By Zuko Komisa
The sound of a sizzling steak on the braai stand is one we cherish a lot in this country, so much so some have rebranded Heritage Day for the same “cultural” reason of eating tons of meats. We have tshisa nyamas sprouling up in every neighbourhood, traditional ceremonies are incomplete without meat, we are addicted to fried chicken, a ‘real’ breakfast means crispy bacon. With meat being such an important part of our lives, is it really bad to eat it?
Are we really cruel to animals? Do we need to kill animals to survive or is do we kill them just because we can? The simple answer is no. Humans have domesticated cows, chickens and pigs for thousands of years. They never consented to be taken to the slaughterhouse. The popular argument between vegans and non-vegans usually is that, in the same way meat lovers kill an animal, vegans kill plants. The question is which one is the better crime.
The reality is, plants don’t have a nervous system, they don’t have a brain and can’t process that something bad is about to happen to them, you usually get this from people that aren’t even plant activists who relish the enjoyment of a juicy steak and peri-peri chicken.
The moral question of whether animals need our protection is one that a lot of human carnivores refuse to entertain. Why are rhinos more important that cows and chickens? Who decided on the hierarchy of what we can and can’t eat? The truth is, meat is very delicious and equally unhealthy if you eat a lot of it over time, it takes longer to digest and comes with a lot of nasty health issues.
There are multiple avenues to take in the pursuit of a healthier lifestyle, with veganism being one of them. However your personal decision to not eat meat has almost no measurable consequences for the animals, not much will change in society we are pretty much far gone. Our heritage with eating domesticated animals is too strong.
If you have contemplated being vegan, here are some benefits of being vegan,
Plants can meet all the dietary requirements – A vegan diet is nutritious and appropriate for all ages and stages of life, there’s a plant for all dietary needs.
Better Prevention of Health Issues – Being a vegan reduces the risk of kidney stones, cardiovascular diseases, strokes and obesity, you have less cholesterol and usually have tons of much-needed energy.
Better body – You find that vegans weigh way less, you typically find that the vegan diet comprised of fewer calories in the form of nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables and grains.
Freedom from toxic processed foods – The problem with eating meat is that most food-borne illnesses, bacteria, parasites, and chemical toxins are more common in commercial meat, poultry, and seafood, avoiding them save you many trips to the doctor in the long-run.
Whether you are a vegan or a meat lover, this year is a perfect moment to evaluate what lifestyle choices you are making.