DC VegFest is this Sat, Sept 20th!

by admin on September 17, 2014

Hey, Family!

DC’s biggest vegan festival, DC VegFest, is this Saturday, September 20th!

e3bdb7f3 6fe0 4b47 b87d 2fdbf0856983 DC VegFest is this Sat, Sept 20th!

It’s presented by Compassion Over Killing (one of my favorite organizations) at Yards Park in DC from 11-6.

It’s a FREE slice of vegan heaven all day long, featuring 40+ vegan food vendors, so you can eat some of EVERYTHING! It’s our world, vegan foodies. Come hungry!

There’s also lots of vegan everything else there, too, including great speakers, live music, products from soaps to shoes, and activities for the kids.

My sister, Marya, and niecey-bop, Mara, (below) have been helping to organize the kids area for years, so I know firsthand that your little ones will love it.

ef137f8a 1651 4b25 8bd5 510ac46d1bb1 DC VegFest is this Sat, Sept 20th!

In fact, my family and I have been involved with DC VegFest since it’s humble beginnings 17 years ago, either as volunteers, coordinators, or speakers. This year, I’m honored to serve on the inaugural Host Committee to help promote the event with some great folks. (At the media party with Busboys and Poets owner, Andy Shallal, below.)

4e5e5ebe 9ea3 47dd 885d 0800dfd55cb1 DC VegFest is this Sat, Sept 20th!

So come on out, bring your veg-curious family and friends, and join 10,000+ people. And if you’re not in the DC area, but know some folks who are, spread the word. It’s gonna feel like a great big family reunion!

And one last tip: get there early, if you can. The first 1,000 people get a free swag bag filled with lots of vegan goodies.

Here’s a sneak peak at mine:

c1550578 1d7b 47fb bf9a 82e08b24b2af DC VegFest is this Sat, Sept 20th!

I’ll see you there!

Much love,





Hey, Family!

We’re having a party and you’re invited!

The African American Networking Group of the Vegetarian Society of DC (of which I am a proud member) is having an Old-School Summer Dance Party on Saturday, June 28th and we’d love to see you there.

Flyer JPEG 300x225 Were having an Old School Party June 28th!

It’s a fundraiser to support our vegan education activities throughout the Washington, DC area. So if you’re in DC (or have friends and family who are), come join us!
Here’s all the info:
What:  Old-School Summer Dance Party
When: Saturday, June 28th, 8-11:30 PM
Where: Westminster Presbyterian Church, 400 I St SW WDC 20024 (metro accessible & free street parking)
~ Old-school music by DJ Mixxed
~ Delish vegan refreshments
~ Door prizes
~ A line dance lesson (just for fun)
~ And just a good ol time!
Tickets are $15 in advance online or $20 at the door.
If you have any questions, just call our Old-School Party team member David Banks at 202-299-0369 or email aangevents@gmail.com. Hope to see you there!
Much love,


Hey, Family!

My favorite nutrition website, NutritionFacts.org, just did a video review of the largest study in history of people who eat plant-based diets, which compared their nutrient intake to that of people who eat meat- and dairy-based diets.

And the results can finally put to rest that age-old question: “Where do you get your protein?”

The study shows that the average vegan gets 70% more protein than the recommended daily allowance–just like omnivores do. 

untitled 19 Best answer ever to Where do you get your protein?

So now you can slay that protein question for good. Plant foods provide more than enough protein each day.

But, wait, there’s more! The video goes on to show that the real nutrient deficiency in this country is not protein, it’s fiber.

Less than 97% of Americans get enough fiber in their diet, despite the fact that fiber protects against the leading causes of illness and death in this country, including heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes, and obesity, as well as the risk factors for these conditions, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood glucose.

And fiber is only found in plant-based foods–the usual suspects like beans, nuts, whole grains, fruits, and veggies. No animal-based foods contain fiber–no meat, dairy, or eggs.

So, if we’re really concerned about each other’s diet and health, the real question should be whether we’re getting enough fiber.

For tips on how to increase your fiber intake without the extra gas, check out my post “Is all that fiber giving you gas?”

And to start adding more whole grains to your plate, check out “How to cook 7 great whole grains.”

Have a great week, family!

Much love,


Hey, Family!

This week, The Huffington Post ran an article testing the Ninja and the Vitamix blenders to see which one makes the best green drink…and by “best” they mean the one that looks and tastes most like juice.

safe image 2 The Battle of the Blenders: The Ninja vs. The Vitamix

They also tested which one makes the best milkshake…and here they were looking for light and airy as opposed to thick and rich.

