I met with Mama T one morning late last month at Lyon Arboretum to discuss her vegan perspectives and philosophy, life as a raw vegan chef and nutrition.
“After seeing Forks over Knives it was my last straw to cut out dairy, about 6 years ago. I haven’t turned back and I am very strict about it. It really takes an educated step to become a vegan, to have the proper nutrients. There are a wide variety of plant based food, from beans and legumes to your leafy greens and fruits and vegetables. I do take a B12 supplement which is very important as well.”
What are some of your favorite raw vegan things to snack on?
I love any raw fruits and vegetables. At home I have my dehydrator working all the time with other snack items like crackers and kale chips, dried fruit and breads. These are a few of my favorite things!
Does your family have a favorite dish that you cook for them?
Fortunately my family loves everything I make, my husband for sure. My daughter is a little more picky, but I am grateful she loves all vegetables, lentils, and quinoa. I think her favorite would be lentil soup and my husband love casseroles. He absolutely looooves my vegan enchiladas.
Are participants in your cooking course sometimes surprised at what they learn they can do with raw vegan?
I think they are always surprised. It is exciting for me to make regular favorites into raw recipes, One of the favorites is my raw TiraMisu, Raw manicotti, Raw Pesto Pasta,..too many to list. But yes, they are surprised and happy. I love it best when students share that they actually made the recipes and shared them with loved ones. This is the ultimate! Passing on the Raw Vegan love is the best!
What are some of your favorite ingredients to cook with?
Organic pure ingredients. I love coconut oil and all local fresh produce. I love cooking with green bananas and cassava roots. I also make my own organic spice blends. I use these blends in everything. Currently I sell 4 blends: Jamaican Me Happy, Viva Mexico, India Love, and Aloha Everyday. You can find my blends sold at Natural Rasta on Beretania Street.
Have you perceived a change occurring with regards to veganism in Hawai’i over the past several years?
The change is beautiful. I see it in the number of restaurants springing up and thriving. I see it in my classes. A lot of people that I encounter at my classes have made the transitions because of health reasons. My dream is to have people change before they are sick and really start to see food as medicine. It can also be your poison. For me being a vegan started with being a vegetarian. I know that we are connected to all living things. I know that I did not want to eat my animal friends. There is no difference between a beloved pet and a cow. If people had pet cows, they would love them and their personalities as much as they loved their cats or dogs. I feel so sad for the animals that have to suffer. Because super markets make it so easy for people not to see or think about the slaughtering of innocent animals when they purchase their meats, many don’t even consider that animals have feeling too. I hope and pray that God uses me to bring awareness that choosing a vegan lifestyle is not only good for your health, but also for the plant and all the innocent animals.