Deep Down, You Know + Vegan Walnut Parm


You might think that you’re doing your family, friends and loved ones a favor by always putting them first and never making time for yourself, but as it turns out, you’re doing them an injustice.

Ouch. I know that might sting. But hear me out – I’ll try to be gentle.

Let’s start with a quick experiment.

I want you to picture someone who you really love and who really loves you. Maybe your kid, your partner, a parent, your niece or nephew, your sister – picture them in your mind and hold them there. Now I want you to do the following:

1) Picture them happy, content, healthy, glowing, energized, radiant, balanced and doing really well in life. Can you see it? How does that make you feel?

2) Now I want you to picture that same person frazzled, unhappy, unhealthy, weak, sad, discouraged and tired. Can you see it? How does that make you feel?

The first scenario fills you with joy and overflowing gratitude, and the second scenario makes your heart heavy and fills you with ick, am I right?

Now think of that same person doing the same experiment, but the person they choose to think about in those two scenarios is you.

They first picture you happy, content, healthy, glowing, energized, radiant, balanced and doing really well in life. And this fills them with joy and gratitude. And then they picture you frazzled, unhappy, unhealthy, weak, sad, discouraged and tired. And this makes their heart heavy and fills them with sadness.

It’s important to hold onto the fact that our loved ones want us to be happy, and seeing us radiant and doing well in life brings them joy. Just like it brings us joy when we see them radiant and doing well in life. Are you with me so far?

Let’s keep going.

In order to be happy, content, healthy, glowing, energized, radiant, balanced, and doing really well in life, it is essential to take time for yourself and nourish your body, mind, and spirit.

And being frazzled, unhappy, unhealthy, weak, sad, discouraged, and tired is a direct result of not taking time out for yourself to nourish your body, mind, and spirit.

It’s as easy and predictable as that.

And here’s the reality of the situation.

If you aren’t operating at your best,
you’ll never be able to give your best to the ones you love – no matter how hard you try.

But when you make yourself a priority and nourish your body, mind and spirit, you can easily show up for your loved ones and bring your best self to the table each and every day.

Last weekend I found myself in the situation of driving my sister around at 9:30 at night looking for my 14-year-old nephew because he didn’t check in with his mom, and we didn’t know where he was. Everything turned out fine, and it was merely a miscommunication/dead cell phone/teenage boy situation.

The point is, if this had happened when I was still drinking, I would not have been able to be there for my sister and talk her down from a nervous breakdown during our search for her son. I’d have either been asleep and too tired from the wine to answer my phone or in no shape to drive.

Yup – in order to help other people with their shit, we have to have our shit together first.

Okay – I’ve prepped you. It’s time for the fuckery reality check, or as I like to call it the Fuckery Check.

Putting ourselves first and making sure we get what we need to be happy and healthy does NOT mean we don’t love our family or that we’re selfish or self-indulgent. It means that we love our family SO MUCH that we take the time and the necessary steps to make damn sure we’re not only there for them but that we’re operating at our best for them as long as we possibly can.

And are you ready for the kicker? Deep down, we KNOW this.

  • Deep down, we are well fucking aware that we need to make ourselves a priority and take care of the only body and mind that we have.
  • Deep down, we KNOW that constantly putting everyone else first isn’t good for us or those who love and depend on us.
  • Deep down, we KNOW that we aren’t being selfish when we eat healthy, sit down for 10 minutes, or go for a walk.

Are you ready for the real kicker? Whether we realize it or not, we use putting everyone else first as an excuse to stay stuck in unhealthy patterns and habits.

Here’s how that works.

  • If we take the time to make ourselves a priority every single day, we might have to skip TV and go for a walk instead.
  • We might have to carve 10 minutes out of our busy day to meditate.
  • And we will definitely have to say no to crappy convenience foods and swap them out with homemade, nutrient-dense meals.

Exercise, meditation, and eating super healthy all sound awesome and inspiring when they are IN OUR HEAD.

But in reality, these changes can push us so far out of our comfort zone that we quickly put everyone else first, convince ourselves that it’s selfish to make our needs a priority, and never take a damn second to work our shit out.

You see how this works? It’s a pretty sneaky move. SO sneaky that we don’t even realize we’re doing it half the time. Until now (you can thank me later).

So at this point, here’s what you now know for sure:

  • Your loved ones want you to be happy and healthy. It brings them joy.
  • You can’t give your best to the people you love until you are operating at your best.
  • Putting other people first is often an excuse to stay stuck in unhealthy habits.

So where do we go from here? Don’t you worry, I’ve got you.

Once you’ve made the decision that putting yourself first needs to be a priority, changing what, how and why you eat is the very best place to start.

Love the food that loves you back

This is because no other single thing gives you the array of benefits that eating a diet rich in whole plant foods will give you. Guaranteed.

  • Everything from sleeping better to pooping better.
  • From losing weight to feeling energized and happy.
  • From getting off medications to having glowing skin.
  • From preventing chronic disease to reversing chronic diseases like diabetes.
  • From changing your entire relationship with food to being more patient and calm.
  • From lower cholesterol and blood pressure to less inflammation in the body.
  • From mental clarity to less colds and flus.