Why did they test these two blenders? The price. Here’s what they said:

The Vitamix has long been the kitchen appliance that serious home cooks have yearned for. It’s what professional chefs have in their arsenal to quickly smooth out soups, make sauces, and juice produce. Sadly, not many of us can play with a Vitamix because of the steep price tag — they normally run anywhere between $450-$750. And any other blender is pretty much a joke when compared with the power of the Vitamix. (Hamilton Beach doesn’t stand a chance here, guys.)

The Ninja, which came out in September of 2013, was advertised as the home cook’s answer to the wonders of the Vitamix at a fraction of the price. This blender, starting at $199, depending on the model, claims to perform as well — if not better — than the Vitamix. We had our reservations and felt that it was time to put this claim to the test. We compared the Ninja Ultima and the Vitamix 5200.

I highly recommend reading the full article here, which is complete with fun visuals, but here’s what they found:

With those two essential blender tasks complete, we came to our final assessment of the two brands. There were a few key differences:

  • The Vitamix is substantially quieter than the Ninja — though that does not mean it is quiet by any means.
  • The Vitamix is easier to disassemble. The lid of the Ninja is definitely childproof and sometimes feels like it is adult proof.
  • The Ninja’s dual stage blade part makes pouring the contents of the pitcher a little precarious.
  • The Vitamix is bit faster in blending, but we’re talking about mere seconds here.

Our conclusion: If you are a stickler for noise and ease (and have the bank roll), the Vitamix is better suited for you. If not, the Ninja will make you sufficiently happy.

I personally have been using a Vitamix for years and I bought it refurbished for around $300-plus.

So tell me, which blender do you prefer? Go to the blog here to share your comments for everyone to see. Or if you’re already on the blog, just click on Comments below.

You can also go to my Facebook page to see all the comments about which blender folks love the most. I don’t know if this battle will ever be won. icon smile The Battle of the Blenders: The Ninja vs. The Vitamix

Have a great holiday weekend, fam. I’ll talk to you next week!

Much love,


Hey, Family!

It’s backyard garden and farmers’ market season–at least in my neck of the woods.

Maybe you’re lucky enough to have an abundance of local produce year-round, but here in DC we’re just getting started.

And I’m so excited! During this season, I eat at least one bunch of fresh dark leafy greens each day. That averages out to about 20 leaves a day–whether it’s from collards, kale, dandelion greens, mustards…you name it. I get them all in through green smoothies, salads, wraps, and light sautés.

kale salad in tiffin How to store fruits & veggies longer without plastic

If you want to up your produce ante like me, here are some great tips from the Berkeley Farmers’ Market to keep the produce from going bad before you eat them. (Note: when the list mentions containers, think glass, wood, stainless steel, or cardboard.)

How to Store Fresh Fruits & Veggies Longer Without Plastic


Apples: store on a cool counter or shelf for up to two weeks. For longer storage, store in a cardboard box in the fridge.

Citrus: store in a cool place, with good airflow; never in an air-tight container.

Cherries: store in an airtight container. Don’t wash cherries until ready to eat, as any added moisture encourages mold.

Dates: dryer dates (like Deglet Noor) are fine stored out on the counter in a bowl or the paper bag they were bought in. Moist dates (like Medjool) need a bit of refrigeration if they’re going to be stored over a week, either in cloth or a paper bag–as long as it’s porous, to keep the moisture away from the skin of the dates.

Berries: don’t forget, they’re fragile. When storing be careful not to stack too many high, a single layer if possible. A paper bag works well, only wash before you plan on eating them.

Figs: don’t like humidity, so no closed containers. A paper bag works to absorb excess moisture, but a plate works best in the fridge up to a week, unstacked.

Melons: store uncut in a cool dry place, out of the sun up to a couple weeks. Cut melons should be in the fridge; an open container is fine.

Nectarines: (similar to apricots) store in the fridge; is okay if ripe, but best taken out a day or two before you plan on eating them so they soften to room temperature.

Peaches (and most stone fruit): refrigerate only when fully ripe. More firm fruit will ripen on the counter.

Pears: will keep for a few weeks on a cool counter, but fine in a paper bag. To hasten the ripening put an apple in with them.

