My Plant Life with Maggie Ortlieb

My Plant Life with Maggie Ortlieb

A brief intro to you!

Hi! I’m Maggie, founder & CEO of VegOut Magazine—nationwide media company focused on plant-based food and lifestyle. I’ve been vegan for nine years and am passionate about helping people transition to a vegan (or more vegan) diet.

Tell us your philosophy on “wellness” in a nutshell.

Wellness is holisitc. It’s not just about the foods you’re putting into your body, but also about the content you’re consuming, the people you surround yourself with, and the way you talk to yourself. It’s a process, and a pretty messy one. Wellness isn’t just turmeric drinks, yoga, and salads, it’s being kind to yourself and allowing ALL of the emotions of the human experience, not just the positive ones.

What are your favorite medicinal plants and your go to ways to use them.

Surprisingly, I actually haven’t gotten into exploring medicinal plants as much as I’d like. However, I love peppermint. I drink it in tea form—it’s so soothing, helps with digestion, and just makes me feel good. I sip it all day.

How do you practice being more sustainable in your own day to day life?

I am conscious about what I consume and my impact on the planet. I adopted a vegan diet nine years ago and that was the first step in becoming more sustainable. I now pay attention to the clothes I buy (are they thrifted or sustainably made?), how much I drive (do I really need to make that trip or can I walk there?), and the amount of trash I generate. I’ve also adopted a semi-minimalist lifestyle. I don’t bring anything into my apartment that I don’t absolutely need. And when I’m getting rid of something, I offer it to a friend or neighbor before throwing it out. All this said, I’m not perfect. From time to time, I still drink out of single-use plastic cups when traveling, I drive sometimes when I could have walked (usually when I’m running late), and I do still fly on airplanes. Doing what we can on an individual level is super important, but we also need to put pressure on corporations and the government to put sustainable practices in place.

What’s your favorite natural wellness practice/ routine?

I love sleeping without an alarm clock! I started doing this a few years ago—I go to bed when I’m tired and I wake up when the sun comes through my blinds. I feel way more energized and ready for the day this way. There are of course times I have to set an alarm if I need to be up super early, but I can really tell the difference in my overall mood.

What’s one of your favorite ways to get outside?

Hiking! There are so many great trails around Los Angeles. I didn’t really consider myself a “nature person” before moving to the city, but I think being around so many people all the time makes you want to escape into the wilderness. It’s so healing. Anytime I’m feeling stressed or stuck with work, I make time to get out in nature.

What’s one thing people might be surprised to learn about you?

As much as I love socializing, I really value my alone time. It’s the time where the best ideas come to me and I can recharge. I’d say I’m an introverted extrovert (or an extroverted introvert). I also struggle with anxiety and depression—I’ve come a long way in being able to positively manage my mental health (and a plant-based, wellness-focused lifestyle definitely helps!), but it’s still something I deal with. I try to be open about this, because I want people to know that you can struggle with mental illness but still succeed in life. It doesn’t have to define you.