LAS MUJERES OF TODO VERDE: Brenda

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Going vegan wasn’t a bad thing or some form of punishment, it was an amazing and tough thing to do. So I did it, and I haven’t looked back ever since. I just love cooking vegan food! 
— Brenda, Todo Verde Operations & Sourcing Coordinator

We recently chatted with Brenda Cruz, our Operations & Sourcing Coordinator to learn more about her journey to LA and eventually joining our team. Read on to learn more about her journey and why she decided to become vegan right before Thanksgiving. 

Hi Brenda! Tell us a little bit about yourself, are you originally from LA? 

I’m a Mexican-American woman trying to make something of herself in this crazy, confusing world--haha. I was actually born in Salinas, California but raised in sunny Yuma, Arizona. I lived in San Diego for about 5 years before making the jump to LA 7 months ago. I’ve been working with food since I was 16, and over the years I've been an expediter, hostess, server, line/prep cook and even kitchen manager. 

Sounds like you stay pretty busy! What do you do when you’re not working?

My favorite thing to do for fun is going to concerts or going anywhere with live music. I try to go at least once a month with my girlfriend -- it’s our favorite date night! Music has always been a huge part of my life and never fails to uplift me. It reminds me how creative and talented we humans can be when we set our mind to things. Cooking while listening to music is definitely the best combo ever.  

What is your favorite part about working with Todo Verde?

My favorite part definitely has to be how much time I spend outside being active. I’m not cooped up inside all day or behind a kitchen line. I also feel like I’ve gotten stronger from all the cases of jackfruit I’ve had to load in and out of our van!

Your job requires you to manage the purchasing and also help with production in the kitchen. Do you have a favorite Todo Verde recipe?

Oooh... that’s hard, I’m going to have to go with the Jackfruit Pipian Rojo tacos. I like to make them my own by adding some of the Pipian Verde sauce. I swear every bite takes me back to my childhood; eating tacos on the side of the road with my family in Mexico. My girlfriend and I are absolutely obsessed, I truly can not count how many tacos I’ve consumed over the last 7 months.  

We hear you’re also vegan! What lead you to veganism and how has your journey been? 

Yes I am --In November of this year I will be vegan for 4 years! I vividly remember watching graphic videos showing animals being killed for food and skinned alive for fur at the age of 12-14. In high school, one of my friends went vegan for both the animals and her health, and I was amazed at how quickly she lost weight and how much happier she seemed to be. Throughout my teen years I started becoming more aware and curious about the treatment of animals and why we ate them. It wasn’t until the giant pile of fast food bags in my car got out of hand and my weight jumped to the highest it’s ever been that I started to take it seriously. My love for animals was a given, so of course I was doing it for them, myself, and the environment. 

I watched as many documentaries as I could get through, read many articles, and talked to other vegans to help me better understand and somewhat prepare myself for the changes I was about to go through.

I decided to go vegan a week before Thanksgiving. People told me to “wait until it passes” or to “go out with a bang for your last meal,” but I thought that defeated the purpose. Going vegan wasn’t a bad thing or some form of punishment, it was an amazing and tough thing to do. So I did it, and I haven’t looked back ever since. I just love cooking vegan food! 

Your passion for food is awesome. What's your favorite vegan recipe to make? 

Anything that involves cooking with my girlfriend -- we help each other in the kitchen. We love veganizing dishes our moms used to make us. I think my favorite thing to cook would have to be an avocado alfredo style fettuccine pasta or potato enchiladas. Although, I will admit, mine could never do justice to my mom’s enchiladas!