Thursday, June 16, 2016

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Vegan Bruh- Donta

"Our community has had limited interactions with the message" says this vegan bruh

How long have you been a vegan? I've been vegan since September 2009. Roughly 7 years.

Was transition easy? I went vegan strictly for the health benefits. It was a little difficult initially because I didn't know of all the great meat and dairy substitutes available, and I was not a great cook. So almost every night I was cooking tofu-vegetable stir fry. I would buy different Asian sauces and just rotate them each night. After some time, I finally discovered all the meat and cheese alternative brands and I started improving my kitchen skill and getting creative.

It took about 6months to really get comfortable. What really helped me was that my cousin/roommate went vegan at the same time as I did. So we were able to support each other during the early stages of our journey and keep each other accountable.

Any tips/advice for someone interested in being a vegan? Research! A lot of people struggle when the jump right into the lifestyle without first identifying all the incredible vegan options out there. Many think all they'll be able to eat is salads every day, get discouraged , and fall back into their previous eating habits. Trust me, salads get old quick! Start off by replacing your favorite foods with their vegan counterparts. Gardein, Tofurkey, and Field Roast are three of my favorite brands if you're looking to replace the chicken, turkey, and pork with plant based versions.

If you want to replace cheese, roll with Daiya or Field Roast Chao. Just remember there is a vegan version of just about everything. Also check out my friend Monique aka Brown Vegan for amazing tips on making the transition. It's an incredible resource.

Also, if you are interested in veganism for the health benefits as I was check out Nutrition Facts. Dr. Michael Greger post videos every week regarding the latest research on the health benefits of a plants based diets. He breaks things down into easy to understand videos which are a valuable resource.

What's your favorite vegan recipe? 

Southern Biscuits and Gravy

Vegan Buttermilk Biscuits
-2 3/4 cups of White Lily Flour
-Half cup of cold butter (stick of Earth Balance Butter0
-Egg Replacer (1tsp baking powder + 1 tablespoon of vinegar)
-1/2 cup of organic almond milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
-2 1/2 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 tablespoon of sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift flour into a large mixing bowl. Sift in baking powder. Add in sugar and salt. Stir the flour to mix in all ingredients. Add in cold butter. Take pastry mixer and mix cold butter until full incorporated. Mix in egg replacer to the milk. Add liquid to the flout and stir together. On a lightly floured surface. Take dough with hands and continue to mix. Form into a ball and knead the dough. From dough into a square that's half inch thick. Take biscuits cutter and cut dough into 6-7 biscuits.

Place biscuits on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with Earth Balance Butter on top of biscuits. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Country Sausage Gravy
-4 tbsp Flour
-4 tbsp Earth Balance Vegan Butter
-2 1/2 cups of unflavored and unsweetened soy milk
-Gimme Lean Veggie Sausage

Sauté 1/2 a roll of Gimme Lean Veggie Sausage in some vegetable oil until browned. Then set aside. Melt vegan butter in a saucepan over low heat. Blend in the flour, salt, and pepper and cook until it becomes smooth and bubbly. Stir in the soy milk. Heat to boiling on medium heat, stirring constantly. Stir and boil for about 1 minute. You should be left with thick delicious country gravy.

Add your veggie sausage into your gravy. Pour the sausage gravy over your biscuits and then enjoy!

Black male vegans/vegetarians are rare but seems to be growing in popularity. Why do you think that is? I think black male vegans are rare because in general the black community isn't very familiar with veganism yet. For a long time our community has had limited interactions with the message. But that is slowly changing as you see more and more black celebrities promote the message. Waka Flaka, Murphy Lee, Beyonce, Anthony Anderson, Serena and Venus Williams, Mya, Jermain Dupri, and Styles P are all examples. Black vegan representation in the celebrity world helps intrigue people to look more into the benefits of veganism.

Also, social media particularly Instagram is able to help veganism grow in popularity and help black males inspiring to be vegan find and connect with current vegans across the world who also look like them.

Vegans are sometimes known for being extreme. What's the one thing you want people to know about vegans? Veganism is not extreme. What is extreme about making simple substitutions to ones diet that can greatly reduce the likelihood of developing chronic diseases? Is it really extreme to purchase almond milk instead of dairy, eat a black bean burger instead of beef? I'll tell you what is extreme, ignoring the root cause of the prevalence of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, and other chronic diseases which is the Standard American Diet.

I want people to know this lifestyle is not restrictive. Everything can be veganized. Vegans eat pizza, pancakes, and BBQ too. It's just a vegan version. Simple substitutions result in dramatic health benefits.

Has it had an impact in other areas of your life? Most notably is the fact that my springtime allergies have disappeared. I used to suffer badly during pollen season. Since going vegan, my allergies have completely disappeared. I attribute that to eliminating dairy from my diet. Also, my athletic performance has improved. I recover after workouts so much faster than I did when I was consuming animal products.

Is there anything you like to add? You can follow me on Instagram. I post all sorts of vegan food that I make and find at restaurants, that breaks the stereotypes of what many people assume vegans eat.

I'm working on establishing a vegan restaurant serving southern vegan comfort food. You can follow the future restaurant on Facebook.


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