Connect with us


Itua Iyoha: 3 Reasons Why Our Meat-Heavy Diet is Slowly Killing Us



Itua IyohaEating meat is a big part of Nigeria’s food culture – just look at how Nigerians react to any mention of suya, nkwobi or peppersoup. I used to love meat too; eating plain rice and stew without even a boiled egg was just painful. All that changed when I discovered the devastating health implications of consuming animal products.

A few years ago when started becoming more health conscious, I began to avoid red meat; I ate mostly chicken and seafood and had salads more often, even though I hated eating raw leaves. I also stopped taking margarine and used real butter instead. I thought I was eating a healthier diet, but I didn’t realise I was running on the spot. In the process of looking for a healthier alternative to frozen chicken, I began to read about how livestock are raised, and this led me to articles about the impact of animal protein on our health. That was how I discovered what the food industry does not want consumers to know as they sell us their sausages, burgers, ice-cream and pizza: all animal products (meat, dairy, fish and eggs) cause serious harm to the human body when consumed habitually in large amounts. I know this goes against what we know about nutrition and a balanced diet from school days, so allow me to share the facts behind this statement.

All animal products cause serious harm…

Animal products are unhealthy for numerous reasons, but I’ll just mention three of them:

They promote heart disease
All animal products contain cholesterol, as this is the building block of animal cells. Human beings need cholesterol to be healthy, but all the cholesterol we need is produced by our livers. Therefore any cholesterol we consume is already in excess, no matter how low in cholesterol the food may be. Our bodies have to work hard to get rid of it and prevent it from clogging our arteries. On the other hand, cholesterol is not found in any plant foods.

They promote metabolic acidosis which leads to disease
Human blood in its ideal state should be slightly alkaline, with a pH of 7.35-7.45. Plant foods promote alkalinity while animal products are acid producing. A diet which is high in animal products creates a condition called metabolic acidiosis, where the blood becomes acidic. Acidic blood decreases our ability to absorb nutrients, lowers immune function and makes us more susceptible to disease. Highly acidic blood (pH below 6.0) can even result in death. So understandably when acidiosis occurs, the body tries desperately to neutralise acidity. It does this by pulling calcium from the bones. Over time this can lead to osteoporosis, and the high levels of calcium that must be excreted in urine as a result can also lead to the development of kidney stones.

They are cancer promoting
It’s a common saying nowadays that “everything causes cancer”. It certainly seems this way; everything from deodorants to talc powder to mobile phones have been found to be linked to cancer. It is becoming increasingly difficult in modern society to avoid carcinogenic substances. However this is not what we should worry about – when most cancerous mutations develop in the body they are corrected without us ever noticing it. The problem arises when our internal environment promotes acceleration of the cancer instead of correction. Dr. Colin Campbell, world renowned nutrition scientist and author of The China Study, discovered that it is possible to influence the acceleration or regression of cancerous growths (tumours) by changing one’s diet. He found that increasing animal protein consumption is like flipping the cancer switch on, while reducing animal protein switches it back off. In other words, “[animal] proteins were causing rapid cell development and replication” in tumours. On the flip side, an increase in plant-based proteins showed no increase in cancer growth rate.

…when consumed habitually in large amounts
You might be thinking, ‘But I need the protein!’ A common misconception is that we must eat lots of meat to get enough protein. But in reality, we don’t even need that much protein to begin with, and it’s quite easy to get sufficient protein from plants.

The daily protein requirement for a Nigerian adult is about 0.8 grams per kg of body weight; beyond this, you’re consuming excess protein. For a 70kg person this means 56g per day. A single serving of meat/fish/chicken, which provides about 20g of protein, would be about the size of a deck of playing cards.
So three decks of cards already meets your protein requirement for the day. This is not even counting all the protein you consume from yoghurt, rice, beans, pasta, cereal, potatoes, and so on. Many of us already exceed the recommended protein intake on a regular basis, and our bodies have to do extra work to get rid of the excess.

So does this mean you must completely cut out all animal products? Not necessarily. Our ancestors ate meat; but they didn’t suffer from degenerative diseases, because they didn’t eat nearly as much of it as we do now. Their diet was mostly plant-based, with the occasional small piece of meat.

As the name implies, a plant-based diet is one in which most (about 90%) of your calories come from plants. It is commonly believed that this way of eating creates nutritional deficiencies, but this is simply misinformation – this article explains further. People who adopt plant-based eating have found that their blood cholesterol levels improve significantly within weeks. Even people afflicted with morbid obesity, heart disease and diabetes have been able to reverse the disease without the use of drugs.

But what is a plant-based diet? The answer might surprise you – a lot of people who eat this way eat salads less often than you think. There are so many more options than fruits and leaves. All the foods you’re used to, like bread, yam, rice, sweet potatoes, beans, plantain, cashew nuts, egusi, maize and cassava are part of a delicious plant-based diet.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this series where I explain how whole foods are the key to dropping excess kgs, and part 3 where I cover how to adopt a whole foods, plant-based diet in Nigeria.

Itua (the Naija Vegan Chef) is a passionate food lover and nutritional health enthusiast. She advocates a whole foods, plant based diet for its amazing health benefits and the freedom to enjoy good food without guilt. Find delicious plant-based recipes made for Nigerian tastebuds on her blog,


  1. Gossip Chef

    May 19, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    A lot of Nigerians, by self included. Eat for the sake of survival, thus quantity and not quality is what matters the most.

    With that said, Red Meat is one source of protein I cannot forgo as a body builder.

    • Ada Nnewi

      May 19, 2016 at 6:45 pm

      Please help me tell her, I lift heavy so I need my eggs, meat, chicken, seafood, milk and any protein I can lay my hands on..

    • Ema

      May 20, 2016 at 12:21 am

      Heyy, I also lift heavy and I am vegan! We don’t needanimals to survive. We are made to believe that due to years of it been engrained in our health and nutrition classes. You can get all the nutrients and more from a plant based diet. They are loads of vegan body builders which you can check out on IG or youtube for proof of this ???

    • Itua

      May 19, 2016 at 8:11 pm

      You’re right, a lot of Nigerians are more concerned with getting up to 3 meals a day to eat, but even at that it’s good for us to know that meat is not healthy, so we don’t go and spend limited resources on unhealthy food and then end up spending money on drugs when we fall ill.

