Why Aren’t You A Vegan?
Let's talk about a topic so frequently overlooked, especially in our Afrikan spheres: the vegan diet! Yes, that stupid fad of refusing the consumption of animal products, as some would put it. You see, whenever It's dinner time and I bring my “untraditional” diet to the table, I'm usually met with questions like: “Why are you a vegan?”, “You don’t like meat? What type of Afrikan are you if you don't eat meat? Do you miss the taste of meat?”, “You already ate meat a big part of your life, what is stopping now going to accomplish?” and “how do you replace meat?” This article is much less a response to those questions than it is about exposing the recklessness of not having already adopted a vegan diet. First of all, you don’t have to compensate for the meat and other animal products you don’t consume for there is no nutritional requirement for animal products: a balanced vegan diet can easily satisfy all your body’s nutritional needs. Yes, I know, it is surprising. To assure you that you didn’t misread it, let’s repeat it again: there is no nutritional requirement for animal products, whether it is meat, foetuses or milk products. Yes, now give that thought some time to sink in. I know this can be shocking as many of you do not know that when you see an advertisement about milk, it is still promotion for merchandize to sell as it is for Big Macs and beers. Go to the next paragraph when you are ready.
Are you ready?
There is no nutritional requirement for animal products because all the nutrients necessary to you are abundant in the plant world. If you think about it, those animals have to ingest the nutrients in order to have them in their corpses. That is why minerals like calcium and zinc can be found in those products. Let’s think this through: if a cow has minerals such as calcium in her milk, with minerals being in the earth and the cow not eating earth, what is her source of calcium?
And the same goes for proteins as proteins are plant-generated acids. The main area of concerns would be the intake in vitamin D (the sun vitamin) and vitamin B12 which can be found in fortified soy and almond milks and other fortified foods, or in spinach if you already fell with it. In fact, many high-level athletes, such as world record-holding strongman Patrik Baboumian, bodybuilder Bill McCarthy and Carl Lewis have proven that avoiding animal products does not mean sacrificing physical performance.
You might need a pause there too. Whoa! Carl Lewis!? Yeah, and Mike Tyson too. The healthfulness of a vegan diet has long been proven, even though people are gradually getting a grip on the idea. Avoiding animal products tremendously lowers the risk of saturated fat-induced diseases such as hypertension. And digestion is less of a hassle as a vegan. So not only are animal products not a necessity, they can also be a threat to your health.
Now whenever you go grocery shopping, compare the prices of vegetal products and animal products. Yes, a vegan diet is healthful for your pocket too; more money to invest on more than survival. And as you may have noticed, farm animals are mostly herbivores, so they depend also on our agriculture all along their shortened lives. But agriculture does not need these animals, not even as a source of fertilizer as plant matter is a much better source of that too. So an increasingly vegan population would push the food producing sectors of the economy to make better use of our land resources and our fauna (particularly bountiful in the Motherland). This would subsequently allow growing more carbon-breathing trees and plants, and decrease greenhouse gas with the reduction of commercial transport of manure fertilizers, food for condemned animals and heavy corpses. Here, go ahead and be a hero, you can start caring for the environment with a fork!
I sometimes get the rebuttal about genetically modified (GM) foods: people argue that all the foods we have access to are modified and full of insecticides and that therefore it does not change a thing to try to eat more healthy, in a vegan or any other way. This argument is a very big exaggeration, but I will take it on a joyride to Logic-land: if ALL plants are genetically modified and full of insecticides, so are those that the genetically modified animal you eat was fed on, which is not a big stretch as GM food is cheaper for farmers. And since that animal is jailed in unnatural and unhealthy conditions, doped with hormones and antibiotics, and, as a result of these, under-develops physically, there sickness is only increased! Now think: what happens when you ingest something infested? Take the example of drinking in the same glass as a sick person, and multiply it by eating the sick being. As much as I avoid GM food, a GM mango can never be as scary as a GM corpse.
I also get another rebuttal: one saying that we owe our evolution to the consumption of meat and that we may regress as a species if we let it down. It is true that in our ancient history, animal products consumption has helped us fulfill our nutritional needs and even challenged the genius minds of our great ancestors. But we live in another era now, where our technological advances allow very efficient agriculture that can easily feed the whole species. Yup, the seven billions of us can be fed with vegetal products that can meet all our nutritional needs. So what is the need today to feed on hormone sources?
As the belief in the necessity of animal products for human sustenance has been disproven, the moral status of the decision whether to eat animal products or not evolves from being a question of killing for survival to a question of killing for the pleasure of your taste buds and wannabe-hunter ego. And as outlined in the previous paragraphs, it is not only immoral towards animals, but towards ourselves, for it can jeopardize our quality of life and, as a big contributor to pollution and resource wasting, our future. The world we live in now asks for important changes from us; you should feel concerned and put your money where your mouth is, literally.
So, why aren’t you a vegan again?
I Lex is a young Ras hailing from West Afrika and living in Ottawa, Canada, studying translation and linguistics because he “knows that the key to overstanding the trap lies in language”. I Lex is also the author of the “roots’ column on TAP MAGAZINE.