Coco and Lala are a pair of pals-for-years who want other people, especially in their community, to consider eating a little more plant-based.
The Twin Cities-based duo—one vegan, one vegetarian—attends community events, maintain social media accounts, and host a show via Facebook Live on Thursdays—Keeping Up with Coco and Lala—where they test out trending vegan and vegetarian recipes, try different products, and offer reviews. They regularly crack each other up while proving you can eat healthy without much hassle.
Not already keeping up with them? We caught up with the delightful duo to bring you up to speed with five fast facts.
1. They want to show eating vegan and vegetarian doesn’t have to be pricey.
“We’ve been going to Aldi,” says Coco. “We’ve been going to Wal-Mart, we’ve been going to Fresh Thyme, we’ve been going to Cub Foods. And we just want people to know: You can have healthy food, it can be affordable anywhere.”
Lala notes that she just traveled to Arkansas City, Kansas, a small town 50 miles south of Wichita. The only major grocery store there is a Wal-Mart. “And I was able to eat vegan there,” she says. “If I can eat there, I can eat anywhere!”
2. Also, eating this way is good for your health.
Lala has been vegetarian and then vegan for most of her life. Coco, however, is newer to vegetarianism. She made the switch about seven months ago, when she learned she had high blood pressure.
Many members of their community also have high blood pressure, they say, and if those folks need to make a big dietary change, they want to ease the transition. That’s why a big part of their focus is on testing recipes and products so viewers don’t have to. Coco and Lala figure people are nervous about spending a lot of time or money on food they’ve never tried before. Which is why…
3. …they’ll test whatever products and recipes you want them to.
“We’ll do it for you,” says Lala. The friends reply to every message they receive, and listen when viewers ask them to check out a product on their behalf. The reviews on their videos are honest and upfront. They’ll flat-out tell you whether or not a product or recipe is worth the time and money. And whether it tastes good.
“A lot of people assume that being vegan or vegetarian, everything is going to taste like grass,” Lala says. But vegan and vegetarian food can be incredibly flavorful and delicious, as evidenced by a video where they dip cauliflower in a hot spice mixture and fry it up. Or when they show viewers how to prepare canned jackfruit like pulled pork. And did you know Jell-O can be made vegan?
4. Eating vegan or vegetarian doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition.
Coco points out that most people who are vegan were vegetarian first and were meat-eaters before that. And no one has to make the change cold turkey (or cold tofurky). Both Coco and Lala’s families are major meat-eaters, but Lala reports that her stepmother has begun doing "Meatless Mondays" and eating smoothies for breakfast.
“Let’s take away the stigma, let’s take away the intimidation,” Coco says. “We want to welcome everybody. We don’t care if you eat meat six days a week and just want to do Meatless Mondays.” Their show and their diets aren’t about labels: “It’s about doing the best you can with what you have,” Coco adds. “And if you know better, you’ll do better.”
5. These women have plans for the future.
“Our major goal is we want to partner with some big companies like General Mills, Target, Aldi, McCormick’s,” says Lala, a self-professed Lawry’s fan. “There are a lot of vegan and vegetarian spokespeople, but they’re not as funny as us.”
They’d also like to write a cookbook and host a Netflix special where they travel around the world tasting all kinds of vegan and vegetarian foods. Coco dreams about being a guest on The Today Show or Ellen.
Bonus advice on going vegan or vegetarian:
“Start with a day or two a week. It’s trial and error. Don’t beat yourself up if you mess up. Start again,” Lala says. “You’ve got to be realistic.”