Veganuary – 3 weeks in! (from Facebook)
edit: I hope to carry on this blog filled with healthy vegan and sometimes vegetarian eats.
I hardly ever post on Facebook other than me drinking wine and pics of nights out, but felt like sharing this with my friends and family smile emoticon
I’ve currently gone 3 weeks as a newbie vegan after dad and I decided to trial Veganuary. Dad’s been a vegetarian most of his life, and up until the age of 18 I was also a veggie. I moved to the UK for uni and there my love for bacon began – followed by fully embracing a love of meat which has now been ongoing for 10 years. Not wanting to do another Dry January this year but still wanting to accomplish something while also getting back on the health wagon post Christmas indulgence, Veganuary seemed like the best idea.
For those of you who know me well, this was not an easy decision to take. I knew giving up meat would be hard but not impossible, cheese was another story…I LOVE cheese and dairy in general, but I also love a challenge.
My thinking behind trialling a vegan diet started with the appeal of weight loss and a new years health kick – it then led on to a bit of research and I ended up watching Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret (thank you James for the suggestion). Those who know me will also know that I’ve grown up with parents who’ve spent their entire careers working in sustainability – so protecting and respecting the planet & nature has been drummed into me since an early age. To learn that the meat and dairy industry is the largest contributing factor in species extinction – that fishing, water pollution, and the deforestation of the world’s rainforests for agribusiness are destroying the homes of millions of species was shocking. (I realise that ‘Cowspiracy’ is mainly based on consumption in the USA but living in the UK it’s not something I could ignore either.)
Along with huge negative impacts on the environment, you cant help but get upset with how animals are treated. For me what was possibly even more heartbreaking than the meat industry, was reading about the dairy industry. The dairy industry has very cleverly diverted our attention from one basic, biological fact: in order to produce milk to make cheese, chocolate etc., a cow must give birth. A dairy cow has her first calf at around 18 months old and just like a human she is pregnant for nine months. Typically, this calf is taken away from her within hours of birth. To ensure a constant supply of milk, a cow will suffer this same process of pregnancy and separation several times in her life. A dairy cow is forcibly impregnated, typically every 13 months. This means she will give birth to, and lose, a calf nearly every year. A cow would naturally live until 15-20 years of age; because of the health toll of constant pregnancies and milk production, the lifespan of a dairy cow is only about five years. They are then killed after they are no longer deemed profitable. (http://www.veganuary.com/why/animals/cows/) this is only one example, there are countless more. Again I realise that this is looking at dairy farming on a large scale, and luckily in some places like my home country Switzerland, they subsidise the dairy industry because they like their way of life – and as such we are gifted with beautiful pastures and happy cows.
There are SO many other factors and figures you can look at, argue about and refute. There will always be skeptics, there will always be people who say ‘I just love meat too much to try it’. I’ve had people tell me I’m going to fail, that I’m stupid to try it, and people who obviously just want Vegan’s to shut up and stop talking about being Vegan! I totally get that. I also believe in educating myself and caring for the planet as best I can, and strongly believe as a species that one person can make a difference however small that difference might be, so I might as well try!
Going forward I’m going to complete my Veganuary. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I can’t go back to eating meat (surprisingly I don’t miss any of it which is a bit of a relief). Although I’m not missing cheese or dairy at the moment I don’t think I could say I’m never going to eat it again… however, I might reserve my cheese-eating for visits back to Switzerland where the cows are happy. In myself I feel happy and healthy, I’ve discovered some great recipes, my meat-eating bestie Sophie Toner had me round for dinner and cooked me a vegan chilli (total ledge), and I even had a delicious vegan pizza at Pizza Express (who knew they existed?! Thanks Kate Rolfefor the tip!)
Here’s to a happy, healthy and successful 2016 all x