25 Black Vegan Healthcare Professionals

Representation matters, especially in health and wellness. Studies show that Black patients are more likely to trust healthcare advice from Black medical doctors and healthcare professionals – largely because of the ongoing risks we face from systemic white supremacy and patriarchy in the medical industry.

But what about representation when you’re also a vegan?

Did you know that most medical professionals are not properly trained in nutrition? Although 11 million global deaths are attributed to dietary factors, reports found that, in general, graduating medical students are not supported with enough nutrition education during their studies to provide adequate care to patients. In fact, in medical school, of the thousands of hours of study, students only average about 19 hours of nutrition education – and that rarely includes plant-based nutrition.

That’s why having a Black vegan healthcare professional can give you the best of both worlds. Ideally, you can trust that they have your best interest at heart, and they have practical knowledge and expertise in plant-based nutrition.

Not sure where to find a practitioner? We got you covered! Here are 25 Black vegan healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, dietitians, and more, who are committed to providing holistic healthcare to their patients and communities:

Alicia C. Simpson, MS, RD, LD, is a dietitian with a focus on maternal and pediatric health in the state of Georgia.

Audrey R. Powell, MD, is an internal medicine and pediatric physician. Powell also strongly supports nutrition as means of healing and takes virtual appointments.

Banji Awosika, MD, specializes in nephrology, hypertension, and kidney dialysis, with an emphasis on preventive care through proper nutrition.

Baxter Montgomery, MD, is the founder of Montgomery Heart and Wellness in Houston, TX, a state-of-the-art facility that provides patients with a holistic approach and scientifically-backed research in all matters of heart care.

Celeste Palmer, MD, FAAP, is a physician who specializes in teaching families about the healing properties of food and how to make lifestyle modifications around plant-based eating.

Columbus Batiste, MD, also known as the “Healthy Heart Doc” supports a holistic healthcare approach, prioritizing plant-based nutrition. Batiste is a member of the 10MBVW Advisory Committee.

Deitra Dennis, RN, NBC-HWC, is a member of the 10MBVW Advisory Committee. A registered nurse and board certified health and wellness coach in the state of Georgia, Dennis is the founder of Full Circle Health Coaching LLC and specializes in heart disease prevention specifically in women of color.

Edwin K. McDonald IV, MD, specializes in gastroenterology, nutrition, and weight management – and he also is a trained chef!

Harriet N. Davis, MD, is a board-certified family medicine and sports medicine physician, who also happens to be a IFBB bikini athlete.

Heather Woolery-Lloyd, MD, is board certified in dermatology and lifestyle medicine. An internationally recognized dermatologist and skincare expert, Woolery-Lloyd also uses plant-based nutrition as the center of care.

Judy Brangman, MD, is committed to helping people transition to plant-based diets. Brangman is candid about her own journey and uses her personal experience to encourage overall wellness through plant-based eating.

Kim Williams, MD, is a cardiologist, and former president of the American College of Cardiology, focused on helping people refine the ways in which good nutrition can prevent illness and promote heart health.

Kirt Tyson, NMD, CPBN, FAAOPM, is a board-certified naturopathic physician who specializes in diabetes, cancer, as well as heart disease prevention and reversal. Tyson is also author of The Raw Truth: A Recipe for Reversing Diabetes.

Lynette Moore, MD, is a board certified physician who facilitates restoration of health through plant-based nutrition and holistic lifestyle management.

Mary A. Washington, MD, FACP, is a Houston-based board-certified internal medicine doctor, nephrologist, and certified plant-based nutritionist. Washington wholeheartedly believes that “a healthy diet makes a healthy body.”

Milton Mills, MD, is a member of the 10MBVW Advisory Committee. An internal medicine specialist and founder of Plant-Based Nation, Mills has been featured on several leading documentaries and podcasts discussing the importance of plant-based eating.

Natalie P. Santiago, MD, is a vegan pediatrician and advocate for holistic family care that is centered in whole foods, plant-based nutrition.

Pamela Atkins, MD, and Floyd Atkins, MD, both believe that education is the epicenter of lifestyle improvement. The Center for Wellness and Healing is a Houston-based clinic focused on educating patients on whole-food nutrition, supplementation, rest, and exercise.

Rosa Kincaid, MD, is a physician and raw-food workshop facilitator who encourages disease prevention and management with plant-based eating.

