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Simpsonville resident Dawn Hilton-Williams creates tasty meals for her catering and meal prep clients, teaches workshops and classes and recently released her first cookbook, “Flava My Plate.” But her food is focused on more than just good taste. Hilton-Williams is committed to creating a culture of good health in the Upstate, one plant-based meal at a time.

Hilton-Williams owned a catering business in Charlotte before she and her husband moved to the Upstate. 

“I became vegan about 2 ½ or 3 years ago,” she said. “I thought I was eating healthy. I didn’t know I wasn’t. I didn’t really have the education to provide people with healthy food.”

After her husband had a couple of health scares, Hilton-Williams began to examine the influence of food on disease. She soon enrolled in a plant-based cooking program through Cornell University.

“I was not willing to lose my husband,” she said. “I felt very guilty within a week of courses. I care about my clients like I care about my family. I can’t say Herban-Eats is healthy if I’m selling disease-promoting food.”

When she shifted her business exclusively to a whole food, plant-based menu, Hilton-Williams lost some customers. But that is changing as plant-based eating becomes more common. She does food demonstrations for churches and other groups, teaches classes at Imagine Kitchen in Greer and does meal prep for clients at the beginning of each year and then again in the spring and summer. She caters corporate events, weddings and more throughout the year. 

“Flava My Plate” is a celebration of Hilton-Williams’ change in diet and the good food she creates. The recipes include soups, entrees, salads and yes, even desserts – all made to promote good health. 

Educating others is a primary motivator for Hilton-Williams.

“I have to feed people first,” she said. “I lay out this vegan feast that is flavorful and savory. And then I go to the PowerPoint. I want people to get ‘vegucated.’ It’s kind of a myth that it’s expensive. It’s a money-saver and it’s a lifesaver. It’s not a secret. The information is out there. The Western diet is overcooked, it’s a lot of oil. It’s just poor eating habits that we normalize that has become a healthcare crisis.”

Learn more about Herban-Eats and “Flava My Plate” at https://www.herban-eats.com. Herban-Eats presents Eat, Drink and Disrupt Disease with Dr. Milton Mills (featured in the films “What the Health” and “The Invisible Vegan) 1 – 4:30 p.m. Nov. 2 at Greenville ONE Center. The event features cooking demonstrations, plant-based food, a “veducation” panel and more. Tickets are $15 – $25 each. For details, visit https://www.herban-eats.com/special-events-appearances or https://www.eventbrite.com

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