FEATURE: Angel Hall

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Angel is a single Mom of four amazing kids and she is a night shift Pediatric Transplant Nurse.

I had a slow transition into veganism. So, while I have never eaten pork, crabs, or lobster, it has been about 30 years since I've eaten beef. I ate chicken off and on for a while.  Fish, like salmon, cod, or sea bass were the last to be eliminated.  I was a single mom to my son who is now 27 years old and at the age of 24, I was diagnosed with severe endometriosis and fibroids.  After having many surgeries. I was told at age 25 that I would need a hysterectomy.  I refused, but remained in complete denial about my disease.  I had another surgery to remove the fibroids a couple of years later.

My mom suggested that I try some natural herbs and juicing, but I wasn't very interested in natural healing.  After years of suffering physically, as well as struggling with depression and miscarriages, I was told by a gynecologist that I would never get pregnant with all my medical problems.  By this time, the fibroids had returned a third time, my fallopian tubes were blocked, and my endometriosis pain and symptoms were out of control.  I was 32.  My last hope was IVF and even the specialist told me with my history I would have a less than 5 % success rate.  I never take "no" for an answer, so I did my own research and every time, veganism came up as a way to improve fibroids and endometriosis.  I started the IVF cycle combined with Chinese herbs, and stopped eating dairy and meat.  I ate fish sometimes.  Six months later I was pregnant after one extended IVF cycle.  Everyone was shocked.  I was pescatarian for a couple of years, then after adding the raw juicing and cutting out the meats, I decided to go full vegan by age 36. 

Her dad is from the south so, he is a carnivore at heart.  It can be challenging being vegan while your spouse is not. This can make teaching your child about veganism quite difficult.  I got stronger and healthier over time and for my second daughter, even though I couldn't get pregnant naturally due to my blocked fallopian tubes, I only needed a mini cycle of IVF meds.  My pregnancy with Danya, as a vegan, was amazing and even though I had anatomical challenges, my fibroids has 'shrunk' and my adhesions were minimal.  I also did acupuncture and lots of raw juicing too. 

I have been a pediatric nurse for 25 yers and have worked in every specialty, mostly oncology, transplant, gastroenterology,  and the emergency department.  I have always been so amazed by these strong parents who go through the long days and nights with their sick children. This inspired me to start a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity called What About Us Inc. where we help parents with basic supplies and daily needs like toiletries, gas cards, water, etc. I am in the process of launching a new project called "Bags of Love' where I will have a tote bag filled with basic essentials available for 40-50 families per month who stay at the Ronald McDonald Houses or other charity accommodations that help house families while their child is hospitalized.  

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My oldest daughter, Danaé, is 14 years old and has fibromyalgia and possibly lupus (still being tested), which is unfortunately genetically linked to me. She has learned the importance of a vegan, gluten free diet.  She still dances six days a week, plays the piano and flute.  My middle daughter, Danya, is eight years old and she does gymnastics six days a week and plays the piano as well.  She was vegan for the first five years of her life and ate chicken and fish off and on for a couple years. However, she has been vegan and gluten free for almost 2 years now. My baby, Danielle, is four years old and does rhythmic gymnastics three days a week, and dances one day.  She ate chicken and fish for about nine to ten months of her life.  Their dad eats meat, and even though we were separated, he would give them meat sometimes.  Now he doesn't because they've expressed to him that they do not want to eat meat any longer because they don't want to be sick or hurt animals.

Sometimes it's challenging being vegan among friends and teachers who are not vegan since they may not understand what veganism is really about.  Danaé is in high school, and she tries to share knowledge and teach her classmates why it's healthier to be vegan.  She leads by example and over time, they have become more curious about her lifestyle.  Danya  tells her teacher if they have a pizza or ice cream party that she needs to tell her mom so she can make a vegan version of it. Then on the day of the party, her friends are curious to see if it looks different.  Danya loves to tell her friends that she eats more than salads and that's why she has more muscles than them, and she can run a mile in seven and a half minutes.  Danielle is still learning but her teachers at her pre-school all know that she is not to eat anything other than what I have packed for her in her lunch.  She's learning though but she's only 4:)

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Their favorite vegan foods are: gluten free pasta with spinach and vegan kale pesto sauce, lentils, vegan plain yogurt with fresh fruit, snap peas, roasted sweet potatoes and veggies, raw broccoli, carrots, cucumber, celery with hummus or guacamole, gluten free vegan waffles, gluten free toast and fresh avocado, vegan gluten free pizza, veggie fritters, vegan ice cream, and  rice and stir fried vegan eggs n' veggies.  They are VERY good daughters so I'm very blessed:)

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They now understand, and have even shown me, how awful the process of slaughtering animals is for meat consumption. They don't agree with it at all.  They love pandas, deer, dolphins, pigs, koalas and some dogs, although Danaé is allergic and scared of them. 

