I understand that many people see this lifestyle as a fad, an unrealistic choice which couldn’t possibly be sustained in reality. In this modern day, how can one person’s change of lifestyle possibly help the environment?
For this post, I promise not to go into any gory details about what happens to the animals and all of that because everyone knows how meat gets onto our plates. I respect any opinion that may be had about it and I respect every lifestyle choice that may be followed, I believe it’s your life and you’re free to live it however your heart desires.
Why go vegan?
Coming from a place where we love our meat, I’ve never really worried about the moral or environmental implications of what I was eating although I was always aware of it in the back of my head. I’ve always applauded the choice not to eat meat but never thought it was realistic. I was brought up to be kind to every living thing and to be good to the environment but eating meat has always been the circle of life and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. When I was 17, I developed an interest in nutrition and everything that comes with maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I tried to cut out most meats in my diet except for chicken and fish because a) I love seafood and b) I grew a bit tired of the fatty texture of pork and the idea of beef but chicken was still alright in my books. I’m not saying I was very successful because I’m a sucker for a juicy burger every now and again.
Now that I’m in the UK, the options available in terms of food are unbelievable. One of my friends’ is vegan and she went on and on about how my eating habits were bad for the environment and she basically annoyed me until I gave in. Just kidding! But, she did introduce me to the benefits of the lifestyle even though she’s been known to give in to a chocolate bar. So, I did a bit of research and I learnt a lot about the environmental and health benefits that come with being vegan and I thought I’d share a few with you:
- I learnt that not only does the diet increase your energy levels but, if done right, it also helps with your skin and decreases your chances of getting diabetes, heart disease and cancer. It even promotes eternal youth! Yeah okay that one’s a bit ambitious but a well-planned plant based diet is rich in protein, iron and calcium as well as being low in saturated fat, high in fibre and packed with antioxidants. And I’m all for that nutrient packed lifestyle.
- Additionally, I had no idea that aside from the simple fact that it’s sad for the animals themselves, the carbon footprint left in the production of animal produce is massive. Issues such as pollution, deforestation, habitat loss for animals and even extinction arise when underdeveloped countries are made to grow grains (soy beans in Brazil for example) which are used to feed produce animals in Europe. This not only means that these countries are growing food for animals instead of for themselves but it increases issues such as land degradation and water scarcity for the people. A plant-based diet requires only one third of the land needed to support a meat and dairy diet. How can we validate the juicy steak we’re about to devour when we know that for it to have got on the plate, it not only killed a few trees which left some birds without a home, but may mean that our world is just that tiny bit less clean? Those were my thoughts as I read the article on The Vegan Society website.
- Because I promised I wasn’t going to go into details, I’ll just say: the animals ☹
What do I plan to do?
So, I decided rather ambitiously that I wanted to do my part to help the world progress to a better place. I understand that one person doesn’t make THAT much of a difference but if one person can influence another person and we can make the chain go on then think about the difference we can make. I’ve decided to take up a 30-day vegan pledge starting on the 1st of November.
I do understand that the complete vegan lifestyle involves removing all animal products from every aspect of ones’ life, which includes not using clothes made from animal skin and not using products such as makeup which are tested on animals. The latter is a bit easier because of the increasing popularity of the campaigns against animal testing which I’m definitely all for. But one step at a time.
I’m not saying that I’m going to stop eating meat forever, because I am going home for Christmas and the temptation is going to be real! I’m not saying it’s everyone’s cup of tea either because some people think of the idea and of their lives and think that with busy schedules and children and just life in general these days, veganism is a tough commitment to make. I am however, very excited to see what it’s all about in terms of the food itself. Also, I like the idea of knowing that you’re in control of doing something good for the planet, when everything else around you, school, university, or work and the future just seems like it’s completely beyond your control.
How am I going to do it?
I like to think I’m a committed person with a fair bit of self-control so when I set myself to something I tend to stick to it. Also, I’ve instructed my friends to pinch me if I say ‘double cheese burger with bacon’ instead of ‘veggie burger with avocado’. Although if I’m being 100% honest, the second option sounds much more interesting in my books.
My plan for the next 30 days is basically to meal prep every Sunday and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve got a list of all these amazing recipes planned and I’ll be sharing them on my Instagram and here throughout the month. I also intend to make sure I always have food stocked up because otherwise I know I’m going to reach for my phone and order something I shouldn’t. I’ve read all about what to eat and how to eat. I’m nowhere near a professional and I wouldn’t take my advice on anything but I am excited to learn more as the experience goes along.
‘Is a vegan diet expensive?’ were the words I typed into google before plunging myself into the deep end. Non-vegans tend to say that it is an expensive lifestyle because it seems a bit extravagant but actually from my first impression of it I don’t think it is. But I’ll be posting updates throughout the month of how I’m finding the whole experience and I’ll let you know how it goes cost wise.
I’m pretty sure I’ve said this about twice already but I am very excited to see how this month goes. Subscribe to this blog by putting your email into that little box on the right, check your email for a confirmation of subscription, and be sure to stay updated on this little adventure of mine. I’d love to know if any of you reading this are currently vegan, when you started and how it’s been so far and if you have any recipes you think I should definitely try!
Sit back, grab some Oreos (because Cheetos aren’t vegan) and let’s see what life has to offer us next.