Whether for philosophical or health reasons, some people are opting to stop consuming animals and are adopting a vegan diet.
Making the switch can be a challenge for people who are accustomed to incorporating dairy and meat in their diet, but it could offer some health benefits.
With November 1 being World Vegan Day, and the whole month of November being vegan month, we ask ourselves if going vegan for a month can really change someone’s life?
We had a chat with the director at ProVeg South Africa Donovan Will, who shared that, as a food awareness organisation that currently runs a challenge called ProVeg Veggie Challenge, signing up for a vegan challenge like this can be life-changing – even for those who go back to their omnivorous diets after the month.
Will said more than 50 000 South Africans have signed up for one of these challenges in the past few years, and nearly all participants report significant benefits, including weight loss, increased energy, improved cooking skills, and knowledge about healthy and sustainable food.
He said they also report that it feels good to know that eating less meat lowers their carbon footprint and reduces animal suffering.
“Many do report that the challenge was life-changing, and most continue to reduce their total meat and dairy intake, and eat more healthily and sustainably going forward – even if they return to an omnivorous diet,” said Will.
Consulting dietitian to the South African Avocado Growers’ Association Monique Piderit adds that going vegan can change your health.
“However, dietary changes to be healthier – like eating more plant-based food and less meat – would only be beneficial if done consistently and over the long term. One month of being vegan will not negate the effects of eating meat for a lifetime. If being vegan is too extreme, try just one or two meat-free meals a week to help improve your health,” said Piderit.
Here’s a quick recipe that will help you kickstart the day.
The Ultimate Avocado Baguette
Avo-nnaise or ½ cup cream cheese with herbs
2 ripe avocados, sliced
100g goat’s or vegan cheese, sliced
8 strawberries, sliced
2 smoked chicken breasts, sliced (optional)
Avocado or olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
Microgreens to garnish
1 avocado, peeled and chopped
50ml avocado oil
½ tsp smooth Dijon mustard
½ tsp crushed garlic
½ lemon, juiced and zest
Pinch of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
To make the avo-nnaise, place all the ingredients in a jug and blend with a stick blender, until smooth and pourable. Add a few teaspoons of cold water, if necessary, to reach a pourable consistency.
Slice the baguette in half, lengthwise, and spread with the avo-nnaise or cream cheese.
Arrange the avocado, goat’s/vegan cheese, strawberries, and chicken breast (if using) on half of the baguette.
Drizzle with oil and lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with microgreens.
Top with the other half of the baguette and wrap in greaseproof paper. Slice into thick portions to serve.