About Us

Black Vegans of Toronto is a support group for Black Canadians who are vegetarian, vegan, or raw foodies and those who are interested in changing to a vegetarian and ultimately plant-based vegan lifestyle.

The motivation to start this group came from the (not very public) alarming fact the black people in Canada are critically unhealthy.

Black Canadians are very high on the list of those suffering from food-borne diseases like Arthritis, Alzheimer’s, Cancer, Diabetes, Heart Disease, High Blood Pressure, Obesity, Parkinson’s and Lupus.

Evidenced-based research shows that as much as 80 per cent of these illnesses can be prevented, and in some cases, cured by a change to a plant-based vegan lifestyle.

We provide opportunities for healthy eating with our BVOT Organic Food Buying Club and BVOT Brandon Street Farm.  We pledge to support each other and respectfully encourage our families, friends, and all Black Canadians to adopt this very healthful, disease preventing plant-based vegan lifestyle.

We need More Black Vegans

Why Black People Should be Vegan

Why Are We Still Eating Slave Plantation Food?


The pre-slavery ancestors of African descendants ate food directly harvested from the land.  Conversely, their enslaved ancestors were forced to eat whatever was provided to them by the slave owners. Some of that was the entrails and appendages of farm animals including pig’s feet, cow’s tongue, liver, and oxtail.  This food had little nutritional value.

They made these scraps as palatable as possible by adding herbs as well as large amounts of the fat, sugar and salt that was readily available. This diet from the days of slavery was so entrenched in their day-to-day existence that most of them continued to eat the same food several years after emancipation.

Family traditions play a significant role in unhealthy eating habits. Much of what is eaten today by black people in the western hemisphere is a continuation of the food traditions of slavery.  Very few of them ever question if what we are eating is healthy.

Black people living in the Western world are facing a super-charged health epidemic.  Many get sick and die prematurely because they are unaware of the debilitating, and deadly effects of consuming meat and animal byproducts like their slave ancestors. Some who should know better still stubbornly refuse to make healthier choices of what they eat.  They reject the compelling evidence that cultural delicacies like stewed oxtail, fried liver, salted fish, souse, jerk chicken and macaroni pie (aka mac and cheese) are toxic foods.

Many Black Vegans are often rebuffed by family members and friends when they try to make them aware of the high health risks that come with voluntarily eating modern versions of plantation food.

Close examination of the correlation of this diet to health issues exposes substantial evidence that this is the source of many chronic diseases in black families. Diseases that they accept as “genetic.”  They should stop eating for taste and tradition and pay more attention to the nutritive value of what they consume daily.

Black people, correctly, readily support the strong protests against the unjust criminal murder of any member of their race by police. But they are slowly and mindlessly killing themselves each day by continuing to eat chemical-laden, highly toxic food.

Research shows that people of African descent in North America have the highest per capita rate of diabetes, heart disease, colon cancer, and prostate cancer.  Studies also show that black men who contract these diseases are much more likely to die from them than their Hispanic and white counterparts.

The same goes for black women and breast cancer in most parts of the western world.  They are much more likely to develop breast cancer, and when they do, it is more aggressive, and they are more liable to die from it than white women.  Black women are more prone to suffer from fibroids than women from any other race.

Fibroids is believed to be a hormone-related disease.  Foods like red meat are very high in saturated fat which is linked to higher estrogen levels. Consuming these foods can severely impact hormone levels and worsen existing fibroids.


Most of the enslaved ancestors were taken from West Africa. The traditional West African diet was plant-based. It was comprised of a rich variety of vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, tubers, and nuts. Meat was not regularly consumed as part of a daily diet but mainly for special feasts and rituals. Dairy and eggs were not a part of this diet.

Studies today show that when people of African descent eat a similar plant-based diet, it results in greater health, longevity, and a considerably reduced risk of chronic disease.  Many are not aware that plant-based food is much more naturally suited to their West African ancestral DNA than the Western diet.

This has been proven in studies comparing Africans living in West Africa eating their traditional plant-based diet and Africans living in North America eating a Western diet. The diseases that plague Africans in North America are almost non-existent in West Africa. Plantation food is a health-destroying vestige of slavery and is not part of their actual West African cooking history.

