Dope Vegan Spotlight: Elijah Miles, Tendea Family Founder

Dope Vegan Spotlight: Elijah Miles, Tendea Family Founder

This month’s Dope Vegan Spotlight is Elijah Miles. Many know him from the “Why I’m Vegan” video. After watching that video, explaining the correlations between self-love and diet, one can begin to understand just how dope the person behind those words has to be. Elijiah is this month’s Dope Vegan not only because of the realness in that video, but because of his determination to support and build up the black community.

See the video that got the conversation started.

Elijah is an intellect, a visionary, and the founder of the Tendea family. The Tendea family positively supports their community in Baltimore through Black Book Giveaways, motivation speeches at local colleges, and more.

“People say I know this woman that’s 90 + years old and she eats whatever she wants. That’s one in a million you willing to bet your life on that? Unhealthy foods are a drug. I’m not trying to tell everyone to go vegan. We just push them with logic. If you’re an intelligent person you can relate to logic. We know that black people are the leaders in blood pressure and heart disease and the things we eat cause that. So if I give someone that logic and the solution is vegan, they can make that decision to change their habits.” – Elijah Miles


What’s your favorite vegan restaurant?

The GruB Factory in Baltimore. Its black-owned.


How did the Tendea family begin?

Made in 2015 after the Freddie Gray riots in Baltimore. A lot of people came to Baltimore and decided they wanted to do something about it, but after the riots, everything went back to normal. We decided not to be so reactionary and make a change.

Tell Me More about the family. Is everyone related?

Tendea Family is a group of like-minded individuals. Everyone in the Tendea family is vegan. We knew we couldn’t do this work and continue to eat the way we do. If we did, then we’d only be doing this for a short time. It links to every issue we see, especially health problems. Our lifestyle is a death style. A lot of black people are living YOU (You Only Live Once). We help ourselves get into the grave. If it’s a habit that hurts the community, we do the opposite. No drugs, alcohol, sex, etc. We refrain from sex unless it’s done in a committed relationship. There’s too many absent fathers. Every little thing we see in the community we address it by not doing it.

What motivated you to make the video?

I was getting a lot of questions about why I’m vegan. A lot of it was from people thinking that I’m weird. So I made the video to let the world know I’m not vegan because I’m weird, it’s because I care about not only my health but the community’s. I’m not vegan because I want to be different, it’s because I love myself. I challenge people to think, “why do you eat what you eat?”. It’s because your mother ate that way, you grew up eating that way. You have to really think about why you really eat what you eat, it’s a logical reason. I connect with those people on logic and hopefully they can relate.


Tendea Family Book Giveaway

To celebrate Kwanzaa in 2017, Tendea family gathered funds to give books to the black community. Boys and girls of all ages were able to receive a book if they expressed interest, no strings attached.

What’s even more beautiful about this movement: all of the books were stories of beautiful black people. Titles included biographies of Jesse Owens, Marcus Garvey, Ida B. Wells, and more.

“The reason we want to do that (give away books) is because we want to invest in our (black) youth so that they grow up knowing who they are.”

How you can support the Tendea movement

You can’t do important work without money. One day we want to be able to offer opportunities to the ex-convict that can’t get a job. We want our own corner stores.

You can support The Tendea Family by purchasing shirts and other gear, see more information on Elijah’s Instagram page @tendea_lij.


 Want to try out veganism? Read this guide to get started today!


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The Life Cycle of a Vegan

The Life Cycle of a Vegan


“The Life Cycle of a vegan isn’t the same as a normal measurement of a person’s life span. There’s a beginning but no end, just continual growth.”



Life Cycle is a What?

A Life Cycle is the series of changes in the life of an organism. These changes that an organism goes through happens in different rates, sometimes slow and steady, gradual, or as fast as marking things off a checklist. It is also possible for the life cycle not to go in its correct order, taking steps backs or steps forward. The stages aren’t requirements; instead; they provide an idea and understanding.


Stages of Veganism

There is a big difference between a 1 year vegan and even a 2 year vegan. The same for a 2 year vegan and a 5 year vegan. While this might not seem like a big change in time, it is. In one year of veganism, a person goes through “training”. In this training, they learn the, for lack of better terms, “do’s and don’ts” of veganism. By year two, that training is over and they would have found a whole new world of foods. This is usually matched with a love of cooking those new foods.


The Life Cyle of A Vegan

The Life Cycle of a vegan isn’t the same as a normal measurement of a person’s life span. There’s a beginning but no end, just continual growth. It starts with a person’s vegan birth (stage 1) and ends with the not death, but the discorvery of who they are through Veganism.

The Life Cycle of a vegan is all about the occurences and recurrences. What happens when a person goes vegan, what are the stages, and how it differs from person to person. It does differ, but this “life cycle” is actually a very loose representation of the stages that people go through when they convert to a plant-based, cruelty free life. Like many summaries, The Life Cycle, is unpredictable. Although rare, some people could go from stage 1 to stage 4. These people are mainly children of vegn parents, or used to eating healthy already. Some people have never went thorugh some stages, and in a sense, “skipped a grade”. This is not the formula for all vegans, but gives a great idea of how going vegan works for some people.


