Most Africans Refuse No Meat Food-Why?
Concerning authentic African food, some people say it was the no-meat foods like cassava-gari, lentils, split peas, bulgur wheat, cornmeal, millet, and potato leaves that helped us survive long periods of civil war or tough times (basically vegetarian African food). Other people say those no-meat foods that sustained them during war or hardship should not count as meals now because they didn’t have a choice back then. By these points, you can see where the controversy is on reasons why Africans do not look for options regarding animal protein vs plant protein, nor how to use vital wheat gluten. In this article, I will share on exactly that. This is not heavy to explain, and none of the infrastructures or governments are to blame. Africans are similar to any other group of human beings with cultural norms, behavioral patterns formed from groupthink, and external belief systems.
It is true that the world expects Africans to eat mainly fruits and vegetables, considering its rich resources. Some Westerners even adopted their popular vegetarian African food recipes, many of which show how to use vital wheat gluten. Humble Vege wishes to learn about the continent through cultural foods. Thus, authentic African food recipes. Are you interested in peeking into the road less travelled? Subscribe to be notified monthly about recipes and content on the African Lifestyle. Comment ‘yes’ if you want more details on comparison of animal protein vs plant protein types.
No Meat Food Means Lowered Social Status
Besides discussing authentic African food, we humans are not difficult to understand so we can ‘keep it real’, as the kids say. Concerning animal protein vs plant protein, I don’t know where in the human timeline of existence the behavior of plants being forgotten and belittled in favor of animals’ protein started. Most Africans equate animal protein with higher status, so vegetarian African food topic or how to use vital wheat gluten is out of the question. It seems like a game when Africans snap pictures of all animal types in one soup and they post online saying, “God has bless me!” or, “God is good to me!” Find out more on ‘good body’ ideology.
From the picture below, type in the comments which animal meat is missing.
Majority Forget or Ignore Plant Protein Options
Fundamentally, Africans know about protein and basic foundational nutrition knowledge. That is why we (Africans outside Africa) cling to our authentic African food products: No matter where we live, we will travel far distances to get native leaves and greens. I think the missing link is that they only connect protein to animals and skip plants as protein sources.
Africans know about vegetables, plants, and beans. Some heal others with leaves, stems, roots, etc. However, Africans abroad and those on the continent do not accept or believe plants can provide protein in the same way animals can. It is as if they sleep on the many vegetarian African foods which show us how to use vital wheat gluten deliciously and still provide us with balanced diets. The goal is for Africans to make the mental connection and awareness that plant protein can provide nutrients to the body just as well.
FUN FACT: Africans abroad can drive 3 hours or take day trips to buy traditional products.
Regarding comparison of animal protein vs plant protein, people who eat meat heavily have not made the connection toward plants and protein. Whether as a substitute or as a means to incorporate plant protein in their cooking, they just don’t know or believe in protein content that plants can provide…yet. Some adults know and ignore it, which is sad since that option is not thought of for the children. The bottom-line is, Africans have lived experiences of how plants can fulfil our protein requirements, so why do they ignore and doubt them now?
Social Pressure: They Might Be Outcast
Could it be sly social bullying or full-on social pressure? Africans, we cannot deny there is social conditioning to conform to. We are not here to force or guilt you towards vegetarian African food, but the experts are warning meat-eaters for a reason.
The feedback or insults towards the plant-based lifestyle are something like; “You are weird and poor if you don’t eat animal protein”. Or my least favorite remark, “So you want to be like Oyinbo ehn?” Would it be rude to respond and say, “Dah meat will kill you!” Too much? 😊 This might seem exaggerated but this is the behavioral attitude given to people who want to remove or reduce animal-based foods from their cooking.
The University of Ghana did a study about this topic and it is fascinating how ‘meat socialization’ has shaped our thinking and behaviors from birth. I believe it is true that one’s, “values, beliefs and preferences of their eating companions and friends [could] influenced their meat-eating,” or lack thereof. This study showed how most young adults 18-25 are willing to dismiss no-meat food with most saying they would consider it in old-age. I think Africans do not consider no-meat food because they cannot withstand social pressure or mocking. Social acceptance is a big thing in some African countries as they are used to moving as communities more than as individuals.
No Meat Food Is Not Their Goal…YET
We all overeat in life, but some people only link meat to fine body. They do not see plant-protein as a tool to achieve their body goals. I beg, don’t stress people, leave them be.
Terrible fact: few ladies I used to know encouraged me to eat fast-food so I could grow my buttocks and breasts. Sadly, I did eat those foods and felt horrible for a week. Immediately, I stopped doing that! This was in the past when I used to eat meat and fish. To be plump is ideal to some people and perhaps beans, palm oil, and amaranth are ignored as options to achieve those goals. Some men and women eat to gain weight, but we all want different things at different stages in life. Maybe when a person wants to get their ‘summer body’ then vegetarian African food might be delicious to them. Moreso, authentic African food with zero meat and fish is delicious! We could show you how to use vital wheat gluten for plenty of recipes.
No Meat Food Is Tied to Strength & Discipline
When it comes to letting go of meat, some people outright say, “Ah, I’m not that strong oh! I cannot do that; you must be strong!” They will not want to hear about animal protein vs plant protein. I think their self-restraint is not as weak as they think. Perhaps, they want to admit defeat because that is the easier thing to do. No worries, the information is here and out there if they are ready. This concludes the reasons why Africans do not bother with no meat food. The below points are parallel insights.
Others offer unrelated explanations about why Africans need to eat meat, usually to defend or shift the conversation away from individual responsibility. The following points are insights and another point of view:
Does Infrastructure & Low Education Block Healthy Living?
Healthy living in this case is when people do not die of treatable or preventable illnesses like high blood pressure, heart issues from obesity, etc. The infrastructure excuse comes up a lot in discussions. I do not believe infrastructure is what’s stopping Africans from choosing plant proteins consistently. Most people may not know the treasure they sit on nor insights about animal protein vs plant protein. The solution here is individually based. But I think bringing awareness is good in case a person wants to know more. Explain what it can do, and importantly, live by example.
Is education the issue? I would ask what kind of education. Is it reading and writing education, or do we accept non-institutional knowledge as education? Most Africans are educated in gardening, farming, cooking, and plant medicine, which are passed down communally or from parents and grand-parents. I value reading and writing education, but I think we should consider things like gardening, cooking, or farming as education as well. Especially when we discuss no-meat lifestyle with natives.
For Africans abroad, do video documentaries count as nutritional education? Yes.
Do Africans continent-side have access to similar video documentaries? Yes, those who live in cities. Many city dwellers can and have viewed health-related video programs. To an extent, people in villages can too. Video clubs are plenty in cities and villages.
Gbam! (I Concur)
Some Africans who rebuke plant protein don’t know they are eating it. Most think their social status is downgraded if they eat vegetarian African food. Each person carries the proof of what plants can do and has experienced plant proteins in their daily lives. I think there is a fog, haze, distrust, and unawareness about vegetables, grains, and beans as key sources of nutrition. Until each person reaches that phase to confidently accept and identify the value of plants in providing protein, let them be. What do you think? As always, share your thoughts with us in the comments below. Curious about a no-animal-meat food lifestyle? Peep instagram to see what I eat live😊.
Peace, love, and palm butter grease!