We believe and understand that animals are just as important as we are and deserve the same respect.  It's hard to convince others all the time and we don't want to turn them off by being annoying, so we try to live by example and hope it arouses their curiosity.  

Social Media:

Instagram page for the kids: @dzvegankidathletes

Mother's Instagram page: @coconutqueen2508

 

FEATURE: Pash Lowery and Kobe Stocking

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Pash is 45 years young and she has been vegan for a year and a half. Kobe is her 15 year old son and he's been vegan for 8 months. 

Deciding to go vegan was one of the best decisions I ever made. I went vegan for my business, for health reasons, and of course, because of the constant cruelty to animals. We are animal lovers so I couldn’t justify just being vegetarian because that was still affecting animals in some way shape or form. Then we watched a documentary called “Earthlings” and that just sent us over the edge. Next, of course, we eventually watched “What the Health” and both of those documentaries confirmed for us that we wanted to completely live a veganistic lifestyle. My son got on board shortly after me, as he was previously vegetarian as well.

I am the founder of Poshology, which is a lifestyle brand and we currently have an all ethical vegan skincare and body care line. We don’t test on animals, we don’t use any vendors that test on animals, and we don’t and will not use any animal by-products in our line. As our brand continues to grow we will always keep our ethical standards. Like a lot of other vegans, we believe that humans were not meant to eat meat or consume any type of dairy. Both my son and I have noticed a major difference in our weight, skin, energy, and overall health since going vegan. I’m super impressed with my son sticking to this lifestyle as it is pretty hard for a 15 year old to maintain veganism. He goes grocery shopping with me and makes sure to check labels to ensure there are no sneaky animal products in them. 

Social Media

Pash's Personal Instagram: thepashone
Poshology Instagram: poshology
Kobe's Instagram: kobe58

FEATURE: Mia B.

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When I was in college, I started on a spiritual journey learning about myself and my place in the world around me. I studied history, many different religions, and delved into different schools of philosophical thought. These teachings combined with abiding by my own moral compass led me to one universal conclusion: love is the answer, the way, and the path. How then could I choose to sustain my own life by ending that of another? I gradually made changes to my diet until I eliminated meat altogether in 2013, and I eventually became a vegan in 2016. My specialty is scratch versions of the foods I loved when I ate meat, and I'm known for my gourmet plating styles. I joined this community to share ideas and connect with others of a like mind. Thanks so much for the opportunity to share my story!

Social Media

Instagram: fatbellyvegan

FEATURE: Daiana Lima

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Daiana Lima is based in Brazil.

My name is Daiana Lima, I'm 28 years old, and I'm an administrator and public servant. My vegetarian journey started when I was 19 years old. All my life I never realized the relationship between the flesh on my plate and the death of an animal to make it possible. So in 2008 when I was in college, I met a group that worked with vegan food and were setting up a cooperative to provide food. As I was part of a student nucleus in the college that advised small businesses, we advised this cooperative in the process of structuring the business. It was at that moment that I began my first contact with vegan philosophy and where I began to perceive these questions. However, I was only going to become a vegetarian almost a year later, in 2009, when I was part of an extension activity at the university, where I worked with ecology and I started having contact with many animals in the field.

It was just at that moment that I realized that I could no longer allow those living, conscious beings to die to feed me. In this way, I became a vegetarian soon after and began to study more and more about this choice of life. After reading a lot of literature, and after many exchanges  over the years, I decided to become a vegan in 2017 because I understood that dairy consumption is as cruel as slaughtering meat, as well as being very harmful to our health. For me, veganism was fundamental for me to gain a better quality of life.

After cutting out meat and dairy products from my diet, I feel like my body is much healthier and my mind is much lighter, especially because I know that my life does not depend on the death of anyone. I am heavily involved in social movements in Brazil and I believe that transformation and revolution must be systemic, integrating all the points that are necessary to guarantee a dignified, just, and full life for all beings. The struggle is to end any oppression, whether it is the result of racism, machismo, homophobia, discrimination of people with disabilities, speciesism, or any other form of social injustice. Eating is a political and revolutionary act and I am happy to be able to meet my black brothers and sisters who are also in this fight.

Social Media

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/daianalima7/

 

FEATURE: Kraig Valentino

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I’m Kraig, a London-based registered vegetarian/ vegan Nutritional Therapist and Herbalist.  I am an activist, health educator and Founder of Health And Rejuvenation, a comprehensive provider of health and wellness services to individuals, groups and corporations. I offer 1-2-1 consultations & health coaching to help you reach your goals.

