Curious About Going Vegan?
Curious about going vegan?
I’m a part-time vegetarian. What I mean is, I only eat Zabiha halal so when I eat out and halal’s not available, I go for the vegetarian options. I’ve noticed that many restaurants are advertising that they now offer vegan as well. For example, at mainstream Pizzaiolo, at least three of the items on the menu were accompanied with a big red star that read “vegan”. Curious about veganism since it’s obviously gaining popularity, I sat down to chat with Pamela Martinez, co-owner of Wild Child’s Kitchen.
Wild Child’s Kitchen is a meatless food caterer focusing on “delicious food that also happens to be good for you.” The Kitchen mainly operates as a pop-up shop, setting up booth at places such as the CNE in the summer and the Distillery District Market in the winter. Since Pamela’s kitchen is both vegan and vegetarian, the first thing I wanted to know was how she differed between the two.
“Vegan and vegetarian are both plant-based diets”, she explained, “but vegetarian isn’t completely animal free. It may have dairy or eggs.” Pamela warns though, just because a food is vegan, doesn’t mean it’s healthy for you. Take French fries, for example. If deep-fried in vegetable oil, they’re technically vegan but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re good for you.
For Pamela, the most important part of a healthy diet is balance. That’s what her Kitchen is all about too; it’s about going back to the basics and serving honest food. She wants to stay away from processed foods and instead invest in stuff that’s local and in season.
I love Pamela’s approach because personally, I’ve been feeling really disconnected with my produce and where it comes from. I haven’t the slightest idea of what grows locally in Ontario and I don’t have much knowledge about which foods grow in what season. Like where does kale, the #1 super food these days, come from anyway? (I just did a Google search – it actually is local to Ontario… I was so sure it would be from Mexico!)
Luckily, coming from an Islamic culture, I’ve never felt the same disconnect with my meat. According to Pamela, animal welfare and feeling disconnected with meat is one reason why some people choose to go vegan.
Childhood images from Eid-ul-Adha are still quite sharp in my mind. Witnessing the actual butchering process fostered an appreciation for Halal food at a young age. It developed the understanding that it’s not okay to take the life of an animal without full awareness that Allah’s permitting you to do this, on the condition that you slaughter according to His guidelines.
Although I hope to consume a more balanced diet with plenty of nutrients, I think going vegan is a great option for me to consider only when eating out. (It’s especially great for those occasions when you’re doubtful about the cheese or oil etc.) I don’t think I could adopt going vegan as a permanent lifestyle though.
It’s not my love for meat that’s holding me back; rather, it’s the Quranic verse “Do not make unlawful for yourselves what Allah has made lawful for you” (5:87.) I’m not allergic to meat and I don’t have anything against the taste either so instead of leaving meat completely, I’d like to strive for a healthier lifestyle by consuming meat in moderation.
Are you a Muslim that observes vegan? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below.
Photo Credit: All photographs are supplied from Wild Child’s Kitchen
Manal Aman is the voice behind Vanity in Vanilla, a lifestyle blog about finding beauty in simplicity. She is most known for her hit blog series, “Hello, Holy Days!” where she offers easy entertaining and décor ideas for Ramadan and Eid. With a background in Architectural History, Manal works in the magazine industry. Currently at House & Home, Manal has worked with top publications in Canada such as Chatelaine and Today’s Parent. Some of her favourite things include pink peonies, warm weather and home-squeezed orange juice. Follow her design and blogging adventures on facebook, twitter and pinterest!