      You’ll be glad to know it’s very possible to build muscle without so much meat. Check out this article: And you don’t even have to look that far. The warriors of most traditional African societies thrived on plant based diets like everyone else in those days.

    • Jade

      May 19, 2016 at 11:20 pm

      Meat is actually healthy. Just eat it in moderation. Yes, we consume a lot of meat but it’s a matter of cutting it down. I know people who are so health conscious and they are more sick than me. If you don’t like meat fine but to say it’s unhealthy is inaccurate.

    • Ladyy

      May 20, 2016 at 6:00 am

      Thanks for the posting this. I had to turn vegan(or rather rely on a plant-based diet) when I realized that it increased issues with post-nasal drip. Each time I eat dairy, snacks like meat-pie or meat, I get chronic bad breath and cough mucus/smelly tonsils continuously till I dragged myself to a dentist and an ENT doctor. I brush twice a day, why is this happening to me?

      I’m not vegan because I’m trying to save animals or avoid heart disease. Good thing though!! I made the slow painful switch when I realized its tremendous benefit for me. I also work out/strength train a lot and have been on a 40/40/20 meal plan for over 3 months. I must confess that Vega Orgain Plant Protein has been a helpful boost to my protein intake. Otherwise, I try to get as protein by choosing veggies carefully; mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, etc.

      While I mostly avoid meat, I may indulge when I feel like it. It’s been an enlightening journey for me.

    • Czar

      May 20, 2016 at 8:18 am

      @Gossip Chef! I can understand your ideology. I am a VEGAN who has been lifting for 4,5 years and has a ripped body to prove my case. I know u’re afraid of where u gonna get your protein source if u subtract animal protein. Have u thought about 1. Beans, 2. Peas, 3. quinoa,4. Nuts. 5.Tofu 6.Spenachi 7. Broccoli, the list goes on. From a healthy stand point plant protein is better than animal protein, and there are studies that proves it.

  2. Zedzed

    May 19, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    First, Nigerians do not eat a lot of meat, except you are from a really affluent home, you probably got one piece of meat for each meal and half an egg.
    Secondly, organic meat (the chicken we rear in our households or the beef from the fulani cattle rearers) will not “turn-on your cancer cell producing switches”, frozen chicken imported from “developed countries” and meat from these countries that are biologically modified and injected with growth hormones are the main culprits. You should be more afraid of groups like Bayer and Monsanto who are coming into Nigeria with genetically modified foods.
    This is way more dangerous than any plant based bull that is being sold to us.
    Moderation is key in anything you do (eat too much meat you will have issues, eat too much anything you will have issues). Food related obesity has more to do with eating too much and exercising too little than with eating animal based nutrition.
    Please do research on what the situation is with our health problems related to our eating and physical exercise habits rather than try to sell us the “Vegan Agenda” as is currently being preached in the western world. This will add more value to us.

    • Elizabeth

      May 19, 2016 at 9:26 pm

      She is adding value, by bringing up the topic. More research will also show you many of the farms in Nigeria are also injecting their meat and vegwith genetically modified chemicals. Also the slaughter processing in Nigeria has shown there is a high chance that many of the meat getting contaminated during the delivery process. From where the animal gets killed to where it is taken to be sold. We all need to learn dear.

    • Itua

      May 19, 2016 at 9:51 pm

      Thank you for your comment, Elizabeth. I appreciate the affirmation.
      As you rightly pointed out, many people are unaware of the harmful practices adopted by meat sellers in Nigeria.

    • Itua

      May 19, 2016 at 9:26 pm

      You bring up good points Zedzed, thanks for commenting. Factory farmed meat is definitely worse than organic meat, but the research I have made reference to makes no distinction as to the effects on our bodies. Organic animal products do promote acidiosis and accelerate cancerous growths.
      I agree, too much meat creates problems, and the point made in this article is that we (particularly the middle class) are starting to eat too much meat.

      I wasn’t aware there is such a thing as a vegan agenda. To my knowledge the animal agriculture industry is far, far more powerful than any vegan group in the world. If anyone has an agenda it’s the meat industry. Just look at how Amazon rainforest preservation activists have been assassinated for protesting the clearing of the rainforest for cattle pasture.
      And even if there was a vegan agenda, what is sinister about a philosophy that seeks to promote non violence, a healthy diet, food for the hungry and care for the environment?

    • ElessarisElendil

      May 20, 2016 at 5:51 am

      What is sinister is that meat is delicious, plants are bleh???

      I’m not oblivious to the health risks and hell even the environmental damage mankind’s love for meat can cause but I’ll be damned if my ancestors fought to the top of the food chain only for me to eat grass like a common goat, why am I an omnivore then?? If my death lies in meat, so be it. Valar Morghulis.

  3. Tunmi

    May 19, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    Oh boy. Rather than demonize meat, let’s promote portion control. Anything eaten “habitually in large amounts” can kill. That includes the water we need to survive and even oxygen. Also the Nigerian diet IS a plant based diet: Efo, Ewedu, many forms of beans (moi moi, gbégiri), swallow foods, rice, stew, corn (pap), etc.

    We are already eating these things. I’m all for bringing awareness but let’s not carry other people’s headache, biko.

    • Itua

      May 19, 2016 at 8:22 pm

      Hmm, I’m not sure anything eaten habitually in large amounts would kill you; note that I didn’t say ‘in excess’. The yam and cassava our grandparents ate habitually in large amounts certainly caused them no harm.
      You’re right, our traditional diet is definitely plant based. However as more people move to urban areas that diet changes. Middle class urbanites have started to eat a lot more meat, eggs, fish and dairy. Just look at how many Coldstone-Dominos joints are popping up around the country; they are there because there is demand. Alongside this trend of higher consumption of animal products we are starting to see higher incidence of degenerative diseases linked to diet like diabetes, cancer and kidney disease. This article is meant to be a wake up call so people can change the way they eat back to the traditional plant based meals with a small amount of animal protein.

