Monday, August 8, 2011

Why Did I Go Vegan? Volume I recently sat down with the CEO/Founder of Everlasting Life Vegan Restaurant & Lounge, Dr. Baruch (top center in image below) and got the scoop on why he became vegan. We were so inspired by the interview that we decided to ask other noteworthy members of our community about their own personal reasons for becoming vegan.

Hip hop artist/visionary Sa-Roc (top left), raw food expert Khepra Anu (top right), hip hop artist/activist Safari Black (bottom left), and author/health expert Nwenna Kai (bottom right).

Here’s what they each had to say...

Dr. Baruch

The motivation behind me becoming more conscious about my health, which happens to include veganism, started with my second grade teacher Ms. Williams, who I was quite enamored with. One day at lunch, Ms. Williams noticed that I was eating an unhealthy sandwich and encouraged me to consider talking to my parents about the dangers associated with eating certain animal flesh. Little did Ms. Williams know that all she had to do was look wrong at what I was eating and I would have stopped. In any event, I couldn’t wait to go home and tell my parents the new information that I had learned that was going to make us all healthier. This began my pursuit of being more health conscious along with working to elevate my self-worth.

When I was thirteen, I was exposed to an article that revealed how difficult it is for meat to be digested. In this article, two individuals were given a meal to determine how long different foods stay in the body. One of them ate a steak dinner, the other ate a vegetarian meal that they could track in their physical elimination. The one that ate the vegetarian meal had no negligible evidence of what he had consumed after 17 hours. Meanwhile, the person that ate the steak dinner still had evidence of the steak in his physical elimination 20 days later. The information taught me a lot about biology and digestion and how the body works. It was clear that one diet was better for you than the other and if that was the case, then that was the one for me. It became even more obvious to me that I needed to make a change as I began taking note of the declining health of my fellow students, friends and family. So I stopped eating meat at that point. I didn’t quite go "cold turkey" but I was pretty aggressive with it and the premise was if it wasn’t healthy, I wasn’t going to consume it. My journey started off as a vegetarian and evolved into being more “health conscious” after concluding that there were a lot of vegetarian folks that were not healthy and that wasn’t what I wanted for myself.

I grew up in Southeast Washington DC and my community at the time was being targeted for bad health and pharmaceutical drug dependency. The weapon of choice was food. I saw it as nutritional terrorism; the nutritional and food industrial complex had made shelf life, flavor, color and presentation more important than nutrition. The only thing in our body that enjoys the poor choices we make with regard to nutrition is the tongue. So that two inch by three inch muscle if you will, is now being pleased, at the expense of the health of the rest of the body. Once the food you eat hits your throat, the joy ride is over. Why do we do this to ourselves? We get that immediate emotional and taste refreshment but after that our body suffers. We should be eating to nourish and refuel the body and not eating to have fun. If I want to have fun I go to an amusement park...

You can read the rest of our interview with Dr. Baruch by clicking here: Dr. Baruch on Vegan Health & Wellness. A lot of jewels were shared so be sure to check it out!


I made a conscious decision to become vegetarian at 12 years old. It was a moral decision once I learned of the treatment that animals suffered at the hands of the cruel meat industry. One of my teachers gave me a booklet from the 70s called “What’s wrong with eating meat” that gave me some more insight into how meat negatively affects the body. I learned how the chemicals and dyes in meat act as carcinogens in the body. The book compared the digestive tracts of natural carnivores vs. humans, stating how meat putrefies in our bodies before we eliminate, causing a toxic environment. This made it very easy for me to make the transition. Going deeper spiritually, I became averse to the idea of putting death into my body, knowing that the animal’s emotions of fear and anger were embedded in the meat. I still ate cheese even though I was lactose intolerant. Go figure.

I went vegan about 9 years ago, after I met a friend who encouraged me to do so. It was rather easy because I had become fed up with the excessive mucus my body was producing. I felt so much lighter!!! I was less fatigued, produced less mucus, and had much more energy. The world without animal products was so DOPE. I discovered so many different ways to prepare delicious vegetables and grains, expanding my culinary repertoire. Overall I made a wonderful choice that I will pass on to my future children. A choice to be healthy and happy!

Khepra Anu

Well, let me begin by saying that I don't like the term "vegan". I prefer vegetarian. The term vegetarian was highjacked by people who still thought it was ok to consume chicken, fish, turkey and dairy. So someone thought it was necessary to introduce another term where the first was fine. I just thought I'd start with that.

Let's re-ask, why vegetarian? The seed was planted by listening to conscious rap music in the late 80s with KRS-One referring to vegetarian diet in a few of his songs. One of his songs entitled "Beef" changed everything for me overnight and he spoke of the Honorable Elijah Muhummad's book "Eat to Live" which I read and that lead me to reading every book I could find on the subject by authors such as Llaila Afika, Queen Afua, and Dick Gregory. In 1991, I attended a lecture given by Dick Gregory where he spoke about only eating FRUITS as it speaks of in Genesis 1:29 I believe. This was ground shaking for me. On one hand as crazy as it sounded it made all the sense in the world. I began to experiment with fruit-only eating almost immediately and I would do it for a few days at a time, until I really got hungry then I would go back to my usual diet. That was my introduction to going to an all raw or live food diet. Years later I learned the importance of vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables. I believe had I had the knowledge and understanding of vegetables, fatty fruits, nuts, and seeds I would have been practicing a live food diet much longer than I have.

