I’ve been a vegetarian for almost seven years now, and this diet choice is something that is very important to me. I do not eat meat or fish for animal rights, environmental reasons, health reasons and in general because I do not believe in killing living beings. Before I came to Ghana I was very apprehensive about this lifestyle and was nervous about being healthy as a vegetarian here. But now that I have established life in Accra, I have found that being a vegetarian is actually quite easy here! Between my options in the markets, restaurants, and what I can make with a hot plate in my dorm, I have a good assortment of options. There have certainly been situations (mainly while traveling) where my choices have been limited, but all in all I am impressed with the ability to be vegetarian in Ghana.
Although I have maintained my lack of eating meat or fish, my diet has still very much changed to adapt to Ghanaian lifestyle. In Ghana there is very little dairy, which is something that I ate a lot of in the States, so this has been quite an adjustment. But this lack in dairy has been replaced by an abundance of fresh, deliciously flavorful, and cheap fruits and vegetables. I seriously eat at least one avocado a day! I also eat a lot more starches such as bread, rice and beans because many Ghanaian dishes include these as a main component. Although my diet has changed, I feel that I am getting the proper amount of nutrients and have really been enjoying Ghanaian food.
What do I eat?
- Fruits: avocados, mangos, bananas, watermelon, pineapple, plantains, African blackberries, coconuts
- Vegetables: tomatoes, carrots, peppers, onion, cucumbers
- Snacks: “cake” (like muffins), plantain chips, yam chips, “biscuits” (cookies and crackers), popcorn
- Ghanaian local dishes:
-Banku with stew (Banku is a dough-like ball)
-Kontomire with boiled yam (Kontomire is a spinach-like stew)
-Tomato stew with noodles
-Red-Red (beans and rice)
-Kelewele (friend plantain)
-Other assortments of rice, noodles, beans, and stew
- Other random things I make or order
-Veggie sandwiches with salad cream (salad cream is a mayonnaise and egg sauce)
-Egg and bread (fried sandwich–they are very popular in Ghanaian markets)
-Burritos (when I’m lucky enough to find tortillas!)
-Pasta with sauce
-Breakfast items such as omelets, pancakes, and oatmeal
What foods do I miss the most?
- Good coffee!
- Dairy products (especially cheese, yogurt and sour cream)
- Cereal with milk
- South-western style food and spices (enchiladas, burritos, fajitas, etc.)
- Black beans!
- Veggie burgers