Sharan Abdul-Rahman, MD, is a board-certified, Philadelphia-based OB/GYN and founder of Today’s Woman. Abdul-Rahman’s practice focuses on preventative care, education, and using the latest technology to understand issues that particularly pertain to women.

Shayla Toombs-Withers, MD, founded the Essence of Health Wellness Clinic in Chattanooga, TN, and uses her knowledge of medicine, athletics, and plant-based nutrition as a primary care model for her patients.

Shayna Smith, MD, is a family doctor and owner of Flourish Pediatrics, who prioritizes plant-based nutrition for all members of the family.

Tinka Barnes, MD, is a board-certified family medicine practitioner who also owns a company, Veginar PLLC, which focuses on workshops and speaking engagements that promote whole foods, plant-based nutrition and movement (check out her Instagram for the latest moves!) as a means of medicine.

Terry Mason, MD, is a former urologist and Chicago-based lecturer known for “spreading the plant-based gospel” for more than 40 years. Mason advocates for holistic lifestyle benefits and plant-based eating – and has been seen on several documentaries including Forks Over Knives and The Game Changers.

Yami Cazorla-Lancaster, DO, MPH, MS, FAAP, is a pediatrician and health and wellness coach. Lancaster is also the host of the Veggie Doctor Radio podcast, where she explores many topics surrounding healthy diets and nutrition.

From advocating for better nutrition to modeling their own lived experiences as vegans, these healthcare professionals are doing essential and life-changing work!

You can search for more providers on sites like Plant-based Docs or Lifestyle Medicine. If you’d like to recommend a Black vegan medical professional in your own backyard, tag them in our Instagram comments at @10millionbvw.

Getting the Nutrients You Need

How vegans (and everyone else) can get vitamins and minerals from food, fortification, and fun in the sun.

By Tonya Abari, adapted from an article in the African American Vegan Starter Guide.

Eating plant-based is a fantastic way to improve your overall health. But you might be wondering how vegans get all the vitamins and minerals needed to thrive. Even with a diet composed of mostly whole foods – fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and whole grains – deficiencies can leave you feeling tired and incomplete. 

Common nutrients of concern, especially for new vegans, are protein, B12, calcium, iron, and vitamin D. Here’s more info about these nutrients and how you can seamlessly include them in your diet:


One of the most common questions for new vegans is, “How do I get enough protein?” According to a study in The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, vegans actually get 70% more protein than the recommended daily allowance. On average, most people need between 50-70 grams of protein daily. The Institute of Medicine recommends calculating protein intake based on multiplying your weight by 0.36 grams. So, if you’re 160 pounds, you need about 57 grams of protein each day. Or if you’re very physically active, you’ll need about 70 grams of protein per day. 

Some vegan sources that are high in protein include, but are not limited to: tempeh, tofu, lentils, pumpkin seeds, almonds, chickpeas, and quinoa. For more recommendations, read the “The Protein Question” in Ageless Vegan

Vitamin B12 

Vitamin B12 originates from bacteria, not plants or animals. It comes from tiny one-celled organisms or microbes that are in the air, earth, and water. In our bacteria-phobic, super hygienic world, neither meat-eaters or vegans typically get enough reliable vitamin B12 in their diets unless they’re eating ample B12-fortified food, such as plant-based milks, breakfast cereals, and nutritional yeast – or taking B12 supplements. 

That said, animals can harbor the bacteria, which can be ingested by meat-eaters. This is not the case with vegans. Based on the latest research findings for those eating plant-based foods, in Dr. Michael Greger’s How Not to Die, he recommends a B12 supplement (cyanocobalamin) of 2,500 mcg a week or 250 mcg a day for people under age 65. For people over age 65, the amount should be increased up to 1,000 mcg a day. 


We need about 1,000 mg of calcium each day. Just one cup of cooked collard greens or black-eyed peas has 350 mg each. The key is to eat a variety of plant-based food throughout the day and you’ll easily meet your daily calcium needs. 


Plant-based sources of iron include beans, lentils, nuts, whole grains, dried fruits and dark leafy greens. Eating them with fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamin C (such as strawberries and broccoli) will ensure that enough iron is obtained to meet the recommended daily allowance for women (18 mg for ages 19-50; 8 mg for ages 51 and older) and for men (8 mg for ages 19 and older). 

