This Is How Charity Morgan Convinced The Tennessee Titans To Eat Vegan - Exclusive

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You may recognize Charity Morgan from the documentary "The Game Changers," in which she serves up seemingly endless platters of drool-worthy meatballs, mac and cheese, and Southern comfort food to her husband, former linebacker Derrick Morgan, and a group from his then NFL team, the Tennessee Titans. In an exclusive interview with Mashed, Morgan revealed that, although it didn't appear so, every bite of that meal featured in the movie was plant-based

Morgan hails from an ethnically diverse family outside of Sacramento, California, and her love for big, bold flavors comes from her Puerto Rican mother and Creole grandmother as well as her mom's multi-cultural friends. "My mom would be in the kitchen making homemade tortillas with her Mexican friends, making lumpias with her Filipino friends, and then making homemade curries and rotis with her Indian friends," she said during the chat.

Meat was almost always on the table as well — Morgan and her siblings grew up on a farm where animals were raised to be eaten — but the chef started her journey toward veganism when she witnessed her father slaughter a cow. "I can literally smell it right now when I talk about it," she divulged. After receiving culinary training from Le Cordon Bleu, Morgan worked as a prep chef for several high-end Los Angeles restaurants, and then later started her own meal prep service. Soon after she married her football pro husband, she relocated to Nashville, the headquarters for his former team, the Tennessee Titans — a team that she would eventually inspire to eat plant-based foods as well.

Her packed lunches turned the football team into fans

Derrick was the first on the team to go vegan. It started with some health issues that initially kickstarted his conversion to more plant-based eating. In 2017, he was frustrated that, no matter how hard he worked, "he could never shred up and cut up like he wanted," recalled Charity Morgan of her husband, so — on the advice of a nutritionist — he started ordering food from vegan meal prep services, but it was tasteless. The chef knew she could do better and turned her considerable culinary skills to creating vegan dishes that her husband would enjoy. She started by packing up a vegan lunch and "sent him on his merry way." The first lunch was black bean and sweet potato enchiladas with her homemade enchilada sauce, topped with plant-based cheese. 

When teammates got an eyeful of the delicious food, four of them asked if Morgan would cook for them too, and she got to work. "As a chef, people don't understand, it's so much easier to cook for four people than it is to cook for one." By the second week, she was cooking for 10 to 12 Titans. In her just-released cookbook, "Unbelievably Vegan," the chef shares the recipes she cooked for the team along with those she prepared in "The Game Changers" film. "I realized at that moment that I actually had a business. I wasn't just doing something nice."

Charity Morgan's debut cookbook — "Unbelievably Vegan: 100+ Life-Changing, Plant-Based Recipes" — can be purchased on Amazon. And check out her partnership with Treeline Cheese who is offering a promotional package of the book along with eight plant-based cheeses.