A couple of years ago, when someone announced themselves as vegan, you could almost feel the air in the room stiffen. These days, however, more and more people seem to be moving towards plant-based eating, with many trend-forecasting sites touting veganism as the biggest food trend of 2018.
While veganism may not be mainstream just yet, this year saw a major spike in “Veganuary” - a new year’s resolution to switch to a plant-based diet, and from the number of brands, stores and restaurants that have added vegan items to their offering, it seems the global movement may be here to stay.
In a bid to promote veganism in her own small way, Johannesburg plant-based chef Parusha Naidoo, who’s been vegan for over four years, made her own new year’s resolution this year - one that has seen her teach herself video editing and start a bi-weekly series of video tutorials.
WATCH | Tutorial on vegan curry:
“I want to show that eating vegan food can be accessible to everyone,” says Naidoo. Which is why, after “three years of procrastinating”, she has finally started releasing her video tutorials.
“I want to share everything I know about vegan food,” she says. “The way I learn new things and consume media is mostly through watching videos - Tedtalks, YouTube, Skillshare, Masterclass - so I naturally thought that videos would be a great way to reach people like myself, who also consume media this way.”
Naidoo’s first video teaches you - in just over six minutes - how to make an easy vegan curry. She uses a basic formula of 3 + 3 ingredients, which can be mixed and matched to your taste or to what you have in your fridge. “I want to share recipes that use easy-to-find, affordable ingredients instead of expensive specialty ones,” she says, adding that vegan food is commonly believed to be expensive but, in fact, it can be extremely cheap.
Naidoo taught herself to edit using YouTube tutorials and gets her friends to help her shoot the videos. “I watch loads of cooking shows, so I’ve picked up a lot from them too,” she says.
The timing seems right for this series, as more and more people are turning to increasingly plant-based diets. “People are thinking differently about food and becoming more open to the idea that meat does not have to be present at every meal and that vegan food can be delicious,” says Naidoo.
While she went vegan in January 2014, and was strictly vegan for three years, she no longer classifies herself as such. “I eat vegetarian when I eat out, or at friends’ homes, and when I travel,” she says. “It’s not that wild to be vegan any more but it’s still not very convenient for vegans to eat out or eat on the go in most of South Africa and the world.”
For Naidoo, sharing her passion for a plant-based diet is important as the benefits are great. “You feel so good!” she says, adding that you dramatically reduce your risk of diabetes and heart disease, as well as your carbon and water footprint. “Essentially, you do less harm in the world.”
Over the next few weeks Naidoo plans to show viewers what groceries she buys on a regular basis and how to make sure you consume a balanced vegan diet. Look out for her videos, which will be released every two weeks.