FEATURE: Camille Holder-Brown

A photograph of Camille with two of her children.

A photograph of Camille with two of her children.

I have been a vegetarian since I was 17 and am now 37 and the transition to vegan was not an easy one for me as I loved eating cheese, especially pizza.  I think once I figured out how to make my own cheeses that I was more liberated to give up my cheese addiction.  I am not a huge fan of fake cheese and prefer cashew cheese or a tofu and nutritional yeast combo.

Honestly, I never considered myself a vegan back in the day when I first did it and also ate only raw, it was just me trying to learn what worked best in my body.  Eating raw grated white potatoes was not a winner, note to self. However I do continue to eat at east 50% raw foods daily.

I evolved from being a starchatarian in college (a word I made up for vegetarians that just live on bread and pasta products, potatoes, etc,) to being a rich soyatarian.  LOL.  That is another word I gave myself when I ate soy yogurt, tofurkey sandwich, and yet more soy for dinner!  Talk about overkill.  Moderation takes time and I think we go through phases as we give up meat, I think we replace things with other things.  However I realized my personal favorite vegan protein is BEANS ( about 20 different ones I adore) and NUTS and then homemade seitan and finally TOFU.

I do not knock folks wherever they are at on that journey of weaning themselves off the meat and dairy.  Actually, I big up all the courageous mommies who have had vegan pregnancies and now vegan children.  Not an easy job.

As a mother of 5 grazing/greedy homeschooled children, my love of cooking and their insatiable desire to eat, coupled with my husband being laid off, made us open a vegan cafe and juice bar.  We own together 2 shops that are completely vegan called Kale Cafe Juice Bar & Vegan Cuisine or Kale Cafe for short.  We serve amazing Caribbean Vegan Food and freshly made juices and smoothies, and yes organic and NON GMO as well.  We serve what we feed our family at home.  We are based in Daytona Beach, FL.

Food Stamps?  Yup, we did that too and you can totally feed a big family vegan like that too.  (Beans, whole grains, make seitan yourself, tofu, lots of produce from stores like Aldis and make friends at the farmer's markets!) Processed food is wack and expensive so stay away from that, especially if you are on a budget.

Lastly, I think the biggest thing to do is not fool yourself.  My husband is all or nothing, I am more gradual and consistent.  For me, veganism was a long process of me trying it and then running away, and repeating that for a decade at least.  I needed to be able to personally make everything my family needed as vegetarians in a vegan way.  Scrambled tofu, pizza, curry chick'n, cupcakes, spring rolls, miso, you name it, I make it vegan.  For me that was the key to the excuses I would make.  Also planning my meals a bit in advance, ie. Always soaking some damn beans and nuts. lol

Got children?  Let them cook with you, take them shopping for food, they will be more likely to eat stuff and make sure you bring them stuff everywhere so they do not feel left out and hungry in social settings, be that mom...that mom that brings the dope food that is better than all the crap the other kids are eating. 

An image of Camille with her whole family.

An image of Camille with her whole family.