Admittedly there are economic and social factors to be considered in this analysis. But there are many easy options available to make better food choices.

They can now reclaim their heritage by transforming their kitchens to restore their health!


Joe G. Thomas


“Black Vegans: Our Choice”

Traditional African Diet vs Today’s Plate of Plantation Food

Coffee Talk With Char: How Black/Brown Vegans Are Erased; Why It’s Important For Us To Be Vegan

Healthful Articles

Vegan Lifestyle-The Healthiest Solution to Erectile Dysfunction

Eating meat diminishes sexual performance and masculinity. The male hormone testosterone that determines sexual development has been found to be 13 percent higher in vegans (a strict plant diet—no animal products of any kind) than in meat-eaters. Statistics from 2012 show that 40 percent of men over age forty have erectile dysfunction.

This is a subject that most men are embarrassed to talk about, even with close friends and family. But from an overall good health perspective, it is important that men quickly see their doctors about this issue.

Why? It turns out that erectile dysfunction may be a sign of a bigger problem in other parts of your body. It is believed that if you have problems with blood circulation to your penis, you most likely have circulation problems in other organs.

Men who consume a lot of meat substantially increase the number of synthetic hormones that their body takes in.  A reduced sperm count and a higher risk of testicular tumors can come from these artificial hormones.

Many studies have confirmed a link between cardiovascular disease (CVD) and erectile dysfunction (ED). A 2007 Dutch study of 1,248 men came to the conclusion that men with ED were approximately 1.5 to 2.5 times more likely to develop CVD, defined as heart attack, stroke, or sudden death, than men without ED.

Erectile dysfunction is also common in men who have type 2 diabetes. Nerves and blood vessels are damaged by poor long-term blood-sugar control, which affects blood flow. A research study in 2008 concluded that in type 2 diabetic men without clinically overt cardiovascular disease, the presence of ED predicts a new onset of CHD events.

For many years it was believed that impotence was caused by anxiety, but the Erectile Dysfunction Institute reports that up to 90 percent of all cases of impotence are physical as opposed to psychological.  This provides substantial evidence that a lifestyle change to a vegan diet can significantly improve men’s health. It is well documented that a high intake of fiber, with plenty of vegetables, whole grains, and fruits, is great for blood circulation as well as overall health.

High fiber foods help to keep your “pipes” clear by removing plaque from the walls of your arteries and allowing a robust and steady flow of blood throughout your body, especially to major organs. Men who suffer from high blood pressure often experience a significant reduction in their blood pressure within a very short time of adopting a vegan lifestyle.

The next logical question is what should men eat to avoid disease and gain optimum health? Here is a partial list of nutrient-dense, plant-based, foods that are both easy to find and simple to prepare.

Avocados Broccoli Cauliflower Ginger
Almonds Brazil Nuts Cherries Grapefruit
Beans Brown Rice Chia Seeds Guava
Blackberries Carrots Chili Peppers Lettuce
Blueberries Cantaloupe Flaxseeds Mushrooms
Bell Peppers Sweet Potatoes Quinoa Oatmeal
Strawberries Tomatoes Watermelon Watercress


A recipe book I highly recommend is Caribbean Vegan, written by Barbadian Vegan Chef, Taymer Mason. Taymer has “veganized” many of our favourite Caribbean meals while maintaining, and in numerous cases, improving the flavour and tastiness of the food.

Finally, it is well documented that ninety percent of the illnesses we suffer comes from what we eat. If we pay as much daily attention to what we eat, as to what we wear, we will all be much healthier!


Guildford Joe Thomas is a former Licensed Massage Therapist. He is a Farmer, an Author, Plant-based Vegan,  and lifelong student of nutrition and fitness. He has an unending passion for healthy living and he is a strong advocate for eating whole and plant-based foods.  His new book Let Food Be Your Medicine TodayLive Strong and Healthy on Plant-Based Whole Foods is now available at www.Amazon.com. He can be reached at: plantbasedjoe27@gmail.com.

Plant-based Weight Loss

Every day we are bombarded by countless ads guaranteeing ways to quickly lose fat. There are diet tips for losing belly fat, and a large variety of fat burning exercise videos and DVDs. The message that you have to be slim to be attractive is everywhere. There is no shortage of advice on ways to lose extra fat.

