If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have noticed that there’s been a lot of plant-based meals featuring recently and not as many animal products as before. (And if you don’t follow me on Instagram, what are you doing? Get on it. 😉)
Now, before anyone goes crazy – I’m not going vegan. Not totally. Or at least, not yet.
I don’t want this to be a rant or an attempt to convert you all to veganism or vegetarianism, but it is a report of things from my point of view; things which I’ve learned recently which I strongly think need to be shared with as many people as possible.
So, let’s begin.
How do I feel about veganism?
Honestly, I think veganism is great. I LOVE that so many people from my fantastic generation are choosing to give up animal products in a protest against environmental or animal rights issues. I love that by choosing a vegan diet, a lot of people are finally eating more vegetables and whole foods and giving their body decent quality nutrition. I think this is fantastic.
What I don’t think is fantastic is:
- going vegan because it is “fashionable” and it is what everyone else is doing,
- going vegan without fully researching what you need to eat and do in order to ensure you’re doing it safely,
- going vegan because you’ve been pressured into it by somebody else.
Now, veganism means no animal produce: no dairy and no meat, and I want to share my opinions on each of these separately, as they are different.
MEAT? no problem.
I think we are supposed to eat meat. We have teeth for eating meat (and plants). Meat is what our ancestors ate and, while that does not mean that it’s necessarily the best thing we could be putting in our bodies, it does mean that our bodies are built and equipped to eat it and digest it and I do think that it is good for us.
But I think that it is good for us in the right quality and the right quantity, and this is where the problems start.
You see, our ancestors weren’t eating horrendous cheap burger meat three times a week.
Nor were they eating supermarket chicken two times a day.
We are eating far too much and, in turn, are contributing to the atrocious health, welfare and environmental problems that mass-farming is causing.
That is the problem.
DAIRY? no thank you.
Look, I don’t want to gross you out but… do you ever think about milk? About the fact that we are the only mammal on the planet to continue to drink milk after we have been weaned from our mothers, and it’s not even the milk of our own species that we drink? It’s baby cow food. Bit weird, isn’t it?!
Oh, and another thing which makes it even better.
You know how your mum only produced breast milk when she was pregnant? Well, yeah, it’s the same with animals. Cows aren’t supposed to produce milk all of the time. They need to be pregnant to do this. So what happens?
The cows are impregnated, and not in the natural way might I add. They are artificially inseminated (go ahead and google it if you like) so that they can make babies and make milk. This is not a pleasant procedure. In fact, it’s horrific. Oh, and then their tiny little babies are torn away from them as soon as they’re born. Does that cheese still taste good?
You see, you have to look at the bigger picture. It’s not right. It’s completely unnatural. The whole concept of dairy products is really messed up.
But this isn’t the main reason why I changed my diet recently.
So, what’s my issue?
To be totally honest, it isn’t the welfare issue that is the biggest problem for me, although it is a problem. I’m quite comfortable with the idea of eating meat, so long as it comes from a good source (I now buy free-range and want to start buying it from a local farmer or butcher.)
No – the biggest problem I have is the environmental issues.
As a smart, conscientious, wanting-to-save-the-world young lady, I can’t watch these documentaries and read these statistics and not alter my lifestyle and my choices. I can’t just ignore what’s going on.
We are destroying our planet, my friends. The environmental impact of farming (of both meat and dairy) is so terrifying, but it’s all kept hush-hush. We don’t know about it. They don’t tell us about it because there’s too much money wrapped up in the whole thing. But we should know about it. Because I think you and I and everybody else has the right to know what we are contributing to every time that we eat, drink and buy animal products. This is why vegans and vegetarians are so in your face, not because they’re arseholes, but because they have a very important message to get across to you and you won’t hear it otherwise.
So am I becoming vegan?
But I am cutting back. Eating way less meat, and barely touching dairy, which I think is what we all need to do. And this is where I’m going to get a bit pushy.
You need to stop being so goddamn selfish.
I don’t want to be a vegan, alright? I like meat. I really do. I like cheese and I like ice cream and chocolate like anybody else. But we all need to live on this planet, and the way we are going right now isn’t making that a very likely scenario in the future.
It doesn’t have to be a big deal. It doesn’t have to be difficult.
We think it’s black and white; vegan or meat eater. It’s not. You don’t have to be 100% of anything. All you need to do is cut back. No matter how little, it will make a difference. One day a week without meat. Or animal products only on the weekend. Whatever. If we all just cut back, even a little bit, we’ve got a chance to save this.
If you don’t want to be a vegan, you don’t have to be. You don’t need to label yourself as anything. You just need to live in a way that’s thoughtful and respectful of a world that is much bigger than you.
Because the world is a lot bigger than you.
It’s a lot bigger than your cravings or your “oh I just love cheese though, I couldn’t possibly give it up.” GREAT. Eat cheese. But not every day. Open your goddamn eyes. Cut. The fuck. Back.
Do it for a world that’s much bigger than your “but-I-need-to-get-200g-of-protein-in-a-day”.
Do it for your great-grandchildren, so that they don’t have to live in a world that’s dying because grand mummy and daddy were eating 3 chickens a day to “bulk up”, blissfully unaware of the irreversible damage that their contribution to this industry was making to the planet. There is a world so much bigger than you, so much bigger than your dietary preferences or cravings or fucking protein requirements.
For once, it’s not about you, or me. We’re not doing this for us. We’re doing it for something much bigger than you or me or any one of us.
We’re doing it for our planet.
Let’s save the world.
I want people to contribute their views on this, so of course any opposing opinions or questions are welcome. Please leave them in the comments, or share this post with others who you think might like to read it.
If you are interested in some of the things written here, do yourself a favour and watch Cowspiracy. Come back and let me know your thoughts when you’re done. It changed my whole outlook.