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The Plant-Based Cooking Demo & Lunch

Having shared with you some of the foods I eat on a regular basis, I found this video of reggae artiste, Macka B, singing about the vegan diet:

I really liked this song because of the variety of foods that Macka B lists and the fact that he displays a wealth of knowledge about proper nutrition and knows what essential nutrients he needs to get from his meals.

For some people, even after watching a video, reading an article or meeting someone who eats plant-based, and being convinced that this is the way to go, they still remain confused about what to eat and how to prepare it. This fact has been displayed in the many requests I have had (emails, SMS, instant messages, in-person) for recipes and, more so, a live demonstration of how I prepare these meat-free, egg-free, and dairy-free dishes.

Over time, I soon realised that I had promised quite a few friends that I’d make the time to come by their kitchens and give them a guiding hand in their exploration of the world of plant-based cooking. So, these promises were piling up and my ‘available’ time wasn’t. So, one morning (one of those when your mind is clear and bursting with ideas and strategies), I decided to drop a few lines, inviting a select few – on very short notice – to join me for a plant-based lunch and cooking demo.

Following some initial indications of interest, I scratched out the following menu for our foodie event:

Cream of Pumpkin Soup
Curried Ackee Wraps

Mini Burgers
Escoveitched Tofu with Bammy
Garden Salad with Tofu Bites
Cool Potato Salad
Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
Soy Ice Cream
Pine-Ting Smoothies

Now, I could easily launch my own review of the experience, but my friend, Monique, did a great job in her blog post on (I love the fruit and veggie banner that she has!). Please click on the link to share in the event (pics included): Vegetarian for a day….or at least…a meal

All I can say is, everyone had their favourite dishes and I look forward to another demo sometime soon.

Stay Earth Strong!

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So, what do you eat?

On those occasions when my plant-based eating habits are observed, the persons enquiring usually seek consolation for the elimination of meat from my diet, by asking, “But, you eat fish, right?!” The expressions of horror that usually follow my denial often accompany the exclamation, “So, what do you eat?”

I have found it strange that so many persons believe the only food options available to us are: chicken, fish, pork, beef, mutton and fish, with the ever-faithful ‘side’ dishes of rice, ground provisions, bread and vegetables. Capitalist-driven affluence and the misguided pursuit of it, has resulted in voluntary amnesia for many persons. I say this because many people fail to remember that in our traditional diet, chicken was the Sunday dinner ‘main dish’, fish may have been a treat on Friday, and a little salt meat (beef or pork) would have accented the Saturday Pumpkin or Red Peas soup. Very few persons want to be reminded that most of our ‘back-in-the-day’ dishes were plant-based and things like (the choice cuts of) pork, beef and mutton, were reserved for family events such as weddings, funerals, and birthday parties. Instead, they wrongly associate meat-consumption with wealth and vegetable-consumption with poverty. (There is so much more that I could say about that… but, that will be addressed at another time.) However, in the interest of our health and the sustenance of our economy, we may all want to consider returning to the ‘country-style’ eating habits by increasing our consumption of the treasures we reap from soil and decreasing, if not eliminating, our consumption of animal foods.

Below you will find a sample menu of what I may eat on an average day:

  Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
Breakfast Oats Porridge with Raisins Steamed Callaloo with baked beans Cornmeal Porridge
  Toasted bread with peanut butter Boiled bananas, yam and potatoes Fried Plantain with bread
  Orange and banana Melon and banana Mango and Pineapple
Lunch Sweet n Sour Veggie Chunks Soy patty with lettuce and tomato Vegetable Chow Mein
  Rice and Peas Meatless Red Peas Soup Arranged Vegetable Salad
  Tossed Vegetable Salad
Dinner Curried Ackee Cabbage and Veggie Mince Barbecued Tofu
  Roasted Breadfruit Spaghetti Brown Rice
  Avocado Pear Slices Arranged Vegetable Salad Steamed Carrots & String Beans
Snack Sugarcane June Plum Coconut Drops
Dessert Pineaple Upside Down Cake Sweet Potato Pudding Soy Ice Cream
These items were not selected with any particular dietary needs in mind. They are simply delicious, easy to prepare and readily available. If you have never prepared any of the meat substitutes e.g. veggie chunks, veggie mince, or tofu before, there are many easy tutorials and recipes available online. Or you may pick up these dishes from a vegetarian restaurant nearby.
Therefore, you have no reason to limit yourself. Try to eat something more traditional and plant-based today.
Stay Earth Strong!
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The Dangers of Eating Meat

“You need meat!”
Quite recently, after informing one of my lecturers that I don’t eat meat (animal flesh), he kindly encouraged me to include even small portions of animal protein into my diet for good health. He went on to support his advice with an exceptional story about a man who nearly died from a blood disorder (the description resembled haemophilia) because of his vegetarian diet. Another person recently told me of another man who would faint frequently because of his refusal to consume anything that wasn’t green. These and similar stories are usually conveyed in an attempt to dissuade the listener from eliminating meat from their diet. Although my lecturer probably doesn’t know what protein is good for, nor how much of it he needs to maintain his health, he is convinced that he must get his daily supply of protein from an animal. This is belief is held and perpetuated, in spite of the larger number of vegetarians living in Jamaica – think Rastafari and Adventists.

“No, I don’t.”
When I decided to stop eating meat, I made sure to re-educate myself. I felt that I needed to learn what my body needs and how to go about getting it. I needed to hear this information from the experts – medical doctors, nutritionists, etc. So, I did a lot of research: attended workshops, read books, articles, blogs, and watched documentaries and lectures.

“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest her or his patients in the care of the human frame, in a proper diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” – Thomas A. Edison

“How do you know that?”

One of the most informative lectures I came across was by “A Diet for All Reasons” by Dr. Michael Klaper. Select this link to watch Dr. Klaper’s lecture: A Diet For All Reasons. In his presentation, Dr. Klaper he outlines that a diet that includes a high consumption of animal flesh:
1. Makes you fat (overweight or obese)
2. Clogs your arteries (atherosclerosis)
3. Causes some cancers (breast cancer, prostate cancer)
4. Causes calcium loss (because of too much protein)
5. Causes colon diseases (because there is no fibre in meat)
6. Causes high blood pressure (because of too much sodium)
7. Causes PMS in women (because of prostagladin 2)
Checks with your doctor will reveal that most chronic diseases (e.g. atherosclerosis, heart disease, stroke, obesity and type 2 diabetes) are lifestyle diseases which are treated by one of the following: lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, etc), surgical procedures, or medications. The choice for me is very easy!

“How much protein do we need?”
We only need about 30g of protein daily. According to the United States Dietary Guidelines published in 2010, for a male (19-30yrs) the daily requirement is 56g and 46g for a female (19-30yrs). This would translate to weekly requirement of:
Animal protein: 8oz of seafood or 26oz of meat/poultry/eggs
Plant protein: 13oz of beans and peas or 10oz of soy products or 15oz of nuts/seeds

Human Nutritional Needs
Human beings do not have a nutritional need for animal flesh (red meat, poultry or seafood). There is no nutritional deficiency for ‘too little chicken’ or ‘not enough snapper’. But, our bodies require the following for optimum health:
1. Protein
2. Water
3. Vitamins
4. Minerals
5. Energy

“The single most effective thing anybody can do in order to make themselves personally healthier and make this ecosystem more stable and life-preserving is to reduce or eliminate the animal flesh in your diet.”