All of these results and more are beautifully wrapped up in eating more whole plant foods and less of everything else.

And when you make the decision to do this for yourself, and you get on this path, you quickly realize that your family and loved ones will be okay.

They’ll be more than okay because not only do they want to see you happy, healthy, and radiant, but they’ll also benefit from your ah-ha moments and all the new healthy stuff that you’ll be incorporating into your life.

This is one of the best examples that you can ever set for your family.

I’ve mentioned this recipe in past Love Letters and blog posts, but I’ve never featured it alone. Walnut Parm is like magic, and it’s ridiculously easy to make. You can sprinkle it on almost anything—salads, pasta, bowls, tacos, stews—you name it, it works.

Best walnut parmesan recipe vegan parm

Walnut Parm

Makes 1¼ cups
Author: Molly Patrick


  • 1 cup raw walnuts (105 g)
  • 3⅔ tablespoons nutritional yeast (20 g)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt


  • Place all of the ingredients into your food processor and pulse until everything is crumbly and uniform, and there are no chunks of walnuts. Do not over-process or it will turn into nut butter. 
  • Walnut Parm is best stored in a sealed container in your fridge.


Make sure your food processor and all of its parts are dry before beginning. If your food processor is wet or damp, your Walnut Parm will not process correctly.
Add a pinch of nori for deeper umami flavor. 
ingredients for walnut parm
how to make vegan parmesan in food processor
Yummy vegan walnut parmesan topping

Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with saying hell YES to yourself, even if it’s in an awkward unsure voice. It will be a roar soon enough!

walnut parm on avocado toast

We have a feeling you’ll be sprinkling Walnut Parm on everything, especially avocado toast!

Say yes to yourself and plants!

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Our Sweary Saturday Love Letters are written by our ex-boozer, ex-smoker, plant-loving co-founder, Molly Patrick.


  1. Julia Nica on April 18, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    Wow! This recipe look amazing! The pictures are extremely enticing! I am definitely going to whip up a batch and have it handy. Is it best stored in the fridge?

    • Molly Patrick on April 18, 2016 at 5:41 pm

      Hey Julia –
      Yup – stored in the fridge is best ;0

      • Julia Nica on April 18, 2016 at 6:07 pm

        Thank you! That’s perfect!

  2. Anne Milsom on March 11, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    You are a very inspirational person Molly. Thank you!

  3. Philippa Young on November 5, 2017 at 2:09 am

    Do you have a suggestion to sub for the garlic powder? I’m on a low fodmap diet.

    Seriously excited about the nori!

    Can’t wait to try this!!

    Does it work on top of baked dishes or will it burn??

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on November 5, 2017 at 6:50 pm

      Hi Philippa,

      You could change it up with your favorite herb. The only sub I know of for garlic / onion is called asafoetida (aka hing). However, it’s apparently quite odorous and is usually cooked in dishes so I’m not sure if it’s the right spice to sub for this application. You could opt to leave out spice altogether.

      If you’d like to add it to baked dishes, I recommend adding towards the very end of cook time.

      Team Dirty Girl

  4. Aileen on February 13, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    5 stars
    I can’t believe how DELISH this walnut parm is! It’s wonderful on everything! I keep some in a small container and take it with me every where. Love seeing you in my inbox on Saturday.

  5. kat on March 11, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    OMG this is soooo good. I make it all the time!

  6. Reb on March 16, 2019 at 2:41 pm

    How about roasting the walnuts?

    • Molly Patrick on March 16, 2019 at 2:48 pm

      Go for it!

  7. Jules Haley on November 19, 2019 at 5:58 am

    Just made this. It is fab. I’m on the Overcoming MS Diet and this really adds a bit of joy!

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on November 19, 2019 at 12:44 pm

      Hi Jules, So glad the walnut parm is a joy-bringer for you! We always have it in our fridge. Molly did an interview with Amanda on her MS that you might be interested to check out. ~Karen

  8. Carrol Ann Bivins on January 30, 2022 at 4:11 am

    Just reversed. My Diabetes. Lost about 30 lbs. Eat plant based. Miss cheese. Thank you for any help. CAB

    • Stephanie from Team Dirty on January 30, 2022 at 12:55 pm

      OMG Carol Ann!!

      bill murray clapping

      That’s amazing news and we’re so happy to hear it! Thanks for sharing your win with us, it absolutely makes our day.

      We hear you about missing cheese—it’s something many folks who switch to plant based eating deal with. If you stay consistent, these cravings will lessen over time. But we do have some resources that might help you in the meantime.

      First, Molly interviewed Dr. Neal Barnard all bout cheese a while back. This is a great chat to watch and learn more about what’s going on in your body when you eat or crave cheese, specifically. If you enjoy the chat, we recommend that you pick up his book, The Cheese Trap. It’s linked in the post.

      The other resource we recommend checking out is an interview Molly did with Dr. Doug Lisle on The Pleasure Trap. Dr. Lisle talks about how cravings are hard-wired into our brains and explains that a lack of willpower isn’t why people struggle to give up things like cheese. He wrote a book by the same name that’s linked in the post.

      We hope these help. Feel free to email us if you have further questions or would like more guidance. We’re always happy to help. <3

      Congrats again on reversing your diabetes!

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