Veganism saved her life, now she lives on it
For many, the vegan lifestyle is a choice. For Mika Altidor, it was a necessity that saved her life. Years ago Altidor prescribed a very different lifestyle. She had a successful career as a professional stylist, but her standard American diet of animal comfort and convenience foods did her a disservice. After experiencing severe abdominal pain, she was diagnosed with several large fibroid tumors and had an option: surgery. Altidor decided to go her own way so as not to damage the knife. Her intuition not only healed her, but also sparked a vegan entrepreneurship. Together with her partner Victor Munoz, she founded Polk County, Florida’s first and only vegan company –Victor and Mika’s bakery.
A little Haitian, a little pizza
Altidor wasn’t raised a vegan, but she stated that she didn’t eat a lot of meat in a Haitian household – at least not compared to the typical American diet, where meat is often the focus of every meal. “I’ve eaten traditional dishes like Griot This is spicy roast pork with plantains. [We also ate] Fish, rice and chicken. And definitely rice and beans! ” She said. Although she tried to cut down on some red meat and poultry as an adult, she admitted that she had “a weakness for home cooking and pizza”. At the time, this was definitely not a vegan pizza.
Surgery or plants
Altidor was confronted with the health effects of her diet after he was diagnosed with several large masses around her uterus. Her doctor told her that a hysterectomy was the only way to banish these tumors. However, she was determined to avoid surgery unless absolutely necessary. Instead, she turned to whole foods, plant-based foods. Over time, she healed herself and became convinced of the real power of a vegan diet. After all, she was living proof. She decided that going back to her old way of eating wasn’t an option, but she also longed for the foods she loved – things like pizza, tacos, and burgers. Altidor and her partner Munoz lived in an area of Florida where there were a relatively large number of high-quality plant-based options and began experimenting in their own kitchens.
The vegan bakery is born
“Driving an hour to another vegan business was getting old,” said Altidor when asked about her decision to open a vegan bakery. “I knew I wasn’t the only person in central Florida who felt this way.” Her confidence was boosted when Munoz asked her to make vegan banana and nut bread for sale at his stall and immediately accepted the baked goods. “The customers were thrilled and it started to sell out every day,” she said. Munoz eventually took on a bigger role in the company, investing his savings and taking over the management of the baker. He also brought his Mexican culture to the menu by veganizing his favorites like conchas, churros, and savory products like enchiladas. Altidor noted that the daily donuts, cinnamon rolls, and “famous” pizza rolls are customer favorites, but it’s difficult to choose between a delicious selection of sweet and savory items. Other delicacies on the extensive menu include cannolis, bagels, cupcakes and a colorful, flaky unicorn croissant decorated with rainbow sprinkles, pink custard cream and adorable unicorn ears and a horn.
Cookbook and beyond
Like all companies, Altidor admitted that the pandemic had hit their bakery deeply, but the duo survived by turning to local delivery and individual home catering. The couple also created a cookbook that was published in December 2020 Hunting vegans: Baking vegan funThe beautiful collection of goodies includes bakery hits as well as Altidor’s favorite fudgy brownie recipe – veganized from her past life – and her luscious red velvet bars.
Altidor overcame huge barriers to get where she is today, but her enthusiasm for the vegan lifestyle and baking drives her work every day.
“[I think about] make a birthday cake for a little girl who is allergic to eggs or a donut for a person who is allergic to milk and be there for so many others. We’re the only 100 percent vegan restaurant in Polk County, FL, and surprising non-vegans just how delicious our food is drives me on every day. “
Tanya Flink is a digital editor at VegNews as well as a writer and fitness enthusiast who lives in Orange County, CA.
Photo credit: Victor and Mika’s bakery