April Tisby, Vegetarian

April Tisby, Vegetarian
April Tisby, Vegetarian

Do you find that it is hard being an African American female vegetarian?

Absolutely! In our culture, we eat meat. When you go to family functions, or any kind of social function, there is always meat available. You have to go prepared.

Is it more expensive to be a Vegetarian?

It is not expensive. It is actually more cost effective. The truth is, you can grow your own vegetables and that is a very easy process.

Is it easy being Vegetarian eating out?

It is not easy, because we are in a meat-eating society. There are not a lot of options on menus other than salads and things which makes it challenging when you go out to eat.   

If a person is single no dependents and not trying to cook are you saying this is not for them?

No, I’m not saying that at all. I think it is a wonderful option. They just need to prepare themselves for being in a meat driven society. It is not impossible. There are a lot of Vegan restaurants opening.

Where are they?

Willowbeez has a pop up at Hills Market, Loving Hut which is located off of Livingston Avenue, and the Acre which is in Grandview. You have to go online and research Vegan/Vegetarian restaurants. There is at least half a dozen to a dozen restaurants.

Ok, what if a person doesn’t have deep pockets like you? Chocolate bars are $6 each.

First, that’s a festival. They have to recoup their money because that is a one-time thing. They are not a standing restaurant. Second, vegetables are more fibrous. They explode in your stomach., not like an explosion; but, they are more filling. Therefore, you eat less. When you have meat and other processed food, you are hungry more often. If you have more of a vegetarian diet, you can go longer without eating because what you eat is sustaining you. It is more cost effective. If you want to sit down and see your plate full, then that is a mental conditioning which most American’s have. You are not going to have that if you are vegetarian. Everything that you need will probably not fill up the plate.  It will be fibrous and hearty; so, you won’t have to eat three big meals and feel full. You will have one hearty meal that will carry you through most of the day.

Anything that I didn’t ask you that might be beneficial for someone that wants to follow in your footsteps?

Be kind to yourself. It doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process. You are going to want to eat meat. Start by cutting down your portions. Studies have shown that many can not go directly from meat eating to vegetarian. You may have a negative reaction. It is your bodies conditioning to want sugar, fat, and salt. Be patient. Introduce it slowly. If you were raised a vegan or vegetarian, it is much easier.

What is the fitness/healthy aspect of being vegan/vegetarian?

Sugar is sugar. Sugar if not metabolized as energy will turn into fat. 

Anything else?

First, research it. Consult with your doctor. Studies have shown that there are some ethnic groups that do not benefit from veganism or vegetarianism.

Wow it might not benefit folks?

Yes, it’s just like as African Americans, we should not be drinking milk. That’s why our bodies are lactose intolerant. Our bodies are telling us that we don’t need it. Some cultures do not eat meat by situation or religion. Their ancestors have established that in their DNA. Vegan and vegetarian might not be for every culture.

Vegan and vegetarians have to make sure they are getting all the necessary nutrients. If your fruit or vegetable is not in season or indigenous to where you are living, it is probably not going to help you. It is growing at a certain time to help you. If I am shipping in kiwi from Hawaii, my body is probably not going to metabolize it over the winter time.  My body is going to say- what is this?

Let’s say a person usually eats 3 meals a day, 7 days a week. You can start by having 6 to 10 of those meals be vegan or vegetarian based. The remainder “regular.”  It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, Vegan/vegetarian ensures we have the proper minerals and vitamins from plant based.

I’m thinking about breakfast, Is cereal ok?

Some grain. Now we are talking about breakfast, lunch and dinner. That is very traditional. You should eat when you are hungry. It all depends on what your body is telling you.  It is good to have meals pre-prepared. But, that is with anything. Otherwise, you are going to put together trash.

If you are a true die-hard vegan, you do not put heat to anything, everything is raw. Most of the time when you see recipes, you are eating vegetarian. You can add heat and add oil in vegetarianism. For vegans, if you can’t pick it out of the earth and put it in your mouth, it’s not true vegan.

So those chocolate bars were vegetarian and not vegan?

Right.  Those chocolate bars were processed, they are vegetarian. They spin it as vegan because it may not have eggs and stuff like that. A true 100% vegan, everything is raw. It works with the bacteria in your body. A lot of the gut problems we have is because we introduce heat and oils. That’s why we have colitis.

Sidebar: In practice, I am thinking about April Tisby’s practical advice. Who knows?  One day, I might commit to the 6 to 10 vegetarian meals.