As a chef, lifestyle educator and caterer, Rain Truth is truly about that vegan life. Before even understanding the word vegetarian, she was that vegetable loving child. And when she realized the flesh and bone she was eating was once a living creature, she became horrified at the idea of eating meat. Today, her passion for cooking that started as a young child inspired by her family is now a robust lifestyle.
Truth, the now proud mother of two vegetarian children, always felt a sense of pride in both preparing and presenting food. That zest for food and culture is deeply embedded in her spirit. And she’s passed on that culture to her children who are a big part of her business. They help her prepare and serve food and her daughter has launched her own health conscious bakery business.
Truth believes that food is truly the glue that brings people together regardless of ethnicity, econcomical status, background and family structure. Personal experiences moved her to focus on creating healthy meals and providing safe alternatives to those with special dietary restrictions and allergens without compromising taste and quality. This was her passion for years until May 7, 2014, when she lost her father to brain cancer. Things then got personal. That loss moved her to make health, wellness and educating people on healthy eating her life’s mission.
Truth will soon publish her first children’s educational cookbook in English and Spanish titled following the same concept of her cooking classes. Toure Muhammad caught up with Rain Truth to discuss the vegan life, family and her mission to heal and uplift.
Tell me about the joy you had cooking with your family as a child.
When I was a child my love for food started with my infatuation with flour. Yes, you read it right. That white stuff that is used to make cakes and cookies and breads. I was so enthralled with the fact that it had so many uses and could be used to not only make food but put out fires. I would watch my poppa, my aunt and my grandmother create delectable meals and desserts and it sparked a desire in me to want to learn how to do the same thing. I wanted to be like them.
You have been vegan for about 10 years? What sparked the change?
I actually started on this veg journey as a child. I always had a serious connection to the earth and animals. Plus, I was always a side item child. I always would get a plate filled with sides only and I remember everyone would look at me crazy. The final thing was when I had a drumstick in my hand and as I pulled the chicken off the bone, it hit me. This is a bone and I started to scream… I touched my wrist and then touched the chicken again and that was all she wrote. Plus veggies just always tasted better.
How have you seen a difference in your health since becoming vegan?
Absolutely, being a vegan keeps me vibrant, light and lively. My energy level stays elevated and even the people I attract are just different. There is just a certain level of consciousness I experience when engaging in spaces that consist of people that are lifestyle disciplined and put health as a top priority. Because of the way I eat, my body is acclimated to certain foods and it immediately gives notice if something is unnatural or highly toxic.
I know you lost your father last year. What impact did he have on you and how did his passing fuel your passion for your work?
The passing of my father really hit me like a freight train. He and I were very close. He showed me how to garden, cook, change tires, how to shoot a gun, how to grill, to drive a car and a riding lawnmower. He was my best friend and when he was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2012, it really affected me. I realized I wasn’t living to my highest potential. I was living in mediocrity and that was not a reflection of who he was and what he instilled in me as a person or a woman.
It woke me up to a true understanding of what my purpose in life was and that was to share the knowledge and wisdom about healthy eating, living and wellness. It was not only my job, but my obligation to help those in my community that are overexposed to the processed and underexposed to the natural, fresh and organic. As I sat there with my father holding his hand while he took his last and final breath I looked him in his eye and made a promise to him that I would live to my highest potential and dedicate my life to sharing my knowledge and wisdom that was passed on to me to others.
My focus market includes Indigenous African people (seniors especially), who ironically hold the highest percentage of those plagued with diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and dis-ease. The food deserts have caused my people to be subjected to corner stores and purchasing food from liquor stores or stores with low quality, highly processed and packaged food and even the produce in these stores are below average usually with passed expiration dates and non-organic or filled with GMO’s.
Tell me about the Seeds of Truth program?
This program is a 6-week hands-on culinary certification program that focuses on youth ages 4 to 18. It provides them an outlet to creatively express themselves through culinary arts. This program not only covers the aspect of cooking, but incorporates math, science, history, urban agriculture and art. The Seeds of Truth program also specializes in assisting youth with celiac disease, food allergens and strives to combat childhood obesity. The course teaches the children low to no-heat quick recipes that can be prepared for lunch and before or after school. It is a mobile/on-site program and can accommodate any school, daycare facility, home, camp or afterschool program.
Tell me about your personal chef services.
In addition to the culinary program, I also provide clients a service offers daily, weekly and monthly meals. I customize this service to accommodate those that have special dietary needs such as; high or low blood pressure, diabetes, iron deficiencies, food allergies and intolerances. I start with an initial consultation to make sure I have all the specific details for the client to receive the highest level of service possible from allergies to favorite and not so favorite foods. The meals are prepared by using fresh and organic locally grown (when possible) ingredients and all from scratch. The meals are then labeled with ingredients, easy re-heating instructions and sealed in a food safe BPA- free container. It is a mobile and on-site service that allows the client to stay in the comfort or convenience of their own home and have a professional chef caters to their needs without them ever lifting a finger to wash a dish or pot.
You have taken the time to become certified as a Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator. As it relates to being a healthy vegan, why is it important to people to embrace being a vegan as a lifestyle?
It is really all about balance to me. I feel that anytime you reduce foods high in sodium, fat, cholesterol and additives you add a substantial amount of vitality and life back into yourself. Being vegan does not only consist of the healthy and abundant foods we eat, but it also includes reducing harm and the mistreatment of animals. When you eat fresh, natural and organic foods- you breed life. When you consume things that are dead and toxic- you breed toxicity. Being vegan doesn’t automatically guarantee that you won’t get sick or have any type of ailments, because once again it is all about balance. You still must maintain all the proper nutrition, exercise, and daily health regimens. Because you are not consuming meat you must make sure to get your required vitamins and minerals that assist in proper growth and development.
Who is your favorite vegan?
I would say that my favorite vegan would be Angela Davis. She by far has made such an impact on my life in so many ways with her contributions to the Black movement. The fact that she is a vegan just adds to the level of admiration I have for her and the balance she displays through not only social and political consciousness, but through health and wellness.
You stay busy! Just how many individuals are you?
Ha! I am only one person, but I carry the torch of my ancestors who paved the way for me to live in my passion and purpose and it is my responsibility to them to finish the work they started. It would be a disservice for me to limit myself to one thing. I keep a balance though and make sure I take time to rest and relax. Also my children are incorporated into the family business. My 17-year-old daughter Alaysha is the master baker and my 13-year-old son, Nahjee is the soux chef and does all the prep and packaging of the food. They have been an instrumental part of keeping the business vibrant, progressive and success. Through cultivating the minds of our youth and nurturing the wisdom of our elders, the work never feels like work at all and allows the preservation of the things that truly matter. When youth have an outlet to express themselves in a positive way it allows them to carry that over into adulthood and start a new cycle of positive existence through their children and those that come thereafter.
Tell us about your participation the upcoming Taste of Chicago.
The Cultured Vegan is humbled and honored to be a featured chef at the Taste of Chicago on Friday July 10th at 11:30a.m. This will be a great experience for people to see a live fresh food demonstration by Chef Rain Truth. It will be a great opportunity for me to share my passion and gift with the world.