Hello love! Welcome back to my space! It’s Friday and that means its time for another celebration!!! This week I am celebrating the seasoned researcher, the original Instagram hype woman Shauna also known as Blaq.vegan on Instagram. I am so excited to celebrate and share Shauna today! Shauna and I connected pretty quickly on our vegan/plant based journey. I have always loved how Shauna makes plant based eating super simple and accessible!
I love watching the way Shauna moves through life! She shares what she is passionate about and if you’re following along, you’re bound to learn a thing or two! Another thing I absolutely love about Shauna is that she is constantly hyping folks up! I have found so many amazing content creators through Shauna’s page!
As y’all know, I LOVE quotes so I couldn’t let the day pass without asking Shauna about one of her favorite quotes! She said:
Tell me about your Instagram handle:
My IG handle is @blaq.vegan. I chose that name because I wanted to make it easier for other black vegans to find me so we could connect. When I was trying to find other black vegans, the only one I could easily find was @brownvegan. I looked to see who she was following and listened to her podcast to find more of us. I liked that she was easy to find and I wanted my name to stand out the way hers did. To be honest though, lately I’ve been conflicted with it. I didn’t realize what being vegan meant. I didn’t realize it went beyond food and was more centered around animal rights. I’m actually more comfortable with the term “plant based” because my main focus is eating healthy foods.
I’m at a standstill with my page. My ‘why’ for going vegan was my health but then I started eating all sorts of processed food and it ended up giving me so much acne. When I did a raw vegan challenge, my skin cleared up and I knew I couldn’t go wild with those products.
Although I watched the documentary Earthlings and I have compassion for the animals. They were not my driving force for going vegan. My ‘why’ was my health and talking to my community and promoting health. I don’t want to be a preachy vegan. I’m not trying to tell anybody what to do but for me personally I eliminate those products as much as possible.
I’ve been trying to learn more about the animal rights side of it with everything that’s going on right now. I think my issue with it was, you have a lot of animal rights people, our non melanated friends, mostly, will be all about animal rights but when it comes to Black Lives Matter, it’s a problem. If you’re going to care that much about the animals, then you also gotta care about human life as well. I think that’s why it used to rub me the wrong way. I get it, I understand but it was never my driving force.
I had dealt with depression in the past and so I knew that I had to get rid of all forms of negativity in order to really get rid of that. So when I watched Earthlings, I was like there’s a lot of negativity going on here, there’s a lot of violence here. You see the separation of mother’s from their children. You see how infested the environment is and thinking about the slaughter house workers that have to kill animals all day everyday, what does that do to their psyche. That’s where my stance came from, I didn’t want to be consuming that negativity. I couldn’t even finish it.
Can you share your vegan/plant based journey with me?
I was always a Mc Donald’s fast food type of girl. I ran track when I was in high school. Once I stopped running track I was still eating the same. If you’re not working out as vigorously as you are when you’re in a sport, the weight is going to start packing on. I started to have a lot of health issues, I would go to different doctors and they weren’t really listening, they were just trying to give me medications. I didn’t want to be on medications for the rest of my life I just wanted to know what this was happening.
I ended up buying a book on holistic health and looked up all of the different things that I was experiencing I was able to heal myself. Then I thought that was the way to go. I started eating healthy at that point but it was still a struggle because I struggle with overeating and emotional eating. I still struggle with eating large amounts of food for no reason. Just because your vegan, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to be careful about what you’re eating. I just knew that personally this was the way to go because I knew that I could heal myself by eating better.
A lot of the diseases that are out there right now are because of the food were eating and if we just ate right, there a lot of things that we can cure ourselves
I want to go full circle of why I started this journey in the first place and that was for health and fitness. I’m definitely going to continue to share food for those moms that are out there and people that are working full time that don’t want or have time to be in the kitchen forever.
Just eat fruits and vegetables. Eat food that doesn’t contain animal products. I think we make a bigger deal about it. Before went Vegan my plate of food was either some meat and some fish, a vegetable and a starch or something like that. If you just take out the meat, you can easily replace that with so many things and it can easily be made plant based.
What is something you wish you knew before going vegan?
I wish I understood that being vegan, or even plant based, doesn’t mean you’re healthy. I came into this thinking I could indulge in anything I wanted to and my weight still fluctuated, I broke out in acne, and felt the same internally as I did before transitioning. It’s taken me some time to figure out what works best for my body. I remember doing the 5 day raw vegan challenge with you early on in my journey. I had broke out with a patch of acne that refused to go away and eating raw vegan those 5 days cleared it up when nothing else would.
Are there any foods you avoid? Why?
At this point, I’ve decided to avoid soy and seitan. I’m also trying to avoid processed foods as much as possible. I’m currently trying to eat mostly alkaline. I’ve had great results with that so far.
What is a food that you cannot live without?
I can’t live without onions. What’s sad is, I took a food sensitivity test and onions ranked the highest as a food to avoid but I can’t bring myself to let it go! I also thought I couldn’t live without garlic, but since eating alkaline, I’ve been able to give that up….only because I could still eat onions. So now, I’m like what am I gonna do if I have to give up both?? I can’t even imagine.