The 4 stages in a Vegan’s Life Cycle:


Stage 1

Almost,Mostly,Somewhat Vegan

You like the idea of being vegan. You may or may not be vegan yet, but you have an image of a new and improved you, through a plant-based diet and vegan lifestyle. You don’t know much about veganism but you know vegans don’t eat meat and you’re cool with that. You want to go vegan but don’t know where to start! You cut out most meat from your diet but sometimes make a mistake in eating non-vegan foods. You might be vegetarian and ready to take the next step. You are very ready for that plant-based life!

Stage 2

Transitional Vegan

You have decided to become vegan. Since you grew up eating meat, you go to the vegan-version of foods you know. Krogers is one of your first stops for grocery shopping. You visit Walmart for the meatless options or find yourself in the Kroger natural aisle for all of your meat substitutes. You eat a wide variety of soy burgers, soy nuggets, veggie hot dogs, fries, and other easy warm up vegan meals. Spaghetti makes an appearance often. Your beauty and makeup products might not be cruelty free, as you are focusing on a plant-based diet.

Stage 3

Hella Vegan

Your diet now consists of a lot of veggies such as Kale. You also consume vegan substitutes and vegan protein like tofu. You cook mostly during the week, but also warm up a good veggie burger. You haven’t given up the vegan honeybuns and other vegan junk foods, but still manage to eat pretty healthy. You are 50/50 with your products. Most of your skin and hair care products are cruelty free, but you still buy some products without the bunny sign.

Stage 4


Chickpeas, black beans, sweet potatoes, and all type of veggies make you salivate on sight! You eat substitutes very rarely and consume an abundance of fruits, veggies, grains, and legumes. You might even juice/make smoothies once a week. You understand that protein comes from many sources such as beans and green leafy veggies. You cook every night, or eat at various vegan restaurants. All of your beauty products are cruelty free. Your household cleaners are even plant-based. You own no clothing made from an animal. You openly disapprove of zoos, the circus, and animals used for any kind of profit. You have joined a local vegan group. Every other instagram post is about animal rights. You, my friend, are vegan AF!


Not sure which stage you’re in?

Take the quiz now! Share your results in the comments.

Don’t fit into any of these categories? Make up your own and tell us about it in the comments.

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Carrot Dogs with Kale Salad (Creamy Lemon Sauce), Recipe, What We Ate For Dinner

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One of my favorite things to do when I come home, is eat. Well, besides dancing around to loud music or learning how smart my daughter Rylan is. I cook almost everyday, because I love it! Vegetables should always be the main dish.On the menu at Muva Tofu’s this night is Carrot Dogs and Kale salad. It’s a meal full of healthy vegetables, and you wouldn’t miss the meat.

I’ve tried this recipe before and was disappointed. I didn’t boil the carrots long enough so they were crunchy and they tasted too sweet. Since then, I have perfected it!

Long carrot dog accompanied by more tasty vegetables

This recipe is smoky and flavorful with a hint of sweetness.

You won’t miss the well-known American mystery meat – hotdogs!

Carrot dogs are cruelty-free and yummy.

Carrot Dogs Recipe

  • 8 Normal Sized Carrots
  • 3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Liquid Smoke
  • 1 drop of Lemon Juice
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon  Agave Nectar
  • 1 Tablespoon Liquid Yellow Mustard
  • 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Vegetable Broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 2 cups Water

Step One

Add all of the ingredients besides the carrots to a bowl and mix well. Set aside. Taste a drop of the marinade mix. Adjust to your liking: add more Agave to make sweeter or soy sauce to make saltier, if desired.

Step Two

Peel carrots with a vegetable peeler. Compost peelings. *Cut the carrots down to the size of a hot dog bun then boil. Boil carrots until they are soft enough to stick a plastic fork into.

Step Three

Add peeled carrots to the marinade mix made in step one. Let carrots marinade in this mix in the fridge overnight. (If in a rush, let marinade at least 4 hours.)

Step Four

Take a griddle pan, grill, or regular pan and let heat on medium-high. Remove carrots from marinade and add to hot griddle pan. Let cook for 5 minutes then flip and cook for 2 minutes. Take the marinade and smother carrots in it slowly while they cook. Add pan’s cover and let the steam cook into the carrots.

Step Five

Let carrots cool then add to hot dog bun and top with ketchup, mustard, relish, or whatever you choose. Enjoy!
*Tip – Keep the edible pieces of carrot you didn’t use and add to next recipe for extra texture, color, and nutrients. 

Kale Salad – Mediterranean Sauce

Kale salad with chopped carrots and Mediterranean Sauce
  • 1/4 cup Mediterranean Hummus (Trader joe’s)
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon Chia Seed
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon Hemp Seed
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
  • 1/4 Original Soy/Almond Milk/Water (add more for thinner texture)

Adapted from Minimalist Baker’s Garlic Herb Sauce

Step One

Wash and chop Kale then add to salad bowl. Compost the leftovers.

Step Two

Add the hummus, salt, lemon juice, garlic, and italian seasoning to a separate bowl and whisk. Add water and/or non-dairy milk to thin.

Step Three

Add the mixture to the kale bowl and toss.

Step Four

Whisk in the remaining ingredients (chia seeds and hemp seeds) to the top of the Kale salad. Add black pepper to taste, if desired.

Step Five

Serve and enjoy!


Did you make this meal? How did it go?

Let’s talk about it in the comments!

As apart of my current no-oil diet, I decided against french fries to go with the carrot dogs. Oil was also not included in the Mediterranean sauce, but add it you wish. If so, add 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil and whisk.

So, what are you eating tonight?

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