  4. Sade

    May 19, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    Lol I guess something must kill a man

  5. Green

    May 19, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    It is one thing that will kill one. I choose meat as my own poison. It doesn’t mean I’ll drown myself in meat, but I’ll eat as much as I can when I can.
    Come to think of it, my granddad loved and ate meat so much and he lived to be over a 100years old. *wide grin*

    • Itua

      May 19, 2016 at 8:39 pm

      There are always examples of people who didn’t adopt the healthiest lifestyle and still lived quite long. I could give you many examples of long lives smokers, but that doesn’t mean everyone should now go and buy a cigarette…
      Everyone will die, but personally I’d rather not die in a hospital.

  6. Noname

    May 19, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    Our forefathers did okay now & I sure say we will be okay too.

    • Itua

      May 19, 2016 at 8:24 pm

      Our forefathers’ diet is quite different from the way we are eating now. They didn’t have meatpies, corned beef stew, burgers and pizza on a regular basis. And they definitely didn’t eat large pieces of chicken at every meal.

  7. Bowl

    May 19, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    The fact is how many Nigerians can afford red meat or processed meat products.How many Nigerians die from meat related cancers. All these posts tire me. What is the epidemiology of colon cancers. Abeg !

    • nene

      May 19, 2016 at 8:17 pm

      gbam. id rather eat meat than burgers. meat doesnt kill biko

    • Ema

      May 20, 2016 at 12:29 am

      Aren’t burgers made from meat?

  8. Abby

    May 19, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    If it was processed meat this was about, I would have agreed but all this scare mongering about red meat, I beg to disagree. My rule is eat in moderation simple. Anyone who wants to keep adjusting what they eat based on scientists’ findings which keep changing every single time, then you are on a long thing.

  9. Zandyzay

    May 19, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    Vegetarians sef dey die. Y shouldn’t I enjoy what I feel like eating biko? Some people with terminal illnesses are still alive while those ‘supposedly’ healthy are dying everyday. Enjoy all u can, the next moment isn’t assured

  10. ElessarisElendil

    May 19, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    “Our ancestors ate meat; but they didn’t suffer from degenerative diseases, because they didn’t eat nearly as much of it as we do now. Their diet was mostly plant-based, with the occasional small piece of meat.”: You just described most Nigerians, the majority can only afford meat on Sundays. But hey, Nigerians who consume tons of burgers, draw your ear.

    We don’t consume as much meat as the West or the Chinese, methinks we’ll survive. The greater tragedy is how nutritionally useless Cassava is, can’t forego my daily akpu(fufu) though.

    • Itua

      May 19, 2016 at 8:45 pm

      Cassava is nutritionally useless? Eish. Even with all the Vitamin C, A, calcium, iron, fiber?
      Biko don’t allow the Western fear of carbs taint your understanding of our traditional staple foods.

    • Pat

      May 21, 2016 at 2:15 am

      U made valid points in your article but I am surprised u don’t know that cassava is just as worse as red meat. It contains acidic chemicals which does not go well with the human body.

  11. el patron

    May 19, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    As Gossip chef pointed out, am trying to pack some muscles plant based protein good can’t do the job for me.
    even though i eat and practice healthy living, am not afraid of death, when its my time i pray the lord my soul to keep.
    meanwhile i enjoy myself in this world, eat and experience what the world has to offer.

    • Itua

      May 19, 2016 at 9:02 pm

      Plant based protein can actually do the job, and even better because you don’t get the heart-stopping cholesterol that comes with animal protein. Check out these articles: and

  12. sista

    May 19, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    …as I type this, I’m in bed suffering from piles(Haemorrhoid) and it’s something which has been recurring for over two years. Each time it occurs, I don’t nothing and it goes away after about two days but this one has really taught me a bitter lesson. the pain has been unbearable so for the first time I researched online and in all honesty, I’m guilty of most of the causative factors which are diet related
    and so I’ve VOWED to change my eating habit sharp sharp.
    Reading this article has inspired me the more.

    • iyke

      May 19, 2016 at 8:32 pm

      incorporate more fiber in your diet/meals

    • Itua

      May 19, 2016 at 8:40 pm

      Sista I really hope you find a lasting natural solution to the problem. At least you know what the cause is now so that’s already a major step forward. Good luck dear!

    • Ema

      May 20, 2016 at 12:52 am

      I used to have this issue but Since going vegan, my bowel movement have been amazing to say the least! It feels great and I am no longer bloated unless i decide to eat too much junk food (vegan doesn’t mean healthy). It most definitely will solve this problem.

  13. Debbie Ade

    May 19, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    How is meat slowly killing Nigerians biko? Exclude the wealthy and middle class which are only a fraction of the Nigerian populace. How many people can really afford to buy so much meat ? Meat is expensive in the market o! Small piece of meat, butchers will call thousands of naira!!!! Compare what we eat to how much meat (steak etc) that whites and co eat. When you move from Naija to places like the USA, you are slim at first and over time the weight kicks in. Our food in Nigeria is a lot more organic than most of the Genetically Modified things we call food that we eat here in the US. Who is meat killing in Nigeria?
    What if I don’t eat meat and stuff myself with carbs?? How is that helping me? I think the aim should be to improve our diet in Nigeria. Eat well balanced meals, Eat in moderation rather than point at meat as a killer!!!

    • Itua

      May 19, 2016 at 8:37 pm

      The wealthy and middle class are precisely the people who are eating a meat heavy diet so we can’t exclude them, although the article is not just for them. Hopefully it also serves to educate people who cannot afford meat so that they begin to see this as a blessing rather than a curse, and when they can afford it, they won’t go overboard with it.

      As for genetically modified and non-organic foods, sadly many Nigerians are eating these already. The ‘organic utopia’ picture of Nigerian agriculture is no longer the reality. GMOs in packaged food, glyphosate herbicides and chemical fertilizers are very much prevalent here.

  14. californiabawlar

    May 19, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    Lol…you mean carb heavy diet?
    What is killing me? The piece of chicken on my large plate of jollof rice? or the one shaki and cube of meat in my okro soup?
    The occasional suya?
    The yam and eggs or sauce breakfasts?
    What exactly are you on about?

