Teach Middle East Magazine Jan-Feb 2018 Issue 3 Volume 5 - Page 50

Health WHAT SHOULD YOU CONSIDER BEFORE BECOMING A VEGAN? BY LEISA GRACE WILSON I s it just me or is everyone becoming vegan lately? In the last six months, I can count as many as four of my friends who have decided to become vegan. It is almost a fad. What made me take the topic seriously was the fact that my “meat loving” sister in law exchanged her meat cleaver for a vegetable peeler permanently. She decided to become vegan and she did it “cold turkey”. She simply came home one day and declared that she was no longer eating meat or any animal bi-products. The news shocked us all, but it also made me very curious, so I began to do some research. What should one consider before deciding to become vegan especially in this part of the world (The Middle East)? As I began to scour the world wide web, I discovered that there is a mountain of information available on the subject and a lot of it is not really rooted in science. There are several blogs and many vegan vloggers on YouTube. After trawling through the information, I have managed to narrow down the following things that one should consider when becoming vegan. 1. Consult a doctor before you begin So, I mentioned earlier that my sister in law simply woke up one day and declared herself as vegan, well turns out that this may not be the way to go. All the research suggests that before making such an enormous change in one’s diet and lifestyle, you should consult a doctor. You will be well served in getting expert guidance in making the transition and you will also benefit from the knowledge and expertise of a dietician, who will be able to guide you on how much of each nutrient your body needs to function optimally and which foods you ought to be eating to get them. 2. Vegan food is far from boring If like me, you enjoy a steak and a hamburger as much as the next guy or girl, you may be thinking of all the things you have to give up, if you become vegan. After watching hours of vegan YouTube vloggers and researching hundreds of vegan recipes online, I have discovered that I will be spoiled for choice, on what to make next for dinner or even a snack. You will have to give up some of the foods you love, but you gain so many more interesting foods in return, so instead of thinking of all the things you will be giving up, think of all that you will gain. 3. Give yourself extra time for food preparation Ok so you may have spent the majority of your life eating meat and you have mastered a hundred different ways of preparing chicken. When you become vegan, initially all the recipes may be new to you, so give yourself extra time to master this new way of preparing your food. You may be the only vegan in your family, so taking time to prepare and pre-pack food, will save you from going hungry when there are no vegan options available in your home. It is also wise to take time to prepare food beforehand, if you lead a very busy life and want to make sure you have something to eat while on the go. 4. Stock up This ties into the point above. Your cupboard and pantry are going to look dramatically different when you become vegan. You may need to dedicate a day or two to throwing out the things that no longer fit in with your new diet. Read the labels of everything you have, animal bi-products can be hiding in the ingredients list of the most unlikely snacks and foods, so read everything. Once your clear out is done, it is time to go shopping. Most