Veganism used to be regarded as a bit of a bonkers thing. Early vegans came about as a distinct group when even the Vegetarian Society thought their views to be bonkers. These days (whisper it) veganism is on the cusp of becoming mainstream.
My previous post talked about my weight loss. Once that had been achieved I sat down and analysed what my diet now consisted of. There was not much meat there really, chicken mainly. And I’ve never been a big fish eater anyway. So dispensing with meat and fish would be easy enough if I wished. I’d become accustomed to eating, and enjoying, a wider range of vegetables, In doing so I’d lost that weight and I was feeling really well, physically and mentally.
It was done, no more meat and fish.
Then, while I was about it, I pondered the definition of veganism. This involved eschewing eggs and dairy as well. A little more reading brought me face to face with the world of animal rights. Within a short space I’d been horrified and convinced. I was now a vegan.
Diet or Principle?
Most vegans come to veganism through compassion for other sentient beings i.e. animals, fish etc. (I’ve come from the opposite direction.) Only a small bit of research will lift the lid on the cruel and unnatural way in which the likes of cattle, pigs, sheep and chicken are bred, farmed and ultimately slaughtered. Scratch beneath the surface of contented grazing cows and ‘happy’ hens. Even in jurisdictions like the UK where standards are considered high, the reality of millions of animals’ lives and deaths is horrifying.
I’m not going to go into detail, there’s plenty of graphic stuff readily available.
What about fish? It’s estimated that a trillion fish are caught each year. Scientists are now generally agreed that fish suffer when dying. That’s a lot of suffering.
And all because we CHOOSE to eat rotting corpses infected with bacteria, antibiotics, hormones etc. We don’t need to.
We’re all wringing our hands over climate change, aren’t we? It’s estimated that 17% of all greenhouse gases are down to agricultural activity. And much of that agricultural activity – and land use – is due to growing animal feed.
Health aspects of veganism
“Oh but where do you get your protein/calcium/iron?” or whatever. Basic research will tell you that a good vegan diet contains all the nutrition that a human requires. (The possible exception is vitamin B12 for which a supplement is readily available.)
It’s quite possible to have a rubbish vegan diet. If you eat nothing but crisps and tofu burgers you’ll quite likely suffer for your principles.
I eat a good selection of fresh vegetables supplemented by a few vegan replacement products, and maybe some tinned goods. There are MANY amazing recipes out there but, living by myself, I’m not bothered with these. I must work on my fruit intake though.
Restaurants are starting to see the light and offer a better selection of veggie and vegan dishes, or are happy to modify their offerings on request.
I’m not here to convert anybody, in fact I might not mention the subject again. I find that some vegans can be preachy, or indeed angry individuals. I’m determined not to be like that though I WILL explain my position if the situation arises.
If you are at all interested there are other great advocates for veganism out there. One of the best is Ed Winter better known as Earthling Ed. Plug him into a YouTube search.