How a vegan lifestyle transformed Mercy Mogase's body and mind
Vegan and fruitarian diets seem to be the lifestyle of choice for those who either want to lose weight or improve their health - and save the animals whilebthey're at it.
While many South Africans are adopting healthier eating habits, it's not always easy getting your peers to accept or merely understand your lifestyle choices.
No one knows this struggle more than Real Housewives of Johannesburg star, Mercy Mogase whose vegan and fruitarian lifestyle forms a large part of her storyline on the show.
Mercy is one of the co-stars of the popular Real Housewives franchise that takes you into the lavish lives of six rich Joburg women.
Who can forget Mercy's request for a vegan menu at the traditional wedding of fellow housewife Brinnette Seopela?
In the first episode, Mercy - who was her mother, Evodia's plus one - tells Brinnette she doesn't eat anything "that's either animal- based or comes from an animal".
A vegan menu at a traditional wedding, really?
Brinnette, who was clearly shocked by the request, then says in her confessional: "Blacks we don't know vegan, we eat meat... we love meat, everything is about meat."
In a later episode, Mercy tells Evodia she wants to become a fruitarian. I asked Mercy about her lifestyle choices and how it has transformed her life.
"I mentioned (on the show) that I want to be a fruitarian for a week in a month… it's not something that everyone can do because there are a lot of health risks, fruits like grapes and pineapple have a very high sugar content. I have never met someone who is fully fruitarian," she says.
Mercy has since incorporated the fruitarian diet into her vegan lifestyle "for two days at a time and adds more days as time goes on". It’s been a year and five months since she ditched meat and burgers for a plant-based diet.
What started as a 40-day sacrifice during Lent became her way of life.
"It was an overnight decision (when) I decided to give up everything that has to do with meat and animal cruelty. After 40 days it ended up becoming a
lifestyle because I have now grown a habit and I felt amazing. It wasn’t an easy transformation, you get used to eating certain things your whole life and now you have to completely change,” she says.
Of course, Mercy’s transformation didn’t come without its fair share of criticism, shade and side-eye whether it's from her co-stars, friends or even family.
However, judging by her fiery red hair, this housewife is not afraid to stand out or to be different.
"People sometimes think I'm being snobbish or people think I have adapted a different lifestyle because of the time I spent overseas. It's very difficult because people don't see it as a healthy lifestyle… they just see it as a fancy lifestyle."