I am a visual journalist in South Florida who loves bringing all elements of the news together in a clear and visual way. I also love eating healthy, trying new foods, craft beer and running. This is where I share my cooking, fitness, eating and drinking adventures through my love of writing.

When I was 15, I decided to become vegetarian. Growing up in Iowa and looked at livestock as I ate dinner, I could not create a disconnect between my neighbors out my window and my food on my plate. I had never been a big meat eater, but over time I decided it was something I wanted to eliminate, as it wasn’t necessary to eat meat to survive.

My family has always been supportive of my choices, and since the beginning, my mom has helped me learn what I need to meet health requirements. I understand what one eats is a personal choice, but am interested in educating people on a plant-based diet and overall health and fitness.

What started as an ethical journey has also become a lifestyle for health. I take an interest in knowing what is in my food and what is going into my body. I focus on homemade, unprocessed and local food when possible.

I have worked at daily newspapers in Florida, Georgia, Iowa and Massachusetts. I grew up in Iowa and earned degrees in journalism and political science from Iowa State University. I like fonts, news, politics, movies, coffee, beer, vegetarian cooking and traveling.

If you like what you see, let’s connect elsewhere. Converse with me on Twitter, link up with me professionally at LinkedIn and join my inner circle (if we know one another personally, please) with Facebook. Email me at valpass8@gmail.com.