  15. Princess

    May 19, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    For all those who feign ignorance of the change in disease pattern in our generation, I think we should stop and pay attention. Our grandfathers died of communicable diseases like measles, tuberculosis, whooping cough, chicken pox, etc. Most of these diseases are now preventable. Our western lifestyle promotes prevalence of non-communicable diseases and these are mostly linked to diet. I think the writer has a point. Yea, something must kill a man but death by cancer, diabetes, heart disease and so on is better avoided. A visit to a hospital will convince you. Lifestyle modification is very crucial in our age and time

    • Itua

      May 19, 2016 at 8:30 pm

      Thank you Princess, this is exactly the point I was trying to make! I hope people do pay attention for the sake of their health.

  16. D'Mamma

    May 19, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    Hmm! Maybe you’re talking about a different group of Nigerians. Coz me I’m still complaining of excess carbs. Big rice,small cubes of meat. Mounds of eba, 1cube of meat. Dear writer, we’re obviously not in the same Nigeria.

    • Itua

      May 19, 2016 at 8:29 pm

      Lol! D’Mamma thanks for your comment. No doubt the majority of Nigerians don’t eat a meat heavy diet. But hopefully when people read this article, they will start to see their plant based diet as an advantage rather than deprivation. Meat is too expensive for most people to eat a lot of it; the problem is that as soon as people can afford it, they start to eat way too much and then end up with diseases of affluence that require very expensive drugs and even surgery. Hopefully this article will prevent people from making this mistake.

  17. Teni

    May 19, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    I certainly wasn’t eating too much meat when I lived in Naija and now that I am abroad, I eat way more meat and so far, every single annual check up has me in good health. So thanks for the advice but I’m good.

    • Itua

      May 19, 2016 at 8:47 pm

      Glad to hear you’re healthy Teni, but the research about the negative effects of a diet high in animal products is there for anyone to read. Our bodies can be likened to cars. We shouldn’t wait till there’s a problem to service them.

  18. ogeAdiro

    May 19, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    I feel say na the sedentary lifestyle be the main problem?

  19. Bey

    May 19, 2016 at 7:54 pm

    Eat every thing in moderation. Protein, carbs,fats and oil, sugars etc.
    I eat everything, and I mean everything including chocolate,cake, pastries. The demon bread though I eat wheat bread and the other demon rice.
    But I exercise, power walk 4/5 days a week for 1 and a half hours, or even 2 hrs and I’m loosing weight.
    I love food, love to eat. But I eat healthy. Healthy in my home books atleast.
    Life is too short not to eat bread, rice and Oreos.
    I’m not skinny, but I definitely ain’t fat.

    • Ema

      May 20, 2016 at 12:53 am

      Oreos, rice and bread are vegan. ?

  20. Bey

    May 19, 2016 at 7:55 pm


  21. Lady B

    May 19, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    I usually don’t share feedback on blogs but these comments are ridiculous. What’s that popular Nigerian saying…”A word is enough for the wise.” #govegan

  22. winnie

    May 19, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    I just love almost all the comments here on this topic. so according to the writer, meat is now poison abi???
    Abeg eat what you have to eat moderately and leave the rest for nature to take its course. As Vegan, do you eat extremely large quantities of leaves??? how many Nigerians eat meat as a whole meal???
    it’s just something we use to complete our meals…and even when it is eaten in large quantity, ots bot everyday. abi na everyday person dey go suya joint???

    • Itua

      May 19, 2016 at 9:00 pm

      Maybe not you, but there are Nigerians who do eat meat every day, and a lot of it.
      Yes, animal products are harmful to the human body, and it’s not according to me. This is scientific fact. I understand the sentiment behind your statement and I’m definitely not one for restrictive diets. But as someone who loves to eat food and a lot of it, I’d rather not be thinking about how much of a bad thing is safe to consume. I try to eliminate unhealthy things so I can eat as much as I want.

  23. o

    May 19, 2016 at 8:26 pm

    Seems BN’ers are not ‘swallowing’ this pill ooooo…lol

  24. Wale

    May 19, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    I stopped eating meat last year, but I eat the occasional Jamaican beef patty or latin type empanadas here in Miami. Red meat is bad. My concern is the alternative for the folks back home. The fish and chicken are ladened with antibiotics etc that aren’t regulated; the farm raised ones that is… What options do people really have?The food safety and security in Nigeria is something to contend with. I’d rather someone chased down a chicken in our backyard at home the old fashion way,at least quality organic protein will be guaranteed. Nigeria is now the second largest country with antibiotic resistant deaths-because everything we are fed back home is essentially poison.
    (I had problem posting, may post multiple times)

  25. MC

    May 19, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    In my opinion Nigerians eat a lot of meat*.
    It’s only from Nigerians I hear “I can’t eat if there isn’t meat on the plate”.
    When I am being served food (by a Nigerian), they always want to drop down and die when I refuse the meat being offered. And on occasions when my mum was present, they have asked her if I am sure I don’t want meat!!!!
    (I’m a grown woman by the way)
    It’s only when I’m in Nigeria that I feel like an outcast because I don’t want meat.
    I’m not a vegetarian. I just don’t need or feel for meat everytime it is presented to me.

    *meat = red and white

    • Itua

      May 19, 2016 at 8:54 pm

      Lol! That’s definitely something you hear a lot in Nigeria. It’s we urban cool kids who are spoiled now o, in traditional societies meat was a rare treat.

    • Wendy

      May 19, 2016 at 9:49 pm

      The reason is that meat is seem as a status symbol. .it is the poor people that only eat without meat…

  26. Catherine Iyoha-Idiong

    May 19, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    Good job, girl!

    • Itua

      May 19, 2016 at 9:35 pm

      Thanks sis! 😀

  27. Toyosi

    May 19, 2016 at 9:34 pm

    Itua, thank you so much for this, I’m a Nigerian who became a vegan almost 4 months ago and the health benefits have been incredible. My blood pressure has reduced so much that its almost too low sef lol. In the four months , I’ve lost almost 20 pounds and the glow on my face these days is just amazing. Also, I feel good knowing that my lifestyle choices are environmental and animal friendly as well. I love me some suya, asun, fried fish, and I can’t lie, sometimes I miss them, but abeg, I feel better than I have in a long time jor. <3

    • Itua

      May 19, 2016 at 9:49 pm

      I feel so much joy reading your comment, thanks for sharing your experience! I used to love asun as well, but trust me after a while you won’t even crave it anymore.
      Do you live in Nigeria? I’d love to meet up and talk sometime.