Vitamin D 

Vitamin D is made in skin that’s exposed to ultraviolet rays from the sun. To meet your daily vitamin D needs, you typically want to get at least 20 minutes of direct sunlight on your face, hands, arms or back two to three times a week. However, it does depend on where you live. Check out this infographic which displays the latest recommendations for vitamin D according to location.

If you’re indoors most of the time, some alternatives to sunlight include food fortified with vitamin D, like whole grain cereals and plant-based milks, including nut milks (almond, coconut, or macadamia), and  oat, rice or soy milks.

So that’s how vegans get those common vitamins and minerals — from food, fortification and fun in the sun.

Tonya Abari is a multigenre storyteller, editor, and reviewer. Her words have been published in USA Today, Publishers Weekly, ZORA, For the Culture, The Kitchn, Good Housekeeping, and many more! She enjoys discovering new vegan restaurants, collecting healing crystals, and unschooling with her inquisitive children. You can catch Tonya hanging out on Instagram @iamtabari.

Socializing While Vegan

By Tonya Abari, adapted from an article by Demetrius Bagley in the African American Vegan Starter Guide

When I first went vegan, socializing was a challenge. Attending family gatherings or going out to eat with omnivore friends and having little to no vegan options was stressful. And then there were the work events full of smoked meats and cheese platters. Not to mention the quizzical looks, barrage of questions, and the infamous “They have a salad.”

One too many of these instances made me question how I could ever make socializing while vegan sustainable. So what was a new vegan to do?

Well, I finally realized that it’s up to me to make sure I have vegan food available – and to be comfortable taking care of my needs in social situations with ease and grace. And once I changed my mindset, a lot of the stress went away. The reality is that some of your friends and family will understand your choice to go vegan – and some will not. But that certainly doesn’t mean you should stop socializing. It’s up to you to feel confident with your new vegan lifestyle and know that you can manage social situations just fine with some practice and consistency. So here are some practical ways to get the most out of socializing as a vegan:

  • Expand your network. If the village ain’t vegan, you’re going to have to build one. Get to know other vegans and vegan happenings through sites like Grazer and Meetup. It’s a great way to meet a variety of vegans—whether activists or foodies, newbies or veterans. Another added bonus of finding your people: eating vegan free from explanations and being on the defensive is so much more enjoyable and relaxing! Part of being vegan, after all, is living with a greater sense of peace.

  • Explore locally. A great place to meet other vegans and find vegan foods are at your community’s green or farmer’s markets. Along with buying fresh produce directly from the famers, you’ll often find small businesses selling a variety of vegan goodies. Also, think about attending vegan-friendly festivals. A few popular national festivals include Black Vegfest in Brooklyn, Vegan Soulfest in Baltimore and Vegan Street Fair in Los Angeles.

  • Suggest vegan establishments. Recommend vegan restaurants for your meetup or gathering. It’s an inclusive option because almost everyone eats plant-based foods, whether they’re vegans or omnivores. You can search for vegan restaurants in your area using HappyCow.

  • Eat before you go! Sure, breaking bread is part of the ultimate social experience. But if vegan options are questionable, it’s best to eat before you go. Showing up with a content belly makes it easier to turn down non-vegan offerings. And just remember, there can be many reasons why people choose not to eat at gatherings, so be comfortable with your choice.

  • BYOVF (Bring your own vegan foods). There’s no shame in bringing your own food to an event. Some might consider it rude, but remember, we’re all at different places when it comes to food, so be confident about meeting your own needs. If you know the event won’t have vegan options, pack a bag lunch (breakfast or dinner) full of your own vegan treats. Also, you can also bring vegan food to share with others. The key is to know your host and audience. Providing something sweet, like a fruit salad or a pan of homemade vegan brownies, is an easy and crowd-pleasing choice. Healthy drinks, like fresh smoothies, juices or lemonade, can also be refreshing to share.

Attending picnics, potlucks, cookouts or any other food-focused events with omnivores can feel tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying your social life as a new vegan even more.

Tonya Abari is a multigenre storyteller, editor, and reviewer. Her words have been published in USA Today, Publishers Weekly, ZORA, For the Culture, The Kitchn, Good Housekeeping, and many more! She enjoys discovering new vegan restaurants, collecting healing crystals, and unschooling with her inquisitive children. You can catch Tonya hanging out on Instagram @iamtabari.
Demetrius Bagley is an award-winning producer of the documentary Vegucated. He’s also produced the public TV cooking show Vegan Mashup, and has been vegan since 1994.

