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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

World Vegan Month: Being plant-based in Nigeria

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For World Vegan Month, The Vegan Review is sharing the stories of vegans from 30 countries around the world. Here’s one from Nigeria.

Daniella Obuwan Oshiame is a health and nutrition writer, vegan health consultant, natural-hair model, and a voice actor from Nigeria.

She went vegan in April 2018. “‘Vegan’ in my language is ‘ono-rherami’,” she says.

Why did you go vegan?

I went vegan for health reasons. All I wanted was to look and feel healthier. I was tired of all the recurring rashes and breathing issues I used to have. I turned vegan overnight after reading a post on Facebook on April 1, 2018, which said that anyone can cure their health issues just by going vegan. I decided to give it a try and ever since then, I haven’t looked back. All the health issues I used to have disappeared and I’ve been living my best life ever since.

What was the biggest challenge when you transitioned?

My biggest challenge when I transitioned was giving up chicken. I loved fried chicken a lot, and not seeing it in my meal was very weird. Many a time, I had chicken cravings but I never gave in, because I knew I had to let it go in order to be healthier. It’s been two years now, and I don’t crave fried chicken anymore.

What was the reaction of your loved ones when you went plant-based? How did they adapt?

My family and friends didn’t take it well at all; they were worried for me. They thought I was going down a wrong path that wouldn’t end well. Now, they’ve seen the numerous health benefits I’ve achieved over the years and they’ve learnt to accept me for who I am. I can say they’ve adapted well to me being vegan.

Who are your influences?

Wow. Well, I have a long list of influences: Ugomma Mmaduabuchi (certified holistic health therapist/herbalist), Professor Arnold Ehret, Dr Sebi, Dr Douglas Graham, Dr Michael Greger, and Dr T Colin Campbell.

What’s your favourite thing to cook now? Have you tried to veganise a local traditional dish?

I am more of a cook-at-home person because I usually work from home. I hardly eat out. So, I cook my meals every time, and my favourite thing to cook now is boiled yam and fresh tomato stew.

Yes! I veganise my local traditional dishes every day because I love to cook. For example, boiled plantain and vegetable stew, bean cake and sorghum pudding. It’s so filling and delicious.

What vegan product do you wish your country had available?

I wish Nigeria had vegan/cruelty-free makeup products.

Check out our list of non-vegan beauty ingredients and their alternatives.

How accessible and affordable are vegan products in your country?

Whole plant-based foods are affordable and easily accessible here in Nigeria all year round in the local markets. Most traditional Nigerian dishes are vegan-friendly with a large amount of whole plant-based food ingredients like beans, cassava, seeds, nuts, rice, yam, pasta, plantain, sweet or Irish potato, corn, millet, sorghum vegetables and fruits.

What’s your favourite spot for vegan food in your city?

I usually don’t eat out. But if I were to eat out, I would choose VeggieVictory and Michele’s Vegan Kitchen any time, any day. They cook delicious, mouth-watering vegan meals.

Read our story on VeggieVictory, Nigeria’s first vegan company, gaining international funding.

What is the one city you’d like to visit as a vegan?

Oh! I would like to visit Auckland in New Zealand. I’ve heard a lot of amazing things about that city.

What’s the biggest roadblock to veganism in your country?

Veganism is fast-growing and people are embracing a “life-changing”, healthier whole plant-based lifestyle here in Nigeria. But lack of awareness is still an issue. Many people still don’t know what veganism is all about or the health benefits that accompany it. They mistake it for vegetarianism. More awareness needs to be there in order to overcome the roadblock.

Amy
Amy Buxton
Amy is a committed ethical vegan, raising a next generation compassionate human with her husband and beloved dog, Boo. A freelance writer with a background in PR, she decided to use the COVID lockdown period to refocus her client base and has come to The Vegan Review as a senior writer and editor. "What we should be doing is working at the job of life itself" is Amy's mantra, courtesy of Tom from The Good Life.