Veganism has become increasingly popular in the past few years and for good reason too.There are cultures in Asia which are basedin Veganism and they have existed for quite a long time setting records in elongated life spans and superb health. On the religious aspect, there are a number of them which practice Veganism and even here in Nigeria, O. O. Obu members are known for their vegetarian/vegan practices.
Sadly though, the Nigerian way of life does not support us Vegans. Our programming does not even bell the matter as consuming animal meats is considered as living well. Anytime I ask for food without meat I am looked upon as some weirdo but that is not anyone’s fault… That’s just how this part of the world is.
What is Veganism?
Simple. Veganism is a diet plan where a person chooses not to eat any animal product including eggs and milk. Being vegetarian however, means that one may eat eggs and milk and other dairy products as long as the animal in question was not killed. So vegetarians do not eat meats, such as beef, chicken, fish etc
So why become vegan?
Anyone could choose to be vegan for a number of reasons. I know a person who was unfortunate enough to visit a slaughter house while a cow was being killed. She was so disheartened that she decided never to eat meat again. The reasons are diverse but whatever they are, there are lots of benefits to being vegetarian/vegan and quite frankly, one article is not enough to outline them all. That being said, I’ll try to go through a number of them.
Physical Health: Red meat has a very good amount of fat and cholesterol and that is why doctors discourage us from consuming it as we grow older. Once a person quits meat, the risk of cholesterol related diseases also reduce.
Cellular Repair: Vegetarians and Vegans heal considerably faster when compared to meat – eaters. It shows that cellular regeneration is faster when one stays clear of animal meat.
Memory: A plant-based diet is more supportive of mental health physicians have discovered. Patients who show signs of Alzheimer’s disease are asked to increase their fruit/vegetable intake and cut down on animal products especially red meat.
Emotional Health: Vegetarians are calmer than meat eaters and that is because if their diet. A people who consume animals are more prone to violent behavior when compared to a people who practice plant-based eating. Plants aid in hormone balancing which in turn leads to mood balancing.
BUT I LOVE MEAT SO MUCH
That is where I am as well. I love and miss the pleasures of consuming meat. For me, I chose to go vegan because I knew I needed the upgrade. I needed to rid my body of the toxins which came from eating meat and I wanted to experience the energy and clarity which comes from being vegan. Mind you, this is My third time being vegan and the longest period lasted just a few months. In those few months however, I noticed that I had become a fresher, better version of myself. It was easier to wake up at night and get work done, my complexion became fairer and I had more energy throughout the say.
So what do I do for meat? Here are some options which help the craving.
Soya chunks (tofu) : These are made from Soy Beans and when fried, taste like beef. It is completely animal free and is packed with proteins. The disadvantage of soy is that it boosts estrogen levels and that is not very safe for the masculine gender. I consume some soy but I watch the quantity.
Seitan: This is my favorite meat substitute for now and it is easy to get in this part of the world and it tastes awesome. It is made from wheat flour or all purpose flour and while I prefer the wheat flour version (it tastes more realistic), both are great. The seitan made from wheat flour completely replaces and curbs my craving for meat. Depending on how you choose to season it, you can get it to taste like chicken or fish or goat meat. It is also a great source of protein so you don’t have to worry about being a skinny vegan…
With seitan I have made vegan meat pies, Suya, shawarma, burgers and believe me; they taste as great (if not better) than animal meats.
BEFORE YOU START
Detoxify: This is more important than being vegan itself. Due to the fact that you are used to your previous lifestyle and diet choices, your body will keep calling out to these foods. Toxins left over from unhealthy foods don’t only cause cravings but also keep us unmotivated and unwilling to make changes such as exercise.
To detox, start with one teaspoon of white vinegar or apple cidar vinegar in a class of water every morning. Make sure you consume at least 4 liters of water daily and eat lots of nuts and seeds such as moringa and dates.
*NB. Dates should not be more than one a day and moringa seeds should not exceed 3-5 a day. Also moringa seeds should not be had if one is pregnant or hungry.
While veganism us the future, it is hard to let go of meat… something you love so much and have become dependent on. It takes a lot of strength to give up meat and if you don’t have a good enough reason, then there is no point trying. For those who find the strength however, i am putting together a foundation which will offer full support to vegans in Nigeria and other countries where veganism and vegetarianism are not fully supported.
Do your research and you will find that veganism is great for everybody. If you have questions, reach out to me in the comments section.