    • Ema

      May 21, 2016 at 5:17 am

      How do you cope with being a vegan in Nigeria? Are you a student, working etc?

    • Itua

      May 22, 2016 at 6:48 am

      Hi Ema, my response to your comment ended up at the bottom for some reason.

  28. Wendy

    May 19, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    Dalu…abeg help me tell her..people are running around these days with common sense knowledge..I also hate when vegan try to push meat is bad..blah down our throat. .eat in moderation…monitored what u eat..know the source of your food..our people back home just need to embrace their products and stop importing certain foods or using certain chemicals….people just need to leave the media hype and use common sense…
    Look at the craze for coconut oli and shea butter like it is a new product..

  29. Wendy

    May 19, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    Yes..according to white man research and the chemicals that they are injecting into it….so why won’t meat be bad….
    All these propaganda to promote organic food companies…why not spend money on stopping the use of chemicals in foods…MBA mass production..we cannot catch up…
    life is funny sha..
    In America..the poor people eat all the chemicals because they cannot afford organic. In niaja, the rich people eat all the chemicals because they can afford they so want to only eat food from abroad. ..

  30. Choices

    May 19, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    Itua darling I hear you with this article. Permit me to ask, where do you reside? Nigeria or abroad? If you reside in the latter, what are your tips for healthy eating for someone on a strict budget and/or a student who doesn’t have a lot of money? Do you have any meal prep ideas?? Preferably a healthy twist to our African meals… Also, I don’t think I can completely eliminate animal products, but I can definitely consume in moderation.. Any tip on how to consume animal products in moderation? Thanks.

    • Itua

      May 19, 2016 at 10:35 pm

      I live in Lagos, Nigeria but I do travel outside the country for work. Three things that you may find helpful:
      (1) buy staples in bulk and vegetables/fruits in smaller amounts as needed. Starchy staples like rice, beans, sweet potatoes last long and you can get them cheap in bulk. Fruits and vegetables spoil easily especially when there is no Nepa so buy just enough when you need to cook so you don’t end up throwing everything away.
      (2) cook big pots of things that take a long time on weekends like soup, stew and beans and freeze them in small containers. Frozen food keeps better even during power outages, and if you use small containers you can easily take one out and eat without having to thaw all the food at once.
      (3) Make healthier quick meals: Sometimes when I’m tired, don’t have anything in the freezer or don’t have time I make something like stir fry pasta which isn’t very healthy but cooks fast. I use lots of veggies and add nuts to improve the nutritional value.

      As for consuming animal products in moderation, the best way is to eat more food. That way there’s just not enough space for a lot of meat. If you’re eating eba and soup, don’t be afraid of the eba (it won’t make you gain weight, the oil in the soup is more likely to do that). Eat as much as you like and use enough soup. By the time you finish, the small piece of meat or fish will be enough for you. Also eat more meals that just don’t call for meat, like beans and yam porridge.

      You might want to check out my blog for recipes, the link is in the bio below the article. Another good website is Also look out for the third article in this series that talks about tips for following a whole foods, plant based diet.

      Sorry, the reply is quite long, lol! I could probably give more useful advice if I understand your situation better. Are you on Twitter? Maybe we can DM there.

  31. Ginger

    May 19, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    Thank you! Being vegan is great, not always ‘easy’ but it’s totally worth it. I’m a savoury lover though, so sometimes…life happens LOL. A bit shocked by the comments you got, but don’t take it personally, people on this blog also reacted like this about natural hair articles, and I guess it’s more them being defensive about their right to lifestyle choices, than them condemning you(rs). Rather than be discouraged, know that your article has influenced some people, subconsciously or not. Also, not everyone that reads, comments.

    *ps Service of God and others *winkwink* (if you get it, just smile) 🙂

    • Itua

      May 19, 2016 at 10:48 pm

      I agree, vegan is not easy but it’s awesome! Thanks for the encouragement Ginger, I really appreciate it!
      *wink wink* 🙂

  32. Tutu

    May 19, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    This right here shows that Itua and others have a lot of work to do as regards educating Nigerians on the healthy lifestyle. I totally believe you Itua, my only issue is that I love meat so much. *sigh* I once travelled to Spain on a course, my Neighbour gave me a meal with no meat and I’m like…Girl, In Nigeria, it’s poor people that eat food with no meat, in fact it’s rude to give people food with no meat….I’m that girl. I need help!

  33. Ewa

    May 19, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    Thanks for this. I’ve been toying with totally taking out animal sources of protein for health purposes. Can you assist with quality sources of plant protein and are plant based protein powders okay to consume?

    • Itua

      May 19, 2016 at 11:05 pm

      Thanks for reading, Ewa. I try not to focus on any one nutrient as that is a slippery slope that can lead to nutritional imbalances. When you eat a wide variety of whole foods in sufficient quantities you are bound to get enough protein, as there is quite a bit of protein in nearly all plant foods (including brown rice and oats). If you aren’t able to eat mostly whole foods though (i.e. if you eat a lot of refined carbohydrates like white rice, bread and pasta), try to incorporate more legumes and nuts in your food to be sure you get enough protein. Beans, lentils, peas, chickpeas, soybeans, cashews, peanuts and so on are high protein plant foods.
      Protein powders are not advisable as these are highly refined products that are no better than refined sugar, oil and white flour. It’s never a good idea to consume a pure macronutrient as the body does not know how to process it. Food should be eaten the way nature intended: whole.

  34. D

    May 19, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    Dear itua
    I don’t like vegetarians, no disrespect to gay but they are like gay’s always wanting to force their believe and life style down your throat. Why don’t you educate your convert about vitamin b12 deficiency associated with being a vegan and you know you get the same vitamin from animal diet except they want to be on medication or getting injected so as to prevent conditions like ataxia,psychosis,depression,cardiovascular problems and so on.
    I also don’t like taking ? so I would continue eating my meat with moderation and exercising for 15mins/day and can go up when I feel like.

