The Land of The Peculiar: Eating Plant-Based For LIFE!

Did you know you are peculiar?

Eating vegan or plant-based is all about LIFE! Your life, your family’s life, the life of our brothers and sisters around the globe, the life of animals, and indeed the life of the planet as a whole. By joining the vegan food revolution you are having a profound impact all around. I want to congratulate you and thank you for making that commitment to yourself.

Eating vegan also puts you among the peculiar.

flowergirlMost of my life I have felt peculiar. This journey into the vegan and raw food lifestyle is just the one of my latest steps into peculiarity. My birth itself was peculiar in the late 50s. Inter-racial marriages were still illegal in many states, although not in Illinois were I grew up. My family looks like the Rainbow coalition as a result of many interracial marriages and transracial adoptions. My life continued to be peculiar as I grew up.

My religious upbringing was basically nonexistent. I spent years trying to make sense of what I intuitively felt about the presence of the divine spirit in my life. My early education was unconventional. I attended a small mixed race private school in Hyde Park, a funky and peculiar neighborhood in Chicago. I had a little afro hairstyle in the early 60s, well before they were popular.

I was basically shy and being peculiar only added to my feelings of being outside the norm. I’ve often hidden some of the peculiar parts of me because I thought they made it harder for me to fit in, to find my place. Instead, I’ve discovered the opposite is true.

Being outside the mainstream has given me a different perspective.

It has led me to questions what others simply accept as truth. It has sent me searching deeper to uncover what is often hidden from view. My peculiarity allowed me to be open to the road less traveled— and I have chosen that road many times.

I home schooled my oldest daughter for years because I didn’t want her natural inquisitiveness and love of learning dampened. I sent both girls to alternative schools where their own peculiarness could flourish.

I explored the world of spirituality as I worked for the Unitarian Universalist (UU) church for a while on a quest to find my connection to the divine. I embraced the nature girl in me, grew my locs and got a tattoo. Left the UU church. Moved from Ann Arbor to Atlanta. And now I am here in the Motherland, having moved to northern Tanzania.

Through all of that I’ve learned the power of the peculiar.

When I let the peculiar show, I find folks out there who are like me. People who like me, not in spite of but, because of my peculiarity. I form stronger connections to others who also travel a different path. Each time I fully embrace and celebrate an aspect of myself that I have hidden because of it’s peculiarity — I grow. I feel more confident. I feel more at ease. I feel stronger. I feel happier.

IMG_7068And here I am today. Vegan, embracing my Afrikan heritage and consciousness, committed to helping others on this journey into being peculiar. I’ve learned how to stand strong in my peculiarity while still staying connected to my family and long-time friends. Some don’t understand. Some aren’t comfortable with my continued travels on this road. Many have no interest in this way of life. A few are interested and have made some steps towards that less traveled road. And all of that’s ok with me.

From a very young age I have been drawn to creating spaces where true learning and growth can occur. Where people can reach deep down inside themselves and discover the gifts and strengths, and power within. Where they can bring forth these riches to become the person they were meant to be. To fulfill their Ori or their “head” as it is understood in the  Yoruba tradition.

This spirit was embodied in the day care home I ran for 12 years. It was there as a part of the lifespan religious education program I directed  for 15 years in the UU church. It was in the two-year long research project I did on ministry for youth and young adults of color for the UU Association.

This spirit is at the core of what I have been doing here at Food For The Soul.

AmaNeedAHelpingHandMy vision is to be a helping hand for people who are aiming for greatness. People who are ready to embrace their peculiarity so they can make a real difference in their own lives, the lives of their family, and the wider world.

At FFTS you will find what you need to make your journey on the less traveled road of the plant-based lifestyle less rocky. You’ll find a road map of what to expect, the inspiration you need to keep on moving ahead, or a safe rest stop where you can refuel and pause before the next phase of your journey. My mission is to be your sister/Mama/teacher/guide on your road less traveled to becoming Plant-Based For Life!

You have something important to offer the world.

You have a special gift, a talent, a role to play in changing the world for the better. We need you! Your family needs you! We need you to be strong, to be healthy, to be clear-headed and connected to your divine purpose.

I want to help you to uncover your power and strength, to renew your commitment and be true to your peculiar self. I want to walk with you into your future of being Plant-Based For Life.

If you’re ready to step fully into who you are meant to be and to blast away the roadblocks that have been getting in the way of your success — then this site is for you! 

If you’re new to the vegan lifestyle check out this post, A Beginners Guide To Being Vegan. Click on the link below or on the image.

So what makes you peculiar? Tell me in the comments below.


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Ama Opare
Lifestyle Coach, CEO at Opare Institute
Helping my coaching clients go from vegan wanna-be to Unshakably Vegan! From meal-time boredom to loving what they eat. From self-sabotage to taking control. From tempted by all the wrong choices in their non-vegan world to making the right decisions. And from sick and tired to vibrant and healthy. Discover your personal recipe for success and abundant health! BE UNSHAKABLE!

6 Comments on “The Land of The Peculiar: Eating Plant-Based For LIFE!

03/05/2020 at 6:24 am

Thank you for sharing your story. I’m am definitely the different one in my family. It’s always great to hear another’s story.

Ama Opare
03/06/2020 at 1:00 am

Yes! Peculiar folks unite! 🙂

Marsha Troutman Vaughan
12/03/2018 at 10:59 am

Greetings, Sis Ama,
As you already know, I grew up in a small town in KY. (Population 3200). I have always enjoyed my own company and the company of nature and books. That set me apart from many but I continued to embrace myself and ‘please’ others into my circle. As I have gotten older and even closer to myself and to Spirit, I know the ones who were meant to honor and celebrate our peculiarities together will show up! As part of that life in KY, one of my tasks was to chop the chickens’ heads off and prepare the Sunday hens. Even then, that held no appeal or glory. Being vegan is a great way to tell ourselves that everything about us matters. When I am breaking bread with family and friends, I am leading by example rather than ‘preaching’ as I once did. Many of the choices that I have made in my life make me shudder but taking a stand for my health and well-being is not one of them!
Thank you for all you do and KEEP BEING PECULIAR!
Peace. Marsha

Ama Opare
12/09/2018 at 7:49 am

I love this “Being vegan is a great way to tell ourselves that everything about us matters.” Marsha! It’s a joy to know you and to be PECULIAR together 🙂

09/14/2018 at 1:10 pm

How funny, reading your journey. I grew up in Illinois, actually in Calumet City but we frequent Hyde Park a lot. My mother graduated from the University of Chicago and I went to Lab School. Anyway, I started my journey in my late 40’s, well at 48. My life transitioned right then (spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically). However, I’m still an unhealthy vegan/vegetarian eater and not by choice. Every time I get ready to step my game up, a major catastrophe happens which slows my game up. Well this time, I have a start date 10/9/18 and no holds bar. I’m going to do a major DETOX and begin my journey utilizing your guidance.


Ama Opare
09/14/2018 at 2:39 pm

Hyde Park is surely a unique place. Thank you for sharing your story Kairis. A detox is a great tool for breaking old patterns and starting again. We’re here for you 😀


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