What is Black Vegetarianism?
I am a
blegitarian vacketerian a Black person who does not eat meat and this piece is dedicated to the wonders and (insert outdated slang reference for fantastic)ness of Black vegetarianism. You can read this entire piece or the first sentence of each paragraph and move to the comments sections. It’s your choice.
Black vegetarianism reduces pain and extends life. It’s as if you become a mutant in the Marvel Universe (Storm, Black Panther, Misty Knight, and Luke Cage in one person). When compared to those who eat meat, vegetarians/vegans have lower: risks for heart disease, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, rates of hypertension, rates of type 2 diabetes, overall cancer rates, risks for obesity and stroke. According to the CDC, the leading causes of death for Black folks are heart disease, cancer, and stroke. Only the cool POC believe in improving their quality of life by cutting out the meat. Think of it as low cost insurance with no mysterious bill after you have already paid the copay.
Black vegetarianism is moderation. There is no need to start fast. You could participate in Meatless Mondays, go “vegan before 6,” or eat at least a few vegetarian meals per week. Hell, you could even have a non-meat potluck as an excuse to be nosy and find out what other people like so that you can judge them after they leave. I would also recommend visiting a vegetarian friendly restaurant. Ethiopian food FTW!
Black vegetarianism is flavorful. A common complaint by those who aren’t vegetarian is the “blandness” and “boredom” associated with eating non meat based items. As if meat has a ton of flavor without seasonings. This is a short list of great tasting soul food dishes I have eaten without any animal products:
Red or black beans and rice
Sweet potato pie
Maque choux (look it up)
There are so many options that you have probably already eaten great dishes that will taste the same with slight modifications. Also, you probably don’t eat as much meat as you think.
Black vegetarianism is a hater destroyer. Haters are the bane of every vegetarian’s existence. The primary question is always about protein intake. People can be ignant sometimes. It’s as if lentils, seeds, nuts, beans, and soy products don’t exist. Those sunflower seeds you poured into your hand, shook for a second, poured into your mouth, chewed, and swallowed back in the day count as a protein source, but you should get them unsalted today because you’re grown now and you know that hypertension is a thing.
Black vegetarianism isn’t bougie. Cut out the meat to help the Earth, prevent animal cruelty, save money, stay healthy, and not be bougie. (Editor's note: Or be bougie.) There is a correlation between prosperity and meat consumption, which means vegetarianism is straight up proletariat. Join the cause, find some recipes, and gets to cooking.
Vontilla Steven has a day job and many writing side hustles: wrote and performed a one-person show, co-created a sketch comedy show, and wrote a screenplay that did well in a national competition. He is based in New York and is originally from Lafayette, Louisiana. He doesn't eat meat and that poses a problem when he visits his hometown. He loves to cook, lift and drop weights, and run the Stairs of Doom in Washington Heights.