The concept of Vegetarianism itself is nothing new as there were votaries of vegetarianism in ancient India and Greece as early as 5th century B.C. While India has traditionally followed the principles of non-violence and compassion towards other beings, it was practiced for medical or ritual purposes in ancient Greece and Egypt. However, with the spreading of Christianity, vegetarianism lost its popularity. However the founding of the Vegetarian Society, in Manchester, UK in 1847, brought it back to the public domain once again. Other countries like Germany followed suit. In the year 1908, The International Vegetarian Union, a union of the national societies was established. In the twentieth century, Vegetarianism as a concept grew in the West due to ethical and nutritional concerns while nowadays the resurgence is attributed mainly due to environmental and economic concerns
A healthy vegetarian diet is typically low in fat and high in fiber. However, even a vegetarian diet can be high in fat if it includes excessive amounts of fatty snack foods, fried foods, whole milk dairy products, and eggs. Therefore, a vegetarian diet, like any healthy diet, must be well planned in order to help prevent and treat certain diseases. Some tips for choosing a healthy vegetarian fare
- Choose whole-grain products (e.g. wholewheat bread, brown rice, or
whole-grain cereals instead of refined or white grains.
- Eat a wide variety of foods.
- If you eat dairy products, choose non-fat or low-fat varieties.
- Limit intake of sweets and high fat foods rich in calories.
- Planning is the key-When shopping for food, plan ahead, shop with a
list and read food labels.
- Most vegetarian foods can be found in any grocery store. Specialty
food stores may carry some of the more uncommon items, as well as
many vegetarian convenience foods.Becoming a vegetarian is simple and easy if only you choose to make it. Whether you enjoy preparing elaborate meals or choose quick and easy ones, vegetarian meals can be very satisfying. Some handy tips to stock your kitchen
- Ready-to-eat, whole-grain breakfast cereals, and quick-cooking whole-grain cereals such as oatmeal
- Whole-grain breads and crackers, such as rye, whole wheat, and mixed grain
- Other grains such as barley and bulgur wheat
- Canned beans, such as pinto, black beans and garbanzo beans
- Rice (including brown, wild, etc.)
- Pasta (now available in whole wheat, spinach, and other flavors) with tomato sauce and canned beans and/or chopped veggies
- Corn or flour tortillas
- Vegetarian soups easy to prepare and great to taste like lentil or tomato soup
- Nut spreads (e.g. peanut or almond butter)
- Fresh fruits
Some interesting facts
The largest land animals in the world, elephants, are exclusively vegetarian. They grow up to 10,000 pounds, by eating nothing but plant matter. There are also horses, camels, giraffes, elk, rhinos, cattle all herbivores growing up to be strong and powerful. Most primates (gorillas, etc.), the closest counterparts to humans in the animal world, are vegetarians.
One of the first famous vegetarians was the Greek philosopher Pythagoras who lived at the end of the 6th century B.C. In fact, the term “Pythagorean diet” was commonly used for a plant-based diet until the term “vegetarian” was coined in the 19th century.
A balanced diet, whether vegetarian or otherwise, will provide your body with all the nutrients it needs. Vegetarians who have a well-rounded diet do not suffer from deficiencies any more than non-vegetarians.
Gelatin, which is used to make jello and many other products, is extracted from the collagen inside animals’ connective tissue. A lot of seemingly “vegetarian” food (like jello) includes gelatin. Vegetarians normally avoid all foods that include gelatin. Agar-agar is a popular vegetarian gelatin substitute and is used in many products.
Middle-eastern food, which has many meat-based dishes, also offers a great variety of vegetarian options – Hummus, tabouleh, all kinds of eggplant dishes, falafel, and many others. And of course all the tasty sweets as well.
Kenya Vegetarian Club got featured in one of the reputed magazines of Ghana featuring the work we do in the field of Vegetable Farming and Vegetarianism. It is truly my pleasure to associate with the team who also featured some of my articles about the effect of meat production on the environment.
More than 400 needy children drawn from Kibigori area, Muhoroni in Kisumu County line up for what they like most, a sumptuous meal and sweets every lunch time provided by Shrivedant Foundation. The Foundation built the original Kamleshwar Mahadev Temple, Kibigori more than 100 years ago before the facility was transformed into a modern shrine in July 2013 but has since become a blessing to hundreds of children from poor families. Vaishali Shah, the chairperson, Shrivedant Foundation said the motivating reasons that required establishment of the Hindu temple in the remote part of the County has now turned the shrine into a beacon of hope for the many children and families through the feeding programme.
Shah said the Hindu community felt compelled to be part and parcel of the expansive Western Kenya community but with focus on the less fortunate in society who could hardly afford three square meals a day. “We wanted to do something unique as the Shrivedant Foundation which is a family trust set up by myself and my husband resolved to add value to the lives of local residents, particularly children”, she confided.
The foundation also conducts medical camps; donates household utilities alongside the feeding programme which has become popular with the children and other stakeholders who are already considering taking up other roles for the common good. Shah said they also give seed donations, train local residents on vegetable farming and tree planting even as Shrivedant Foundation spearheads the unique Kenya Vegetarian club that has attracted many people who don’t eat meat, fish and other related products.
The chairperson commended Kisumu Governor, Jack Ranguma and County Commissioner, John Elung’ata for their unwavering support including security to the facility and children amidst the expansive sugarcane plantation. Shah revealed that the foundation has a major development agenda for the area with the sole aim of creating employment and wealth for the local community with a view to transform their economic status. “We plan to build shops for medical and household goods to enable our people access quality services like health, education, water as part of our commitment to service to humanity”, she explained.
By Joseph Ouma
It was a lazy afternoon of Tuesday 19th April when I planned to go to the studio of K24 in Nairobi. It was preceded by an interview at Q FM radio in the morning. The topic was only about vegetable farming as it was a short interview focusing on promoting various business ventures in small cities of Kenya.
The anchor went straight to the main topic and asked me relevant questions about how vegetarianism can help farmers and others.
Listen to the interview on