Life in the kitchen

Go vegans!

 

Who was your first vegetarian? Everyone remembers the first person they met who (GASP) didn’t eat meat. If you’re old enough to remember a time when vegetarianism was considered really unusual, even strange, and when vegetarians were regarded as kinda different, you’ll realise how much has changed, and how many vegetarians now walk among us, and we’ve stopped asking them: “But what about fish? Do you eat fish?” and “Don’t you miss biltong?”

Now we’re in the age of the vegan. More and more people, many already vegetarian, are switching to a plant-based diet, for ethical, environmental or health reasons. And we have to admit, it makes a lot of sense.

What’s a vegan diet – or rather, what’s a vegan lifestyle? (Because it’s not just about food.)

Veganism is a lifestyle that attempts to exclude all animal products from one’s diet, and thereby avoid a kind of cruelty to animals, or exploitation of animals, whether it’s for food, clothing or any other purpose. So vegans avoid meat from any creature, as well as eggs and dairy products – and even honey.

From an ethical point of view, it’s becoming increasingly hard to justify using animals for the purpose of meat and dairy consumption, when there are so many alternatives available. Many vegans are motivated by the cruelty factor in the production of animal products.

From an environmental perspective, fewer farmed animals makes a lot of sense, because the environmental impact of animal agriculture really is taking its toll on the resources of the planet. Animal farming contributes to 65% of all nitrous oxide emissions and 35–40% of methane emissions – both greenhouse gasses that contribute to global warming. Our love of steak and eggs is not doing the planet any favours.

For health reasons, many people have chosen a vegan diet because there’s evidence that plant-based diets may reduce the risk of

But did you know? Vegans come in all sorts.

heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and other serious illnesses. Vegans also tend to be slimmer – have you noticed?

“But where do you get your protein?” This is the question so many vegans are asked. The answer is: Mostly from nuts, lentils, beans, soy, and even good old veggies. Here are some of the top ten vegan protein favourites.

But did you know … vegans come in all sorts, too.

There are the dietary vegans: They’re the “plant-based eaters” who cut out animal products in their diet but still use them in other products like clothing and cosmetics. Then there are wholefood vegans, who prefer whole foods like vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains.

You also get raw-food vegans: They’ll only eat raw vegan food, or food cooked at below 48°C. Then there are the low-fat, raw-food vegans, who avoid consuming the high-fat foods, like nuts, avocados and coconuts. In fact they live mostly on fruit. Could you? We’d miss chips. And broccoli. And avos.

Are all vegans really a lot ‘healthier’? Not necessarily. In fact there are “junk-food vegans.” Yes – they’re a thing. These naughty vegans have no problem with processed vegan meats, fried chips and vegan desserts. Oreo cookies are vegan – so these sweet-toothed vegans love an Oreo. Just hold the milk.

Want to go vegan? Try going vegetarian first, then cut out the diary and eggs. Take some tips from here.

Or try being a vegan for a day or a week, then see how you fare. Check out these delicious vegan recipes. Bon appetit!

 

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