other brown vegan

Other Brown Vegan: Asana Hamidu

With only about 2% of Americans identifying as vegan, it's no wonder many don't feel the lifestyle relates to them. I use Other Brown Vegan to profile famous and every day people living and loving this vegan life.

This week, Asana Hamidu shares her story.... 

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*How long have you been a vegan?  
I’ve been vegan since June 26, 2012

*What made you decide to embrace a plant-based diet?
In high school I was very depressed and was going through some emotional problems that made me unhappy. I remember feeling like I was living in a haze. Also, during my senior year in high school, I went in for a doctor’s visit and was told I was approaching obesity!! That was around the time I looking for information on natural hair (Hey naptural85!). Once I made the connection between what I ate, how I felt and looked, I was sold! I began researching the types of food I was eating and I remember being so disgusted by what was being put into the food and the conditions the animals were in. Most importantly I was shocked by how the lives of people living elsewhere and the environment was being altered by what I ate (i.e. the cutting of the Amazon forest).
 I transitioned slowly by cutting out soda, red meat, chicken. I then decided to be pescaterian for a while then got tired of eating seafood. So I cut out seafood and became vegetarian one month before my freshman year in college. Once I embraced this lifestyle, I felt great because along with working out, I was losing weight and feeling better. I became interested in veganism when I got more in touch with my spiritual side; I started to see the connection between our souls/spirits, and how what we consume affects the way feel. Also, I felt very hypocritical knowing all I knew about that was in the food while eating eggs, cheese and drinking milk. So after examining how far I had come as a vegetarian, I decided to transition to vegan lifestyle on June 26 2012. I knew I wanted to be vegan and I was committed to this lifestyle …I was sure of it! I knew I would feel so much better. I was right! I haven’t looked back since!
 
*What was the hardest food (meat, dairy, eggs, etc) to move away from?  
Surprisingly meat wasn’t hard for me to quit at all. Being from a Ghanaian family, every time my mom would make soup, some of the meat would go missing hehehe. The hardest foods for me to move away from was diary and eggs. I love dessert so most of the things I would cook and buy had one or both ingredients in it!

*Any advice for new vegans?
My advice for a new vegan would be trust the process and take it one step at a time. Another important advice is research different kinds of food and know what kinds of vitamins and nutrients are in it. Since this is a new lifestyle, you will start seeing some changes in the way you feel and look! Beware! This is normal too.
Don’t be hard on yourself if you err, mistakes are normal and are part of the journey. Also, don’t be afraid to tell others that you are vegan. I remember going to a traditional naming ceremony and fearing to tell my extended family about my lifestyle because I thought that they would question me or say something negative. But, it was alright, everyone was curious about what I ate and wanted to know what I could and couldn’t eat so they could serve me the right food. This brings me to my next point, which is always eat something before you go to an event or simply tell the host about what your diet is all about and they might be happy to accommodate you! Before going out to eat at a restaurant, look at their menu online or call in to check out the types of vegan options available. Remember, just because something is vegan does not mean it is healthy!
Eat a variety of nutritious foods to ensure that you are getting your daily vitamins!  Don’t forget to workout out! You will feel and look great!
Remember why you are doing this, trust me there will be many people out there who will question your decision (and there are many who will support you) but you have to be your biggest supporter and be steadfast in the belief that this is the right thing for you.
Lastly, Stay True, Be You, Trust the Process and Live life to the fullest!
 
*What are some of your favorite books/websites on veganism?  
The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone - Great book!
 Love Food Eat
 Sistah Vegan
 Oh She Glows
 Vegan Yum Yum

*Please share a recipe you enjoy.
Healthy Banana Bread (Whole Wheat, Vegan, Oil-free & Sugar-free) Ohh my goodness this is sooooo delicious!

 *How can we reach you?
You can reach me on my blog
Facebook page
Email: whatshetaughther@yahoo.com

Thanks, Asana!

If you're a brown vegan interested in being featured on the blog, send me a message on the contact page.  

Other Brown Vegan: Tamara of Glowing Color

With only 2% of Americans identifying as vegan, it's no wonder that most people don't feel this lifestyle relates to them. I use Other Brown Vegan to showcase famous and every day vegans who love this lifestyle.

If you're interested in being featured on the blog, send me an email and I'll send over the questions. :-)

This week, Tamara of Glowing Color is sharing her vegan story......

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*How long have you been a vegan?  

6 years

*What made you decide to embrace a plant-based diet?

I was really bothered by practices I read about and saw regarding slaughtering animals for food. It then turned into health reasons once I read more about what goes into meat, dairy, etc. and once I realized how much better I felt physically, I was sold.

*What was the hardest food (meat, dairy, eggs, etc) to move away from?  

