Vegan Culture

Walking through the market the other day, I caught a glimpse of heaven – cascades of the season’s fruits – cherries, nectarines, peaches, mangoes, kiwis, and oranges. Next to the fruit stores were olives of different colors and sizes, some deliciously stuffed with garlic. After walking for half an hour through the market, I got lost and ended up at the meat section. Now this was no ordinary, ‘run-of-the-mill’ meat section. There were no little steaks and chops and packets of mince ready to be purchased – not at 7.30 in the morning. What lay before me were full carcasses of meat. Now, although I personally eat meat and love it – I am a South African, I could not handle looking at those dead animals carried by strong men ready to be sliced and diced – I found it disgusting. I bent my head down and quickly walked as fast as I could through the section just so that I could get away from it. The image just stuck in my head.


The more I live in my present country, away from Africa and close to the Mediterranean Sea, the healthier bodies I see. Streets are covered with little stands that make fresh juice every morning. People are running every morning, through the city and on the beaches. It’s really quite heavenly. The call to become a vegetarian and just eat fish, eggs and cheese for protein becomes stronger every day.

Vegan fruits

Who I really take my hat off to are the vegans – those who won’t eat produce from any animal in any respect. A big reason behind this is that they respect animals too much. A lot have been to farms or seen documentaries exposing the horrors of meat, milk and chicken produce. These documentaries show calves being taken away from their mothers. You see tears in cows’ eyes. It’s really quite unbearable to watch. Often, vegans grew up with pets and adore animals too much to eat them.

In certain cultures and religions – like the Hindus in India and around the world, the cow is very sacred and would definitely not end up on anyone’s dinner plate. It’s interesting how a lot of the cultures in the Eastern world are vegans.

But where did it get popular – where did it start?

It was in November 1944 that the Vegan Society was founded. It originated in the UK by Donald Watson and Elsie B. “Sally” Shrigley, amongst others. The whole concept goes way back as early as 500 BCE, when the very famous Greek mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras promoted a vegetarian diet. Close to the time, Buddha discussed vegetarianism with his followers. In the 19th Century, one of the major English Romantic Poets, Percy Bysshe Shelley, was amongst the first to stand his ground against dairy and eggs on an ethical basis.

When the vegan society became a registered charity in 1979, the Memorandum and Articles of Association updated this definition of “Veganism” as:

“[…] a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”

*Taken from

Vegan Protein

People who want to become vegan sometimes worry about how they are going to get their protein requirements if not from meat, dairy or eggs. Here is a comprehensive list of protein derivatives:


Nuts 1/4 CupProtein (grams)CaloriesFat (grams)
Pine Nuts522923
Seeds 1/4 CupProtein (grams)CaloriesFat (grams)
Hemp Seeds1523218
Legumes 1 CupProtein (grams)CaloriesFat (grams)
Split Peas1623116
Navy Beans1625812
Garbanzo Beans1526912
Black Beans1522715
Kidney Beans1522511
Lima Beans1521613
Soy Foods
Protein (grams)CaloriesFat (grams)
Soybeans 1 Cup2929810
Tempeh 4oz212113
TVP 1/4 cup12800
Soy Nuts112001
Tofu 4oz9865
Soy But Butter 2 tbs717011
Soymilk 1 cup71000.5
Protein (grams)CaloriesFat (grams)
Amaranth 1 cup92389
Quinoa 1 cup92544
Wholewheat pasta81746
Spelt 4 oz61444
Oats 1 cup61474
Brown rice 1 cup52164
Whole wheat bread41283