5 Hidden Animal-Based Ingredients in “Vegan” Food Products

Unless a packaged food product has the word “Vegan” on the label, the best way to know if it’s vegan is to check the ingredients list.

Even when the label says “Plant-Based,” it’s best to check the ingredients list because, technically, plant-based doesn’t necessarily mean plant-exclusive. And as a general rule, products with the labels “Meat-Free” or “Dairy-Free” aren’t necessarily vegan, because they can still contain other animal-based ingredients.

The obvious animal-based ingredients to look for are beef, chicken, fish, turkey, pork, duck, lamb, and other animals, as well as milk, cheese, eggs, and egg whites.

But there are also hidden animal-based ingredients that show up in products that you might otherwise think are vegan. Check out the list below:


This is a red dye in food products that comes from the bodies of dried female beetles or cochineals. It’s found in juices and other drinks, fruit fillings, yogurt, ice cream, and other dairy products.


This is a milk protein that can be found in supposedly nondairy cheeses, as well as in ice cream, bakery products, and cereals. This ingredient can also be listed as calcium caseinate and sodium caseinate.


This is an animal protein from pigs or cows that’s used as a thickening agent in foods like puddings, juice, frozen desserts, and the capsules used for vitamin supplements and pills.


These are additives that give a food product its flavor. In general, the FDA allows companies to hide ingredients under the term “Natural Flavors” as a way to protect their secret recipe — so that no one else will know exactly what flavorings are used in the food product. The concern here is that the natural flavors could be animal-derived or plant-derived. Unless the product explicitly states that it’s vegan, we have no way of knowing if the natural flavors are vegan, unless you check the company’s website or contact the company directly.


This is a watery substance that is derived from the fat and protein in milk during the cheese-making process. Whey is often found in foods that we might expect to be vegan, like some soy cheese and rice cheese brands, to help them melt, so pay careful attention. Whey is also typically found in dry mixes, bakery products, ice-creams, and other processed foods.

So there you have it. Now you’ll know how to tell if a packaged food product is vegan or not, when it doesn’t have “Vegan” on the label.

And if you want to explore the world of food ingredients even more — both plant-based and animal-based — check out the Vegetarian Resource Group’s Guide to Food Ingredients.



51 Vegan Cookbooks By Black Women

Ready to get more creative in the kitchen this year? Well, we’ve put together a list of 51 Vegan Cookbooks by Black Women for you to explore.

These culinary treasures feature plant-based recipes for every occasion, from the raw, quick, and easy to the soulfully slow-cooked. So wherever you are on your vegan journey, these cookbooks can give you the ideas and inspiration you need to take your skills to new heights. Take a look.