I embarked on this journey seeking knowledge of self, wanting to change my life and the lives of others for the better, after years of addiction and wanting to improve my health, mind, body, and soul. A whole foods plant-based diet led to gaining more energy, mental clarity, and emotional well being. Yoga, meditation, and other spiritual practices helped alter my paradigm. While studying nutrition I found a greater love for nature and myself like never before. Everything is interconnected, and through finding that interconnection, we can connect and unite.

My lifestyle is my stand against the current food system, which places profit before people and the environment. I’m helping others achieve their health goals, hoping for a shift in social consciousness. I help people unlock the power of food to heal the body and achieve optimal health. Want to get started? Go to my website and grab a FREE copy of my eBook- Secrets To a Happier Healthier You. Lots of helpful information, Health and fitness tips, Plant-Based Recipes + More.

People often ask me what’s so great about a plant- based diet, other than what it can do for your health and the planet. I would love to see the liberation of animals in my lifetime, especially being the descendant of slaves who shared similar inhumane treatment. Enslaved, reared for profit, slaughtered, experimented on (most of the time with no pain relief), shackled, chained, caged, shipped, put in zoo’s...the list goes on. Speaking to other melanated people who often believe that being nonhuman makes another life less than their own shows the power and mental conditioning of the oppressor and todays ruling class.

In disconnecting from the oneness of life that connects us all, we lose the respect and synergy all indigenous people shared on the planet. The thought that a more superior being should decide freedoms, protection, or the right to live, always leaves me baffled, People had to (and still have to) fight for justice and the liberation of black people and there has been an awakening. Now it’s also time for the animals.

Social Media

Website: www.healthandrejuvenation.com

Instagram: @healthandrejuvenation

Facebook:  @healthandrejuvenationofficial

New Plant-Based Web Series: "The Turnip"

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The Turnip is a new and exciting web series that focuses on plant-based living, and features some of the most well-respected African American restaurant owners in the plant based & vegan community. In the show, Kyna, Jerome, and Jason interview restaurant owners and try delicious vegan foods! Black Vegans Rock asked Kyna a few questions about their show, as well as why they went vegan.

BVR: Are all of the hosts of the show vegan? If so, could you share why you all went vegan?

Kyna: Yes, all of the hosts are vegan. We are all in different stages in our walk. I have been plant-based for almost 2 years (will be 2 years on May 8, 2018). I gave up beef and pork over 25 years ago. I finally went plant-based in 2016 after dealing with fibroids for over a decade and I knew surgery wasn't an option for me. I knew with changing my diet, I would be able to eliminate the fibroids, which I did. As a result, I have become an advocate for plant-based eating and womb wellness. 

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Jerome has been plant-based for nearly 5 years. He was actually introduced to plant-based eating after his then 11- year old daughter asked to be taken on a food tour at Whole Foods. After trying the plant-based options and learning the health benefits of eating this way, he decided he would give it a try. His family has a history of heart disease, which is what his father Dr. Graves passed away from in his 40's. Recalling his father's passing on Christmas, he vowed that he would take better care of himself for his children and wife.  

Jason has been plant-based for 3 months. Though he is new in his walk, he has always incorporated plant-based menu options in his diet. After completing a 30 day water-fast, he noticed the elimination of inflammation in his joints, he discovered new found energy and the clarity from not eating meat, and he vowed to never look back. 

BVR: Why did you decide to create The Turnip? Are you going to go all over the country to check out vegan restaurants, or are you staying in GA?

Kyna: We decided to create "The Turnip" because we wanted to provide a plant-based approach to the African American community (by African American owners). Our community is disproportionately affected by heart disease, cancers, infertility, diabetes, (in which the three of us have been affected first hand) and we knew that food was the culprit. We couldn't sit back any longer. We wanted to do our part to help. We wanted to dispel the myth that African Americans only eat and feed our communities fried chicken and pork chops. We wanted to provide an entertaining yet insightful view into plant-based eating. It's not all exclusive to a certain group, it's all inclusive and exposes you to a wide range of foods that is healthier for you. Therefore, "The Turnip" wanted to highlight the resources out there and discuss the health benefits of certain herbs and ingredients. Also, we feature the most well-respected vegans in the African American community. We started with Atlanta but will travel to other parts of the country. Our next season will be filmed on an island, outside of the U.S.!

We look forward to coming to a city and dining with you! 

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Instagram: @turnipcrew

Facebook: @theturnip

Twitter: @theturnip

YouTube: @theturnip

FEATURE: Desirée Daniels

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Hi! I’m Desirée, a new member of the vegan community. I adopted a vegan lifestyle in January of 2017, after watching a documentary (you guessed it!) on Netflix entitled “Food Choices”. If you have not seen it, I encourage you to check it out! It’s everything you want to know, but don’t want to know about what we eat.