    • Itua

      May 20, 2016 at 12:42 am

      Hi D, thanks for commenting. If you read the post you’ll see that I made no mention of either veganism or vegetarianism. I’m a vegan, but this article was not intended to ‘convert’ anyone or force my beliefs down anyone’s throat. The article only suggests returning to the plant based diet of our ancestors, and as anyone can see, this is based on scientific research and not personal beliefs. Instead of imagining things, why don’t you evaluate the merits and demerits of the information presented and the research backing it?

      If you’re interested in veganism, I’m happy to answer any questions you have. As for the B12 deficiency you mentioned, it is not a vegan plague. Some vegans who are not careful can be deficient, same goes for meat eaters as B12 is not produced by animals; factory farmed animals actually receive B12 supplements. You can read more about B12 in the vegan diet here:

  35. Doodle

    May 20, 2016 at 12:18 am

    While I agree that excessive meat consumption is not good for your health, I do think that Nigerians’ problem is not the excessive consumption but the lack thereof. How many people living in Nigeria can afford to stock their freezer with meat? I think the number one Nigeria’s health problem is the excessive consumption of Carbohydrate – Diabetes.

    For the Nigerians living oversees, it is a different issue entirely.

  36. Ema

    May 20, 2016 at 12:26 am

    Oreos, rice & bread are vegan ??

  37. AmaPra Twia(Ghana)

    May 20, 2016 at 12:29 am

    I don’t know if all Ghanaians are like this or if it is just my family, but my family in general mainly eats seafood(shrimp, red snapper, tilapia, etc) and poultry(chicken, guinea fowl, turkey, etc). I do enjoy eating red meat but not often as it does get tiring and sickening.

  38. Passing by

    May 20, 2016 at 12:43 am

    From my experience there is countless research about food and how it affects are body and some of them are contradictory, and could be biased. While I am not discounting the validity of a case against animal protein, just saying that from what I’ve learnt sometimes you just have to go with what makes sense to you. I’m a big proponent of whole real foods and my opinion is animal protein falls in that category, and knowing the food guide recommendations for protein is important then eating it accordingly.

  39. June

    May 20, 2016 at 2:49 am

    Madam, BNers aren’t here for no meat. Tired of all these scientific this , that , everything under the sun is killing us so we should eat “findings” ! Lol! We will be eating our meat, together with our leaves and carbs in moderation. Thank you. We just need to incorporate a good amount habitual exercise into our lives. -NEXT!

    • Itua

      May 20, 2016 at 8:36 am

      Exercise is great, but as we all know, one cannot exercise away a bad diet. I’m advocating a plant based diet, note that I didn’t suggest no meat at all. Like you said, moderation is important.

  40. Abena

    May 20, 2016 at 3:36 am

    While I agree with the points raised in the article, I think the title of the article itself “3 Reasons Why Our Meat-Heavy Diet is Slowly Killing Us” makes the author seem almost judgemental. For people who have been eating meat all their lives, perhaps, a better approach would have been to get readers more curious about a plant-based diet and less meat– without the dramatic headline..

    • Itua

      May 20, 2016 at 8:25 am

      I apologise if you feel judged by the title, that was not the intention. The intention was to present facts. The article is not meant to shame people who eat meat at all; in fact nowhere did I suggest that people should stop eating meat. The fact is that a meat-heavy diet does kill, partly for the reasons I mentioned, and people have a right to know this. Hopefully the article does make people curious about a plant-based diet.

  41. Ino

    May 20, 2016 at 4:41 am

    So ITua, out of the 20 essential amino acids , our body can only synthesize 10 and the rest is supposed to be gotten from meat and diary products. People should not be misinformed. I was watching CNN the other day and a nutritionist went on how good it is to have egg. When we do our research, we should seriously question the authority and source

    • Itua

      May 20, 2016 at 8:19 am

      Hi Ino, thanks for pointing this out, there is definitely a lot of misinformation about what we should eat. There is an abundance of nutritional advice promoting consumption of animal products, but critical evaluation of the motives of the promoters is important. The meat, eggs and dairy industries have been influencing the dietary guidelines in the US for decades to ensure they remain profitable. They fund research and pay doctors to say what they want them to say – that people should eat more animal products. Just do a google search for how bacon became a part of the standard American breakfast and you’ll see what I mean.
      On the flip side, there is no huge industry trying to deceive consumers into eating more plants; there is no need for deceit because they are obviously healthy. No doctor will tell you to eat less lettuce for your health.

      As for the essential amino acids, you can get all of them from plants. I don’t eat any animal products at all and I’m not deficient. This article fully debunks the incomplete protein myth:

  42. Nakoms

    May 20, 2016 at 5:48 am

    “the plant based diet of our ancestors”

    Sister our ancestors were meat eating whole food people. Let’s go easy with “researches” that push an agenda.

    • Itua

      May 20, 2016 at 8:22 am

      Agreed, they ate meat and I acknowledged this in the article. Plant based does not equate to no meat.

  43. BlueEyed

    May 20, 2016 at 6:53 am

    @ZedZed’s comment is everything I wanted to say, if you wanna be vegan be vegan, it’s your choice, but don’t make assertive statements on what is healthy or not on a subject as diverse as the human body,
    Also, except you grow your own vegetables (that’s if you live abroad), supermarket vegetables are heavily genetically influenced also. When it comes to human life/health there is no hard or fast rule, there is only Moderation.

    • Itua

      May 20, 2016 at 8:20 am

      I made no mention of veganism in the article. I’m advocating a plant-based diet; veganism is quite different.


    May 20, 2016 at 7:33 am

    I am glad BNers are so interested in stuff other than man/ woman matter though. Congrats Itua! you broke the record

    • Itua

      May 20, 2016 at 8:33 am

      Lol! I’m not sure what record that is but thank you! 🙂

  45. winnie

    May 20, 2016 at 8:19 am

    @BlueEyed you just summarized my opinion on this topic. @Itua I must commend your effort to replying most comments. Thumbs up. But meat is not poisonous to the human body. and there’s no scientific fact whatsoever that will convince me. As long as we humans do not have the four compartment ruminant stomach, we are very much free to eat both vegetables and animal products and it won’t harm us. None of it is poisonous to humans.

