What is it about the vegan way that seem’s to be attracting people to swap juicy steak for nutritional kale? And what is it about this movement that throughout the decades has been known to be practiced mainly by Rastafarians but now deemed to be a ‘white thing’?
What made you want to lead a vegan lifestyle?
Funnily enough after conversing with a few vegans, I have come to find I’m not a true vegan (lol)! I consume honey which kind of shoves me from holding that title, so lets just say I’m 95% vegan for now.
Back to the question – turning vegan was a decision I made as a result of looking at my family and what diseases have been detrimental to their lives. I found that heart problems, stomach ulcers, kidney failure and diabetes were the main culprits. After extensive research I found that on one side of my family it was because of high salt content, copious amounts of sugar and lots of meat.
My dream is to live a very long healthy old man and be the coolest grandad ever, so I decided to take a stand and focus on my health. Its probably the best decision I’ve made to date.
We know its ridiculous for the vegan lifestyle to be considered ‘colour specific’ but it has been known for people to say its a ‘white thing’, what is your response to this?
This is a surprise. Having done some research it seems that this perception is strong in the minds of a selected group of people. One thing I can say is that in England many races, cultures and creeds consume a lot of meat and animal products but information on veganism in England doesn’t accommodate effectively for melanated people.
A lot of melanated people I speak to think that:
a) veganism is all about salads, tasteless greens, fruit and soups
b) all vegans are very skinny people who lack protein. This lack of available information can make things difficult as many people of colour want to make the change, however if your going to say to Grandma or Mamma I can’t eat 85% of your food anymore, you better have a good alternative that can replace Sunday dinner. I have provided many of these, and helped create mindsets that make the change incredibly easy.
After speaking to many elders the knowledge I have attained tells me that naturally black people are designed to be vegans as hot countries provide and grow these foods naturally. My parents used to only eat meat on Saturdays and Sundays and their diets were mostly vegetarian. Also African-Caribbean’s are mostly lactose intolerant from birth, I think that living in The West and the media has caused us to assimilate into eating foods that are detrimental to our long term survival hence the diseases that are killing them.
Veganism is not a white thing, its just now become a trend. 90% of vegan food comes from hot, melanated climates and is mostly imported here, in addition to this Rastafarian’s and Naturalists have been living this life for years before it became popular in Western society.
‘A lot of melanated people I speak to think that all vegans are very skinny people who lack protein. This lack of available information can make things difficult as many people of colour want to make the change…’
What are the health benefits of being a vegan?
Healthier heart, liver, kidneys, vibrant skin, eyes, hair and nails, accelerated healing, peace of mind and lightness (from not spending majority of your day digesting food), incredible immune system and increased creativity. I have like one cold/flu a year and it lasts for three days maximum. I have more energy, power of youthfulness, more variety of meals, more money (yes its cheaper)and the internal organs of a high powered engineered vehicle. The benefits are too numerous to mention.
Like you mentioned before, some medics warn that vegans are deficient in nutrients and sources of iron typically found in meat. How do you ensure that your body still gets the right supplements and vitamins it needs?
Look at cows, elephants, giraffes, gorillas, buffalo, horse and antelopes…. Do they look deficient in nutrients and sources of iron? These animals eat grass and greens all day and are bigger, stronger, faster and fitter than there carnivorous counterparts. With all this strength and power these animals are peaceful and generally on a chilling thing as long as you don’t go near their young or try to eat them (haha).
There are so many vegan foods with iron and an incredible amount of nutrients: lentils, quinoa, beans, kale spinach and more. Also vitamins and minerals can be obtained from super fruits like berries, pineapples and watermelon as well as water, lime, beetroot, ginger and turmeric which prevent diseases and clean out your inner systems. In fact kale, spinach and spirulina are all around 70% protein that does not need to be broken down but goes straight to your muscle.
What are your eating habits throughout a typical working day…Do you follow a strict regime?
I am a creative vegan, I don’t have strict regimes. I go to the supermarket and buy everything I am attracted to – this is a intuitive process for me. One day I may get kidneys beans, cabbage, spinach, kales, ackee, callaloo and quinoa and thats me for the week. Another day it might be plantain, falafel, vegan burgers, cucumber and chickpeas.
Now here’s where it can get interesting…
- I always start by chopping tomatoes, onions and sweet peppers and fry them in coconut oil, this adds amazing flavour to most things.
- Then I can add either one or a combination of the vegan food I have bought and once that’s nicely mixed up and cooking I can curry, stew, add sweet and sour, blackbean sauce, mangos, pineapple and then season up and have with avocado, quinoa, pearl barley and hard food.
- I replace meat with things like plantain, beans and falafel and use flavours from different cultures.
- I have a pint of ginger water, lime and honey every morning and night to cleanse the system, increase metabolism and eradicate free (cancer causing radicals).
- I eat lots of fruit (mostly first thing in the morning) its an incredible start to the day and I make a lot of smoothies mixed with vegetables, fruit and supplements.
It takes effort and care… I see many people who take care of their car and pets more than themselves.
What made you want to start your own natural drink company – Allen’s Chakra Juice?
When I first turned 95% vegan lol I found vegan foods disgusting because my taste buds were used to all the unhealthy foods. I had to train my body by mixing the fruits I loved with the vegetables I hated. This is how it started before I learned about plantain burgers and wraps, ackee and calaloo without saltfish and hazel nut milk (yumm yumm).
I put this ‘green stuff’ called spirulina in my blends and posted my drinks on Instagram. People could see the change gradually and started to privately message me about purchasing the juices I was having. I went from selling to them to the sister, the mom, whole family, then a large Whatsapp group changed everything. This community inspired me to take it to the next level and now I supply to food shops .
How does the brand – Allen’s Chakra Juice aim to promote healthy eating and drinking?
ACJ shows people that being healthy can be a very tasty, pleasurable experience for all. The juices are all natural with no additives, preservatives or sugar. For anyone who contacts me through social media, I offer advice, make food plans and cleanses that create positive change.
What is your advice to Skool Girls and Guys who are considering becoming vegans but are not sure what to do or how to start?
Its a process. Just research Mexican vegan recipes, Jamaican vegan recipes or African vegan recipes and it can open your mind to a lot of incredible possibilities.
If you want to try the smoothies, add agave syrup – its an incredible sweetener and for texture add half an avocado, it makes an amazing difference.
For those who love cheese, I’ve experienced macaroni and cheese made with cashews and potatoes for the cheese, seen pizzas made with butternut squash puree and ice cream made from hazelnut milk. You can also make plantain burgers and sausages out of crushed beans. The possibilities are endless.
Deep down we are all vegan because none of us like meat in its simple form because if we did, why use seasoning? Eating vegetables is the same when you add the seasonings you love the most.
The secret to enjoying any food… is creativity.