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Growing up in the early 90’s in West London was pretty fun… Ooopps… I can hear some other decades travelling through the cosmos alongside a Vinyl here and there!

I can’t help but remembering other kids faces at Family gatherings who thought I was completely weird because you could not eat what they were eating. Vegan Lifestyle was kinda hard.

The only people that kept the Vegan flag flying at that time from memory were Rastafarians, Hippies of the UK Green Peace Party and the sprinkles of Mystical Gems (wink, wink).

Growing up in a half Rasta household with strict eating habits, life could often be confusing.

I do laugh at how my Grandmother use to roll her eyes each time she dished me out a plate of food, saying, “Larks…. Di poor Child can’t even eat a nice piece of Red Meat.” LOL.

No diary products, my clothes were mainly animal friendly and the list goes on. Do I resent it… Never! It’s was amazing and set the foundation for me today.

Looking back now, it is also amazing how much Rastas even back then, had Vegan life so on point. Nearly every Rasta Family we knew, echoed the famous principle, “Ital is Vital.”

Fast track to 2019 I am a full time Vegan and also my immediate family for several years now. “So what’s the big deal Princess…”

A few days before Christmas, I went into a Vegan Shop eager to see what stock they were trying to get rid of (What! Vegan food is kind of expensive these days lol.)

The assistance was very middle class, with long mousy brown hair, about 40 and looking at me quite strangely. I thought nothing of it because as usual I had about 3 minutes before my parking ticket was about to time out.

The shop assistance came towards me with an awkward smile and enquired as to if I needed any help. I asked for a particular product and she made it her duty to tell me how great it was. I let her know I had been using it for years now and she soon realised I was not exactly a newcomer.

“Wow…” she said, “I didn’t think you were Vegan when you first walked in…” I didn’t mind that statement because I’m not exactly skinny (lol) but then she went on to say, “Because Black people culturally only really eat meat.”

Now she spoilt it. A complete freeze moment, lip whining contest and pull up selecta reverb!

What a silly thing to say…. So annoyed I quickly replied, “No,” and left the shop heading to my car.

During the day I couldn’t help but think about it. Did she have some merit in her perception or was she just completely stupid?

I have often felt that Rasta Veganism is most times left out and only mention when it suits. Somehow appearing to be a totally different lifestyle to, “a true form of Veganism.” Does Rasta’s contribution to this lifestyle, the vital knowledge provided, familiar sounding herbs and provisions we know today due to Rasta’s concept of this lifestyle, deserve to be completely swept under the carpet. And why? Because of some new age Vegan Shops who prefers to keep a certain clientele at bay and not a contributing face of the new Vegan trend?

Veganism is on the rise amongst our UK population and it’s a great feeling to know people who are not Vegan still are willing to try a Vegan dish here and there… Well except my friend who thinks it’s all a conspiracy to make meat eaters feel bad (We love you Deborah and I know you will read this lol).

Natural provisions such as breadfruit, yams and green banana are now hailed in the UK as being the new Superfoods.

My Grandparents have forever used these foods in their daily Caribbean cooking and always sang their praises of how good they are for you to eat. In fact these Royal Windrush Gems are the main reason these hard foods were imported into the UK in the first place… Right?

“Ok Princess, what’s your point?”

Give credit where credit is due because it would be an absolute shame for the marketing of our modern day Vegan trend to portray Veganism with a slight prejudice under-tone especially when we live in such a multi cultural society.

Don’t forget about all Global contributors of Veganism, health knowledge and ideologies because of a poshly packaged breadfruit.

If a conscious effort could be made to change the present perception and narrative on healthy food in combination with class and race many would be encouraged to have a healthier lifestyle.

It may also help if food prices went down but that a totally different article. A silly situation I guess, but I think it was worth having!

A Big Thank You to our UK Legend Macka B on his social media campaign called “Ah Wah Mi Eat,” which has helped to change perceptions and increase knowledge on Veganism. Check it and have a great week!

Article by Princess Pyhia, Journalist of Reggae Britannia @princesspyhia




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