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John Lewis: Bad Ass Vegan (Exclusive Interview)


Photo Credit: Eye Recap Photography

A favorite phrase that I love is Health is Wealth something I state quite regularly. Sometimes when the conversation starts to get organic people start to check out. Alkaline water, Vegan food, juicing that’s not Hip Hop or is it? Rappers and liquor companies have partnered for decades Sprite and Taco Bell have used Hip Hop in campaigns also. Times are changing, some artists are promoting exercise and nutrition rather than beers & popping pills. I had the pleasure of speaking with John Lewis better known as BadAss Vegan about Nutrition and business. We also discuss his new partnership with Styles P of the Lox regarding his Vegan Smart product. John is not your typical Vegan so this is not your typical interview. He provides tips on how you can transition into the Vegan lifestyle. Before you ask trust me John knows your struggle he is not some hippie that grew up on nuts and berries. Rather someone who grew up in Ferguson/St. Louis an area known for their Beer & BBQ. He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi so he knows about college campus eating habits as well. We cover it all and he also provides encouragement about taking that entrepreneurial leap. So now get ready to learn what it takes to be a BadAss Vegan!

-ArtByOdell Twitter/SoundCloud

  • (Odell): John (BAV) thanks for taking the time to talk with me. So what makes you a Bad Ass Vegan as opposed to a regular Vegan ? (BAV): The name is really my mothers fault… She has been calling me bad ass since I was a child.  and it pretty much stuck with me into adulthood.  And then when I first started my Youtube channel and announced that I was vegan there was a comment by one of my viewers that said “Damn you are one Bad Ass Vegan”, the name stuck with me.



  • (Odell): The saying is “How do you know someone is a Vegan? They never miss an opportunity to tell you” You are very passionate about healthy living & plant based life , but I don’t see you as preachy is that old saying true? (BAV): I pride myself on not being preachy.  I want people to feel as if they can get good sound advice from me without being judgmental.  Plus I know I have not been vegan all of my life so the last thing I want to be is a hypocrite… There is so much tradition that has been pounded into us and has made eating meat normal.  But we have to remember that just because something is normal, it doesn’t mean that it is right.

  • (Odell): You are not some California raised hippie who grew up vegan. In the heart of the South and Midwest you grew up places like Little Rock, AR & St Louis MO.  These places are known for BBQ, fried chicken etc heck the University of AR mascot is a wild pig. What made you become Vegan? (BAV): My turning point was when my mother was diagnosed with colon cancer.   I remember talking to the doctor and asking him how this happened.  He told me that this was due to too much animal protein in the system, that same animal protein from that BBQ, fried chicken etc.  After hearing that I did more research and found that information to be true.  While I am a huge believer in learning from my mistakes, I am even a bigger believer in learning from others mistakes.  From that day on I have been vegan.



  • (Odell): Recently you were in New York City for the Green Festival with your company Vegan Smart. While  there you announced a joint venture with Styles P of the Lox (Owner of Juices for Life) tell us about this exciting news? (BAV):  Styles P is like family and what he is doing is just amazing.  He and I are on the same mission to help out our people in the “hood”.   Many people don’t know that I am actually from Ferguson, Mo and from Styles P being from D Block we just see that as a chance to impact so many lives of the people that need us.  So it was only right for us to join forces and take this mission to the next level.  While in New York we announced a new flavor “Love is Love” that will be sold exclusively at the Juices for Life locations and online as well.  This is only the beginning, we have some major things coming up soon.   Be ready! 

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  • (Odell): Personally I gave up pork over a decade ago.  I was never a big Beef eater so fully moved off of that then Chicken next.  It was difficult because Chicken was my go to meat protein, and now I still have fish on occasion. What tips or advice can you give the people and myself on getting started. Especially being in the heart of the South Atlanta, GA & Montgomery, AL for me? (BAV):  I would say that in 2016 it is so much easier to be plant based (vegan) than it was to do so in the 1980’s.  Back then all you had was berries and such but now with the advancement of technology there are so many plant based foods out there that have the same taste an texture of meat, your nutritional needs and also taste damn good.  The biggest tip is be willing to try new foods with an open mind.  Many times people have their mind set up that vegan food tastes nasty so they have already tainted their taste buds before they have even tried the food.  You will be amazed at the taste of these foods.



  • (Odell): People like Aisha Thalia, Torre Washington, Fully Raw Kristina, Dominick Thompson and yourself are a handful of Vegans that are shattering the old stereotypes. Vegans cant be muscular, they eat boring foods all day. We know those statements are incorrect.  I follow all of you on social media. You guys have fun like Rock stars traveling, eating well, great physiques. Talk about being an ambassador for what a Vegan is today in 2016? (BAV): Wow, first of all thank you for that… The people that you mentioned are all great friends of mine and its nothing but great energy anytime we are around each other.   I never really thought of myself as an ambassador but I do feel that with so many people keeping their eyes on us that we have an opportunity to break the old stereotype and create a new one.  So with that being said we have to show how fun this lifestyle is and how healthy it is and make people want to try it for themselves… and just like kids strive to be like their favorite rock stars we want them to strive and look at a healthy fun filled lifestyle and want to be a part of it themselves. 




Photo Credit: Eye Recap Photography

  • (Odell): Lastly I would like you to talk about being an entrepreneur. You have a degree in Marketing but I am guessing you got strange looks when you decided to create your business around Vegan lifestyle. What encouragement and advice can you give aspiring entrepreneurs myself included about going after your dreams? (BAV): I actually picked marketing in undergrad because I always thought of starting my own company. I didn’t have a clue what that company would be but, I knew I could do something on my own.  While in undergrad I also played basketball and thought I was bound for the NBA (I mean what player doesn’t?). But in the back of my mind I knew that just in case I wasn’t the next Jordan, I might want to have a back up plan. After graduating and trying to play semi pro basketball I decided to go back and get my Masters In business.  I packed up everything that would fit in my car and moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida to attend college.  I had never lived anywhere outside of Ferguson, In fact I didn’t even visit Florida before moving there.  I had so many people that thought I was crazy and that I was making a huge mistake by moving away from my home city, but I knew deep down inside that I had to believe in myself and show people that I can do whatever my mind conceives as long as I am willing to work my ass off to get it… and so can anyone reading this article.  

  • (Odell): Give the people all of your contact information where they can get your products and anything else you want to let us know you have coming up? (BAV): If anyone would like to reach me they can do so by checking out my social media pages where I am under the username @badassvegan on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. You can also email me at  My product VeganSmart can be found at CVS, Vitamin Shoppe and in Wholefoods Markets.  You can also find me and my team traveling the world to promote the vegan lifestyle and products in a city near you. 

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