About Me

When I finally decided to become vegetarian I felt a little confused and alone.  I’d been on the fence for years, horrified at the state of the meat industry but too afraid that changing would mean I missed out on some of the best parts of my cultural heritage.  Food has always been very important to me growing up and none of my immediate family were vegetarian, and aside from my cousin, I’d never met a Black American vegetarian. I’ve lived in the UK for more than 5 years and have found their food culture really interesting with a heavy emphasis on ‘growing your own’, being fair-trade, and buying organic. Though I enjoyed vegetarian food, and made lots of new vegetarian and vegan friends, I never fully converted.
In 2011 I took a trip to Germany, where I literally ate nothing but meat, whilst simultaneously reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s ‘Eating Animals’. By the end of the trip, and the book, the penny had very firmly dropped. If you’ve never read the book, or gone to Germany, there are basically 3 reasons why I went veggie (please pardon the sailor talk):
  1. The meat industry is gross. It’s properly disgusting and the more you read about it the worse it gets. This applies to all levels of the process – the ‘farming’, slaughter and storage of the animals. One thing that sticks in my mind from my research is the ‘fecal soup’ that chickens are stored in to cool after electric plucking. Yes that’s right, a massive pool in which thousands of dirty chickens are left for hours to soak up each other's shit, piss, blood and bile. Finger licking good right?
  2. The meat industry is worst than all travel combined for climate change. This was an argument that took me years to come to grips with. I’d always say to myself that ‘well someone’s got to eat those animals right?’ ‘If we didn’t eat them then they’d still be there anyway, right?’ Wrong. As a society, we consume something like 3 times the amount of meat that we did at the start of the century. All those animals need food, space and transport and that’s before they all start to shit and fart. I like to think of myself as an environmentally concerned citizen and it just doesn’t square.
  3. The meat industry is seriously grim-for everyone involved. I’ve never been particularly animal rightsy. I love cows, I think they’re really cute, and dogs and butterflies and everything, but I’ve never really campaigned for their well being outside of campaigning for a holistic approach to maintaining environmental balance. Obviously, I don’t go around poking sheep with sticks, but I never really saw them as anything more than part of the food chain. However the fact remains that the factory farming systems that make it possible for us to consume meat on the scale that we do –  in 3 meals a day and in snack bags of chicken pieces(!) – causes genuine misery not just for the animals but for the people who work at and live near these factories. That’s before we even get to the poor souls who work at KFC. Why should anyone be made to skin and dismember a living cow? How could I be happy eating bacon from a pig that I know had to be bludgeoned to death with an iron bar? Is a BLT really worth polluting an entire waterway with millions of tonnes of noxious pig shit? I don’t think so.
Just because soul food is a major part of my heritage – my mom’s pork chops are second to none – doesn’t mean that I can ignore all of these things. Corruption, climate change, and cruelty affect everyone, no matter what your heritage.
Since converting I’ve found out that some of the most inspiring contemporary and historic Black Americans are vegetarian and that I’ve joined a little club that I’m pretty proud to be in.
Here's a list of just a few amazing Black Vegetarians including…
  • Russell Simmons
  • Erykah Badu
  • Lenny Kravitz
  • Tina Turner
  • Coretta Scott King
  • Andrei 3000
  • Prince (If the purple one can do it then please sign me up!)
  • Dick Gregory
  • Carl Lewis
  • KRS- One
  • Dizzy Gillespie
And a whole bunch of other people that are super bad. Google it, for serious.
I’ve started this blog as a means of helping anyone who is, like I was, concerned that stepping down the long green highway might mean that they lose some of their cultural identity – be it black American, Latino, Jewish, Chinese, Filipino, English, French, Italian, Japanese, Jamacian, or wherever– by missing out on the foods that make up such a special part of your special holidays, customs and family gatherings. It doesn’t need to be that way, you can have your carrot cake and eat it too.
Be proud. Be yourself. Eat your greens.

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