At Home in Hawaii with Ellen Fisher
At home in nature’s playground, Ellen Fisher and her husband raise their young vegan family with the aloha way of life – full of compassion, affection and an abundance of tropical food. We recently checked in with the happy fam to ask Ellen about her vegan journey, eco-friendly home and how they pass their beautiful days in Maui.
Read the interview below.
Where are you originally from and what brought you to Hawaii?
My husband and I were born and raised in Orange County, California. We moved to Hawaii for the warm sun year round, crystal clear water, green mountains, laid back aloha lifestyle, tropical fruit abundance, and the dream to grow our own food sustainably. We wanted to raise our children in nature’s playground of waterfall hikes and get away from the traffic and materialistic-driven lifestyle Orange County often embodies.
What are two things you love about life in Maui?
I love the simplicity of life here. In the hippie area we live in, nobody dresses up or wears heels, and it’s quite common to see the locals walking barefoot around town. The family tribe here is strong with like-minded mamas and dads meeting up weekly at the beach with our littles, basking in the sun as the kids wrestle in the sand. And I love how wonderful and abundant it is to grow food here. We planted a grafted mango tree in our garden last year and it is my dream to look out the window to see my children sitting beneath the shade of that tree, gorging on sweet mangos with juice running down their arms. In just a few short years that might come into fruition.
How do you spend a typical weekend as a family?
I’m so grateful that now our weekend days can be any day of the week – because my husband, Andrew, stays home with us and we work together. But the days where Andrew isn't working on the garden or homeschooling the kids while I edit a YouTube video, we typically meet up with our homeschool group or other mama/dad friends at the beach in the morning, then laze around the house in the afternoon together. Then my husband makes us a family dinner. Sometimes we go on a camping trip to Hana for a night or two, and sometimes we head to a waterfall hike. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of our life though, we still have arguments and days where the happy-rainbow-love vibes aren't flowing just like everybody else does. But I will say thatI’ve found the lower stress we make our life to be, the easier it is for us to live in harmony together and work through conflicts gently and smoothly.
Tell us a little bit about your vegan journey. What initially drew you to it?
I initially went plant-based vegan 11 years ago for health reasons. But over time I learned about the cruelty involved in all the ways animals are used and exploited for food and clothing. My heart expanded to care deeply for the animals and the suffering they endure. Because we all say we are against animal cruelty, but the truth is buried deep in our society and disconnection is strong. So once I learned all this, plus the benefits a vegan diet has on creating a lighter footprint on the planet, my vegan diet became a lifestyle. The speech that really changed my life and flipped my worldview upside down is “The Best Speech You’ll Ever Hear” by Gary Yourofsky on YouTube.
Can you say what the most positive change has been?
Oh man that’s so hard to pick just one! Overall, I’m so grateful for my health through a whole foods plant based diet. But I’d have to say the most positive change is the expansion of love my heart has experienced for the voiceless. And gaining a real understanding that my choices and actions in life are more powerful than I used to think. We vote with our dollars every day the type of world we want to live in. It is supply and demand, and we the people, together, are strong in numbers.
I've found the lower stress we make our life to be, the easier it is for us to live in harmony together.
- Ellen Fisher
What are the other things you do each day to have an eco-friendly home?
We use cloth diapers for our babies, breastfeed, use washable cloths to clean up the house and kitchen spills, make our own household cleaner, bring organic cotton washable bags to the grocery store to put our produce and bulk items in, purchase fair trade and eco friendly clothing (and lots of the time second hand clothing), purchase locally grown food as much as possible, focus our energy on continually growing more and more food in our own backyard for food sustainability, and bring steel straws, bamboo cutlery and mason jars when we order food out to avoid single use plastic waste.
How does fashion fit into your ethical lifestyle – what do you look for when purchasing clothes?
Fashion fits into our ethical lifestyle by avoiding purchasing clothing, bags or shoes made with any animals skins (leather, wool, etc) and buying second hand clothing as much as possible. Sometimes my friends and I have a “clothing swap” where we all bring over clothing that we no longer wear and just swap clothes! It’s a super easy, sustainably way to update your wardrobe without spending money and having a light footprint on the planet at the same time. The boys get lots of hand-me-down clothes from friends with older kids and then we hand the clothing down to another friend when our kids grow out of it (if there aren't a million stains on the clothing by the time my kids are finished with it, haha!) And when I purchase new clothing for myself, the kids and Andrew, I look for sustainable textiles like linen and organic cotton. I look for companies that are made with fair trade practices in mind. I am very selective with the new clothing I purchase and only purchase something I know I will wear A LOT to avoid unnecessary purchases that will sit in my closet collecting dust. Which is why I LOVE Auguste the Label! Every piece is one I can wear over and over and over again plus it is made with sustainability in mind! Win win!
What’s your family really into at the moment?
We are really into board games at the moment! My eldest son, Elvis, LOVES board games and it is a wonderful way for us to hang together as a family.
What are you favourite meals to make at home?
We are a family of consistency. We make green smoothies in our home pretty much every day, filed with local bananas or fresh OJ and mango topped with kale from our garden. We also love the warming family dinners Andrew makes us at night. A couple family favourites are “fully loaded baked sweet potatoes” and “Mexican Tacos” both recipes in our ebook “Epic Vegan Food” at ellenfisher.com
Lastly, can you share a quick recipe with us?
FRESH GARDEN VEGGIE SALAD WITH CREAMY CASHEW DRESSING
For the salad:
- Tender greens of choice, chopped (I love romaine, butter lettuce, or red leaf lettuce etc)- 1/2 cup arugula, chopped
- 1 big tomato, diced
- 1/2 an avocado, diced
- small sliver of onion, diced
- optional: sea vegetable dulse
- 1/2 a lime
For the Carrot Cashew Salad Dressing:
- 1/4 cup cashews
- 1/8 cup hemp seeds
- 1/4 cup diced carrot
- 1/2 a bell pepper
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp pickled jalapeños
- 2 tbsp lime juice.
Place salad ingredients into a large serving bowl and set aside. Then blend all the dressing ingredients in a Vitamix or other high-speed blender until totally smooth. The dressing is large enough for 2-4 servings of salad. Pour your desired amount of dressing on top of the salad and mix together until evenly coated and enjoy! Store the rest of the leftover dressing in the refrigerator. Easy peasy and so nutritious.
Imagery by Ellen Fisher and Amanda Esparza. Ellen wears the the Daphne Wrap Maxi in Navy and the Boheme Godess Maxi in Vintage Blooms Blue.