When you think about soul food, you probably think about satisfying comfort foods. Just imagine sitting at a table with your fam, laughing, smiling, and enjoying collard greens, mac ‘n’ “cheese,” cornbread—the list goes on. My mouth is watering right now. Going vegan didn’t stop me from enjoying soul food, and it most def shouldn’t stop you. In fact, now there are even more reasons to love it—check ’em out:

1. No animals were harmed.

One of the absolute best perks of eating vegan soul food is that no one had to die for your meal. When we sit down to eat, we want to think about how good the food is, not who died for it. By eating vegan, we can stuff our faces all we want without making our bodies a graveyard for dead animals.

2. Vegan soul food is better for your body.

Eating vegan means that you don’t have to worry about the bad cholesterol found in meat and dairy products. Animals, including humans, make their own cholesterol—so when we eat meat, we’re saturating our arteries with even more of the stuff. Consuming excessive amounts of cholesterol can lead to conditions like high blood pressure and even heart disease, which are preventable.

Clean eating w/ @davidvonner #StuffIEat restaurant #BeetLemonade #VegatarianSoulfoodPlatter smell delish!

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3. Food enters your mouth sooner.

Because there’s no meat in vegan soul food dishes, they’re often easier to prepare. For example, vegan collard greens take about one hour to make compared to the three or four hours that it takes to make greens that contain meat—ain’t nobody got time for that.

Vegan in Atlanta….I could get used to this. #vegan #veganwithmara

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4. Meat is gross.

Meat is often loaded with bacteria, antibiotics, and hormones. Doesn’t that sound yummy? Umm, not really. Not to mention that it’s the flesh of a being who was once alive. Eat vegan dishes, and skip the drugs and harmful organisms found in meat.

5. Eating vegan is good for the environment.

Climate change is a serious issue, and veganizing your fave foods is the perfect way for an individual to combat this growing problem. A staggering 51 percent or more of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture, according to a report published by the Worldwatch Institute. And the United Nations states that a global shift toward a vegan diet is necessary to combat the worst effects of  Vegans also have a smaller carbon footprint than meat-eaters.

And check this out: It takes up to water to produce just 1 pound of beef. Imagine how much water it would take to produce a whole spread of soul food. Now, imagine all the meat that’s being produced around the world with our precious, limited fresh-water supply. YIKES. When we veganize our food, we save animals and water.

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6. Vegan soul food tastes delicious.

When you try vegan versions of your fave foods, you won’t go back. The taste of vegan soul food is out of this world—it lifts our souls. It’s easy to mimic the flavors of tradition soul food, and a good place to start is with a spread of greens, black-eyed peas, and mac ‘n’ “cheese.

Soul food is something very near and dear to my heart—and soul. And vegan dishes let us enjoy all the traditional flavors of soul food with a cruelty-free twist. That sounds like a win-win situation to me.

For tons of easy, vegan recipe ideas check out our recipe page!