51 Vegan Cookbooks by Black Women

1. 7 Days Vegan: Vegan Remixes for Everyday Eating by Dr. Joslin Mar-Dai Pickens
2. African Vegan on a Budget by Nicola Kagoro aka Chef Cola (available 12.12.21)
3. Africanizing Vegan Food: All Your Favourite Nigerian Foods Veganized by Abby Ayoola
4. Afro Vegan by Zoe Alakija
5. Ageless Vegan by Tracye McQuirter with Mary McQuirter
6. Akwaaba! Dr. Akua’s Ghanaian Vegan Cuisine by K. Akua Gray
7. By Any Greens Necessary by Tracye McQuirter
8. Caribbean Vegan (expanded second edition) by Taymer Mason
9. Colorful Home Cooking by Gabrielle Reyes
10. Comfort Foods with Vegan Chef Ash by Ashley Johnson
11. Confessions of an East Coast Raw Vegan by Brandi Y. Rollins
12. Culture Cooking: Easy Guide to Vegan The Dr. Sebi Way by Brittany E. Tillman
13. Dr. Sebi: Alkaline Diet Meal Prep Cookbook by Kerri M. Williams
14. Easy Vegan Soul by Nicole Asali
15. Feeding the Soul (Because It’s My Business) by Tabitha Brown
16. Food for the Soul From Ama’s Kitchen by Ama T. Opare
17. FRESH: How to Make Vegetables Taste Good by Jade Alston
18. Hot N Not Vegan Soul Food by Venetta G. Kalu
19. Joyful, Delicious, Vegan: Life Without Heart Disease by Sherra Aguirre
20. Koya’s Kuisine: Foods You Love That Love You Back by Koya Webb
21. Living Lively by Haile Thomas
22. Naija Vegan Food Remix: 10 Popular Dishes by Nena Ubani
23. Nigerian Vegan by Dr. Gachomo Mapis-Shepkong
24. One Pot: Three Ways by Rachel Ama
25. Plum: Gratifying Vegan Dishes from Seattle’s Plum Bistro by Makini Howell
26. Porsche Cooks Vegan: Recipes for the Soul by Porsche Thomas
27. Quick & Easy Vegan Celebrations:150 Great-Tasting Recipes by Alicia C. Simpson
28. Quick & Easy Vegan Comfort Food: 65 Everyday Meal Ideas by Alicia C. Simpson
29. Quick and Easy Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food: 150 Down-Howm Recipes Packed with Flavor, Not Calories by Alicia C. Simpson
30. Rachel Ama’s Vegan Eats by Rachel Ama
31. Raw Foods on a Budget by Brandi Y. Rollins
32. Soul Deliciously Vegan by Regina Boykins
33. Southern Vegan Eats: Homemade Recipes by Aszure Gardner
34. Sweet Potato Soul by Jenné Claiborne
35. The Big V: A Cookbook for the Aspiring Vegan by Rachael Walker
36. The Traphouse Vegan, Lifestyle Guide by Eboni Washington and Michele Simmons
37. The Vegan By Nature Cookbook by Stephanie Sunshine Samuels
38. The Vegan Remix: A Soulful Spin on World Cuisine by Afya Ibomu
39. The Vegan Soulfood Guide to the Galaxy by Afya Ibomu
40. The Vegucation of Robin: How Real Food Saved My Life by Robin Quivers
41. Unbelievably Vegan by Charity Morgan (available 1.18.22)
42. Vegan Hippie Sol by Dominique Williamson
43. Vegan Lady Soul by Nicole Williams
44. Vegan Slow Cooking for Two by Rhyan Geiger RD (available 12.14.21)
45. Vegan Soul Food Cookbook by Nadira Jenkins-El
46. Vegan Nigerian Kitchen by Tomi Makanjuola
47. Vegan Soul Food Holiday Recipe Guide by Brooke Brimm
48. Vegan Soul Food Recipe Guide: 30 Plus Salads, Raw, Juices & Smoothies by Brooke Brimm
49. Veggie Delights by K. Akua Gray
50. Where Does Dinner Come From?: A Plant Based Children’s Book by Kawani Brown
51. Why Vegan is the New Black by Deborrah Cooper

If you see one of your favorite cookbooks mentioned or a new one you can’t wait to try, give them a shoutout in our Instagram comments at @10millionbvw. We’d love to see a picture of a recipe you made, too!

40 Vegan Beauty Brands Owned By Black Women

The holiday season is here and if you’re shopping for self-care gifts for yourself or others, definitely make it vegan! We’ve put together a list of 40 vegan beauty brands owned by black women for you to check out.

In these links, you’ll find vegan cosmetics, skincare, haircare, nail care, and more. Everything you need to take care of yourself—or treat a friend—without the use of animal products.

We’ve put together a comprehensive list, but if you know of any black women-owned vegan beauty brands we’ve missed, give them a shout-out on Instagram at @10millionbvw. Also, if you’ve tried these products and love em, let us know that, too!


Aura Lotus
Beauty Bakerie
JD Glow Cosmetics
Klarity Kosmetics
Mented Cosmetics
Range Beauty
The Lip Bar


Kimberly Elise Naturals
Loving Culture
Obia Naturals

Nail Care

Candy x Paints
Janet and Jo
Mischo Beauty
Suite Eleven
Taupe Coat

Skincare & Body Products

Angie Watts
Base Butter
Black Girl Sunscreen
Chloe + Chad
Dirt Don’t Hurt
Emaje Naturals
Foxie Cosmetics
Hello Aloe Naturals
Lovinah Skincare
Naturally London
Nola Skinsentials
Oshun Organics
Piper Wai
Ressentir Cosmetics
Sade Baron
The Wellness Apothecary
Undefined Beauty

How to Raise Children Vegan

My great nephew’s first birthday got me to thinking about a question I get asked quite a bit: Is it healthy to raise children vegan? The answer is yes – as many lifelong vegans can attest.