    • Itua

      May 20, 2016 at 8:33 am

      Thanks Winnie, there are so many comments but I’m trying!
      Of course you are free to eat animal products, but as I said in the article small quantities are advisable. The science showing how these things affect us is quite solid. So many people in the Western world have made the mistake of eating a diet high in animal products and end up with horrible degenerative diseases in their old age that our grandparents were not used to (heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, kidney disease and the like). I hope we can learn from their mistakes.

  46. hezekina pollutina

    May 20, 2016 at 8:45 am

    Naijas and denial eh? So you mean people cannot even admit we eat too much meat? In one soup will be different animals who have never met each other cooked together? All to be digested in one stomach, at one sitting. Even Naijas dey eat Leather, and call it Kpomo. They would not agree to give up appetite for leather for the benefit of developing a Leather industry in Nigeria. And now – ITS TIME TO PROTEST FULANI HERDSMEN by STOP EATING BEEF!. Naijas will never do it! Am i lying?

  47. Vidavi

    May 20, 2016 at 9:40 am

    I pity the fool that tries to stop me from eating meat

  48. Niola

    May 20, 2016 at 10:53 am

    Amazing so many comments. I do believe in portion control i.e eating in moderation. Since I get all and I mean all of my inspiration from God, I have decided that all things are lawful for me to eat, so I wont be taking out meat from my diet, I do incorporate loads of plants in my diet though for breakfast I have bran flakes and alpro soya milk, for lunch either quinoa/spinach and goat meat lol or basmati rice and grilled chicken and for dinner pepper soup or smoothies, I do think that is healthy enough, don’t you think itua? Also I am a bit sceptical of western scientific research because I remember how these days they are advocating for mothers to breastfeed, something Africans used to do a lot before they of course invaded our market with formulas, they do change their mind often so I think walking with conviction is indeed the way to go…

    • Wendy

      May 20, 2016 at 1:12 pm

      They are advocating breastfeeding because the insurance company found out it is cheaper for them…healthy babies equal to more money in the insurance company pocket. …insurance company even give u free breast pump

  49. winnie

    May 20, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    Hezekina you are really funny…nice.

  50. Oma

    May 20, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    Hi Itua, thank you for the beautiful article. I will like to have your take on cow milk. I am a milk lover, and aside from the occasional gas i have no problems with lactose but i have read a lot of articles about milk not been so good for us, contrary to what we were told growing up. I am willing to give up milk, if it means better health but i am concerned about getting adequate calcium for my bones. You see, my mum has osteoporosis, and i am very much concerned for my bone health especially as i am a woman in her early 30s.
    I look forward to your response on this and i will be coming back to check for it! thank you Itua.

    • Itua

      May 20, 2016 at 1:50 pm

      Hi Oma, thanks for bringing up this great question. Most people don’t know that dairy is a very bad source of calcium as it tends to promote leaching of calcium from the bones. It’s great that you want to stop drinking milk, good for you!
      Plant based sources of calcium include green vegetables like kale, broccoli and even our local okra. Nuts and beans also have quite a bit of calcium; lucky for us in Nigeria, sesame seeds in particular are packed with it. Just one tablespoon of sesame seeds provides nearly 10% of your daily calcium needs! My suggestions for incorporating sesame into your diet is to blend sesame seeds into butter that you can add to a smoothie or use as thickened in a sauce. Not too much though as it is also high in fat. And go hard on that okra soup! You can also stir fry chopped okra and have as a side dish with rice or add to noodles.
      Luckily most store-bought plant based milks like almond, rice and soy are also fortified with calcium nowadays.

      These articles are very helpful and they also have a long list of plant based calcium sources:

      Regular exercise (particularly strength training) and exposure to sunlight (to get adequate vitamin D) also help to build and maintain bone strength.
      I hope this has been helpful to you. Good luck dear!

    • Oma

      May 20, 2016 at 3:17 pm

      Thanks very much Itua. Cheers to healthy living!

  51. Wendy

    May 20, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    Hello Itua,
    I know that your intention is to promote healthy living which we all appreciate. Do you realize the reason that some people saying that you are trying to promote being a vegan. Your article truly does sound like it. Everything that vegans don’t eat is bad for you. Some vegan people/gay people/naturalistas kind of all sound same. Always trying to shove it down our throat. Do what ever you want to do and stop putting down other people for the believe.

    • Itua

      May 20, 2016 at 3:34 pm

      Hi Wendy, I am sorry to disappoint you but I am not here to promote being a vegan. If you feel that something is being shoved down your throat, you do have the option of not reading the article. However bear in mind that I have simply presented a scientific argument with no appeals to ethical beliefs whatsoever.

      Veganism is a holistic ideology that goes far beyond eating animal products. Equating a plant-based diet to veganism would be like reducing Christianity to the act of going to church. It’s just not accurate.

    • wendy

      May 20, 2016 at 4:34 pm

      Madam….I have to read it to dissect it and state my opinion. As a writer, you have to be able to accept different point of views in a diplomatic way. As previously stated, all the scientific findings in this article and in the news all seems to be promoting veganism. Nothing is new.

  52. Wendy

    May 20, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    Like I said before. everything is moderation. Know your body. Listen to your body. Do checkup. exercise as much as you can do.

  53. wendy

    May 20, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    btw, itua, I did not respond with the intent to bash ur write up.

    • Itua

      May 20, 2016 at 5:37 pm

      It’s okay, I can see that 🙂 I hope the difference between veganism and a plant based diet is clearer now.

  54. Opeyemi

    May 20, 2016 at 7:31 pm


    I really appreciate this post, it is quite refreshing and I can relate a little bit as I am a Pescatarian. Having said that the writer does seem to come across as rather ‘forceful’ / very much pushing it down people’s throat and going through the comments I’m seeing it again. Everyone is entitled to eat what they want and we need to respect everyone else’s views. It was never going to be an easy task trying to engage Nigerians in such a discussion 😉 They love their meat loool.

