Lyana Blount grew up eating canned vegetables and McDonald’s which, if you’re familiar with her popular Black Rican Vegan recipes now, might come as a surprise.
Black Rican Vegan prepares and delivers Black- and Latinx-inspired dishes to customers across New York City. Blount came up with the idea after years of making up her own vegan recipes for the meals she loved during her childhood.
Blount was raised in the Bronx by a single mom who “just got us whatever she could afford” in terms of food, according to Blount. She was living in a food desert, an area where access to affordable and nutritious food is limited. As Blount got older, she started researching how meat was processed and started to connect the dots to a lot of the health issues she was seeing pop up in her community.
“I kind of wanted to be a part of the change,” Blount told In The Know. “I started to take the steps to change my diet and not eat meat at all.”
Blount’s newfound interest in vegan eating garnered some confused responses from her friends and family. Blount said they dubbed the diet “a white people thing,” but Blount shrugged them off.
“It’s not and it doesn’t have to be,” Blount said. “It can be an ‘everyone thing.’ Everyone can eat plant-based, everyone could enjoy it and everyone could get creative with it and that’s what I have fun doing.”
Blount describes cooking as her love language, and she started sharing photos of her new vegan recipes on Facebook, which piqued a lot of interest from friends and family. That’s when she had the idea that this could turn into a business.
“[I could] still stick to my roots and what I was used to eating flavor-wise and just put a vegan twist on it,” she explained.
Inspired by her father’s passing in February 2020, Blount decided to go for it fully. She created a page and started Black Rican Vegan in March and watched it blow up in popularity.
“The accessibility, the easiness of it, the affordability — I just felt like that’s what makes a meal-prep service unique and [something] people want o buy weekly,” Blount said. “People are getting more information, people are being more proactive in their communities to push out veganism [and] more healthy eating.”
Studies have found that vegan diets can lower cholesterol, blood pressure and the chance of heart disease.
“It makes me excited because I just feel like going forward in the future is going to look a lot different than it has been for the past 20 to 30 years that I’ve been alive,” Blount said. “I feel super proud and grateful and humbled that, in a way, I’m part of that impact on changing the community.”
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