Ask Vita

Contact Vita   For inquiries, email Vita at or call 240 583-0559.

Leave a  Food Question    Do you have a favorite dish that you’d like to veganize. . .I mean vitanize?  Do you want alternatives to meat, diary, or eggs in a dish that you enjoy?  Or would you like advice on more wholesome flours, sugars, and other ingredients?  Then, post your concerns, questions and even suggestions here.  I will share my knowledge and expertise, and even experiment in my own kitchen to find a delicious answer.

Vitanize It! is an expression that participants in one of my hands-on cooking classes on Vegan Soul Food came up with.  We had made a large meal together and used a number of simple substitutions to make delicious, traditional soul food, but in a more nourishing way.   When I asked them how they would label what we had done to the recipes. . . would they call it veganizing or use some other term, Ayo Harrison said, “What about Vitanize It?” . . .Since my name le vita happens to mean life in Latin and what I aim to teach is how to make things we love to eat in a more life affirming way, I thought, “Why not Vitanize It!?”


14 Responses to Ask Vita

  1. Bacardi says:

    I’ve been trying to find ways to cut down on soy in our pescetarian diet. Though the verdict seems to still be out on the potential risks and benefits of soy consumption, I figured like with anything else, the best solution probably lies in diversification. What do you suggest for mixing it up with non-soy vegetarian entrees?

    Also, along a similar vein, I try to avoid the ingredient carrageenan, which seems to appear in almost all of the soy options from Silk Milk to the Soy Delicious Ice Cream – I switched to Rice Milk and Coconut Milk Ice Cream to avoid it. I recently noticed though that it is used more broadly than I thought including in the “chick” nuggets and non-dairy cheese that we usually buy. Thoughts? Ideas?

  2. lmondie says:

    Thank you, Bacardi, for your inquiry. My suggestion for incorporating more non-soy entrees into your diet is to make dishes that are centered around beans, vegetables, and grains. Think about sauces that you might enjoy, like curries or tomato based sauces, but with chickpeas and/or vegetables in them rather than soy. Also, if reactions to wheat gluten are not a concern for you and your family, seitan works well too. You can season it with garlic, onion, and ginger powders, and a little salt, shake it in some flour and fry it or marinade the seitan and add the chunks to a sauce or to other dishes that would have been made with beef or chicken. My family enjoys a wonderful Ghanaian Peanut Stew that has sweet potato, corn and okra in a spicy peanut sauce over rice or couscous with fried plaintain on the side. (In fact, your question has just inspired one of my next blog entry.)

    As for soy, my major concern is consuming soy products that are organic and contain no genetically modified ingredients since so much of the soy in our food supply has been genetically modified or was produced with heavy pesticides. I am also quite curious as to which companies are behind the alarms being raised against soy. For the time being, I continue to read about the pros and cons of soy and try to make informed decisions. My family is getting more and more into almond milk by Almond Breeze, which is what we drink, make smoothies with, and cook with most often.

    I hope this helps, and let me know if you’d like more information about anything I’ve raised here.

    Happy Holidays

  3. Tiffany says:


    Your post about Ghanaian Peanut Soup brought me back to my days at the University of Ghana, Legon. I remember the sights and sounds like it was yesterday; I hope that someday I can bring my children back so they too can experience the amazing hospitality and warmth of the Ashanti people. Though I am not the cook in my family, I am tempted to try your recipe. Thank you for sharing!

    • lmondie says:

      Hi Tiffany–
      Thank you for reading! I didn’t realize you’d also spent time in Ghana. I too would love to take my children there. Do you have any favorite dishes from your time there? I’m going to make more Ghanaian dishes for our household, maybe even try some that I’ve never tried to make before. I hope you are enjoying this very special time with your family. Hope to see you soon.

  4. soyon an says:

    Hi,Vita. I’m Soyon. Do you remember me? I stayed at your house in June with my husband.
    When we stayed in your house we really enjoyed your food, hospitality and your neighborhood. Actually, we tried to write something in the BNB website, but we’ere very busy. My husband started to teach a summer class and we moved to a new house last week. I had to pack ,move and arrange all the stuff. But we will always remember and appreciate you. If we have a chance to go to DC, we’ll stay at your house again definitely!
    Thank you so much!

    PS:I sent request on facebook!I just wanna keep in touch with you.

    • lmondie says:

      Hi there Soyon–

      Great to hear from you. We really enjoyed hosting you and your husband and look forward to your return to D.C. You can cut and paste this comment in the airbnb cite. I’d also love to see the pictures you all took during your visit.

      Take very good care.

      Warmest Regards,


  5. amber says:

    Hey Vita!!! I’m Amber and it’s so nice to have found your blog! I’m transitioning to the wonderful vegan lifestyle and I’m enjoying experimenting with different types of foods. I really would like to try your Peanut stew sans the peanut butter because my daughter is allergic. Does the stew have the same toe curling effect without the peanut butter??? 🙂 I’d also like to know if Palm oil is a necessity? Can another oil be substituted?

    Thank you so much for making such wonderful posts! I look forward to reading more.

    Peace and Blessings.

    • lmondie says:

      i am also glad that you found my blog. in my opinion, the peanut butter does make the stew with this combination of vegetables. You might want to experiment with another nut butter, like cashew butter or sunflower butter, if your daughter is not allergic to nuts in general. Also, palm oil gives a distinct West African bent. Check out the benefits of palm oil! if it’s hard to find, I’d say just omit the oil. But before you do that, find some Caribbean and African markets in your area or the international aisle of your regular grocery store for palm oil.

      I’d like to know how yours turns out so do let me know.



  6. Erika says:

    Hi Levita! It’s Erika from Maret. I was looking for a recipe for some meat-free kale, and came across the post written by your guest-blogger about the event at Saks. Reading about those delicious-sounding greens you prepared made my mouth start watering, and I was wondering if you might be willing to share the recipe? I’d like to prepare them for the next gathering of a book club I am in. Hope all is well — love reading your blog!

  7. Keri Rafter says:

    It was great to meet you yesterday at the studio. You were absolutely fantastic on the show. I thought your perspective on veganism was right on the mark. Thank you for sharing your delicious gumbo. I would love to have the recipe since I raved about it to my family. I read your blog this morning and plan on making many of your recipes!
    Hope to be cooking with you in a class in the near future.

  8. Daphne Rodgers says:

    On the Vegan Sweet Potatoes Pie crust can you use Olive oil instead of vegetable oil?

    • Thank you, Daphne, for your question. I actually use canola oil most often. I imagine that Olive Oil would not be neutral. In other words, it would alter the flavor a little bit. You can always try it and see if it is to your liking. Let me know how it turns out.

  9. Joseph Sapp, Jr. says:

    Hi Vita,
    We just wish all of the “Blessings” that can be bestowed upon you as you go forward in your quest. Now, my wife Lillie, would like your receipe for “Dressing”…:-) Good Luck in your endeavors.

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