Following my previous post, I’ve had a couple of requests to update you with how our new vegan lifestyle is going so if you’re interested in anything to do with animals and food you are in the right place.
Up to about 4 months ago, I thought veganism was a diet followed by hardcore vegetarians, faddy eaters and extreme left-wing, slightly whiffy, self-righteous ex-hippies really.
It had never interested me; yes I had seen glimpses of the horrific photos of animal abuse shared by PETA and the like but I didn’t really believe that cruelty actually happened in the UK in the vast majority of farms. We live next to a sheep and beef farm for heaven’s sake.
Once the seeds had been sewn by my BFF and a vet programme I started doing some research. I read about the heart breaking reports of horrific abuse in the US in Eating Animals and Slaughterhouse but that was over the pond, in factory farms right?
So I dug a little further and discovered a Food Standards Agency review of conditions in UK slaughterhouses conducted after instances of cruelty were revealed following uncover filming in the early 2015 by an animal welfare organisation. The report reveals that while the majority of slaughterhouses meet the standards required for humane slaughter, a few don’t (the report can be read here).
This concerned me enormously; I discovered that I wasn’t comfortable knowing that even one animal had suffered needlessly just because I liked eating meat.
Anyway to cut a long story slightly shorter, 4 months on I am 100% vegan and have learned that this is NOT simply a diet but a way of life.
The myth that not consuming meat or other animal products is hard is one perpetuated by many so-called vegans who promote reductionism – where you aim to reduce the amount of animal products consumed by adhering to ‘Meatless Monday’ for example.
For us it has been relatively simple. I make our own almond milk (soo much nicer than any commercially produced plant milk) to have with homemade granola (a lot of shop sold contains honey) for breakfast.
We eat lots more vegetables without trying, our five-a-day is easily achieved nowadays, and I enjoy it. Roast vegetables, casseroles, varieties of humous, nut roasts (yes I know but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it) and stir fries are just a few of the wide variety of food and meals we have.
Homemade vegan ice cream (man, the BEST), chocolate brownie, chia seed and almond milk pudding, numerous dark chocolates and truffles mean that my sweet tooth does not go ignored.
Many omnivores complain about vegans being ‘preachy’; let me tell you, it’s really hard not to be. We see them consuming products tainted by needless cruelty and death; it is an effort not to think of the animals like cows and pigs being ‘processed’ on the kill floor right now, not to think of the baby chicks being ground up alive just because they are male. It’s heartbreaking from my perspective.
Did you know that cholesterol is only found in animal products? I certainly didn’t and it’s shocking to think of how much is spent by the NHS every day on Statins when all that is needed is a vegan lifestyle.
I guess the only part I’ve found a teeny bit difficult is the wool thing. I’m not going to explain why using wool isn’t ok, there is lots of info via Google if you’re interested. As you may know, wool and other animal fibres have been a huge part of my work and life. I’m putting a brave face on it and sourcing lots of animal friendly fibres like faux cashmere for spinning and some lovely linen/viscose for weaving but it’s not the same. How could it be? It’s the same as switching to a plant milk; it won’t taste the same as cow’s milk. It’s different and to expect otherwise is completely unrealistic and naive. I’ve decided to use up my (fairly considerable) stash but just not buy any more and so far so good. I hold onto the fact that it may be slightly tough for me, for the sheep that has been handled roughly by the shearer and frightened by the shouting and activity around her, it pales into insignificance.
OK, I’m going to leave it there with these final questions: how would you feel if it was your dog or cat? Why are other animals different?
And I’m just going to leave this here.