  55. Ino

    May 20, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    Lol u got me cracking up. Funny but true

  56. molarah

    May 20, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    This article just seems rather one-sided, at least from a scientific point of view. For anyone to make an assertion that a meat diet is killing us, there should be at least some local research backing that statement up – maybe proportion of people dying or in general hospitals due to cancer/cholesterol-related diseases, or lifestyles associated with heavy meat consumption, or something like that. As many commenters have stated, I doubt this is even close to the top 5 food-related (or non-communicable disease) killers in Nigeria: of course I stand to be corrected by empirical findings. I think the writer rushed to make certain assertions in a bid to prove her point, and the true message she was trying to pass across is now coming through in her comments. I’m not here for meat or no meat: my own is all this obsession with what will kill and what won’t – newsflash: living kills! None of us are getting out of here alive anyway (except those around at rapture). Moderation is the food gospel that should be preached – there is no food in and of itself that has the power to kill (or even to make alive, no matter what all the “superfood” proponents try to sell to us). Gbogbo scientific discoveries left, right and center – dem get as dey be, and if that is what one is using to guide their life, hmmm is all I will say.

    • Itua

      May 22, 2016 at 6:46 am

      Thanks Molarah for the suggestion. Next time I write this kind of article I will try to cite research about disease epidemiology in Nigeria. I did assume it would be obvious to most people though that degenerative diseases are increasingly common in urban areas but I guess not everyone is aware. That’s why they say one should be careful to make assumptions! 🙂

  57. Prince

    May 21, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    This is very very educating. i love meat, though vegetable soup is my best. looking forward to part2

  58. Itua

    May 21, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    Not a student, working in Lagos. I’m going to assume you’re referring to veganism as an the ideology and not as a diet, so I’ll address the question that way.
    Eating vegan in Lagos isn’t really difficult as long as I am able to cook my own food. When I have to eat out then that’s when there’s a problem as the options are quite limited. Someone following a plant based diet might be able to eat soup with meat in it and just leave out the meat, but being vegan is different. I don’t eat anything that has been cooked with meat, and you can imagine it is difficult to find dishes that weren’t cooked with meat stock or crayfish in Nigerian restaurants. I try to order from Veggie Victory when I can, it’s a vegan restaurant in Freedom Park.

    As for veganism in other aspects of my life: it’s quite easy to find clothes and shoes not made with leather, fur and so on in Nigeria. I try to avoid products that have been tested on animals by using natural alternatives where possible. For example I use coconut oil to moisturise my skin instead of store bought lotions.
    Overall it’s not easy but it’s not overwhelmingly difficult either. And despite the difficulties I think it’s the best decision I’ve ever made 🙂

  59. Somebody

    May 22, 2016 at 8:21 am

    Humans exist in current form for about 150.000 years.
    Agriculture is the source of our non-animal products we eat today.
    Agriculture started 5.000 years ago and it got to an industrial level only recently, around 150 years ago.
    Before 5000 years ago, on some 100.000 years span, humans were only hunters and gatherers.
    They consumed animals from hunting and small amounts of fruits.
    Humans evolved on a meat diet and they are built that way, more than on a vegetables diet.
    Take for example people leaving in Arctic regions. In Arctic regions vegetation of any kind is inexistent. Those people leave since the begining of life on meat only. They never touched a vegetable and they are healthy and happy.
    You should belive only what you can see, not what somebody sais.

    • Itua

      May 22, 2016 at 2:06 pm

      Hi Somebody, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. Yes, humans did evolve to eat meat, but not counting people who lived in extreme conditions such as the arctic, prehistoric man could not have depended on meat as the primary source of nutrition. From what I have read about life in prehistoric times, in hunter-gatherer societies the hunters would often return home empty-handed. Hunting isn’t easy, even now that we have guns. Then consider the crude tools they used at the time; it would have been extremely difficult to survive on meat alone. At least some, if not most, of the food in prehistoric times would have been gathered from plants in the bush. To say that prehistoric man “never touched a vegetable” seems to me a hasty generalisation.

      And when you say ‘believe what you can see’…none of us was alive then, so what other choice do we have than to believe what someone else says? In this case someone else being anthropologists and historians.

    • Itua

      May 22, 2016 at 2:12 pm

      You also seem to believe that humans are meant to eat a primarily meat based diet, but I wonder how that can be so, if overconsumption of animal products creates so many health problems?

  60. Isi

    May 22, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    Can I have the writer’s mail address please. Thanks.

    • Itua

      May 22, 2016 at 5:48 pm

      Hi Isi, my email address is naijaveganchef at gmail dot com. Looking forward to hearing from you! 🙂

  61. Somebody

    May 23, 2016 at 5:47 am

    I made a clear difference between prehistoric people and Arctic people. For Arctic people Im referring to people living today. In Arctic regions vegetation does not exist at all. As for prehistoric people, they did eat seasonal fruits. It is a great subject to read on if you interested. Archaeological methods used today are pretty accurate at determining what those people ate and how they lived. Of course I would not recommend a meat only diet. But saying that meat is harmful is just wrong.

    • Itua

      May 23, 2016 at 2:11 pm

      I can see the distinction you made now; I’m sorry, I misunderstood you before.
      I’m very curious about why you believe meat consumption is not harmful to humans despite all the evidence to the contrary. Care to share your reasoning?

  62. Somebody

    May 27, 2016 at 6:59 am

    Meat, eggs and milk contain class 1 proteins (proteins that contain all aminoacids). All vegetables contain only class 2 and 3 aminoacids (that do not contain all aminoacids). Aminoacids are necessary to build new cells in the body. Also meat contains high quality lipids and unique vitamins, digestible iron and more.
    Besides that, its obvious humans are not herbivore by nature, they cannot function like a cow, camel or other herbivore. They are simply not built that way. Humas are omnivore, they eat all and that is what puts them at the top of food chain in nature.
    There is no evidence that meat under normal conditions does any harm.

    • Itua

      May 29, 2016 at 2:33 am

      That’s true, as far as I know no single plant food contains all amino acids in sufficient quantities; that’s because they don’t need to. Omnivores do not eat mono-diets as carnivores do; we do not survive on rice alone or wheat alone. Carnivores need to get all their amino acids from meat, but as we are omnivores eating a varied diet we can easily get all the amino acids we need from a combination of foods. Also remember that although we are omnivores, eating only meat would cause serious deficiencies (starting with carbohydrates) while eating only plants is quite healthy for humans.

      This article is not saying that humans are herbivores and should eat no meat; actually I’m not sure why you brought this up at all. Consumption of meat in small quantities is not harmful, on this we agree. The crux of this article is that high consumption causes health problems.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Star Features