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 started the transition to plant-based eating in April 2010. So, that would total a year and a half.
What made you decide to embrace a plant-based diet? I lived in Japan for two years and had unconsciously adapted to their plant-centered lifestyle. So, on returning home to Jamaica, I decided to make the full switch and eliminated animal flesh, eggs and dairy from my diet. Dr. Jewel Pookrum's video presentation "Dis-Ease" was the springboard for me.
What was the hardest food to give up? It was not a difficult decision to go plant-based, since the Rastafari and Adventist communities in Jamaica practice vegetarianism. But, I was a crab-lover since I was a fetus so, I was sure my new dietary lifestyle was solidified when I could walk past a crab pot without salivating.
Any advice for new vegans? The first and most important thing is nutritional education. The average person does not know how to feed their bodies optimally, so this health-sustaining knowledge is key for vegans. Be creative and ensure you enjoy eating - the flavors, the textures, the energy.
What are some of your favorite books or websites on veganism? Some great books are:
Caribbean Vegan by Taymer Mason
Delicious Jamaica by Yvonne McCalla Sobers
The Rasta Cookbook by Laura Osbourne
Are You Sure That's Vegan by Claire Gosse, and
The Ultimate Raw Ice Cream Cake by Heather Pace.
Please share a recipe you enjoy.
I'd love to share some Jamaican soul food: "Stewed Peas" (made with red kidney beans). The preparation is demonstrated in this video from a local show: http://youtu.be/Z4-4ztEe2SI
Stewed Peas is a traditional Jamaican dish that is frequently done with salted beef, salted pig tails, or chicken feet. However, this version uses tofu. Please feel free to use TVP chunks or wheat gluten if you prefer.
N.B. Spinners are small dumplings made from dough. The dough is made from 225 grams ( ½ lb) whole wheat flour, 1/8 tsp. salt mixed in evenly with the flour and enough water to bind to make a smooth dough. Knead for about 1 to 2 minutes, cover and allow to relax for about 5 minutes. Pinch or cut small pieces of the dough, ( about 1 teaspoon) and roll between the palms of both hands for one second. They are ready in a short time.
I love veganizing traditional Jamaican dishes and trying new ones. I grab every opportunity to share with other Jamaicans my love for plant-based foods and how this way of eating has changed my life. As such, I'm a member of the Meatless Monday Jamaica team and am working hard at developing and sharing plant-based dishes with people islandwide. My plant-based diet has led me to practicing plant-based beauty - so, I use all-natural, plant-based products to groom my locs and care for my skin.