My whole life I’ve felt as though I’ve been going against the grain.  Firstly, I never felt like I truly belonged in the country I was born, Norway. Of course I love my home country dearly, but the way people live, think and act always felt unnatural to me.  It was always a culture ‘I should do this and I ought to do that” but never heart centered, to me. Everybody’s actions were based on the in authentic need to be so goddamn sensible, careful and smart all the time.

So I moved. At the age of 18, right out of high school, I decided Rome, Italy might be a more suitable place for me. The warm, affectionate and outgoing personality of Italians definitely captured my heart, as well as their passion and love for food and wine.  I quickly learned the language, then thought “If life can be this much better, I’m sure there are other places out there that are even more enticing!”

So not only did I move to another country after a year in Italy, but another continent. My feet landed in San Francisco, CA, where I enrolled in college. After a year there, I got the wanderlust itch back, and decided to spend my Junior Year in Paris, France.  There, at the American University of Paris, I met a sea of super interesting people from all over the world, and I felt that these people were living lives I had only dreamed about. They were well traveled, loved the finer things in life, and were unapologetic about their lifestyles.
After completing my business degree in San Francisco the following year, I naturally set my eyes on a bigger city, namely New York.  This is a city not only for dreamers, but for doers.  This is a place where you can find people who are the best at what they do, in every field, and there’s always something to be inspired by. I had finally found my ‘home’.

Still, after all this time abroad, I was still carrying around my need to be ‘sensible’, and to land a corporate marketing job. I kept job hunting for weeks, but I think the Universe was looking out for me, because I had no luck finding that 9-5 desk job that I supposedly had to get to be ‘safe’ and ‘normal’.

Through a relative’s connection I ended up working in the international marketing department at Atlantic Records, where I met a woman who was as untraditional in many ways as I was (after all, there are no coincidences) , and she brought me to the hot and hip label Interscope Records just a few short months afterwards, and from there on I went on to spend about a decade working in the crazy music industry, traveling the world with famous rappers and pop stars like Snoop Dogg,  Busta Rhymes, Gwen Stefani, Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys and Wyclef Jean.
Family and friends at home had no idea what I was doing nor did they understand my desire to live a bigger life, but I guess hoping that they would, only set me up for disappointment. So I kept following my heart – my interest in food and wine led me to get professionally trained as a chef and certified in many specialties in the wine industry.  I loved these new experiences, eating and drinking, while continuing to learn more about myself and my desires.

At the end of 2013, I probably made the biggest (and best) decision of my life, besides marrying my husband. (Oh, and I should mention I had to be different there too. He’s not a tall, blond Norwegian in the oil industry or with a job on Wall Street, he’s shorter than me (gasp!), Mexican and a rebel in many ways, just like me).


My decision to go vegan was probably what sent those closest to me off the edge, thinking I had finally lost the plot. No more smoked salmon, reindeer, fluffy cream cakes and whale meat? God forbid.  But when I realized that I could no longer eat animals I so proudly expressed I loved, something happened, deep inside of me.  I had taken a stand for the person I really, truly am, without seeking permission or acceptance from others.  

There is nothing more empowering than this, and it led me to explore the other areas of my life where I had been timid in expressing myself and following my dreams.  I have always been an entrepreneur at heart, as I very much dislike having a “job” and being restricted to someone else’s vision of how things should be done.  So I started my coaching business at the end of 2015, and I haven’t looked back since.

Has it been an easy road? Definitely not.   Has it been a tad scary? Sure.

After all, I don’t have the million dollar home (yet!), the boat on the fjord or the cabin in the mountains that all my fellow Norwegians friends back home value so much, not to mention pretty looking blond children.  But what I do have is a passion and thirst for life, for constantly challenging myself to see what else I can accomplish and what other things are out there for me to discover.  To me, that is wealth and happiness.


Following my heart and being true to myself has always been of utmost importance to me, even when I went against the grain, when nobody understood, risking to be different, to be alienated, risking to disappoint my family.

Many times I felt alone, like I was the only one who didn’t ‘fit in’ with the mold that had been created for each person, and I wished I had like minded friends or colleagues who got me.

At the age of 44, four countries and four industries later, I have finally found my “tribe”. I now know there are tons of women out there feeling just like me, and it has been so wonderful gaining new friends who don’t think I’m weird, who don’t ask me when I’ll ‘settle down’, or ‘grow up’. They love life as much as I do, they are as curious as I am and they support and encourage me daily.

THIS is why I created my coaching business – to help like minded women realize their dream, find back to their authentic personalities and be unapologetic about what they love to do.  Whether that is how you like to eat (becoming vegan and not causing harm to other beings), what you want to do in life, either professionally or as a hobby-  I am here to facilitate your journey to discover what that can look like for you.  We will focus on all the possibilities, not all the obstacles, because if the desire is strong enough, anything is possible.  During coaching with me, we will work on the mindset, steps and strategies you need to implement to achieve your goals, whether that is finding your true passion, replacing your corporate income, replace your less ideal lifestyle choices with new, healthy ones and help you be consistent, and so much more.
You already have everything you need within you to design your ultimate life, to be happy and to feel fulfilled.  What you don’t need is anybody’s approval or permission.
Take the first step today, and book a discovery call with me – take a stand for yourself, because your life is happening NOW!  Also check out my website for more information on how you can work with me and how I can help you get to where you truly desire to be!

With love and appreciation for the rebel in you,

Sunny Gandara xo


5 thoughts on “Going Vegan(st) the Grain

  1. Fantastic post. You can be so proud of who you are and what you have accomplished. You are a true winner and I admire and respect you. Thank you for being you, because the world needs more people like you who think outside the box and are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in. Doing the right thing is not always comfortable as most people tend to follow the crowd. Thank you for inspiring me and encouraging me to be the person I am meant to be.

    1. Thank you so much, Melanie – what a sweet thing to say, I’m so glad you liked the post and that you found it inspirational and encouraging – that was my hope in writing this, that women will feel guided to make choices based on what is going to make THEM happy, not society. Thanks for reading! ❤

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