Is the grass really greener on the plant-based side?

Trending topics alert!! So you may have heard of a movement called VEGANUARY during the past month. Well, if you’re wondering if what that’s all about, and if these words – vegan, vegetarian, Mediterranean diet, plant-based, intrigue you, then stick around for more!

I’m writing this blog post simply because I recently was watching a documentary on Netflix called “What the health?” and after watching that documentary it was re-iterated how much plant-based eating is now becoming encouraged- this despite the massive processed meat and meat industry. And I really just wanted to know why people don’t want us to eat INYAMA bethuna! Yoh!!

Whatever diet you choose, as is always said by the experts as well- no diet is “the perfect or best diet” for health. We all have a WHY for doing everything and some things work better for one individual than they might for another- the same goes with diet. Therefore, always remember to seek professional help from your doctor/dietician when considering making drastic changes to your diet.

No diet is the “perfect” diet for health and one thing works better for one individual than it does for another. Therefore always remember to seek professional help from your dietician/doctor before making drastic changes to your diet.

Dineo Sefoloko

Ok so some clarification of terminology to begin with.

Here’s a great illustration I found. Vegetarian, not mentioned in this picture, differs from the vegan diet in that vegans eat no animal products at all, while vegetarians do not eat the meat from animals but may eat the products that come from them such as diary and eggs.

Picture attained from Feminism:


Well, let’s look at something like Veganuary- which has gained much traction over the past years. It is a non-profit organisation that was founded in 2014 that “encourages and supports people and businesses alike to move to a plant-based diet as a way of protecting the environment, preventing animal suffering and improving the health of millions of people.”

Their vision and rationale? “A world where food production does not decimate forests, pollute rivers and oceans , exacerbate climate change, and drive wild animal populations to extinction.”

You may ask- how bad is it really? In 2019, leading research scientists published a report in the Lancet, which showed 5 ways a plant-based diet can help save our lives as well as the planet. “After reviewing the evidence, they concluded that a shift toward plant foods can go a long way in promoting human health and the health of our planet.’

  1. Reduces the impact of climate change. Remember the greenhouse effect? The report found that 30% of greenhouse emissions come from food production, and 75% of this coming from animal products.
  2. Saves water. Agriculture is “the world’s largest water-consuming sector,” with meat and dairy products leading the way in agricultural water use.
  3. Minimize agricultural land use. A study in 2017 showed that if we ate more beans and less meat, we could free up more cropland, reducing the agricultural environmental footprint.
  4. Alleviate hunger. It seems much of the food produced from the land is used inefficiently by the agricultural sector as feed for animals.
  5. Save lives. The report found that “unhealthy diets are the largest global burden of disease,” going beyong even smoking as a major cause for disease and death.



Well, I’m sure you know what’s coming. Many of these diets have been associated with improved health- by means of reduction of cholesterol, saturated fats contained in many meat products, and the yolk of eggs. The overall effect is one of reduction in common diseases of lifestyle – hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, and so forth.

One does reap the benefits of more cancer-fighting anti-oxidants in the diet as a result of plenty of fruits and vegetables. Not to mention the plenty of fiber you get in with this kind of diet. There is also associated weight loss with plant-based eating, provided you’re not overeating of course.


Many people worry about their intake of enough vitamins and getting enough iron and protein.

“The protein in animal products is complete, but most plant-based protein isn’t complete because it doesn’t contain all the necessary amino acids.” An adequate amount of amino acids in the right amounts is imperative for your muscle repair and nutrient absorption.

“The protein in animal products is complete, but most plant-based protein isn’t complete because it doesn’t contain all the necessary amino acids.”

Lesego Seokwang- You Wellness Magazine 2020

A deficiency of protein may lead to – reduced immunity, digestive problems, fertility issues, slow growth in children.

Other than meat and meat products, other protein-rich plant foods include lentils, soy, beans, tofu, tempeh, seeds, and nuts. From an article by Lesego Seokwang in YOU-WELLNESS magazine, to get enough of the right protein in the right amounts and for a good daily diet when on a plant-based diet, it should include:

  • Fortified breakfast cereals and whole grains.
  • Legumes, soy products, and beans
  • Protein from two or more plant sources such as those mentioned above.
  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Soybean oil, canola oil, flaxseed, and walnuts.


For something and to follow real people ho have adapted a flexitarian lifestyle- watch Mpoomy and Brendan Ledwaba on YouTube and their latest vegetarian meal here.

Some popular places to get these meat-free yet tasty food products – Woolworths, Pick and pay, and Checkers.

  • Beyond Meat
  • Impossible foods
  • FRY’S family food

According to Seokwang, Karen Fletcher – co-founder of Green and Vegan in Cape Town , advises one consider taking supplements to boost vitamin B3 and B12 as well as iron intake, as well as an omega 3 fatty acid supplement.

Is pant-based safe for children?

According to Seokwang, of Collen Mollentze of the Vegan society of South Africa mentions that children have higher energy requirements than adults and thus require more vitamins and iron in addition to vitamin B12.

You thus have to keep tabs on their nutrition and be creative about providing alternatives.

“A good supplement for children, containing all the essential vitamins and omega fatty acids, is recommended by experts if you’re going to cut down on your family’s meat intake.

“A good supplement for children, containing all the essential vitamins and omega fatty acids, is recommended by experts if you’re going to cut down on your family’s meat intake.

Collen Mollentze

And there you have it!! You know what ? I THINK I WILL JUST STICK TO BEING FLEXIBLE- FLEXITARIAN. Cut out meat now and again, and make my plate plant friendly!

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