Here we are in 2020 Britain, in the midst of a global pandemic, midway through a second lockdown and I can’t help but ask - if animals were not industrially farmed for food and other purposes, and we lived in a fully vegan society would this crisis ever have arisen?
Additionally, a lot of us are contemplating the climate breakdown and what we can do to make a difference. Veganism encourages environmental consciousness, cruelty-free living, and could potentially offer you a post lockdown ‘glow up’ (if you’re new to it).
There are some plant based communities around the world who pride themselves on their veganism and live long and fruitful lives, so let's take some inspiration from those who do it best. As the pandemic limits our ability to travel for culinary adventures I’m going to take you on a little virtual trip around the world and dive into a few traditional vegan regions.
Ladakh (India) is home to The Brokpa people. A community who have thrived on a plant based diet for more than 5,000 years. They harvest their own barley and eat a lot of roasted potatoes, spring onions, boiled cauliflowers, and consume large amounts of black tea. Despite living in mountainous terrain most of their members are well into their 90’s. Tell that to your nan.
In Okinawa (Japan) they are known for their longevity. This is mainly down to their strong relationships with friends and family, having a purpose in life, and following a plant based diet which reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer and dementia. This diet is so effective that it has become popular in the west. Okinawans eat stir-fried vegetables, sweet potatoes and lots of soy products, including miso and tofu. Most of these foods are high in nutrients and low in calories.
Neve Shalom in Dimona is home to the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem. This vegan village of peace has been around for 50 years and is home to around 3000 people. When starting the village, this community had very limited access to soy milk or tofu so they decided to set up their own factory, called Teva Deli. This is now a thriving business and, according to them, encourages veganism across their nation.
So there you have it - good health, long life and even good business!
Sources: Peta:https://www.peta.org/living/food/himalayan-tribe-vegan-5000-years/#:~:text=The%20Brokpa%20 tribe%20of%20Ladakh,active%20lives%20at%2015%2C000%20feet.
The Blue Zones https://www.bluezones.com/exploration/okinawa-japan/ I am going vegan https://www.iamgoingvegan.com/vegan-cultures/#:~:text=There%20have%20been%20no%20c ompletely,ideas%20for%20thousands%20of%20years.
Live Kindly https://www.livekindly.co/3000-people-50-year-old-vegan-village/
Image: Thukpa noodles from Ladakh