Interview with Aimbriel Lasley
Interviews | October 5, 2020
I discovered Aimbriel’s @black_mama vegan Instagram account and was impressed by the healthy food her kids were eating as well as her work as a health educator in Indiana. I asked her to submit one of her tried-and-true family recipes to our cookbook. You can find her vibrant Marinated Kale Salad on page 160. She recently published an eBook called Plant based kids, available on her website, and I wanted to hear more about her journey as a fellow Hoosier vegan mama cookbook author and to hear how she got her family on board when she went vegan.
Marisa: Please tell us your story of going vegan. Was it initially for health reasons? Did your reasons evolve in any way?
Aimbriel: Initially I went plant based for health reasons. I was experiencing some hormonal issues and needed to get to the bottom of it. Additionally, my family history of heart disease and cancer made me reevaluate my lifestyle choices for myself and my children.
My journey evolved quickly into veganism as I discovered the immense cruelty being done to animals. Our family now takes more of an ethical stance on why we continue to be vegan and how we can continue to be conscious in our daily lives.
Marisa: Who in the vegan movement inspires you most?
Aimbriel: I don’t necessarily have any one person that inspires me. I follow a lot of great vegan activists and gain meal inspiration from many. I do admire the work that Genesis Butler does and also Earthling Ed. Ed has a way of communicating that inspires many.
Marisa: I do too and am so grateful that Genesis wrote our foreword. You had young children and a husband at the time you went plant-based. How did they feel about the transition? Were there any bumps along the way? How did you bring them along on your journey?
Aimbriel: Yes, so I have four children. My oldest was around 14 going on 15 and my boys were 5, 3.5,3.5 it was hardest for my oldest as at that point she was very much so used to eating certain snack foods and dairy. For the young boys it was much easier as they were introduced to lots of fruits and vegetables early and enjoyed those things already. For the teenager I used a lot of the faux meat products (Gardein, Beyond meat, etc.) and also made macaroni and cheese and pasta dishes. These were her favorite things and I had to figure out a way to make them vegan and delicious. The boys and my husband were easy. My husband was already a heavy veggie eater and although he consumed meat it was not often and he would prefer a large serving of veggies any day!
Marisa: You recently came out with an eBook called Plant based kids that’s full of healthy, yummy meal and snack ideas. Tell me about the inspiration for that and what you hope it will do.
Aimbriel: I get a lot of questions about what to pack for kids, how do we handle birthday parties, where can you buy snacks etc. etc. etc. This book has been in the works for a while. I wanted to make it concise and not overwhelming. I also targeted the school age years because I feel as though that is where a lot of the questions were coming from. Parents were curious on what their children’s lunchboxes should look like and how to ensure that they’re getting the nutrients they need. Also, those who had young athletes. I felt it was important to show that kids (and adults) can easily get their nutrients on a plant based diet AND the access to these foods is much simpler than one would think.
Marisa: Sooo many questions for that age group. You recently started to sell your Wellness Women’s Blend, which I was happy to discover tasted almost like a holiday-spiced hot chocolate and have incorporated into part of my routine. Is there cardamon in there? Please tell me how it’s good for me because I love to drink it.
Aimbriel: Yes, this was my personal project to heal myself. I did TONS of research and found spices and herbs I had no idea about and how helpful they could be in our daily lives. Yes, cardamom is in there.
This blend is great for balancing hormones, assists in increasing libido, diuretic, PMS and more! This blend has changed so many women’s lives from menstrual cramps, extended bleeding etc.
Marisa: We’re both Hoosiers. I have so much respect for mamas who are doing it in the Heartland. What’s it like being a vegan mom in Indiana?
Aimbriel: It has been a good experience so far because veganism is not as “popular,” especially among black families. It has given other black families a chance to explore something new and to change the narrative that surrounds black families and certain health disparities.
Marisa: Beautiful. Your family is such a shining example of how to thrive on a vegan diet. What do you love about raising plant-powered kids?
Aimbriel: I love that they have really embraced this lifestyle! I am a believer in educating people and giving them information to make informed choices. My children ask questions and have learned a lot about veganism and have become little activists in their own right! They’re strong, healthy and never sickly. It has been a joy setting this foundation for them and watching them make it their own!
Marisa: They’re gorgeous. What’s one piece of advice you’d give parents who either are raising plant-based kiddos or are thinking about it?
Aimbriel: Educate yourself and be the role model. Your children watch you all of the time. If you are open to certain concepts, trying new things and changing your lifestyle then your children will follow. You are your child’s first teacher. Start small and buy my ebook 😉
Marisa: Perfect ending. I agree. Thank you so much for all your good work in the world!
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