Personal weight management, or more exactly, weight loss, is a major challenge for many people today. There is a preponderance of crash diets, prepackaged meal plans, doctors’ diet plans, fitness-guru plans, 21-day plans, 30-day plans, and much more.

For many, this is a lifelong struggle. You may be one of those who suffers daily from the social stigma of being overweight. You would you like to live a so-called “normal” life, like people half your size.

You find it painfully difficult to cope with the subtle and not so subtle comments by family and friends about your weight gain.  You see and sense people staring at you when you are eating.

You sometimes think that they want you to stop eating until you lose weight  It is almost impossible to avoid being self-conscious when you are overweight. When you walk down the street, you feel all eyes on you. You wonder what negative things they are thinking and saying about you.

This heart-breaking scenario has caused many people to fall victim to the weight loss industry of obesity doctors, weight-loss-supplement manufacturers, diet companies, and diet-book authors, who continuously repackage failed programs and plans that desperate consumers keep buying, with the same results.

The only true and sensible solution to the problem of overweight or obesity is not to go on a diet but to change your lifestyle. More specifically, change what you eat for your lifetime to come.

It is also critically important that get a good balance of essential nutrients in this change.  You need a balance of fats, carbohydrates, and protein. Remember your overall good health is much more important than losing some pounds to look sexy in your Spring and Summer clothes.

It is a fact that not all fat people are unhealthy and conversely not all slim people are healthy.

Here are some simple ways to start your plant-based weight loss journey.

  1. Intentionally increase your daily intake of fruits and vegetables. Choose the ones you already like and eat more of them. Buy, as much as possible, those that are in season and locally grown.
  2. Start your lunch and dinner with a wholesome plant-based soup or a salad without those calorie-laden dressings. A simple mix of olive oil, black pepper, Himalayan salt and fresh lemon juice will have your taste buds popping.
  3. Eat more beans. Yes, many people avoid eating beans because of flatulent after-effect. But, if you seriously want to lose weight, the benefits of this fiber-rich food far outweigh any embarrassingly noisy and possibly smelly, expulsion of hot air from your body.

Beans also provide a rich source of plant protein. One study in Nutrition Journal cited the important role plant-based protein consumption can play in preventing obesity.

  1. Avoid “vegan junk food”. There are many foods that may be classified as vegan because they contain no meat, dairy, eggs, seafood or animal by-products. But there is an alarming growing list of vegan junk foods. Many of these are marketed as vegan “meat alternatives”.  A lot of these foods are packed with harmful chemical additives and dangerously high levels of sodium.
  2. Snack on nuts. Recent research shows that a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack of nuts, like (unsalted) almonds, pistachios or walnuts, can help you to lose weight by ensuring that you are getting enough protein when you cut meat out of your diet.
  3. Spice-up your food. People are often quite surprised at how spicy and tasty vegan meals can be. That old reputation of bland, flavourless vegetarian and vegan food is being replaced. Fresh herbs and spices are low in calories, provide additional nutrients, and also make your greens and vegetables so much more appetizing. For example, Cayenne pepper adds great flavor to a meal and also has fat-burning properties.
  4. Drink lots of water daily. Neurologist Dr. Brown Landone offers this advice for those wanting to lose weight: “Anyone drinking distilled water exclusively would eventually return to normal weight. The reason, hard water film imprisons the cells so tissues become water-logged. Retention of fluid is the chief cause of obesity.”


You most likely acquired your excess weight over a period of years so be patient and consistent as you make the transition to a plant-based lifestyle.

Guildford Joe Thomas is a former Licensed Massage Therapist. He is a Vegan and lifelong student of nutrition and fitness. He has an unending passion for healthy living and he is a strong advocate for eating whole and plant-based foods.  His new book Let Food Be Your Medicine Today –Live Strong and Healthy on Plant-Based Whole Foods is now available at www.Amazon.com. He can be reached at plantbasedjoe27@gmail.com.


Cow’s Milk and Cheese can cause you Major Health Problems

For many years, we have been told that milk is the perfect food for human beings. It is said to be essential for building strong bones and teeth and to contain almost all the nutrients we need for growth and health.

We have also been told that cow’s milk is better for (human) babies than breast milk.