Persimmon: Fuyu: (shorter/pumpkin-shaped): store at room temperature. Hachiya: (longer/pointed end): room temperature until completely mushy. The astringentness of them only subsides when they are completely ripe. To hasten the ripening process place in a paper bag with a few apples for a week, checking now and then, but don’t stack-they get very fragile when really ripe.

Strawberries: don’t like to be wet. Do best in a paper bag in the fridge for up to a week; check the bag for moisture every other day.


Always remove any tight bands from your vegetables or at least loosen them to allow them to breath.

Avocados: place in a paper bag at room temp. To speed up their ripening, place an apple in the bag with them.

Beets: cut the tops off to keep beets firm, (be sure to keep the greens!) by leaving any top on root vegetables draws moisture from the root, making them loose flavor and firmness. Beets should be washed and kept in and open container with a wet towel on top.

Broccoli: place in an open container in the fridge or wrap in a damp towel before placing in the fridge.

Carrots: cut the tops off to keep them fresh longer. Place them in closed container with plenty of moisture, either wrapped in a damp towel or dunk them in cold water every couple of days if they’re stored that long.

Cauliflower: will last a while in a closed container in the fridge, but they say cauliflower has the best flavor the day it’s bought.

Cucumber: wrapped in a moist towel in the fridge. If you’re planning on eating them within a day or two after buying them, they should be fine left out in a cool room.

Greens: remove any bands, twist ties, etc. Most greens must be kept in an air-tight container with a damp cloth to keep them from drying out. Kale, collards, and chard even do well in a cup of water on the counter or fridge.

Green beans: they like humidity, but not wetness. Store in an open or loosely closed container with a damp cloth draped over them.

Herbs: store in a closed container in the fridge to kept up to a week. Any longer might encourage mold.

Okra: doesn’t like humidity, so store under a dry towel in an airtight container. Doesn’t store that well; best eaten quickly after purchase.

Radishes: remove the greens (store separately) so they don’t draw out excess moisture from the roots and place them in a open container in the fridge with a wet towel placed on top.

Summer Squash: does fine for a few days if left out on a cool counter, even after cut.

Sweet peppers: only wash them right before you plan on eating them, as wetness decreases storage time. Store in a cool room to use in a couple a days; place in the crisper if longer storage needed.

Sweet Potatoes: store in a cool, dark, well-ventilated place. Never refrigerate. Sweet potatoes don’t like the cold.

Tomatoes: never refrigerate. Depending on ripeness, tomatoes can stay for up to two weeks on the counter. To hasten ripeness, place in a paper bag with an apple.

To get a PDF version of the full list of 60 fruits and veggies, click here. Have a great week!

Much love,


Juicing or blending: which is better?

by admin on May 7, 2014

Hey, Family!

I’ve been doing quite a bit of traveling during the last few months, and one of the things I’ve decided to start bringing with me on trips is a portable blender.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while, but just never got around to doing. But it’s a must, so that wherever I am, I can ensure I’m getting a daily dose of essential dark green leafy vegetables.

Green drink Juicing or blending: which is better?

Which leads me to our topic today…

Juicing or Blending: Which is Better?

First, let me say that whole, fresh fruits and vegetables are always best. But there are still good reasons to add juicing or blending to your diet, including better health, convenience, and variety.

So let’s dive right into the benefits and comparisons of juicing and blending.


What is it?

Juicing is a process that extracts liquid from fresh fruits and vegetables. The liquid contains most of the phytonutrients (healthful plant chemicals), vitamins, and minerals from the whole fruit or vegetable. The liquid does not contain the fiber from the whole fruit or vegetable, which gets removed during juicing.

•Drinking fresh juices allows nutrients to enter your body more quickly and in larger quantities, without having to expend additional energy digesting fiber.
•If you’re doing a cleanse or detox, juices are typically what you’d consume for more rapid results.
•Or if you’re experiencing acute or chronic digestive issues that require you to limit consumption of large amounts of fiber, then juices are your best bet.

•The fact that juices enter your bloodstream more quickly because the fiber has been removed can cause a spike in blood sugar levels when the juice is from very sweet fruits, such as watermelon, mangoes, and pineapples. (Cherries, grapefruits, and apples are better.)
•This blood sugar spike is especially harmful for people with diabetes. It can also lead to fatigue, mental cloudiness, and irritability, in general.
•Juices tend to make you feel hungrier faster without the fiber to help you feel fuller longer.


What is it?