And here’s what Dr. Ruby Thomas, MD, a board-certified pediatrician based in Atlanta, who raised her own children vegan, has to say. This is an excerpt from our free African American Vegan Starter Guide.

Many women who are vegan and become pregnant wonder if they should adjust their diets to ensure a healthy pregnancy, but a vegan diet can be totally healthy for you and your baby.

Vegan Pregnancy

A vegan diet can be completely healthy for pregnant women. In fact, it may actually help lower your risk for pregnancy-related complications, such as elevated blood pressure or gestational diabetes. The key to nourishing yourself and your growing baby is to eat as many whole foods as possible from each plant-based food group, including whole grains, fruit, vegetables and legumes, as well as healthy fats. And make extra sure to get adequate amounts of folic acid, vitamin B12, calcium, vitamin D and iron, found in your standard prenatal vitamin. Your doctor may also recommend an extra vitamin D supplement because many women are deficient in this vitamin. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water each day.

Vegan Diets for Infants and Children

A vegan diet can be one of the best ways to ensure a healthy start for your baby, and can help decrease the risk of obesity, heart disease, and cancer later in life. Vegan children may also have fewer problems with allergies and digestive problems. Breastfeeding is best for your baby during the first year of life, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first 4-6 months. All exclusively breastfed babies should also receive a vitamin D supplement, since it is very important for bone health and development. Vitamin D deficiency is very common in the United States, and breastfed babies and African Americans are at increased risk for this deficiency and its complications.

For your child’s first foods, you can start with pureed fruits and vegetables, such as bananas and sweet potatoes. Avocado is also a great first food for vegan babies due to the high amount of good fats that it contains, which are important for brain growth and development.

As your baby gets older, you can introduce an even greater variety of food such as whole grains, seeds and nut butters. You can also begin to introduce plant milks such as hemp, almond or coconut milk into your child’s diet once breastfeeding is complete. At this time, you may also want to begin your child on a children’s multivitamin supplement that includes vitamin B12.

By starting your child on a vegan diet from birth, you’re ensuring that your child is exposed to a wide variety of food that will help to enhance the immune system, lower the risk for childhood obesity, and help to guarantee a healthy future.

To hear more guidance from Dr. Thomas about raising children vegan, check out her interview on the Brown Vegan podcast, hosted by my friend Monique Koch. And check out Dr. Thomas’s website and book.

Is It Safe To Eat Fresh Fruits & Veggies?

(Image credit: Jenny Huang)

This week, I’m writing about whether or not it’s safe to eat fresh fruits and vegetables during the coronavirus pandemic.

As it happens, my 83-year-old vegan mom also asked me this question last week, so I spent a few hours reading up on the subject. Also as it happens, renowned nutritionist (and my advisor in graduate school) Dr. Marion Nestle wrote about the same topic this week in her excellent blog, Food Politics, which made my job even easier. 🙂

So here’s the answer:

Yes, it’s still safe to eat fresh fruits and vegetables because COVID-19 is not known to be transmitted through food.

According to reports from the FDA here, the USDA here, the CDC here, the European Food Safety Authority here, and Serious Eats here (which has an exceptionally well-written guide on the coronavirus and the safety of food in grocery stores and restaurants), there is no current evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 through food or food packaging.

Also, studies of previous coronavirus outbreaks SARS and MERS show that transmission through food did not occur. There’s currently no reason to suggest that COVID-19 will be any different.

So that’s what the latest information shows. With that said, you should still wash your fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly to reduce bacteria and pesticides, especially if you’re buying non-organic produce. Which leads to another important question.

What’s the Best Way to Wash Fruits and Vegetables?

The latest information shows that not much has changed since before the coronavirus pandemic began. The recommendations are as varied as ever!

So I’ll refer you to NutritionFacts.org, my trusted resource, which superbly summarizes the latest in nutrition information. Nutrition Facts reports that recent studies show two methods were found to be the most effective in removing about 100% of pesticides.

The first method was soaking produce in plain, undiluted white vinegar. The only caveat is that using full-strength vinegar to wash your fruits and veggies each week can be expensive.

The second method was soaking produce in a mixture of one part salt to nine parts water. The only caution here is that you need to be sure to rinse away all of the salt water.

And if you’re wondering about other methods, studies also show that using tap water, or store-bought fruit and veggie washes, or vinegar diluted with water were found to be 50-80% likely to remove pesticides.

