November 1st marks World Vegan Day.
Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in one’s diet. But those that adhere to the vegan lifestyle go beyond simply avoiding meat, eggs, and dairy products, they reject the commodity status of animals.
An ordinary breadfruit is transformed into a work of art in the kitchen at Vivo alternative restaurant just one of the many flavorful animal-free delicacies on Vivo’s mostly vegan menu.
“Pleasing a vegan crowd here in a vegan restaurant is very easy, but pleasing meet eaters: that’s the challenge,” said Vivo owner and vegan chef Michele Zama.
He told Cayman 27 he finds fulfillment in convincing carnivores that a good meal doesn’t have to involve animals, but he says veganism is more than just a diet plan.
“Of course there’s no meat or no fish, but also no cheese and no eggs, no honey, and also what you wear, you don’t wear leather, you don’t wear wool, you don’t wear silk, and also your lifestyle, you don’t ride horses for example,” he said.
He told Cayman 27 many, including himself, are introduced to veganism after seeing the objectionable treatment of animals in large scale commercial farms.
“After that I started to research more about health, and then I found out that being vegan was very good for me as well,” said Mr. Zama.
He likened going vegan to quitting smoking. He admits cutting cheese from his diet was the hardest part.
“If you start to understand what’s behind the cheese industry, you understand the harm you give to animals, at some point you say no, I don’t want to be part of that,” he said.
Ultimately, he said, the vegan lifestyle emphasises sustainability, while not sacrificing good taste.
“When I have a lot of meat eaters coming here and telling me that it is one of the best meals I’ve ever had, for me it’s the biggest and most grateful thing I can hear,” he said.
Veganism’s growing popularity is evidenced by the number of restaurants on-island that cater to the lifestyle. In addition to Vivo, several other establishments, such as Bread and Chocolate, Island Naturals Cafe, the Greenhouse Cafe, and Saucha’s meal delivery service.