up consultations. … There’s no judgment. Wherever they’re at right now in their diet, people can feel comfortable that I’ll work with them in whatever way works best for them. Some vegans are very judgmental; they can tend to give veganism a bad name. It’s really important for all of us to be really kind and patient with each other.