FIRSTLY IN THE WORDS OF THE RAPPER IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE: “BEING A VEGETARIAN SHOULDN’T EVER BE ASSOCIATED WITH BEING A REVOLUTIONARY OR BEING OPEN MINDED, IT’S A DIETARY CHOICE!!”
I recently decided to go on a 21 day meatless journey; the plan was to discover the benefits of being a vegetarian in practical manner. Many might argue that 21 days is not enough time to truly discover vegetarianism – granted, I am however working on the premise that an elder advised me recently – should one practice “proper” meditation daily for 21 days he/she will take a step closer to mastering the practice”. Thus my 21 day meatless journey:
Firstly one thing that many people don’t realize or understand is that there are different types of vegetarians. Each individual vegetarian has his or her own personal reasons for choosing their diet, and these reasons determine exactly what foods they eat or eliminate from their diet. Although a few different reasons and motivations are described in the Why? Section, below is just a brief definition of each type of vegetarian. (Source: https://www.msu.edu/user/daenzerr/rd491/types.htm?iframe=true&w.)
- Total Vegetarians eat only plant food. They do not eat any animal foods, including fish, eggs, dairy products, and honey.
- Vegans not only omit all animal products from their diets, but they also eliminate them from the rest of their life. Vegans use nothing from animals, such as leather, wool, and silk.
- Lacto-Vegetarians will include dairy products into their diet of plant food.
- Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarians eat both eggs and dairy products.
- Pesco-Vegetarians include fish into their diets.
- Pollo-Vegetarians eat poultry, such as chicken, turkey, and duck.
With that said, the first logical move for me was finding out the basic replacement options for meat, through asking around and research i found the following foods to be most readily available for a young Afrikan adult with a modest income living in Tshwane, Azania:
– Lentils (good replacement for meat i.e. good source of iron and protein)
– Green leaved vegetables e.g. spinach, morogo, brocolli, collard greens, peas etc.
– Beans in general, i.e. red beans, black beans, soy beans etc.
– Use herbs when cooking [dried thyme, dried parsely, dried spearmint, black pepper, dried marjoram, cumin seed, dried dill etc. are high in iron
– Soy milk (make sure it is fortified for calcium) is good replacement for cow milk
– Nuts – almonds, pumpkin seeds
– Vegetarian burgers and Vienna’s
My personal super foods:
– Water (I know..)
– Lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, olive oil plus water
– Beans, Lentils and other legumes
– Dark, Leafy greens
– Citrus, Avocado, banana and fruits in general
– Almonds, whole nuts, peanuts – Nuts in general
– Tea, especially green tea
– Olive oil
– Soy milk
– Garlic and ginger
– Oregano, cinnamon, ginger, cayene, black pepper – herbs and spices
– acai, maca and goji berries
– Poultry, seafood and Eggs (if you have too NOT FREQUENTLY)
– CUT RED AND PROCESSED MEATS OUT COMPLETELY!!!
– EXERCISE FREQUENTLY (ESPECIALLY CARDIO)
Note: If you are going lacto-ovo vegetarian: It’s good to note that eggs are the healthiest animal source of protein and i would also advise you to replace regular cow milk with fortified soy milk as a replacement. If going semi-vegetarian: Don’t eat red or processed meat. This includes: hamburgers, hot dogs, steak, roast beef, veal, any cut of cow, bacon, baloney, and salami.
Week 1: Pros: I have replaced meat with lentils, avocado and nuts (my energy has risen quite considerably, feel a lot lighter and concentration at work has increased too. Cons: My skin especially facial skin is a lot dryer and somehow feel like I am missing a nutrient in my body (duh), not sure yet.
Week 2: Added beans, spinach to my diet. No cravings yet, iam losing weight though – I do a bit of running now and then maybe that’s the reason. I carbo-load a lot to maintain energy levels for the runs.
Week 3: I didn’t mention earlier, but I quit alcohol and smoking too – and I feel great (I just can’t say it enough times, my energy levels are fantastic). Con: my vegetarian dishes are limited and not enjoying my meals that much anymore, i really didn’t realize how much meat was part of my diet; all my meals except for breakfast always had some sort of meat in.
Week 4: Not craving meat at all, or herb. But alcohol is another story. Pro: I am discovering so much more variety in my food, have discovered the beauty of juicing 🙂 which equals to veggie shakes and fruit shakes. Well it’s been 21 days and I feel great – honestly meat looks good but no real cravings: I think I will extend my journey to 3 months, why not?
– I love the taste of well-prepared meat; i love good food in general.
– Animal flesh in general is not as healthy as vegetables, legumes/nuts and fruits – especially nowadays as growth hormones and antibiotics are used to induce quicker growth, red meat is the riskiest because of the saturated fat and calories which are linked with many diseases i.e. diabetes, high blood pressure, gout etc. Plus vegetarian diets are so much cheaper.
– Meat is a major part of Afrikan peoples (including in the diaspora) diets nowadays and especially in Azania (South Africa), we are a meat loving nation. My recent research though, points to ancient Afrikans like the Moors who ate a completely different diet which was more vegetarian and lot more modest (no overeating) as compared to today’s diet (more extensive research and reading needs to be done on this).
– I have decided to continue with the vegetarian diet, but totally reject being called a vegetarian. I think having a predominantly vegetarian diet will do it for me, I haven’t had meat since I began the journey – but i don’t want to beat myself up should I decide to eat meat. I am however aware or conscious of the food I eat nowadays, I have an idea of what is enough and too much for my body and of course exercise does help.
LOOK OUT FOR MY NEXT PIECE: MY JOURNEY TO THE COMRADES MARATHON: THE LEAGUE OF EXTRA-ODINARY GENTLEMEN! Love and light!