Entrepreneur, restaurateur, and Queens native\u00a0Erick Castro, best known by his Instagram moniker "How to Be Vegan in the Hood" is on a mission to teach others how easy it is to eat plant-based, even on a budget. Castro's popular\u00a0account\u00a0currently boasts more than 21,000 followers. Sharing images of plant-based food from local eateries and recipes for cheap, but simple flavorful meals, the\u00a028-year-old wants to prove that\u00a0"anyone can eat plant-based,"\u00a0regardless of race or income. As a person of color, Castro says he has experienced ostracization from the vegan movement. "I was never really welcomed into the vegan community. They show love, but at a distance,"\u00a0he told NPR. Public perception tends to forget that veganism has a long history within Black culture; Latinos are increasingly adopting plant-based diets; and Brooklyn even hosted its first Black Vegfest this summer. Many other entrepreneurs across the country are beginning to enter the spotlight after years of working within the movement. View this post on Instagram Jackfruit is MAGIC! \u2728 \u2022 Out of all the imitation meats in the world Jackfruit will always be my favorite, simply because it\u2019s a fruit! It can easily be made into so many different types of dishes & it\u2019s so fun to cook with\u2728 \u2022 We pan fried some Pesto Potatoes with a Pesto we make at our house, saut\u00e9ed the Jackfruit with Garlic, Black Pepper, Oregano, Paprika & Cajun seasoning. While those cooked I diced some Tomatoes, Cucumber & Orange Pepper to top the Jackfruit for a fresh taste. Garnished the bowl with Spinach & it was time to dig in! If you haven\u2019t had Jackfruit you\u2019re missing out, the texture is perfect & when seasoned right IT\u2019S AMAZING! \u2728 \u2022 #vegan #veganism #vegansofig #vegans #veganshare #veganlife #veganlove #instafood #veganfortheanimals #veganrecipes #vegangains #crueltyfree #eeeeeats #nyc #savetheanimals #friendsnotfood #veganaf #vegansofinstagram #veganlifestyle #newyorkcity #foodporn #brooklyn #nycvegan #veganmeal #veganfood #vegandish #veggies #vegetable #foodiegram A post shared by Vegan ? (@howtobeveganinthehood) on Nov 8, 2018 at 8:38am PST Castro, who is Puerto Rican, notes that many prominent vegan-friendly restaurants in NYC cater to an almost exclusively white, more affluent clientele. In turn, fewer\u00a0people of color\u00a0are found in the area's vegan eateries, bolstering\u00a0the misconception that veganism is a "white thing." Raised in Queens, where\u00a0"we were just grateful to eat food,"\u00a0the entrepreneur understands that nutrition can be a low priority for economically-struggling\u00a0families. His account challenges this, showing that\u00a0"you can always afford , you just weren't taught how." Castro also believed that his family's cultural\u00a0heritage prevented him from looking into veganism:\u00a0"I'm Puerto Rican; we eat pork, we eat meat."\u00a0He decided to try veganism after learning that American rapper Waka Flocka Flame, whose ancestry includes Native American, European, and Dominican, was, at the time, vegan. After dabbling in\u00a0pescatarianism, he also questioned,\u00a0"Why am I letting animals live on the land but eating all the animals in the sea?"\u00a0 Transitioning to a fully plant-based diet, Castro was mocked by his friends, and started his Instagram account to prove he could\u00a0"eat everything you're eating without having to kill an animal." He also became the\u00a0Director of\u00a0Social Media Marketing & Brand Communications at\u00a0Rip's Malt Shop,\u00a0a vegan luncheonette in Brooklyn, sharing the eatery's message that\u00a0"there is a better way to eat food that's good for you and for the planet." Crystal Pang, another Queens-based Instagrammer behind "Vegan Eats NYC,"\u00a0supports Castro's mission. "Accessibility is a huge thing in the vegan community that people often kind of mock. They say 'Oh, you can only be vegan if you're rich and white...' That's not true," she says. She adds that Castro's focus is inclusivity is\u00a0"exactly what... veganism should move more towards." Become a\u00a0CLUBKINDLY\u00a0member today!