Redefining Veganism with Royally Vegan of Milwaukee |  WUWM 89.7 FM

Redefining Veganism with Royally Vegan of Milwaukee | WUWM 89.7 FM

For Lake effect COVID Earners Series, we speak with businesses owned and operated by people of color, who are reimagining the future of our city during the pandemic. When you think of vegan food, bland raw vegetables or fruits may come to mind, but the owners of Royally Vegan disagree.

“Jaleel said, you know what? Yeah, let’s change our diet to vegan and see what it’s going to be like,” says Tylesha King, who started Royally Vegan with her husband, Jaleel King.

Tylesha King says that about five years ago, Jaleel was experiencing health problems that affected his everyday life and led to a lifestyle transformation. He decided to try eating vegan.

“Within six months of changing her diet, everything she was experiencing completely stopped,” says King.

Since then, their lives have changed and they hope to raise awareness about the possible positive impact that vegan eating can have on our health without giving up taste.

“We had to do a lot of research and find out that there are other seasonings that can help to be vegan. Seasonings that will add that flavor …” says King.

Tylesha King, Royally Vegan, singer of Omarion

King Tylesha

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King Tylesha

Royally Vegan recently did a catering gig for actor and singer Omarion. Tylesha King (left) and Omarion (right) pose together backstage.

King says the pandemic was also a challenge for Royally Vegan. At first, the restaurant had to figure out how to weather the storm of cutting hours and losing work.

Then, says King, Royally Vegan turned a corner. You started to see an increase in support and sales. She says that when the restaurant started helping out with money problems, she realized this was turning into a career.

One of the highlights of her career has been serving singer Omarion, who is on a vegetarian diet.

For the singer, Royally Vegan served up his famous charred vegan soul food, which included barbecued meatballs and cornbread.

“I was happy. With me doing that [catering order] for [Omarion] and his team, in return we got free tickets to the concert that added to Milwaukee, “says King.

King says he’s challenging the idea that veganism is just a white people thing through Royally Vegan. At first, she says she received a lot of pushback from her community for not including meat in her food. But now, he says, people from the black community are reaching out.

King says that switching to a vegan diet has become more common in his community. However, veganism can be more than tofu and bland vegetables, King says.

“Just hearing stories like that brought tears to my eyes. The vegan diet not only helped my husband, it helped other people as well. [too]”says King.

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