Danni McGhee is a Plant-Based Nutrition Coach sharing DAM Good Vegan food throughout the Washington, DC metro area. Her love of homemade food, cooked with fresh ingredients, was instilled in her by her Jamaican mother and grandmother. In 2015 Danni started her company, DAM Good Vegan, offering online courses, personal coaching and cooking demos to make the transition to vegan eating simple and affordable. This year she’ll be serving up some tasty dishes at the TryVeg.com Tasting Booth during the DC VegFest on Saturday, September 15th.
Read on to learn more about Danni’s transition to veganism and her approach to empowering others to become confident plant-based cooks.
Tahini Garlic Kale Salad topped with Avocado, Tomato, and Almonds
Watermelon Avocado Salad
Jamaican Veggie Patty
How long have you been vegan? What inspired you to adopt this lifestyle?
I recently celebrated 4 years as a vegan on July 14, 2018. Four months prior, I had started a weight loss journey and lost 25 lbs up to that point. I wanted to lose more weight after hitting a weight loss plateau, so I joined a 21-day plant-based challenge to see if I could achieve the physical body I desired. But I went into it thinking I was only going to do this for 21 days and would return to my omnivorous diet. Within a few days, I was losing weight again, so that was a huge motivation! Then, I watched every health & food documentary out at the time. My whole world changed! At that point, I realized this was bigger than just losing weight, but by keeping a plant-based vegan diet, it would improve my overall health & well-being, protect the planet, and save the animals. This was bigger than me! It became my duty to do what was right to make this planet a better place for future generations.
Tell us about your business? What motivates you to do this work?
DAM Good Vegan is a lifestyle brand committed to sharing how a plant-based diet can be simple, affordable and DAM Good! We launched as a mobile juice company as a result of me doing an online raw vegan challenge. During that 2 week challenge, I shared photos of the juices I was preparing on social media, and people started messaging me wanting to buy juice. So being the entrepreneur I am, I saw an opportunity. In October 2015, we began serving the community with fresh cold press juices as well as offering a mobile juice bar setup for parties and events. Then, in December of 2016, we transitioned into providing meal preparation services so that our customers could have plant-based meals pre-made for the week. In 2018, we realized that, though meal prep and pre-made juices are convenient, we wanted to teach and empower our customers to prepare these meals and juices at home because that is more sustainable once you’ve decided to adopt this lifestyle. In August 2018, we’re launching a membership site for support, as well as releasing our first book, that will assist in the transition to a plant-based diet.
I’m so motivated to do this work because I know what this lifestyle has done for me. Plants assisted in healing my IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), joint pain and seasonal allergies, plus has added so much value to my life. You really don’t know how good your body can feel until you’re thriving on a plant-based vegan diet. I’m humbled to be able to share my personal experience, and it help and inspire others to make healthier choices. Most importantly, I love what I am doing. Being in the kitchen is a space that I feel empowered! I love preparing meals from scratch, getting creative with the presentation, and providing delicious nutritious meals for others. It simply brings me joy.
What is the most common question you receive about vegan living? What advice do you give?
Other than “where do you get your protein?”, the most common question I have received about choosing a vegan lifestyle is “what do you even eat?”. I love this question because I want people to know that I eat and enjoy the same cuisines and flavors they do, but in an alternative way. I believe that gives others something to think about because when we think about “diets” especially a plant-based vegan diet, people may feel as though they are going to miss out or lose something. A plant-based diet is on of abundance! I have always had a large appetite and enjoyed all types of cuisines, and a plant-based vegan diet allows me to fully enjoy food without counting calories, portion controlling, or any other restrictions. I advise that those looking for recipe ideas to use sites like Pinterest or other social media sites to search for “vegan lasagna” or “vegan tacos”… or whatever your favorite meals are. This will give you ideas to veganize your recipes by taking out the animal based products, incorporating more plants, but keeping the delicious flavor.
What is your favorite meal or dish to share with people who are new to vegan eating?
Carrot Dogs! They’re simply amazing and everyone who’s ever had one can’t stop raving about them. I think most people can believe a carrot can taste so DAM Good! Some even say they taste better than actual hot dogs.
What ingredients do you always keep on hand in your kitchen and why?
Spices & Herbs! Without spices and fresh herbs, your food will not be fun and delicious. I love to keep stocked up on dried culinary spices and as well as fresh herbs like basil, cilantro, and parsley. I enjoyed learning and understanding cuisines and their distinct flavors so that I can veganize recipes without losing the essence of that dish.
What does a compassionate world look like to you?
A compassionate world would be a world where everyone has access to housing, food, clean water, and love. Every human being deserves for their basic needs to be met.
Find Danni & DAM Good Vegan Online
Jessica Carter is the Vegan Food and Lifestyle Coach at Compassion Over Killing (COK), a national non-profit animal protection organization based in Washington, DC. Committed to making plant-based eating more accessible for all, she organizes and hosts cooking demos, develops online trainings and multimedia content for TryVeg.com, and coordinates collaborations with vegan influencers. Her recipes have been featured on FOX45 Baltimore, Let’s Talk Live, and Good Morning Washington.