“Animals are my friends…and I don’t eat my friends.”
― George Bernard Shaw
As much as I love the vegan movement and would always staunchly defend it, I don’t call myself a vegan. Not least because basically – I’m not one. I’ve moved away from meat and dairy but I occasionally still eat fish/shellfish. Which means in some places I’d be called a “pescatarian”. But however you label me, I haven’t reached the gold standard of being vegan. And nor probably will I ever do because it’s gold standard for a reason:
- No meat
- No fish
- No dairy
But, here is the main part of being a vegan:
Nothing you wear, use, drink or wash with can have been derived from, tested on or have any part of the animal been used in the process of that product or food.
That means everything from seatbelts to red wine has to be checked and possibly avoided at all costs because both of these products have in some way had animals used in their manufacturing process. I know this because I’ve looked into it and or been advised about it. Even our new £5 notes are made with cow resin. All of this makes it practically impossible to be vegan.
Yes, you can, of course, buy vegan products. Forget cow leather – mushrooms are the way to go and there 50 more vegan wines to choose from than there were a few years ago.
But for the average Joe, like me, living in an average suburb it’s not easy, not cheap and until you get used to knowing what is and isn’t 100% vegan, can be very time-consuming.
So does that make me a bad person?
Well perhaps but not on this score. You see it’s about awareness. The minute I was more aware of the food I ate, where it came from and how it was produced I very quickly reduced my consumption in meat. Then when I took up the time to learn to cook with more veggies it became even easier and meat just fell away. Even grass fed organic beef. Because by this time, the thought of eating the flesh of another animal was quite frankly, disgusting.
Now it’s the same with the fish and seafood, it’s falling away as my culinary skills with cauliflower and cashews increase.
What started off as just a challenge back in 2015 of me taking part in Veganuary for 31 days, has turned around my eating habits and more importantly, awareness of my plate and the food chain completely. I may not be 100% vegan but I am 100% behind it and working towards it.
There is a new video on YT that explains meat eating in a different way. The Secret Reason We Eat Meat by Dr. Melanie Joy. This is the most insightful video on why eating a plant-based diet is so much better and why we actually eat so much meat to begin with.
It basically comes down to one (of many) questions – Why do we, in the Western World, find eating pigs and cows, okay but we don’t eat dogs and cats? And the obvious question to that would be “because dogs and cats are pets, we’d never eat them”. No, we wouldn’t because that’s not what we are used to but in other countries, it’s deemed fine to eat dogs. So, why do we eat pigs and cows? The video above will show you why.
There is a meme going around the internet that says “How do you know a person is vegan? Don’t worry they will tell you”. And it’s true because the most passionate and compassionate people are vegans and as much as the vegan sometimes stands for activism, which some people don’t like, I believe they are the only group that will stand to change the world to something much better, more kind.
Vegans and other supporters are already making an impact. The dairy industry is getting huffy about the word “milk” being used in plant-based dairy alternatives which rightly or wrongly doesn’t matter – it means more people are buying dairy alternatives and less money is being spent on dairy products that cause harm in industrial sized cow sheds. There are now more vegan products on the shelves of supermarkets than ever before making the choice so much easier for everyone in the family.
There is change and I believe it is for the better. And whether you’re 100% vegan or 10% vegan, it is all helping to make a positive difference to our health, our minds and to the animals.