I talked to Tracye McQuirter at the Plant The Power VegFest, 925 Mt. Vernon Ave., Columbus, OH 43203.
Tell me the title of your book.
There are two, “Ageless Vegan” and “By Any Greens Necessary.” And I also did an “African American Starter Guide.”
You mentioned you have been vegan for a while, tell me about your journey.
My mother planted the earliest seed because she was really health conscious. When I was a sophomore in college in 1986, Dick Gregory did a lecture about why black folks eat the way we eat, why we are unhealthy and why we should go vegetarian. That started me on the path.
What advice would you give a person who needs to make changes to their diet for health reasons?
I would start by thinking about adding instead of taking away. Whatever you are eating now, just add more plant-based foods. Whether that is a kale salad, chili, soup, stew, depending on the season, more smoothies and more wraps. It depends on what you like to eat, tofu tempeh. Just start adding in.
What about the mentality that if you are vegan, you are healthier?
Just because it is vegan doesn’t mean that it is healthy. Potato chips, coke, Oreo cookies are all vegan. There are a lot of processed foods that are vegan; but, not necessarily healthy. They are high in fat, salt, and sugar. I would recommend whole food fruit based. Cooking from scratch as much as possible using natural ingredients. You can make your own veggie burger opposed to going out and buying a prepackaged burger or a package that is made out of things you have in the kitchen. For example, vegetables, mushrooms, dried herbs, spices, garlic, onions, beans, and nuts. It is not said enough. Just because it is vegan doesn’t mean it is healthy. You can still get chronic diseases eating a lot of these high salt, high fat, high sugar processed vegan food.
I was told that soy isn’t good for you and causes uterine fibroids. Is that true?
That is a myth. We have studies about soy going back decades. We, as in the profession, have found that it depends on the type of soy. Soy in general is a soybean. Like a kidney bean, a black eye pea bean, a black bean etc. There is nothing wrong with the bean itself. They use beans to make things. You can eat the bean as a soybean. You can eat the beans in the pot. They use it to make tofu. They use it to make Tempe. Those are healthier ways. They use it to make soy milk, vegan pepperoni, vegan cheese, and vegan ice cream. Then, you are getting into the highly processed stuff with a lot of added sugar. Those are not the healthiest ways to eat it. If you are just eating soy as a bean or tofu tempeh, it actually helps prevent chronic disease including breast cancer. If you have breast cancer, it also helps for it not to come back. Having said that, you don’t have to eat soy to be on a vegan diet. It is one bean out of the bean kingdom.
Years ago, I attended the Columbus Vegfest and looked at the nutritional values for vegan chocolate. I noticed the calorie numbers were equal or higher than regular chocolate.
This is another example of just because it is vegan doesn’t mean that it is healthy. You can have vegan everything now. If you want to have ice cream, cake, donuts, pie, it is there for you. But, just as when you were an omnivore, it is not an everyday food. You have to think about it the same way. Just because it is vegan doesn’t give you license to have it every day.
Is there anything that I didn’t ask you that you think I should have asked you? If so, go ahead and answer that question.
Is just my food vegan?
Everything is vegan.
Vegan deodorant? Any brand suggestions because some people seem to NEED some aluminum in their deodorant, so they don’t smell.
Are you trying to tell me that I smell?
You can find deodorant made from more natural ingredients. There are products from extra strength to low strength.
My take: Information for thought… “whatever you are eating now, add more plant-based foods.”