Vegans Are Not From Outer Space
By Team Afro
Although the term vegan sounds like you are describing a being from a distant planet in a far off galaxy, a vegan is actually an earth-born human who has decided to adopt a healthy eating lifestyle. A vegan is a person who eats no animals or dairy products at all. Some of the foods excluded from the vegan diet are fish, milk and milk products, eggs, and honey. An extension of the vegan diet is the complete vegan lifestyle where a person seeks to exclude the use of animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose. Veganism is a lifestyle adopted by millions of people across the world and is a very viable alternative to a meat and vegetable diet.
Often when people think about becoming a vegan or a vegetarian they think about what foods they are going to have to give up and what they are going to miss. The alternative way to look at veganism is to think about what you don't have to give up and what new foods and dishes you may discover as a result of your new relationship with food. If you're not sure exactly what you would eat if you became a vegan, below is a small sampling of the foods that you could enjoy.
black-eyed peas, red beans and rice, cornbread,mac and cheese, spicy greens, barbequed tofu, sweet potato pie, fried okra, vegan bread pudding
For the black man who is considering becoming a vegan, you may be surprised that you won't have to give up soul food. There are many restaurants out there that serve soul food for vegans and in addition you can find many recipes online that show you how to prepare many of the foods that you may eat right now (greens, cornbread, etc.) without the use of any animal products. Restaurants like Souley Vegan in Oakland, CA and the Caribbean-focused Strictly Roots in Harlem offer dishes that will definitely make you forget about those ribs and burgers.
What you may not know:
Widespread adoption of vegan diets in the wealthy, urbanized parts of the world would reduce the demand for feeding grains to animals, which would reduce energy and water consumption.
Some full blown veganism advocates believe in not using animal products for anything including clothing and shoes. Adopters of this philosophy are sometimes referred to as "cruelty free" or "earth friendly" vegans.
For those that don't get the reference to vegans being from outer space, here is a link to a wikipedia article about vega. Vega is one of the brightest stars in space and has been extensively studied by astronomers, leading it to be termed "arguably the next most important star in the sky after the Sun". There are also many fictional references to space vegans in movies and television including Star Trek, Babylon 5 and Space 1999. Of course most Star Trek fans know that Vega is a class M planet in the Vulcan solar system (where Spock was marooned in Star Trek The Movie 2009).
What you need to know:
Vegans are often at risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency as this essential nutrient is only found in animal foods. Vegans are recommended to supplement their diets with foods high in B12 to include yeast extracts, veggieburger mixes, vegetable and sunflower margarines, and breakfast cereals.
To find out the facts about vegetarianism and veganism, the Vegetarian Society website is a good resource
Resources Who Can Help:
There are many websites that contain thousands of vegan and vegetarian recipes to support the lifestyle. Two of the more popular websites are www.vegweb.com and www.vegcooking.com. If you are looking for vegan soul food recipes, or just looking to connect with other black vegetarians, check out www.blackvegetarians.org
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Views expressed in the article are those of the author and are not necessarily the opinions of CaribbeanChoice, its staff or members.