Updated: Jun 25, 2020
Written by: Madison Duboise
Beginning her vegan journey on-and off about seven years ago, vegan chef and nurse, Chinwe Orabuchi, never thought it would turn into her whole world.
Her focus at that time was simply just to clear her skin, but it was what pushed her to become completely vegan about 4 years ago was when she began her career as a critical care nurse. Seeing firsthand the health disparities among black and brown people in the hospital was jaw dropping to her. African Americans are currently leading in health issues such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other health related issues that are directly related to the foods we eat. She believes there is a calling in her life to educate people on the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle and its ability to reverse these illnesses plaguing the community.
ChisVeganKitchen is her personal Vegan cooking account on Instagram where she showcases dishes that she enjoys cooking. It is an opportunity for people to get a glimpse inside her kitchen and for her to show the world that vegan food is more than salad, bread and French fries. She cooks foods that are comparable to traditional favorites without any animal products.
“I have been blessed with the opportunity to make a few TV appearances on KPRC channel 2 Houston Life. I was a guest doing food segments where the hosts and I cook meals on live television. The first appearance I made my vegan cinnamon rolls, the second appearance I made black bean burgers and fried plantain for the Fourth of July special and for October I made pumpkin pies,” Orabuchi said. “These were my first TV appearances and being on live TV can be very intimidating. I was extremely nervous but I guess I did well enough because they continued to ask me to come back!”
She has partnered with The Butter Bar Skin Care company in Houston, TX for their Masks and Mimosas Brunch that they began hosting in various states. The event is tailored for women to enjoy brunch, music, and gain information from different health and wellness speakers. Orbuchi was invited to speak about health and wellness and share the knowledge I have with my nursing background. She also joined The Butter Bar Skin Care team and also spoke on a panel about health and wellness during the Essence Festival in New Orleans, Louisiana.
She also participated in the Taste of Pan Africa Food Festival, a large festival that brings together Africans in the diaspora from all different countries. The emphasis is on the food from various countries, but there are also numerous vendors selling things from clothes to art. It is an experience that is supposed to draw people to the culture. She was a food vendor where she made traditional Nigerian dishes with a vegan twist.
“Coming from a culture where meat is a staple I found that it was not an easy transition for some to eat a Jackfruit Suya, a Nigerian staple similar to a chicken kabob with Nigerian seasonings and spices, or a Meat-less Meat Pie,” Orabuchi said. “Being so used to eating meat, the flavor and texture, although similar, just wasn’t the same thing. Overall the feedback was great and I was thankful to be able to open the eyes of people and share my knowledge about eating a plant based diet and the long term benefits of it.”
Orabuchi likes to call herself a “Holistic Health Advocate.” She hopes to promote a lifestyle that focuses on targeting health issues wholly and naturally.
“I believe health is not just physical, but mental and spiritual as well, and the best way to health is with natural remedies and things of the earth,” Orabuchi said. “Focusing on a plant-based diet is the best way to heal the body because of its health healing properties; natural foods play a part in enhancing mental health also. Hippocrates stated over 2,000 years ago, “Let food be thy medicine.” and that’s what I hope to do.”
Orabuchi went to college at Texas Woman’s University and obtained a degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry prior to going back to school and earning her bachelor’s of science in Nursing. While obtaining her degree in biology she fell in love with Botany where she focused on plant research of phytoremediation, and is currently in graduate school to become an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner.
Orabuchi also has her own Youtube Channel, That Vegan Life, that focuses on everything from health, to lifestyle, to fitness, vegan foods and nursing. It is about her journey being vegan along with whatever else she feels like sharing. She aims to try to make a healthy lifestyle more appealing to those who follow her that may be struggling or just needing some motivation.
Recently Orabuchi started a scholarship for student African American women currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing who display outstanding nursing servant-leadership qualities and integrity with dreams of being a future pioneer in the healthcare field. The scholarship is to financially assist women of color who have a passion for nursing and encourage them that they are needed in the healthcare field to be advocates and game-changers.
“I will continue to use my platform to educate the masses on health and wellness and the importance of preventative health with a plant-based diet,” Orabuchi said. “My focus is on the minorities and those who are leading in cardiovascular and health related diseases.”
As a minority in America, especially a black woman, there will always be obstacles. Having to work ten times as hard, having to make sure her content is as perfect as possible, carrying herself professionally at all times.
“There is a pressure to be perfect and sometimes it can be physically and mentally exhausting. My ability to succeed despite the obstacles, my resilience despite numerous doors being closed and my drive is like none other,” Orabuchi said. “ I do believe there is nothing I can’t do and that keeps me going.”