“Are You Vegan or Vegetarian?”



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Darlings over the last year my DM inbox has been filled with questions about how I eat and whether I’m vegan or vegetarian. So many in fact that we decided it’s time to post a blog answering allllll of the most frequently asked “diet or food” related questions.

Vegan or VegetarianQ: How long have you been eating “clean?”

A: A little over 10 years now

Q: Are you vegan or vegetarian?

A: I don’t identify myself as either. Rather I focus on eating an unprocessed plant based whole foods diet. Whole foods are foods that I can identify: spinach, lentils, avocado, etc. I do not eat dairy or eggs. But will occasionally have a baked good that has one or both baked in. Labels are often limiting and in my opinion make it that much harder to maintain a healthy eating lifestyle. With all the emphasis that is being placed on your “label” you lose sight of listening to your body and eating what it needs. Vegan does not mean HEALTHY!!  A lot of “vegans” eat a ton of processed “vegan” foods like “meat-like” substitutes or “cheese.” Again I forego these types of “vegan” approved foods because it’s processed. Don’t get me wrong, I love eating vegan restaurants that serve all that processed yumminess but it’s a treat, not my everyday. On special occasion I still enjoy wild local seafood.  I love to take the girls on sushi dates!!

Plant Based DietQ: Why are you vegan or vegetarian?

A: One answer – Hereditary. Not too long ago my grandmother on my Dad’s side, the one I get my white hair from, passed away from colon cancer.  Her death saddened me because colon cancer is the number one most preventable cancer. My grandfather on my Mom’s side had diabetes later passing from pancreatic cancer.  Seeing his decline truly broke my heart. My other grandmother had a heart condition later passing from a stroke. With all that history in my blood, I was struck by this crazy idea that maybe just maybe I should do everything in my power to eat better. From there I educated myself on the healing power of food!!  I began adding foods to my diet that promote healing and eliminated the foods that I new over time were slow killers.

Q: Did you eliminate meat all at once or in stages?

A: I stopped eating red meat and pork over 25 years ago. At that time I only ate poultry and seafood. I then stopped eating poultry about 8 or 9 years ago. From there I stopped eating dairy I wanna say about 5 years ago. The final thing I let go of is eggs. That has been about 2 years now…and boy do I miss egg white omelets!!

Q: What foods do you avoid but sometimes eat?

A: I avoid butter, processed or refined sugar, and fried food.

Q: Do you have a favorite vegan meal? 

A: No favorite meals, but I do have a few core meals that make my taste buds and tummy dance!!  

  1. Anything in a corn tortilla (must be all natural non-GMO organic) like my vegan tacos
  2. Tofu Spring rolls
  3. Veggie soups (obsessed with the lentil soup Mike has been making me) and Miso w/ fresh seaweed
  4. My falafel!!
  5. OMG I love making bowls like my quinoa bowl!!  Throw in turmeric tofu, tomatoes, broccoli, onion, carrots…basically any veggies in the fridge sauteed together!!  No rice needed, but I will occasionally eat brown rice or red berry rice. 

Eating Whole FoodsQ: How do you keep sugar cravings at bay?

A: This is hard, even for me.  But I find that having a cup…or 2 of teas with raw organic honey in the morning knocks out that sugar craving for the day.  But I love chocolate so I’ll have a piece of dark chocolate before bed. On occasion I’ll have vegan ice cream or a baked good that’s floating around the house.  All in all, I am good with a taste of something. I remind myself that sugar causes inflammation and inflammation over time leads to disease. I also believe that because I eat the rainbow of veggies and fruit my body no longer craves hardcore processed sugars like it use to.

Q: Any tricks for staying disciplined with your diet?

A: Set yourself up for success by planning ahead.  I am that person that will pre-eat before a party or simply bring my own food.  I travel so much and 100% of the time I have a bag full of Tennille foods: hummus, raw veggies, salad, tangerines, kombucha, popcorn I popped myself…etcetera.  The other thing is I can eat the same thing everyday and not get tired. This means I can stay on track eating the same “Tennille” foods day after day while on the road. It is very helpful for a frequent traveler who does not like eating out.

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  1. Tiffany Rose says:

    This is very helpful! Thank you so much for the tips and advice! I’m going to try these myself.

  2. Milian says:

    Sounds like you’re eating in a balanced way, obviously healthy, and keeping the right mindset! When we feel like we can’t have the occasional thing we enjoy in moderation, is when it becomes impossible to maintain.

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I’m a clean beauty expert, a plant-based recipe guru, a fashion maven, and a mature black woman embracing my natural hair, silver streaks and all.

Welcome, I'm Tennille Murphy