Today, milk is still marketed as ideal food for everyone – children and adults alike. But is it?

We are the only species that drinks the milk of another animal. Cows produce milk for their babies – not ours. A cow produces and stores milk when it is pregnant, and this milk is, by nature, to be used to nourish her calf and help it grow.  Calves need three to four times more protein than human babies.

Cow’s milk contains hormones to help a sixty-pound calf grow into a three hundred pound cow or bull in six months! What results do we expect when we feed cow’s milk to our babies?

The truth is, milk and its most addictive by-product, cheese, are loaded with calories, cholesterol, and fat. Regular consumption of cheese, therefore, results in health challenges such as weight gain, high blood pressure, and arthritis. Acidic cheeses, such as Parmesan, damage bones.

Dr. Walter Willett of Harvard University, a world recognized expert on health and nutrition, states that “milk is not essential and is bad for you”.  It has no dietary fiber and therefore causes painful constipation, especially in children, when fair amounts are consumed.

Many studies and reports provide irrefutable evidence that milk and its by-products are central to the cause of long list of diseases and chronic allergies. The high protein content of milk has been found to cause overload and resulting damage to the kidneys.

Cheese has also been found to contain mild opiates which make it very addictive. Several friends and family members have often said to me that cheese is the hardest thing for them to give up.

There is a scientific explanation for this addiction.  Researchers at the University of Michigan found that milk contains a protein called casein, which is in concentrated form in cheese.

Casein produces a morphine-like opiate called casomorphins. Studies show that casomorphins can connect to the same brain receptors to which heroin and other drugs connect. Casomorphins act on the brain and cause the craving.

Researchers from Washington University in St Louis discovered that when a breastfeeding mother drinks cow’s milk it can upset her baby’s stomach. The researchers found that casomorphins get into the mother’s bloodstream and then into her breast milk.

There is now great concern that bovine casomorphins may be contributing to the rise in the number of autistic children in western countries. A 2005 study in Finland, Sweden, and Estonia also found that early consumption of cow’s milk by at-risk infants (each had a close relative with the disease) could lead to type 1 diabetes.

Unfortunately, many well-meaning parents are unwittingly helping to cultivate these diseases in their children by feeding them cow’s milk at an early age.

Seventy per cent of the world’s population and 90 per cent of black people are lactose intolerant.

Lactose intolerance is the body’s inability to break down and process a type of natural sugar (lactose) that is commonly found in dairy products, such as milk and yogurt.

The consumption of dairy products has also been identified as a cause of prostate cancer. An eleven year Harvard research study of over 20,885 cancer-free men found that men who had at least two and a half servings of dairy per day had a 34 per cent increased risk of developing prostate cancer. A follow-up study, years after, saw that number dramatically increase to 60 per cent.

A high incidence of prostate cancer was noted in another study in countries like Canada, France, Norway, Sweden and the US, where dairy products are a common part of the everyday diet. High dairy consumption has also been linked to ovarian cancer.

The high caloric content of dairy products has been identified as a leading cause of obesity. Added to this is the revelation that environmental chemicals get into our bodies from the animal products that we consume.

The evidence suggests that the chemicals that are ingested by cows are passed onto humans, and this explains some of the high rates of obesity in children and adults who do not regularly eat large amounts of food.

If after reading this you are still not convinced that dairy is bad for you then I suggest that you put it to the test by not consuming milk and dairy products, and eating more plant-based food, for about three weeks.  I am sure you would notice, and feel a healthful difference!


Guildford Joe Thomas is a former Licensed Massage Therapist. He is a Vegan and lifelong student of nutrition and fitness. He has an unending passion for healthy living and he is a strong advocate for eating whole and plant-based foods.  His new book Let Food Be Your Medicine Today –Live Strong and Healthy on Plant-Based Whole Foods is now available at www.Amazon.com. He can be reached at: plantbasedjoe27@gmail.com.

The Epidemic of Childhood Obesity in Canada

June 30, 2017

Schools will soon be closed for summer holidays, and children will have, for the most part, free and unfettered opportunities to eat and drink whatever they like all day.

Canada is facing an epidemic of overweight and obesity. The numbers of Canadians who are overweight and obese have dramatically increased in the last few years. Stats Canada reports that obesity rates in children have tripled in the past thirty years.

