Because of South Africa’s 2020 COVID-19 lockdown, I returned home from England prematurely, following a two-month work assignment.
24th March 2020, 48 hours before the country went into national lockdown, one of the most harrowing periods of my life ended. I was separated from home and family during a period in which country after country prohibited international travel making a return home remote at best.
The world’s eyes were on China, specifically Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province where it is believed the first case of this deadly virus broke out. A wet market in a Huanan seafood wholesale outlet, is believed to have been the source of COVID-19 outbreak, resulting in scores of deaths and a pandemic that crippled the world.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic I was an ignorant carnivore, seldom considering how my live food was fed, kept, treated, prepared, and finally slaughtered. During this period of inactivity, I took to educating myself in the subject of ethics at the meal table. Hours were spent in digesting Netflix documentaries exposing the process of producing various products. I found myself horrified as I sat through Cowspiracy, What the Health and Game Changer.
Some 14 days later, I woke to the realization that, as a result of my deep love and passion for the wellbeing of animals, I could no longer give myself to the consumption of meat in any form, including animal by-products such as milk, eggs, cheese, and honey.
This transition to a plant-based diet was in no way taxing. In fact, I found it to be a natural adjustment following my completing of a Vegan Diploma Cooking Course. This 52-hour online program covered the entire meal-table experience beginning with starters, mains, deserts as well as celebratory and special occasion meals. This diploma schooled me in the culinary delights found in soy, tofu, chickpeas, lentils, cashew nuts, tempeh, nutritional yeast, and many other replacement elements required to transition to a vegan lifestyle.
An immediate pleasant surprise, and delight at my new-found lifestyle, was that veganism proved to be a most tasty alternative to animal flesh and related foodstuffs. From the moment I embarked on a plant-based diet, I found myself warming to the flavours, textures, satisfying, and nutritional aspects of soy and its associated products. I found preparing vegan meals straightforward, cost effective and attractive to eye and palate.
I noticed exceedingly early on in my new plant-based way of life, an improved overall feeling of well-being. I was never a sickly person but often had feelings of lethargy and fatigue early in the day which resulted in afternoon sleeps or power naps. Cutting meat and dairy from my diet has not only resulted in shedding 10 unwanted kilograms, but it has given me more energy and improved my running endurance.
My kitchen has morphed into a creative meal centre of our home and is no longer a food factory. I’ve experienced a shift in my approach and view to the meal table, with former eating habits not even a distinct possibility.
Out with old and in with the new.