Best-selling author, award-winning public health nutritionist, and vegan trailblazer.
Spearheads the movement to Go Vegan To Live A Healthy & Vibrant Life You Love
CHEF CYNTHIA: You were introduced to better eating by the legendary comedian activist Dick Gregory?
TRACYE MCQUIRTER: Yes, when I was a sophomore at Amherst College, our Black Student Union brought Dick Gregory to campus to talk about the political, economic, and social state of Black America. Instead, he talked about the political, economic, and social plate of Black America, and how unhealthfully most folks eat. We didn’t know that Gregory had become a vegetarian in 1965 because he extended the practice of nonviolence during the Civil Rights Movement to include compassion for animals, and then became a vegan in 1967 for health reasons. So he had been a vegan for 20 years by the time he came to my campus. During his talk, he also traced the path of a hamburger from a cow on a factory farm, to the slaughterhouse, to a fast-food restaurant, to a clogged artery, to a heart ticket. His talk rocked my world and led me to do my research and go vegan.
CHEF CYNTHIA: Why did this message connect with you?
TRACYE MCQUIRTER: His message moved me because he connected food to the myriad social justice issues facing African Americans in this country. I was also going through my own paradigm shift at the time as a result of studying and experiencing more racism, sexism, classism, etc., at Amherst, so I was open to questioning the way society dictated I should eat.
CHEF CYNTHIA: Do you believe better-eating habits can play a role in decreasing the chances of contracting COVID-19?
TRACYE MCQUIRTER: Absolutely. People with pre-existing, preventable, diet-related chronic diseases get sick and die in the highest numbers from COVID-19. Adopting a healthy, whole-food plant-based diet can dramatically decrease suscep- tibility to pandemics now and in the future.
CHEF CYNTHIA: What is the goal of 10,000 Black Vegan Women?
TRACYE MCQUIRTER: The goal of 10,000 Black Vegan Women is to change the health paradigm of black women, who experience the highest rates of preventable, diet-related chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, dia- betes, and unhealthy weight. I’m helping 10,000 Black women go vegan in one year to live longer, healthier lives.
CHEF CYNTHIA: What has been the biggest push back you have encountered when delivering this message?
TRACYE MCQUIRTER: I haven’t received any pushback about the message of 10,000 Black Vegan Women. People seem to understand how important the message and mission are.
CHEF CYNTHIA: What’s next for you?
TRACYE MCQUIRTER: I’m very excited about launching the program on October 5th, and hosting it through the end of the year. I’m super focused on helping the 10,000 or more women who participate to change their lives.