Dairy! I used to live for cheese, big cereal bowls of ice cream, cake, etc. so that was definitely the hardest to do without. I would be in class, and the professor would order pizza for the class and I would just cry on the inside. LOL. But now that I'm so far removed from it, I don't crave it and I don't even have much of a sweet tooth anymore! When I do, it's satisfied by fruit or something very simple.

*Any advice for new vegans?

Definitely have a meal plan! I didn't know how to cook until I went vegan. You have to cook ahead of time to always have something ready to go during busy weeks because depending on where you live, there may not be pre-prepared vegan meals or fast food that you can readily access and that leads to you breaking down and eating non-vegan food or eating complete junk. I gathered an arsenal of cookbooks and made an Excel sheet of rotating weekly recipes.

*What are some of your favorite books/websites on veganism?  

My vegan resources revolve more around food rather than general veganism. Veganomicon, How It All Vegan, and Vegan Planet were my cookbook staples. Healthy. Happy. Life. is my favorite site for recipes.

*Please share a recipe you enjoy.

Pan-fried tofu cubes (panko bread crumbs, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, and chicken seasoning--or your other favorite seasoning sauteed in olive oil) and vegetable rigatoni (zucchini, diced tomatoes, bell peppers, and whatever other veggies you like sauteed in olive oil with rigatoni pasta, diced garlic, and nutritional yeast).

 *How can we reach you? Social media, blog, etc.

glowingcolor.com

Thanks for sharing your story, Tamara!

I'm blogging Mon-Fri this month for Vegan MoFo.

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Other Brown Vegan: Kawani AKA Crafty Earth Mama

 

 

How long have you been a vegan? Vegetarian for 20 years, vegan off and on for the last 5 and full vegan for 2 years.

 

What made you decide to embrace a plant-based diet? It all stemmed from my love for animals and not feeling right about killing another living, feeling being. Later on, it also became about health.

 

What was the hardest food to move away from? None, really. Once I realized the pain and suffering that comes from most conventional foods, it was easy to stop eating them. It actually felt amazing getting away from that. Also, any food that I craved could be made without animal products. I find that cravings are more about textures and seasonings, than animal flesh.

 

Any advice to new vegans?

#1-Don’t be ashamed of your veganism, but also don’t stress yourself trying to make everyone become a believer. Set an example by living your own truth and standing firm in that. 

#2-Be prepared with a wide variety of vegan foods. Make sure you have a well stocked fridge and cabinet and also take food/snacks with you to work or away from home. In the beginning it can be difficult to navigate stores, restaurants, etc. Especially, if you’re going straight from omni to vegan.

 

What are some of your favorite books/websites on veganism? I try to put a lot of vegan/healthy recipes on my site CraftyEarthMama.com. I also really love rawfoodtalk.com, PPK.com and BrownVegan.com of course!

 

Please share a recipe you enjoy. This is one dish that’s requested over and over. I make a large batch at once to share and also freeze.

The Best Ever Vegan Mac n Cheese


You can even add different things to put your own spin on it. One of my favorite variations is to add sundried tomatoes and spinach.

About 4 meal size servings or 6 as a side dish

16oz of macaroni or penne pasta (I usually use penne. The little tubes holds sauce well and I like the texture)
1c cashews (grind to powder first, unless you're using a high speed blender like vita mix)
1c veggie broth
1/2 a roasted red pepper
2tbl lemon juice
3tbl nutritional yeast
1tsp garlic powder
1tsp onion powder
1tsp smoked paprika
dash cayenne
1/3c canola oil
salt and pepper to taste (I use lot's of black pepper)
about 1/2c pasta cooking liquid

Baked Version:
Cook pasta in salted water until just under done. Drain pasta, but do not rinse. Reserve 1/2c of the cooking liquid and set pasta aside.

In a blender add veggie broth, cashews, roasted red pepper, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika and cayenne. Blend until smooth and then slowly drizzle in the oil. Add s and p to taste.

Topping for baking:
bread crumbs (I use whole wheat baguette or rolls and bake until crisp)
1 small clove garlic
pinch salt
1tbl olive oil
Put bread, garlic, salt and oil in food processor and mix until well combined.

Putting it together:
Combine pasta and sauce. If pasta is too dry, add reserved cooking liquid as needed. Pour into oiled baking dish. Top with bread crumb mixture and bake at 450 until browned. I like my top really crunchy, so I brown it under the broiler for a minute right before I remove it from the oven. Keep an eye on it, the broiler can go from brown to burnt quickly!

Stove top version:
Make sauce as directed above. Put sauce and pasta into pot and stir on simmer until well combined and desired consistency is achieved. Add pasta cooking liquid as needed
 

 

Visit Kawani's website:

Crafty Earth Mama