Say hello to Mr February. We know its been a while since you have seen the Bad Ass Vegan of the month but we are kicking it back off and who better to start with than Mr. February 2015. He is originally from England living in the US and has been a vegan for over 20 years! One of the coolest fellas you will ever get to meet in your life, make sure to follow @hakstao
Name: Hakim Tafari
Where do you live and where are you from? I’m from Ipswich, Suffolk. Small town right outside of London
What do you do for a living/profession? I am a Team Leader at Whole foods in the Whole Body Dept. , Part time Tai Qi instructor, Super part time Massage Therapist, Shiatsu Thai Yoga massage practitioner and Chef for special occasions lol.
What do you like to do for fun? Hang with my kids, Dharma practice (Zen Buddhism kinda saved my life) , making music, cooking mind blowing vegan food, running which is my zen on the move, yoga and of course Tai Qi.
.How long have you been vegan? Almost 20 years.
Why did you become vegan? I was seriously overweight and unhealthy, there was a period of my life where I was just always at the doctors and the poster child of unhealthy living, at that time I had a good friend who was Rastafarian and somewhat of a Jedi who I worked with, he led me to the light so to speak.
I also had enough of really just dealing with the bullshit that I was going through with dealing with conventional medicine and really had a fascination with Traditional Chinese medicine and the opportunity had presented itself to get a free treatment, that day my life changed and I decided to give up meat…….. If I didn’t make that move, I wouldn’t be here today.
How was your transition? At the time my girlfriend and 2 of my really good friends were ready to make that transition, so we all banded together and cooked for each other as well as having a tribe of vegan/vegetarian friends who loved to cook and entertain so it was effortless and game changing all at the same time.
What is the funniest misconception(s) that you have heard about vegans? That most vegans are white and anorexic looking and also there is no possible way to get a viable source of protein and of course the great one…….. “Do you just eat grass” love that one.
What is your Favorite thing(s) about being a vegan? Being vegan has been like my fountain of youth, I am 42 but feel like I am 22, I feel light and springy, my energy is more dynamic more so now than when I was 25, it’s crazy but motivating at the same time. In Buddhism we say that we must show love to all sentient beings, that also means animals too, no exception, I can rest easy knowing that I am eating with love and compassionate to one and all in the highest degree.
What do you think makes a Sexy Bad Ass Vegan? That’s a hard one…… Hmmm, I think a ferocity with with a zen type of nature, having love and compassion but not being afraid to show that you are nothing to fuck with, I compare it to being like a Shaolin monk, calm, virtuous, vulnerable, loving to all humans and animals but deadly when provoked.
Intelligent and vulnerable with a splash of style and elegance but gangsta at the same time, confidence and humility with a vegan twist.…….. I call it Veganboyfresh!!!!
What is the best vegan dish that you make in your kitchen? I have quite a few recipes but one of my all time favorite dishes is one that I have borrowed from a very good friend of mine.
It is Crispy Seitan nuggets with Black beans on a bed of Quinoa, sliced avocados with a side of my famous Tequila peanut butter infused Kale and I almost forgot to mention the Creamy cilantro coconut sauce or use A tamarind sauce with some Scallion pancakes to boot.
If you are meat eater and you try this dish………… You might think twice about eating meat again.
What is the best Vegan Restaurant you have ever had the pleasure of eating at? That is a really hard one because I have eaten at so many mind blowing killer restaurants over this 20 year span………so I will give you a few.
Laughing Seed in Asheville N.C, VP2 in N.Y.C, I would have to put Harmony vegetarian in Atlanta and just because I have never had a Mac n Cheese that I have ever liked except this places one ……. Soul Vegetarian in Atlanta, that Mac n Cheese is what legends are made of.
Being that one of my good friends owns a successful one right here in my neck of the woods, it’s only right I give my homie kudos, so if your ever in Orlando, check out Ethos, it never fails me.
What advice do you have for those that are thinking of transitioning to a vegan lifestyle?
Show love and compassion
Help those who maybe in dire need of help
Take baby steps in this transition, it can be overwhelming
Don’t listen to doubters or haters, March to the beat of your own drum
Last but not least, enjoy the journey……..being on this journey has been a game changer!!!!!
Do you have a website to share with the BAV nation? Stay tuned I have some website business in the works, as for now my 2 Instagram accounts are on and popping!!! You’ll find me on Hakstao & Veganboyfresh, I also have a Tumblr which is TaoRasVeganBoyFresh.