Vegan is not the name of a villain in the latest James Bond movie or Star Wars episode. Vegans are humans who choose a diet of only vegetables, fungi, fruits and nuts and deny themselves the use of animal foods and products like leather, skins, furs, jewelry etc.
These days more and more people are opting for a vegan diet. So, what is a vegan diet? And why is it becoming so popular? There are different reasons including – personal health, sentiment towards animals, the health of the planet, personal choice and ‘joining the club.’
Many medical experts say that a vegetarian diet is good for you because it eliminates the saturated fat found in meat. However, Charlie has his own opinion on why vegetarians are slim/skinny – ssshhh! ‘No-one asks for seconds!’
For personal health it’s wise to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables but protein is difficult to come by. Charlie knows one vegan who suffered vitamin B12 deficiency, another who suffered from Seitan (an abundance of wheat protein from which many are allergic). Many are espousing a vegan diet – it’s becoming fashionable.
Love of animals is a wonderful thing but left unculled they would overrun the planet. I suppose they could be neutered like our furry friends (pets) but humans were built to eat meat, hence our canine teeth. Also – Charlie loves a good steak, venison stew, crispy duck, tuna sushi and Coq au Vin. “Rabbit food is for rabbits,” he is fond of saying. Years ago, in a book ‘Silent Spring’ by Rachel Carson it was quoted that cabbages scream when they are cut and Charlie concurs. ‘Beans make me fart, greens give me diarrhea, starches constipation. It’s called Karma – those plants are getting their own back.’ (Guess which side of the debate Charlie is on).
If you’re in the hospitality business in the Caribbean, especially on a large charter yacht, one of the things the chef dreads when he reads the ‘meal preference sheet’ is ‘Two guests are vegan, one of them has a celiac allergy and the other can’t eat sugar.’ As guests get to be more and more particular about their diet, chefs must become more creative. It’s enough to make you want to go sailing.
Charlie has never met a vegan sailor – it’s almost impossible to maintain on a cruising boat. You can dry fruit and vegetables, include in your diet vitamin supplements, protein bars, nuts… But cruising is about grabbing life by the handlebars and tasting all that it has to offer. A freshly caught fish from sea to pan is a unique delight, tasting local dishes from diverse cultures is a special pleasure, a cowrie shell necklace could be a favorite memento.
In many island nations it would be impossible for the inhabitants to survive without seafood. A vegetarian diet with seafood could be a great option. Sushi, here I come!