Gigi the Vegan Cookbook

The cookbook will highlight a combination of both "living foods" and cooked recipes.

Gigi Jones, AKA Gigi the Vegan, is continuing her quest to change lives by changing mindsets. The owner of Gigi's Vegan + Wellness Café in Westport is passionate about sharing her story of how changing her mentality around food and wellness literally saved her life. Part of her calling in opening the café was to provide a resource and a way to share her story with others – and ideally change other lives in the process.

Jones is now taking that drive a step further with an upcoming cookbook release. It will feature dozens of recipes, highlighting a combination of both "living foods" – her term for raw foods – and cooked recipes.

"People are intimidated by vegan and raw recipes," she says. "They tend to assume that they're overly complex, expensive and, worst of all, that they don't taste good. I wanted to put together a collection of simple recipes that families could make and enjoy together."

However, the new book, which Jones hopes she'll have in her shop and available through online booksellers by July, is more than just a collection of recipes. "I want this book to help people understand how food nurtures the body and spirit," she says. "There's a section about how to grow your own produce. I want to educate readers about how to listen to their body and understand how to best care for themselves. I hope it can help take away some of the intimidation factor that a person can feel about taking control of their lifestyle."

Here, Jones gives us a sneak peek of one recipe, the story of which almost brought her to tears. When she was young, her mother used to grow the sweet potatoes and collard greens and put together this savory, simple treat. When she makes this recipe now, it always makes her think of her mom.

Look for the full cookbook at Gigi's Vegan + Wellness Cafe and through online shops later this year.

Gigi's Vegan + Wellness Cafe, 1103 Westport Road, Westport, Kansas City, Missouri, 816.605.1819,