For the record I have been practicing vegetarianism for 20 years and an all live food diet for more than 10 years. In my opinion this is really the one true way to be a vegetarian, well, I should say a HEALTHY vegetarian. Working in a vegetarian establishment, I see way too many unhealthy vegetarians and the reason undoubtedly is because of too much unfermented soy and cooked starch. These 2 food groups pose a real problem for the vegetarian movement and a trap for those looking to practice the vegetarian way. Starch is by far the most addictive food and probably the worst food anyone can eat period, even worse than meat and dairy. Grains should only be consume when sprouted and the same goes with beans. The sprouting transforms the complex high blood altering carbohydrates into simple, easy to digest sugars. Soy should only be consumed when fermented. The earliest cultivators of soy understood this and only consumed soy in the forms of miso, natto, tempeh, soy sauce, etc. not as tofu, bean curd, soy isolate, tvp as it done by mass vegetarians today.

As a live food vegetarian, green leafy vegetables became a staple food, not necessarily fruits. I tell people all the time, your greens replace your starch, and that change alone will make all the difference. Also, Mother Nature has created thousands of fruits, herbs, nuts, seeds, vegetables with thousands of varieties of each. We have been bamboozled with limited food choices that we eat over and over and expect good health with the limited over hybridized commercialized food. Going to ethnic markets, farmer's market, and not just health food stores is essential. We all need to introduce our palate and bodies to all different kinds of fresh food that we are ignorant of. This will make for an exciting expedition into becoming a well informed, balanced, and true fresh food vegetarian.

Safari Black


We wake everyday with exposure to all things. Inside this exposure we have the opportunity to make proper and bad life choices. The foods we eat are a major part of our culture, upbringing and our attitudes. Even as we gauge the influence/the role that these details play, we all have an en-ate gauge of knowing what's best for our bodies.

In answering the question “what led you to choose veganism?" my response is, you do not choose veganism it chooses you, or at least I feel it chose me. My path was pure evolution, it started in the early 90’s with the removal of pork for politically conscious reasons, in the mid 90’s I removed red meat and in 1999 I stopped eating chicken, fish and turkey and dairy 1 month after that. My evolution was pure obedience to my higher self. It was a gradual path in which I still live with that attitude of self forgiveness realizing that even now I can still do a little bit better. I would say my continued dietary lifestyle is reaffirmed daily by simple logic. It just makes sense and never contradicts itself. This lifestyle is far from a fad, it's way deeper and spiritual on all levels. It allows your body to conduct the proper vibration and function to a fuller capacity. The financial benefits are incredible! If you are well you spend less time in the doctor office and hospitals. You are spending time outside the RX pharmacy exploitation and are living a healthier more productive life. I truly believe health is wealth. Dietary Imperialism does not have to claim your life and I exercise my right to live Healthy and sustainably Free.

Nwenna Kai

I don't like to label myself, however for the sake of labels, I am vegan. I prefer to just say I eat a plant-based diet. Eating this way wasn't really a choice for me as I started eating raw for health reasons. Once those health issues cleared up for me, it became more of an ethical choice and not wanting to take part in the killing of animals and then the more I developed my consciousness around health and eating, it became a choice of not wanting to add to the pollution of the environment and create unnecessary karma in my life in regards to participating within an unethical food industry that favors profits over human health.

So becoming vegan was never really a choice. It was a matter of life's circumstances directing me on a path of having perfect health and I am grateful unto God that I listened and obeyed. 

*To find out more about each of these individuals, please visit their websites:

Dr. Baruch

For speaking engagements/health consultations contact:
330-BAR-UCH1 (227-8241)


Khepra Anu



(Safari-Black Appears Courtesy of Moroccan Rug Media Group and Globalthreadz Recordings)

Nwenna Kai

1 comment:

  1. Each one of u really resignates with me. My divine self as one of u put it naturally evolved & I just was tired of putting dead stuff into my body. My instincts just innately realized that if I would never kill any of these animals why would I consume them? I just really began to awaken & my 3rd eye began to wonder why would somebody put they mouth on a cow titty & why? Cow mucus....? I felt my life force become stonger & my energy increased & started to encounter people who were more conscious to the point where they were jus chemist with their bodies & made me realized that I should not be ingesting suffering. A verse out of the bible also grasped my attention when I began to understand metaphysics, "Eat from the tree of life & u will live & from the tree of knowledge & u shall surely die.." & jus realized how technology has turned most of every thing we consume into Frankenfood & come far from the simplistic divinity of Earths & natures design. Peace & Infinate Light Thank u for opening up this dialogue to share :)