Vegan star Heather Rae El Moussa of ‘Selling Sunset’ dishes on fame, family and her favorite gluten-free pizza


When she’s not selling million-dollar homes in Los Angeles and gazing wistfully at golden sunsets on the Hollywood Hills set, Heather Rae El Moussa, née Young, can be found to enjoy the simpler things in life. In her spare time, the Southern California native shares her love of plant-based living, cooking, and all the tips she’s accumulated over her 12 years of being vegan with her over 2.8 million Instagram followers. Now the 34-year-old model, real estate agent and reality TV star (never seen the Netflix mega-hit sell sunset?) is ready for the next chapter of her life: her marriage to HGTV Flip or Flop host Tarek El Moussa and be the mother-in-law of his two children. We caught up with the star to learn more about her vegan journey, her top tips and everything in between.

Being in a mixed-regime household

I don’t impose anything on anyone, because everyone has their own rights on how they want to live. Since Tarek and I have been together, he has reduced animal products drastically, and when I cook dinner at home, I cook gluten-free and plant-based. He is very supportive of me being vegan. Even at our wedding, we had both a regular and vegan menu, and everything was gluten-free – the vegan bolognese was a favorite with guests. We also had two gluten free and vegan cakes. From the start of our relationship, he always made sure that whenever we ate out there were always vegan options – and our wedding was no different.

On her family’s diet

The children are both very aware that I am vegan. I’m very open with them, but I never push. We have many dietary restrictions at home for medical reasons – Brayden is dairy free due to an allergy and Taylor is gluten free like Tarek due to celiac disease. It’s hard because they’re kids and they didn’t have these restrictions until last year, so sometimes they don’t fully understand that they can’t have certain things that other kids have . Finding options they like can be difficult, especially preparing school meals, but luckily there are plenty of options. So I just try different things. Tarek and I do a very good job of explaining to them how important food is for our health and our bodies. We explain that food can heal us, and we don’t just eat to taste, we eat to live. We tell them how important it is to eat healthy because we only have one body.

“We explain that food can heal us, and we don’t just eat to taste, we eat to live.”
—Heather Rae El Moussa

Lindy Lin

On his favorite dishes

I love to cook, I’m the queen of healthy 20 minute meals. My favorite dishes are the gluten-free pasta with vegan meatballs, broccoli, mushrooms, pasta sauce, fresh herbs and spices, and Bitchin sauce. I also make burgers with baked potatoes and vegetables. The kids love the way I prepare the veggies – I use vegan butter and cook them until almost crispy. We also have a pizza oven, so we try to have a pizza night with the kids once a week – my husband makes me the best vegan pizza.

On his vegan advice

When I was 22, I had a lot of stomach problems, so I quit dairy. From there, I started cutting out animal products. I’ve always been an animal lover, so it was an easy and smooth transition, but I know a change in diet can be overwhelming. I would never want people to feel discouraged, so I encourage making small changes to start with. I truly believe that health is a way of life, not just a quick fix or a trend.

On top of the vegan products she can’t live without

Best choice of beauty products: Osmia Spotless Blemish Oil to stop pimples in their tracks
Evening meeting in the city: Seabirds Kitchen at Costa Mesa or Café Gratitude in Los Angeles
Snack that I always have on hand: Sunflower Cinnamon Rise Bar Protein Bars
Family dinner of the day: Cauliflower crust pizza with vegan cheese, Beyond Meat crumbles, olives, sautéed mushrooms and Bitchin sauce
Gluten-free snack that I always have in the pantry: Mary’s Gone Crackers Super Rosemary Seed Crackers

This interview first appeared in the VegNews Magazine Spring 2022 Best of Vegan Issueavailable now in The VegNews store!

For more vegan superstar interviews, read:
Joaquin Phoenix on veganism, the environment and social justice
Why Tabitha Brown never loses sight of her faith, her family, or why she’s veganThe world’s first vegan Miss Universe on inner beauty, feminism and wellness

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