Here’s How I Do It

So with that said, l’ll tell you what I personally do. First, I only buy organic fruits and vegetables, so I don’t have to worry too much about pesticides. (If you’re able to do that, awesome; but if not, don’t let that stop you from buying fresh produce.)

To wash my leafy greens, I spread them out in a large bowl in the sink, add cold tap water to cover the greens, swish them around to loosen any grit, and let them soak for about 5 minutes. Then I pour out the water (keeping the greens in the bowl), fill the bowl up again with cold tap water, pour in white vinegar OR salt, swish the greens around again, then let them soak for another 5-10 minutes. Then I pour out the water, rinse the leaves individually under tap water and place them in a salad spinner. Then I spin it, pour out the excess water, place a paper towel on top of the greens, put the cover on top, and place the salad spinner in the fridge until I’m ready to eat the greens.

For other smooth-skinned fruits and vegetables, I soak and swish them once in the vinegar-water solution, then rinse them well. For cabbage and Brussels sprouts, I remove the outer leaves first, then rinse and wash them as I do the smooth-skinned vegetables. For broccoli and cauliflower, I rinse them under plain water, break off the florets, then let them soak in the vinegar-water solution before rinsing.

For fruits or vegetables with peels, I wash them before I peel or cut them, so residue isn’t transferred to the inside of the fruit.

As an added resource, check out the Environmental Working Group’s list of the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen fresh fruits and vegetables with the least and most pesticides sprayed on them. You can also download the free PDF on your phone and use it as a guide for grocery shopping.

And if fresh fruits and vegetables (whether organic or not) aren’t available or practical, then frozen is an excellent second choice.


10 Time-Saving Tips for Easy Meal Planning

If the thought of meal planning sounds intimidating, stay with me! It can actually make sticking to a vegan diet a whole lot easier, especially before eating this way becomes second nature.

Meal planning has other benefits, too. It can help alleviate the daily anxiety about what to eat and it can help you gain confidence in your ability to whip up a great meal with what you have on hand. Meal planning can also help you eat healthier because you’ll be more likely to eat at home, where you’ll have better control over ingredients and portion sizes. And you might even save money on groceries because you’re more likely to shop for the meals you planned for, instead of buying on impulse.

So let’s dive right into how to plan meals in advance. (Keep in mind that you may have more or less time to cook during COVID-19, so feel free to tweak these tips accordingly.)

Here are 10 time-saving tips for easy meal planning:

Plan meals for one week at a time

Look at your schedule for the week to see which days and evenings are extra busy. You can make quick and easy meals on those days or heat up food that you’ve batch cooked ahead of time.

Batch cook on the weekends

Pick a Saturday or Sunday to make a big pot of whole grains, like black, brown or wild rice, quinoa, millet or barley, and then portion them out and freeze them in airtight containers for weekday meals. To determine how much to cook, just follow a whole grain recipe (see my whole grains cooking chart) and double, triple or quadruple it. You can also batch cook a big pot of vegetable soup or beans, like black beans, red beans or lentils, and freeze them for the week ahead.

Wash and dry dark leafy greens in advance

For fresh greens, like collards and kale, wash them in advance (see how to wash fresh produce), dry them in a salad spinner or pat them dry, and store them in the fridge. Then during the week, they’ll be ready to add to salads, wraps or stir-fries. If the greens start to wilt before you use them, just freeze them in airtight containers for cooking or smoothies, or make a pot of vegetable soup or broth and freeze it.

Freeze bananas for smoothies

If you like adding bananas to your smoothies, peel a bunch and store them in freezer bags. They’ll make your smoothies creamier and save you a little more time in the mornings. You can also freeze other fresh fruit, especially berries, or just buy them frozen.

Chop staple ingredients in the food processor

Chop onions, garlic, mushrooms, peppers, carrots, cabbage (or any of other faves) in the food processor and store them in airtight containers in the fridge. Then, voila! They’re ready to add to your weekday meals. If you have any left over, just freeze them or add them to that vegetable soup or broth mentioned above. Right about now you might be thinking about all those airtight containers you’ll need, but, trust me, they’re worth it. They’ll save space in the fridge and they’ll look nice and neat. 😉 I personally recommend glass containers in various sizes for maximum freshness and sustainability.