From 1979 to 2004 there has been an increase from 15 percent to 26 percent in overweight and obesity among children aged two to seventeen in Canada.

According to Canada’s Childhood Obesity Foundation, a worrying 59 percent of adult Canadians are either overweight or obese! The report also states that cities in Ontario, Alberta, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan were “significantly higher in overweight/obesity populations than the national average.”

Studies show that many overweight children become obese adults.  Stats Canada does not publish race filtered health reports, but US studies show that black children in North America have the highest incidence of overweight and obesity.

These statistics confirm what we see every day in Canada, the United States and many other parts of the world. Our children and grandchildren are becoming alarmingly overweight and obese right before our eyes.

This is nothing short of a crisis and a serious wakeup call for parents to pay attention to what they are feeding their children. Many reasons are given for this situation, but the main culprit is the type of food we feed our children.

I have at times pointed out to parents who make the excuse that their children don’t like to eat vegetables, that if they start early enough and not give their children other (mostly unhealthy) choices, then they would not have a problem.

It is an often-stated observation that parents buy the groceries and prepare the food for their children. Children don’t have a say in what they eat until later in life.

I doubt that any parent would knowingly feed their children harmful food, but this overweight and obesity crisis is a direct result of the poor-quality, sugar-laden, empty-calorie, fattening foods that our children eat daily.

In my childhood days, we either ate the meals our mother prepared, or we remained hungry. Even if it was not our favorite food, it didn’t take long for us to get hungry enough to be grateful to have something to eat.

There was no choice of fast food if we didn’t like what our mother cooked on any particular day. But now, as an adult, I have witnessed children leaving home-cooked, nutritious Caribbean food, going to a fast-food restaurant, and coming back with burgers and fries.

Our children’s taste buds have been so corrupted by this regular consumption of junk food that I have even heard some of them say that home-cooked food tastes “gross” or “nasty.”

I blame parents for this failure of their children to know and appreciate good, nutritious food.

There is a severe lack of public knowledge when it comes to what is proper nutrition. Most people don’t realize that feeding their children meat, dairy products, and ramen noodles does more harm than good.

We also can no longer afford to give our children and grandchildren junk food as “treats.” When we do that, we are setting them up for a life of health battles. That well-intentioned treat could have them fighting childhood diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, cancer, and many other chronic illnesses.

Children also suffer psychological pain from being overweight or obese. Many are subjected to teasing, bullying, and physical attacks. Sadly, incidences of suicides have also resulted from the targeting of these unfortunate children.

Parents should limit the amount of junk food snacks and have more summer fresh fruits like watermelons, oranges, and cherries, available at home.

It is also critically important for us to lead by example. Many studies show that children of overweight and obese parents tend to be overweight and obese themselves.  This fact is readily observable at the grocery store or the mall.

If parents begin to reduce their meat intake and move closer to a plant-based diet, they will get results that can inspire their children to follow their example.

I acknowledge that modern-day childhood obesity is a challenging and complex problem, but there is robust and conclusive evidence that a significant part of the solution can be found by changing to a plant-based, whole-food lifestyle coupled with regular exercise.


Guildford Joe Thomas was born in Trinidad & Tobago and moved to Canada in 1969. He is former Licensed Massage Therapist. Joe is a Vegan, a Writer and lifelong student of nutrition and fitness. He has an unending passion for healthy living and is a strong advocate for eating whole and plant-based foods. His new book, Let Food Be Your Medicine Today –Live Strong and Healthy on Plant-Based Whole Foods, is now available at www.Amazon.com and at A Different Booklist in Toronto. He can be reached at plantbasedjoe27@gmail.com.

Let Food Be Your Medicine Today

In this book you will … find a comprehensive list of the most nutrient-dense plant-based whole foods that are readily available at your local grocery store; learn that consuming plant-based whole foods is the safest and healthiest way to lose weight, increase energy, and have a vibrant sex life; learn how men and women can increase their testosterone levels (yes, women need it too!) with plant-based whole foods; and learn the importance of drinking plenty of water daily and getting adequate, restful sleep.
Let Food Be Your Medicine Today is a must-read book for anyone who is looking for a disease-free, energy-filled life.

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