NAME: Monique Koch
OCCUPATION: Family Vegan Consultant
WEBSITE: Brown Vegan
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN VEGETARIAN? AND WHAT INSPIRED YOUR JOURNEY?
I became a vegetarian in 2008 after reading about the horrors of the animal industry & the negative efforts meat and dairy have on our body in a book called Skinny Bitch. I became a vegan in 2010 after reading Sistah Vegan by Breeze Harper. In Sistah Vegan, Harper does an excellent job of bringing ethical veganism full circle. I highly recommend this book.
HAS VEGETARIAN ENHANCED YOUR HEALTH? WHY OR WHY NOT?
Yes! I feel like I have a lot more energy. I also don’t get as many colds, stomachaches, or headaches. Most of us have been taught since childhood that meat is essential for protein and dairy and for strong bones. We can very easily get these components from eating plant-based foods such as nuts, seeds, tofu, green leafy vegetables, etc.
IN RETROSPECT, HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT MEAT? OR DO YOU HAVE ANY THOUGHTS ON AMERICA’S MEAT INDUSTRY?
I don’t dislike the taste of meat and used to enjoy chicken wraps and my mom’s meatloaf. My issue with the meat industry is more about what is being done to animals and the land to give us such subpar food. Animals are pumped with antibiotics, steroids, and often aren’t even fed their natural diet (cows typically eat soy & grain opposed to grass). Some people say that their grandparents lived very long and healthy lives with meat, but the reality is, the meat of our grandparents’ generation isn’t what’s being consumed today. The meat and dairy industries are big business with lots of money at stake, so they will say anything to convince us that eating its products is best for us.
WAS THERE A COMMUNITY OF BLACK WOMEN THAT HELPED YOU ALONG YOUR MEATLESS JOURNEY? AND IF NOT, WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO CHANGE THIS FOR OTHERS?
I didn’t find many black women who were vegan while I was transitioning, which is why I started to share more about how we eat on my blog. Now that I am a vegan, I’ve met many other wonderful vegans online. I actually do a feature on my blog where I interview many of these women.
HOW HAS BROWN VEGAN HELPED YOU WITH MAINTAINING YOUR PHILOSOPHIES OF MINIMALISM AND VEGANISM?
I enjoy blogging because it gives me a great space to share how we eat and live as a family.
For me, ethical veganism and minimalism go hand in hand because my goal is to take just what I need from the planet and leave the rest for other people.
Minimalism is about living my life through experiences opposed to overconsumption and the same can be said about veganism.
DO YOU HAVE ANY SMALL TIPS ON RAISING CHILDREN WHILE A VEGAN?
We enjoy cooking, eating, and learning together. I think the key in introducing more vegan dishes with your kids is eating with them. Let them see you enjoy the food, so they’re more likely to try it themselves. My children (ages 10,9, & 7) were not born into a vegan household, so they’re still learning a lot about this new lifestyle right along with me. My hope is that they use this information to make more compassionate and healthy food decisions in their own lives as they grow older.
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