Prior to January, I had been pescatarian for maybe 6-8 months, still eating seafood and dairy. I grew up in a normal meat-eating family and had really only been exposed to vegetarianism upon arriving to college. Of course, I had heard of it, but certainly didn’t know anyone who didn’t eat meat. That’s crazy talk! Because of this, I never thought anything of my consumption of animal products. I never realized that what I ate was a choice. It was my choice, not society’s.

Don’t get me wrong…I loved meat! I loved animal products! Especially cheese! For a long time I never thought it was a “bad thing.” Once I began to educate myself more on the links between our diet and common health problems (not to mention the global impact of consuming animal products), I felt a responsibility to myself to at least try. To try to be better, to try to embrace a new lifestyle; even if it’s not encouraged or made popular by the mainstream. There’s a social and communal aspect that we as Americans share, that is often disrupted if someone declines a particular food. I’m no longer scared to be this person.

BVR: So, what made you want to start a blog?

I’m black and I’m vegan. How often do you see that? I’m often asked, “What do you eat?” So instead of telling you, I wanted to show you. Being vegan isn’t nearly as daunting as it may seem (and this is coming from a person that recently, thought all vegans were tree-hugging crazy people). Honestly, it just requires that you have an open mind and be willing to try new things. I want to show people that there’s more to being vegan than boring salads (something I eat very rarely) and encourage folks to get back in the kitchen! I truly believe that if I can do it, anyone can (hence, the blog name).

We got this! :)

Social Media

Blog: www.icanyoucanvegan.com
Facebook: facebook.com/ICanYouCanVegan
Instagram: @icanyoucanvegan
 

FEATURE: Karen Moore

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Thank you for allowing me to share a bit of my story with Black Vegans Rock!

In February of 2016 I got a bacterial infection that turned septic. I was hospitalized for 9 days and sent home with an infusion pump that administered antibiotics 24/7. As a result of becoming septic, my kidneys almost failed and my glucose levels shot through the roof. While in the hospital I had to have insulin throughout the day to try and control my blood sugar levels.

It took me more than a year to regain my strength and to start feeling somewhat normal again. Fast forward to April, 2017 I was still having issues with my blood sugar, edema, and neuropathy. During this time I made a life changing decision. I realized that in order for me to live and regain control of my life I had to do something drastic. I started doing research on how an alkaline plant based diet could be greatly beneficial. I started reading up and incorporating Dr. Sebi's methodologies into my regimen.

I began weaning myself off of sugar, pork and beef. Each time I ate beef my feet would swell enormously and I realized that the uratic acid was the culprit. I started eating more chicken, turkey and fish and incorporated more meatless meals into my diet. By the time June rolled around I was able to fully transition to a vegan lifestyle. I'm so blessed and excited because I am feeling so much better, the sensation is slowly returning to my feet and they no longer swell.

My diabetes is now under control and my blood sugar levels have returned to normal.

I was able to regain my life by making changes in how and what I ate. I currently spend my time reading and researching healthy living and how foods impact our bodies and overall health. Almost losing my life in 2016 has changed it for the better. I didn't understand why back then but I surely do now.

Prior to becoming ill, I was a Wedding and Special Events Planner for 18 years. I thought that this was the dream job. I honestly thought it was the be all-end all. But it pales in comparison to the love, joy, passion and excitement that I have for health and wellness.

I received my life coaching certification in 2012 and really wasn't sure how to use it or what to do with it until now. My desire is to help women take back their life and health. 

We all have to have a starting point so in August I created a closed group on Facebook called P.H.A.T (Pretty, Healthy and Transformed) Girls Thrive. To date, I have about 60 women in the group. We have a monthly call where I offer group coaching to everyone! It is a chance for them to share their success, their challenges and frustrations. I absolutely adore these women as they certain bring purpose and meaning to my life.

I created the group for women who are interested in taking back their life while re-gaining freedom and control of their health through transitioning and thriving on a low fat, whole foods, and alkaline plant based vegan diet.

My goal is to turn P.H.A.T Girls Thrive into a Health and Wellness company that empowers, teaches, and supports the health and wellness of women. In December of 2017 I was awarded a full scholarship to the Institute of Integrative Nutrition so I am now studying to be a Certified Integrative Health and Nutrition Coach

Over the years I have watched too many of my friends and family members pass away because of poor health. It is my heart’s desire to have the opportunity to help and empower other women. I love sharing my journey as it is a wonderful opportunity to be able to go back into the world and my community and pay it forward. I have found my calling, purpose and mission in life. I just celebrated my 8 month veganversary and I have never felt so alive and inspired to continue learning so that I can teach and pour into others. I truly now understand how health is your greatest wealth. I truly feel as if my life has just begun. The BEST is truly yet to come! :-)

Social Media

Email: karen.moore44@icloud.com

Website: www.phatgirlzthrive.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PHATGirlzThrive