BIPOC Portraits is a series in which Best of Vegan contributors Val & Mani Latifi of Plant-Based Passport profile one BIPOC vegan creator each week over the course of 16 weeks, to shed light on the unique challenges BIPOCs face in making the decision to embrace veganism. For BIPOCs, the prevailing narrative that veganism is a white-dominated movement can often mean a perceived loss of cultural identity. The hope of this profile series is to make veganism a little less lonely for BIPOCs and to give courage to vegan-curious BIPOCs out there. In the twelfth installment of BIPOC Portraits, Todd Anderson of Turnip Vegan shares his journey to veganism as an African American. He also provides a delicious recipe for his Soul Bowl.
[The acronym BIPOC stands for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color]
Todd Anderson is the co-owner of Spoiled Vegans Cafe and a content creator based in San Diego, California. Todd became vegan in 2016 after deciding to make his health a priority. His favorite thing about being vegan is that it is a lifestyle that allows him to fuel his body more naturally, and provides him freedom from diets and food trends. Todd enjoys playing basketball, videography and has recently fallen in love with camping. His dream is to own an RV and to live on the road for a year or two, sampling all the vegan food the country has to offer. He is currently working on launching some wellness products that include functional mushrooms. He has also recently partnered with a platform to help him create digital guides and digital cookbooks that will all be in video format.
I knew that with the rise of social media platforms would come an opportunity to introduce more people to veganism. I wanted to be ready when the community was ready
What inspired you to go vegan?
I wanted to be better and feel better. I was not taking care of myself in 2016, and after a long weekend in Vegas, I came home in desperate need of change. I remembered feeling horrible for two days, and I sat down to watch a documentary called Food Choices. I wanted to make better choices about what I put into my body. After starting the documentary, I heard a gentleman say,”Humans are the only species that drink milk from another species.” That was the moment that made me question things that I put in my body and why. This was the start of my journey. After eating plant-based for a week or so, I knew this was the proper lifestyle for me.
When you first went vegan, did you see the vegan community as diverse? Did you see yourself as having a place in the vegan community as a BIPOC?
Yes, I did see a place for me in the vegan community as a BIPOC. I knew that with the rise of social media platforms, would come an opportunity to introduce more people to veganism. I wanted to be that ready when the community was ready.
Look how bomb vegan food looks. You know you want to try its vibe! It is starting to become dope taking care of others, what you eat, and preserving the planet
Did you worry about how your friends and family would react to your decision to go vegan? And how did they react?
I honestly did not worry. I was excited to show my friends and family that just because I am vegan doesn’t mean I will judge them or make them feel inadequate about their choices. Instead, I wanted to show them how much fun I am having over here eating plants and saving the planet for the next generation. I mean, look how bomb vegan food looks. You know you want to try its vibe! It is starting to become dope taking care of others, what you eat, and preserving the planet.