And so it began…
I have been a vegetarian since I was 12. At school we could do a project on something we were interested in, my project was on animal cruelty. I remember it very well, I remember it because I couldn’t believe it. Any of it. How we ‘civilized’ human beings could treat other creature so incredibly horrifically with no logical justification. I researched all the different areas and was mortified, I presented my report, collected my excellent grade & decided to become a vegetarian. I was never really much of a fan of meat anyway, all that fat & chewing & bones, was pretty gross – the things I liked the most were woefully unhealthy (McChicken Sandwich, nuggets, sausages, liver, any kind of pie, corned beef) or didn’t resemble meat in it’s purist form so I figured I wouldn’t miss it that much. I didn’t.
At the age of around 22 I tried duck because it occurred to me I never had. It was repulsive. There was an accidental pizza with meat in America that made me so ill I looked as though I was pregnant for days afterwards, and the sausage on a stick incident in Greece, asides from that I couldn’t care less, I didn’t feel like I was missing out at all.
I continued to drink milk (although I am so lactose intolerant, I eventually had to stop this), eat eggs (not that many until the CrossFit phase – oh CrossFit shame on you!) I loved plain yoghurt, I was told by a doctor to try to drink kefir, which I did & loved, and of course there is the big one…. CHEESE, oh how I loved cheese. I did eat fish moderately, mainly tinned tuna to be honest as it’s a handy go to, but meat, nah. Couldn’t care less.
I had read a book a long time ago called Finding Ultra by Rich Roll, which I found extremely inspirational, he had an addictive personality and had triumphed over alcohol, later becoming 100% plant based. I am not really sure what exactly had stopped me, I gave up drinking for a year so I knew it was in there somewhere, becoming vegan or plant based if you will, didn’t seem nearly as hard as that, but there was something in the way, I needed a push.
JJ is also vegetarian, he didn’t even eat fish before he was with me. So this year in January we decided to give Veganuary a try. Now as you know we now live in Vietnam, where they are still very behind in terms of animal rights, welfare etc. In some ways I suppose it’s marginally better, factory farms are limited for example, your fish comes from the sea to the table, but in other ways it is so much worse it just seemed a logical step to try it out regardless of the limited foods that are readily available.
So as we had made this decision the next thing to do was re-educate ourselves, it’s a long time since we became vegetarians, since my animal rights project, so things must be better right? We have further evolved in so many ways ‘factory farms banned’ ‘not tested on animals’ ‘free range’ ‘grain fed’ ‘organic’. Right? Er well no, not at all, worse than ever before.
First of all we watched What The Health and we couldn’t believe what we were seeing, hearing. ‘Animal agriculture is the number 1 cause of greenhouse gases in the world, above all transport. It’s responsible for the deforestation of the rainforests, species extinction, ocean deadzones & fresh water consumption, the pharmaceutical industry sells 80% of all antibiotics made in the United States to animal agriculture, cow milk protein causes antibodies in the blood stream that attack the pancreas……’ I could go on, but just watch the documentary for yourself.
Next we tried to watch Earthlings & Cowspiracy we couldn’t, we were in floods of tears within the first few minutes. A lot of people have said things like ‘but you’ve been veggies for years’ yes we have true – but I was ignorant. One of things I did not research when I 12 was about the dairy industry which is horrific. Chickens and eggs – horrific. I didn’t consider how it all worked, you don’t do you? You think about dippy soldiers in your soft boiled egg, or a lovely poached egg on toast. You don’t think, and this is only partially your fault because in the western world it is set up in such a way that there is no connection and that’s very deliberate. Here it’s bit different. A restaurant that sells pork will have pictures of cute little piggies, beef will have calf, and yeah maybe that’s a bit unpleasant, but it IS unpleasant isn’t it? Yes it is, it’s truly barbaric.
So what happened next? Well, January was a breeze, not one cheat, or slip up, we even said that we would be flexitarians initially, vegan most of the time unless we fancied a bit of fish or something. But no. Something happens to you.
I used to get so annoyed with the ranty vegans on my instagram feed, posting awful videos of animal agriculture, and I still do not think it’s the most effective way to communicate the message, it’s very aggressive, but I do understand; the more you educate yourself the angrier you get, and the stupider you feel for not making this very logical, obvious change a long time ago. I probably would have done this before now, but sadly the stigma that is attached to this group ‘cult’ as some call it, stopped me; I like to go about things in a pragmatic way, not a ranty aggressive way.
Earthling Ed one of the most captivating animal rights activists I have ever heard speak.
So anyway there you have it.. we decided our love for animals, the planet and ourselves was far greater than cheese, a tuna sandwich, or a nice yoghurt. We are not perfect, there has been the very occasional slip up, cheese on a pizza, sour cream in a burrito, left over chocolate from Christmas. I have a wardrobe full of leather shoes, bags, belts that I am not prepared to part with just yet. But we are 100% plant based 99% of the time & we are works in progress. So there you have it……
I made these vegan slutty brownies for our party at work to prove that not all vegan food was weird, they all went… along with almost all of the rest of the vegan food ❤