by: michael eli dokosi /www.blakkpepper.com/ghana
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At the Bishop Station in Accra opposite the Ghana Library Board, sits the Asaase Pa (Good Land) Natural Food and Products Shop in addition to the restaurant which is a favourite of local vegans and tourists sampling offerings in the capital.
This writer having had the pleasure of hosting a few business meetings there decided to engage owner of the facility, Kwasi Adu to reveal how operations started and what the journey has been like.
According to Mr. Adu even when sickness visits deciding to do away with meat enables one to survive and not be overwhelmed by the disease.
He observed that our ancestors were not afflicted with diseases the current generation has to contend with “because they did not take to Europeanised foods (canned meals and beverages) as we gleefully do.”
The 63 years old elder explained he set up the Asaase Pa Restaurant to remedy the situation because it soon became clear that preaching about the ills of wrong diet and stressing the need to turn to a vegan diet was not enough to trigger lifestyle changes till there were ready alternatives to consume.
He however recounted the challenges he faced:
“I started by cooking and going to homes to sell but most times at the end of the day half of the prepared meal remains unsold and have to be disposed off into the waste bin because no one desired to eat a meal without meat or fish.”
The gloomy picture however was soon to change when the health benefits of adopting a vegan lifestyle begun penetrating thanks to the Vegetarian Association of Ghana, nationally staged events and radio discussions.
According to the Asaase Pa founder, even Oman FM’s healthy lifestyle advocate, Omanhene Asante gained valuable insights from his stable adding it’s been 24 years since he personally adopted the lifestyle of eschewing meat and dairy products from his diet.
Asked if one’s faith was a prerequisite to becoming a vegetarian, Mr. Adu answered in the negative explaining issues of faith were personal decisions acknowledging however that certain faith based organisations encourage their members to be vegans.
“Everyone was born a vegan but we deviate from the path while aging and need to just return to it,” he pointed out submitting at Asaase Pa local delicacies like Fufuo, Ampesi, Banku and Omo Tuo were all in stock except instead of soups full of fish or pork, beef and chicken; mushrooms, vegetables and soya products are served.
Orange, pineapple, mango and water melon juices are available at Asaase Pa as is yam balls, wheat pie, and ice cream.
The Kwahu native stayed with his uncle at Swedru, moving to Sunyani before embarking on a foreign trip and securing a job on a ship. He reveals it was a Hebrew Israelite, Ben Ami Ben Israelite whose teachings changed his life’s course.
Given that he already loved cooking thanks to his mother who drew him close to her teaching him cooking techniques, the man who says “I am creative with food and other stuff,” although had heard from friends and Rasta associates about Ben Ami, hearing his teachings at their Liberian branch led him to start experimenting with vegetarian meals at a Liberian restaurant and when the feedback was superb, he’s not looked back.
It was challenging for wife, Patricia Gyasi whom he’s been married to since 1982 to adapt to the vegan meals especially when she could not enjoy fish, meat nor chicken but once she loved him enough to bear four children for him, she made the switch eventually and now manages one of their vegan outlets at the 37 Hospital.
At the Asaase Pa Natural Food and Products base are teas of all kinds be it green, black or flavoured which patrons purchase as well as soya products and health books.
For the youth, Mr. Adu says they must take steps towards their goal and all others shall fall in place.
Asked if going vegan has any sexual benefits especially for the men, Mr. Kwasi Adu submitted vegans don’t need aphrodisiacs as their system is cleaned and purified by the meals they consume and the beverages they take.
A word to the wise, they say is in the North.