“When I get to the islands, I’m going to live off de fat ah de land, row with de fishermen, pluck fruits from de tree and eat seasonally!”
I declared proudly in my Grenadian twang as I bid farewell to a culture of packaged food and microwave meals.
It seems like everyone, and their granny resolved to eat healthy this year, but contrary to popular belief, living in a land with abundant agricultural soil and delicious crop isn’t always substantial enough to encourage you to be a conscious consumer. For me, it took two rastamen and one in progress to break down the walls of brilliant British supermarket chain marketing, that had me up in the tropics buying their imported goods.
It took a complete change in mindset to pass up the barbecue pigtail for some steamed Okro and stew pumpkin. And, I’m still fighting the good Friday night roadside barbecue fight. The recognition of the potential to change to a plant-based diet started with the former chef of Mango Bay Cottage, Kiddusi Abasi Bartholomew from Hermitage St. Patrick. He spent four good years preparing the most memorable 3-course Ital meals, it became my go-to spot to relax and recharge with a side of beetroot salad and a dip in Black Bay’s lustrous black sand beach.
“I grew up watching my Dad tend to his farm and herb garden and feed the family. On an Ital diet, you will always be healthy. I hardly go to the doctor. What sweet in the mouth sour in the belly, what sweet in the belly sour in the mouth” – Kiddusi
Mango and Lime Juice
Appetizer – Cream of Callaloo soup with Sweet Potato
Main – Red Quinoa and Split Peas with Sauteed Pumpkin, Steamed Plantain, Avocado and Mango Salad and Fried Okra.
Dessert – Ginger Tumeric Cake with a Sprinkle of Nutmeg
“It’s not about calling yourself a Vegan or calling yourself a vegetarian and so on, leave these things at the door and focus on making the necessary strides day by day to cultivate a healthy lifestyle.” – Kitaka
With colourful and creative options like Jerk Cauliflower, Seasoned Fried Plantain and West Indian Fig Salad, I put a pause on chicken three ways to try it out. During my month-long stint of full-time veganism, sometimes I felt happy, and sometimes I felt hangry, but it was undoubtedly the most rewarding thing I did for my body, who’d congratulate me with a burst of energy and rid me of the plague of after lunch itis.
You see I want to do this more often, but I’ll admit to needing intervention. I don’t want it in the form of a scaremongering YouTube video or an obnoxious part-time vegan, so I spoke to Kitaka who was born into a plant-based lifestyle and Marcus to ask them for eight useful tips to support first-timers with the switch to a healthier diet.
- Prepare yourself mentally. Like every new quest you take in life, you need to have a positive mental attitude before you can start considering changing to a plant-based diet. What you eat is a crucial part of the process, but your mental state and actions all come together to play a vital role in your overall health and wellness.
- Dispel the ideologies and theories and understand that the fundamental reason you are changing your diet is to take charge of your health. Appreciate that health is not a quick fix or fly by night thing. Be patient.
- Remove the labels. It’s not about calling yourself a Vegan or a Vegetarian and so on, leave these things at the door and focus on making the necessary strides day by day to cultivate a healthy mindset and lifestyle.
- Drink lots of water. Ital is proven to be the best diet for the human scientifically; however, you have to be on top of your water consumption and ensure that you are putting adequate water in your body as well.
- Be consistent. Stay on track with the move and don’t get caught up in the hype. Focus on a steady diet plan that will allow you to see the significant changes a plant-based diet can bring when you stick to it.
- Appreciate the process. Enjoy the transition that is taking place. Be composed during the re-engineering process of your internal system. The purging of toxins, repairing and clearing of the arteries and removal of all the debris and build up that has been there for ages. Let the healing take place.
- Be strategic. Snack on lots of fruits or drink infused water if you have the urge for bad cravings. A plant-based diet, is an alkaline diet that will result in substantial detoxification. If you eat heavy meat and starch-based foods you will experience an onset of hunger pains and imbalance so drink base teas to combat this. Once again it is very crucial to maintain a high level of water intake to keep the body hydrated.
- Understand that we are all composed differently concerning our biology and anatomical structure. What works for someone else may not work for you, so get to know what works for you. Focus on figuring out what is taking place in your body and equip yourself with the knowledge and prerequisite skills to continue on the path towards a healthier lifestyle.
Let thy food be thy medicine, but also live an upfull life, live in love, justice, charity, balance and harmony.
Infinite Love, Blessings and Good Health,
Kitaka and Marcus