Written by: Madison Duboise
When it comes to Texas one of the first things people think of is cowboy hats and BBQ. Vegan chef and owner of @blkandvegan, Emani is putting her own plant-based twist on that narrative.
Emani began her vegan transition this past November after watching a Netflix documentary, What the Health. The documentary explains how to prevent and reverse chronic disease and how the food industry is ruining our bodies. That day Emani made the decision, giving all of her meat in her kitchen to her roommates and becoming vegan.
“I made the change because of the injustice I saw in the food system and how that seriously impacts health,” Emani said.
Emani began posting her vegan recipes all over her personal Instagram page and her followers loved it. People began messaging her asking her all kinds of questions and she fell in love with managing her social media account as well as cooking vegan dishes, then @blkandvegan was born. The account now has over 9,000 followers and is constantly growing everyday.
“It is definitely surreal, I started this page in January not having huge expectations but just truly loving sharing and chatting with people,” Emani said. “It feels amazing, at times humbling and overall incredible. I am beyond grateful for my platform.”
Additionally Emani runs a website for her page called blkandvegan.com, here you can find vegan recipes, vegan finds, which are local vegan dishes in Texas that Emani loves, and more.
“Lots of research and conversations around concepts, logos, and the overall functionality of the page were considered when I started up the site,” Emani said. “And of course many late nights working on it bit by bit until it finally was complete”
While Emani just moved to Texas from California she is having no problem making a name for herself in the big state. While she was in California she participated in many events, one of her favorites she did was Peace for our Protest that took place at one of her friend’s yoga studio’s charity events. There she would donate her cookies to charity as well as partnering with local food trucks to sell her treats. Now she is sharing her story and dishes in a new state.
“My move to Texas has been wonderful so far, despite the weather, it is still something I'm getting used to but I'm so excited to be in a new space that allows me to explore. And being here just inspires me to adapt to my environment, plus there are lots more BBQs.
Emani honestly thinks people around Texas are at first shocked to know this is her lifestyle but she always gives them time and they always come around. Although this pandemic has led to lots of tragedy, it has given her time to reflect on what's important to her, she really got to work on @blkandvegan as more than just a hobby.
“Through the challenges came some amazing things for me and I am so grateful. I hope to make @blkandvegan more of a business. I would like to start doing cookbooks as a start and see where things go,” Emani said. “I hope my page just continues to grow and I hope that I can help bring unique ideas into the vegan world.”
Emani’s favorite dishes she creates are s’mores cookies and her vegan lasagna. She hopes to inspire others and make a difference in people's lives, hoping to make change one dish at a time.
“I hope to use my platform to empower more plant-based decisions for everyone, from the die-hard vegan to the meat-eater who is looking to incorporate more vegan dishes into their lives. Especially my black brothers and sisters who may feel like veganism is impossible because of the culture,” Emani said. “In terms of the world, veganism is important for health and wellness and for our environment. Overall being vegan or incorporating more vegan dishes into your diet can create change in and out of your home.”