Blending is a process that breaks down the fibers of fresh fruits and vegetables, resulting in a smooth consistency, while keeping in all of the fiber, phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals.

•Because these smoothies contain fiber that has been broken apart but not removed, the fiber can be easier to digest.
•The fiber also helps to slow down the absorption of nutrients into your bloodstream, which maintains steady blood sugar levels.
•The fiber can help you feel fuller longer, which may help you eat less and lose weight.
•Blending is typically easier and more convenient to do than juicing.

•Consuming lots of fiber, even in the form of healthful smoothies, can be a problem for people with digestive issues.
•Because of the fiber content, a cup of smoothie contains fewer fruits and veggies than a cup of juice. If you’re on a cleanse or detox or otherwise want to consume more fruits and veggies per cup, smoothies may not be your best bet.

So, which is better?

In general, I recommend blending for daily or regular consumption, long-term health maintenance, and weight loss. And I recommend juicing for short-term cleansing and detoxifying, or just to add more variety to your repertoire.

Happy drinking, family, and I’ll talk to you next week!

Green mustache 225x300 Juicing or blending: which is better?

Much love,



“3 Black Vegan Chefs You Should Know”

by admin on April 22, 2014

Hey, Family!

Happy Earth Day! Want to know the best thing you can do for Mother Earth today? Eat vegan!

Hopefully you know by now that livestock production for meat and dairy causes more global warming than all the world’s transportation combined. So, show the planet, yourself, your fellow humans, and the animals some love and make it meatless. icon smile 3 Black Vegan Chefs You Should Know

And speaking of showing some love, Ebony.com is featuring an article this week titled “3 Black Vegan Chefs You Should Know,” and I’m happy to be one of them.

safe image 3 Black Vegan Chefs You Should Know

The two rockstar chefs I share the page with are Latham Thomas, author of Mama Glow, and Bryant Terry, who’s latest cookbook, Afro-Vegan, dropped last week. (I’ve also interviewed them both before here and here.)

Here are some highlights from the article:

From Latham (who’s been veg since childhood):
“It was not a popular choice back then and there weren’t a lot of restaurants catering to plant-based cuisine. I learned in the kitchen and in the garden how to incorporate nature’s best into my diet. I believe that my body is a vessel for my soul to do the divine service I was put on earth to do. If I keep myself healthy and strong I can fully live out my purpose. My health is most important and I know that plant-based cuisine has a therapeutic effect on the body.”

From Bryant:
Terry, whose family owned farms in rural Mississippi and grew up in Memphis, knows first-hand how fresh food can transform lives. “My grandmother used garden-fresh ingredients to make simple dishes, and they were always delicious and satisfying. That is what I strive to do with my recipes,” said Terry, who calls himself a food justice activist, and believes that access to healthy foods should be available to all people of all socio-economic backgrounds.

From me:
“When eating healthy foods becomes a natural part of your everyday lifestyle (along with exercising and sleeping well), then you can live a healthy and disease-free life, which frees you to actually enjoy your life. Living in a state of good health–where it’s second nature–should be the norm in this country, not the exception.”

Check out the full article here and if you like it, leave Ebony a comment and let them know you want to see more on this topic.

Have a fabulous Earth Day, family!

Much love,



Hey, Family!

I hope you’re having a great weekend!

(It’s going to be warm and sunny here in DC–we finally broke free!)

Just a quick note–I hope you can catch me tomorrow, Sunday, April 13th, on C-Span Book TV at 2pm ET. (It will air again at 2am ET 4/14.) You can watch it online here.

Twelth National Black Writers Conference 300x200 Catch me on C Span Book TV tomorrow (Sun 4/13)

This is a panel discussion I was on two weeks ago at the 12th National Black Writers Conference at Medgar Evers College in NY.

The panel was called Saving Ourselves, Saving Our Communities about environmental, health, and social issues that impact Black communities.

It was an excellent discussion and I hope you enjoy it!

I’ll talk to you again on Tuesday.

Much love,



I finally got to dance at a vegan festival

by admin on March 19, 2014

Hey, Family!

Last week, I was in DC and Dallas doing my vegan thing–and yes, there was dancing.

First, we made history with our first-ever vegan soul food dinner at Florida Avenue Grill in DC, the oldest soul food restaurant in the world. It was awesome!!! 100 folks came out and the food was fabulous. (Check out more pics here.)
Fla Ave Grill 3 12 14 IV I finally got to dance at a vegan festival

Then it was off to Dallas to speak at the Meatout Festival hosted by the Black Vegetarian Society of Texas. The event was excellent and more than 200 people attended. And there was finally, finally dancing at a vegan festival!! Do you know how long I’ve suffered, people! (More pics here.)

