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Other Brown Vegans: Anayah Sangodele-Ayoka

With about 2% of Americans practicing a plant-based diet, it’s no wonder many feel making healthier changes don’t relate to their lives.  Most people don’t even know anyone practicing a plant-based lifestyle.

I’ve decided to start a series to spotlight past and present brown vegans (famous and non-famous), who have made a change in their lives for health and/or ethical reasons. Enjoy!

How long have you been a vegan? I was raised in a vegan household for most of my childhood, so I'd say it's been at least 20 years off-and-on.  I embraced veganism in my senior year of undergrad, despite a serious addiction to breakfast at Burger King.  
What made you decide to embrace a plant-based diet?  I noticed that in the years of my eating animal meats and dairy products, I was different (in a bad ways) physically and emotionally.  I always felt heavy, had frequent excess mucous, and suffered during my menses.  I developed digestive problems and was even diagnosed with GERD before revisiting the perspectives on health and healing my parents taught by example.  For the sake of closure on the topic, it's extremely rare for me to suffer any digestive troubles (and I have no GERD type symptoms AT ALL) now that my diet is plant-based, low on processed foods, and mostly home made.
 

What was the hardest food to give up? Hands down: cheese!  Even with all of the vegan varieties in factories, fancy restaurants, and my own kitchen, I have yet to find anything that comes close to the taste of dairy cheese.
Any advice to new vegans? Don't get caught up in replacing foods.  It's much more fun and easier to maintain a plant-based diet when you allow your mind and tastebuds experience the beauty of foods.  Explore new vegetables and fruits frequently, you'll be surprised at how diverse a plant-based diet can be!
What are some of your favorite books or websites on veganism? My favorite vegan related websites include, Brown Vegan and two of mine: SoulVegFolk (social network with over 3,500 members started by my husband and me) and SoulVegMama.
Please share a recipe you enjoy. 
I'm a simple woman.  If left to my own devices, I'd probably eat grits for every meal.  I've been asked how I prepare them, so I'll share my simple recipe:

 

1 c organic yellow corn grits
4 c water
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp Earth Balance (soy-free)
1 clove garlic - diced
sea salt & cracked black pepper to taste

Boil the water.  Reduce the heat to low while stirring in grits. Let it cook on low for another 3-5 minutes until grits are fully cooked and you reach your desired consistency.  Turn off the heat and add in remaining ingredients.  Eat warm.  Mmmm, isn't that like a nice tummy hug?

 

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