What is something that is keeping you grounded right now?
The gym. That’s how I stay sane. This is my opportunity to get away from the kids, this is my opportunity for ‘me time’. This is the opportunity for me to better myself. I don’t have time to be sitting around feeling depressed when I’m putting in work at the gym.
What is a book that has had the biggest impact on your life?
I don’t talk much about my beliefs because I know the backlash that comes with it. However, it plays an important part in my journey to being plant based. I left Christianity over a decade ago and read more about African Spirituality. Two books that were life changing for me. One is called Metu Neter Vol 1 and the other is MAAT: The 11 Laws of God. Both are by Ra Un Nefer Amen. I don’t agree with everything in any one book, but they helped give me an understanding of peace that I could never find in Christianity. Those books helped me overcome depression because it helped me shift my mindset. I became more aware of energy. I had to eliminate negative energy in order to overcome depression. This meant eliminating foods that contained animal products. When I saw how those animals were being treated, I didn’t want to consume the negative energy that they experienced. I was determined to get rid of any and all negativity to come out of the dark hole I was in mentally.
Who inspires you?
So many people do. I’m not saying this just because you’re doing this interview , but you inspire me greatly. Your positivity through even the most difficult times has made me rethink my attitude and my outlook on life. We’ve talked before privately and I have the utmost respect for you. Although I am not as passionate about the animals as I would like to be, you have shown me the importance of animal rights and I enjoy hearing about your perspective. Rasheeta (@prettpumpedfitness) is also a great inspiration. She is full of light just like you and I love that about her! She’s her own boss, super talented, and I love talking to her. She’s been supportive of me since day one. Monique (@brownvegan) is such a great friend. I can’t tell you how much she has helped me with her invaluable knowledge. She is dope on the business side of things. I talk to her all the time. She’s also a person I can talk shit with offline! We have a similar sense of humor. She is a selfless and amazing person. Honest and to the point. I know she won’t sugar coat anything with me and I love that! There are so many people that I have come in contact with through Instagram in the black vegan community. I’ve only met a few people in person, but I feel like a lot of ya’ll are lifelong friends.
What are simple things that bring you joy?
Right now, I find joy in my children. I find joy in having my health. Seeing my kids smile, hearing them laugh, seeing my son get good grades in school, those things bring me immense joy.
What are your favorite self care tips?
For me, working out is self care. I can’t function if I’m not exercising. I love jogging on the trail in nature and I love pushing myself in the gym. That is my “me time”. As much as my kids bring me joy….I still need to get away from them sometimes. I know other mom’s can relate to doing for others all the time and we put ourselves on the bottom of the list. I put myself first now. I can’t be my best self for my husband (who is the best by the way lol), my kids, or anyone else if I don’t take care of myself.
What is something a lot of people don’t know about you?
I struggle with social anxiety. I am terrified of speaking in front of people I don’t know. It has held me back in many ways because I’ve turned down opportunities and silenced my voice because my anxiety gets out of control. That has been a work in progress, but I have come a long way. I’m ready to start speaking on what I know because I have a deep desire to help my community.
What is one song that can instantly put you in a good mood?
OK so I’m OBSESSED with music! I can’t choose just one: “When I See You” – Fantasia “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” – Whitney Houston “How Will I Know” – Whitney Houston “Escapade” – Janet Jackson “Miss You Much” – Janet Jackson
What are your best practices when going through challenging times?
Sometimes, I just need to be alone and become centered. Self reflection is key. I have to be able to think things through and take things one step at a time. My husband has been an amazing partner going through life. Talking with him calms me down and helps me get my mind back on track. Also, knowing that everything is temporary and it will pass. It could always be worse. I remember the positive things and dwell on that. I want to conserve my energy for solutions and positive thinking vs worrying. Worrying has been debilitating for me so I’ve had to find ways to focus my mind on positivity and don’t allow myself to dwell on negativity for too long.
What are your words to live by?
My mind is infinite. I can solve and do anything. So whatever it is I want to do, I can make a choice to figure it out and get it done.
What are you grateful for?
I am so grateful for my health. I am thankful that I have a job that I can work from home. I’m grateful that everyone in my household is healthy right now. I’m grateful that I have the means to go get the food that I need and get to the gym when I need to. I’m just grateful to be where I’m at right now. I’m grateful for our situation.
What is something that gives you hope right now?
I feel like right now, with the Black Lives Matter movement. I know that we have had protests in the past but I feel like its different this time. I feel like things are bad right now but the momentum that we have in this movement, I’m excited about it. I feel like its possible for this world to get a little bit better, However, I don’t have faith that this country will ever not be racist until they address all of the lies that have been told. People really need to understand the raw ugly truth about this country’s history. I feel like the awareness is there for a lot more people now.
Who do you think would fit into Shamelessly Fabulous Friday?
@brownvegan, @irenesgreencuisine, @prettypumpedfitness, @avegansparadise (I could go on an on, but these ladies deserve shine lol)
Where can we find you, blog, Instagram ect?
Check out our full Soulversation HERE
I had so much sharing and celebrating Shauna Renee today, definitely check her out! Thank you so much for stopping by and until next time, Stay Fabulous!