Plan your meals with similar ingredients

To keep your meal planning as simple as possible, choose meals for the week with similar ingredients, so you can make multiple meals out of them. For example, black beans can be used for tacos on Tuesday and black bean soup on Thursday. Or wild rice can be used in wraps for Monday and stir-fries for Wednesday.

Plan the same meals for lunch and dinner

You can also streamline your meal plan by focusing on dinner and just making extra for lunch the next day. That way, you can save you time, energy, and stress around what to eat for lunch and dinner each day.

Keep it simple for breakfast

In addition to making smoothies with frozen fruit (as I mentioned above), you can also have overnight oats or granola with nondairy milk for a quick and easy weekday breakfast.

Make a grocery shopping list based on your meal plan

Once you’ve done your meal plan for the week, create a grocery shopping list on your phone to update weekly, as needed. Then go out and get those ingredients — and stick to your list!

Keep your meal plan for the week where it’s visible

Whether it’s on your phone, fridge, blackboard, cabinet, or wall, keep your meal plan where you can see it. You’ll spark anticipation for all the healthy and delish meals you’ll be enjoying during the week!


So there you have it. Ten tips that will make meal planning easier. Try it next week and let me know how it goes. And if you have other meal planning tips that I didn’t mention here, please share them in the comments below.

10 Vegan-Ish Words To Know Well

I’m going back to basics with a pop question for you. Can you tell me what the words on the image below mean, off the top of your head?

Chances are, whether you’re a vegan or a soon-to-be vegan, the meanings of some of these terms may not roll off the tip of your tongue — despite how often you may say them yourself. So to help you to have a general understanding of these 10 common vegan and vegan-associated terms, here are their definitions.


Vegan (pronounced “vee-gun”)

Someone who does not eat any animals or animal products (including chicken, fish, turkey, beef, pork, duck, milk, eggs, and cheese). And someone who does not eat or use animals or animal products (including for clothing, skincare products, and furnishings), and does not support the use of animals for entertainment (including zoos, circuses, marine parks, and aquariums) or for research and testing. There is disagreement about whether people who don’t eat animals, but do use animals or animal products in other ways are actually vegans. In my view, they are vegans. People enter into veganism for health, animal, environmental, spiritual, and/or other reasons. And many times, the longer people are vegans, the more likely they are to expand their practice of veganism to multiple areas.


Usually used to describe food that comes exclusively or mostly from plants and contains no animal products. Typically, people use the words vegan and plant-based interchangeably. However, many people refer to themselves as plant-based instead of vegan to make a distinction between eating plants for health reasons and eating plants for animal advocacy or animal rights reasons.


A person who does not eat the meat of animals, but does consume the milk and eggs of animals, or products made with them, such as cheese.

Whole Food

 Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds that are eaten closest to their natural, unprocessed, and nutrient-rich state. For whole grains, that means black, brown, or wild rice; quinoa; oats; millet; barley; and more. These whole foods contain an abundance of vitamins, minerals, and essential fiber.

Processed Food

Food that is packaged in boxes, cans or bags, and often contains additives, artificial flavorings, and other chemical ingredients. For processed grains, it refers to white rice, white pasta, white bread, and bakery products made with white flour that have had most of the essential fiber, vitamins, and minerals removed.


A set of practices used by growers that promote ecological balance and conserve biodiversity by not using pesticides, fertilizers, irradiation, industrial solvents or synthetic food additives. Commonly used to describe fruits, vegetables, and other ingredients grown using these practices.


A term commonly used for fruits and vegetables that are not organic, but typically have been sprayed with pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides.


Genetically Modified Organisms are plants, animals, and microorganisms whose genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination. This is done to food crops to create a resistance to the direct application of pesticides. Almost 80% of non-organic processed, packaged foods in the U.S. contain GMOs. Bioengineered is another word for GMO.


A label that indicates that the product does not contain gluten, which is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley, and triticale. If a product is gluten-free, it does not mean it’s vegan (although many people seem to think so!). The product can be gluten-free and contain animal ingredients.


A label that indicates that the product (typically cosmetics, skincare, and hair care) does not contain animal-derived ingredients and was not tested on animals. Not all vegan products are cruelty-free. Some are tested on animals, even though they don’t contain animal ingredients.


So there you have it. Ten common vegan or vegan-associated terms you now know, for wherever you are on your vegan journey. Now go out and give someone else a pop quiz!