FEATURE: The Anything Vegan Girls

Sisters Marji and Jasmine are chefs, certified nutritionists, food justice advocates and public speakers, affectionately known by their clients as the Anything Vegan Girls. The seeds to healthy eating were planted very early-on for these two sisters. 

Looking back on our childhoods, family reunions hold a special place in our heart. These were the times when our huge family would come from all over, celebrate family, laugh and cook amazingly delicious food. We eat southern-style soul food and Caribbean food because this is our heritage. Every meat from BBQ beef sausages to curry goat was served and at the time it all tasted great.

But as early as age 9 we recall noticing that most of our relatives suffered with diet-related illnesses like high-blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. We began to form a slight connection between the very food we loved eating and the adults around us with chronically low energy and illnesses.  Our family meant well with the food, but the results were literally killing them. One of the adults in our family however, seemed to stand out from the rest - our Uncle Judge.  He stood out because he was in his 50's with slightly salt & peppered hair and was full of energy and life, his skin glowed and he was in great shape so much so that he would play basketball with our teenage cousins. 

 The other really peculiar thing about Uncle Judge was that he had been vegetarian since he was 17. We remember him bringing his own healthy food to family gatherings and was so nice when we ran up to him asking what it was. He answered all of our curious little questions and never made us or our family feel bad for eating differently than he chose to eat.  He talked with us about how eating plant-based gave him health, energy, mental sharpness, and peace. He was non-judgmental, open and relaxed about his amazing way of living. This stayed with us, even into adulthood.

 We didn't know it then but Uncle Judge’s commitment to a plant based lifestyle and compassion towards us planted the seeds for us to become plant based chefs, certified nutritionists, and build our company Anything Vegan, where we help people eat healthy and transition to a plant based lifestyle.

The Journey Continues...

 In 2010, Jasmine had been vegan for many years by then and Marji  was still transitioning into a plant-based lifestyle, but also learned how to make delicious vegan meals.  They decided to throw a dinner party where half the guests were animal-based eaters and the other half were vegan or vegetarian. Animal-based eaters were anxious about being at a party with no meat, thinking it would just be a bowl of lettuce. Understanding their misconceptions about plant-based eating, the sisters agreed to have meat as they requested and ordered animal-based dishes and made the vegan version of every single dish. The guests went back for 2nd and 3rd helpings, and all the plant-based dishes were all gone. It was only then the hosts revealed to their meat-eating friends that they were eating vegan versions, not just duplicate pans of food.

One guest, a fellow attorney and co-worker of Marji's  who ironically spent the entire evening talking about how she must have her meat and potatoes, and how “it just isn’t a meal without meat”, was on her next of many plates of the plant-based food. She couldn’t believe she was eating vegan, because the food was so delicious. She actually went through their garbage can to see what they used, read ingredients, and couldn’t wait to learn more about eating plant-based.

Like Uncle Judge, the sisters Marji and Jasmine created a safe place at the party, opening up a dialogue about the benefits of plant-based eating.  Many of the guests wanted to learn about the benefits of plant-based eating, get cooking lessons, guidance and support. And when  they asked how was it possible to make such delicious plant-based foods they told the guests... “Anything You Can Make, I Can Make Vegan”. This sparked the beginning of their company Anything Vegan.

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