 I finally got to dance at a vegan festival

 I finally got to dance at a vegan festival

And speaking of Meatout, that’s our actual topic this week. The official date of the international Meatout celebration is tomorrow, March 20th.

Meatout logo I finally got to dance at a vegan festival

Meatout is the world’s largest grassroots diet education campaign (since 1985) and encourages everyone to eat vegan for at least one day for the health of themselves, the planet, and animals.

There are great Meatout activities happening in cities across the globe. To find out what’s happening in your local area, click here. There are at least six events happening in the DC area (my hometown).

If you’re a vegan newbie or veg-curious, make tomorrow your day to go completely meat-free. Need vegan recipe ideas? In addition to mine here, there are 15,000 more free ones here.

And if you’re already vegan, why not bring some vegan goodies to work tomorrow to share with your co-workers? They can be homemade or store-bought. Either way, it’s such a nice thing to do. icon smile I finally got to dance at a vegan festival

Or how about meeting up with some friends for lunch or dinner at a local vegan restaurant? Let someone else do the cooking while you relax and do the eating. (I’m definitely choosing this one.) Find local eats in your neighborhood here and here.

Whatever you do, don’t let the day go by without going without meat. icon smile I finally got to dance at a vegan festival

Vibrantly yours,



Try this delish rainbow salad for lunch

by admin on February 20, 2014

Hey, Family!

I was in Atlanta for about a week (between snowstorms, thankfully) to speak at Spelman College’s Wellness Revolution Power Up Summit 2014.

Spelman Wellness Revolution Summit 2014 300x225 Try this delish rainbow salad for lunch

This year’s theme was Sleep Well, Move More, and Eat Better, and the information shared was extraordinary. Thank you to Spelman for inviting me again this year. I’m a big believer in this movement! You can learn more about it here.

And here’s a selfie with moderator Roland Martin, who dubbed me “Vegan Woman.” (It’s a bird, it’s a plane… icon smile Try this delish rainbow salad for lunch

With Roland Martin 300x225 Try this delish rainbow salad for lunch

Now onto this week’s topic.

Today for lunch, I fixed this delish rainbow salad from what was sitting pretty in my fridge.

Rainbow Salad 279x300 Try this delish rainbow salad for lunch

And while i was eating, I decided to count how many beautiful, nutrient-rich colors I was actually eating (I do this sometimes).

There were six in all: red, purple, black, yellow, green, and white. (I ate my last orange pepper last night, or I would have tossed that in there, too.)

Here’s the recipe I tossed together in about 5 minutes (measurements are not exact, so taste as you go):

Rainbow Salad

1 cup of shredded purple cabbage
1 cup of cooked corn kernels (I used organic frozen corn)
1 cup of cooked black beans (I soaked dry beans overnight, then cooked them for about 2 hours)
1/4 cup of chopped red onion
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 chopped ripe avocado
1 cup of halved cherry tomatoes
1 TB of vegan mayo (I use Vegenaise Grapeseed Oil flavor)
1 TB of nutritional yeast
Pinch of sea salt
Sprinkle top with dash of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Gently stir ingredients together, sprinkle with red pepper flakes (optional) and serve. I ate mine with a lightly toasted whole grain tortilla (Food for Life Ezekial Sprouted Grain brand). Absolutely delish!

If you want more ideas for adding colorful fruits and veggies to your plate, try these:

  • Red – Red pepper, tomatoes, grapefruit, radishes, kidney beans, red rice, red quinoa / cranberries, cherries, grapes, apples, watermelon, grapefruit.
  • Green — Kale, collards, broccoli, green beans, lentils, edamame / kiwi, lime, avocado, honeydew, apples, grapes.
  • Yellow and Orange – Corn, squash, pears, split peas, millet, Sweet potatoes, mangoes, carrots / pineapple, apricots, mangoes, peaches, cantaloupes.
  • Purple and Blue — Eggplant, cabbage, potatoes / blackberries, blueberries, plums, raisins, grapes.
  • Black and Brown — Black beans, black rice, brown rice / dates, pear.
  • White — Cauliflower, mushrooms, quinoa, pearl barley / banana, pear, peaches.

Have a colorful weekend, family!

Vibrantly yours,