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When being vegetarian isn’t enough

12 February, 2015

I haven’t eaten any meat for almost ten years now. I decided for many reasons, mainly ethical but also cultural, economic, religious and political,that it wasn’t something I wanted to do any more, so I stopped. Or more accurately, I cut right down over about a year or so until one day I said “that’s it” and became properly vegetarian. I check ingredient lists on everything, I avoid eating anything that does, or I think might, contain animal products, I even gave up Haribo and Worcester Sauce – two of my favourite foods.

Throughout these ten years, I have still held a bit of guilt that I still eat / consume dairy and eggs. Cows have a pretty shitty life, however compassionate the farmer, being plugged into a milking machine for hours a day and reproducing for the benefit of the farmer and the consumer. Chickens, even free range, are egg-producing property. In short, I wanted to become vegan.

But to become a vegan is such a huge step, removing milk and butter and cheese and eggs from your diet is tough. Not just the products themselves, but the amount of foods that they are ingredients of. Plus, I thought, going out for a meal in a restaurant would usually mean having the salad with no dressing – the least interesting of all the choices (on the menus where it is even a choice) – or going to a friend’s as a guest would mean being an enormous pain in the arse and making them cook something different for me, or something for everyone that others wouldn’t necessarily enjoy. So for years I just felt guilty.

But then recently I had a realisation. Alot of the meals I make at home – pasta, curry, chinese, risotto, casseroles etc – are vegan anyway. Yes I have milk on cereal, I love ice cream, and I am an enormous consumer of cheese and biscuits, but the mains are usually completely vegetable-based. So I am now phasing out cheese (and searching for a vegan alternative), switching to soya or almond milk (I am still trying the range to decide which I like best) and buying dairy-free spreads. But only at home. When I am eating out – which other than the weekly Friday dinner at my sister’s is rare – I will try to be vegan where possible but will not be 100% strict, but while at home I intend to cut out animal products all together. I’ve invented a new group – Home Vegan.

I hope I can stick to this, it feels like thee right thing to do, but I know it will be a challenge. Cheese will be the hardest thing, i think, but it’s not good for me anyway so I am doing myself a favour. Farming still goes on, animals are still herded and slaughtered and plugged into machines, but not for me. Not in my name. Because I don’t think it’s right, and sometimes just being vegetarian isn’t enough.


From → Blogging, Food, My Head

  1. I became an extreme Vegan last July. It was due to health reasons. The more I researched the more I realized that medical science had a “you have diabetes and it’s not curable, so we will help you stabilize” attitude. I didn’t care for that, so the research I went through suggested strongly that an extreme vegan diet reverses diabetes and other problems. “Extreme” referred to being vegan and giving up almost all of the oil that you consume as well (mostly because oils have calories and fat). Anyway, Around December I began to add some oil (vegetable) back in and I try not to eat anything animal, but do have a bit of items cooked in vegetable broth when I go out to eat. In the 6 months, my blood pressure has dropped significantly, as has my cholesterol. My blood sugar had dropped well into safety margins and I have been able to increase my carb intake about 30%. I also take chlorophyll and food enzymes as well as chromium picolinate and cinnamon capsules daily. It was a difficult, but no impossible switch. I often take my own food when I go to others’ homes and even take something extra when going out to eat. I drink almost always tap water with some hot tea and decaf coffee.
    I feel so much better and my tests are showing that i am improving.
    Stick with it.

    • I meant “items cooked in chicken broth”. Also, I do take sugar medications still and my blood pressure pills. It’s just that they work so much better now and are continuing to improve.

    • Thanks for commenting Scott. Sorry to hear this change was forced on you for such reasons, but I admire how you have worked at it and are now much better. I appreciate your suggestions and advice – I was thinking maybe I need some vitamins and supplements, and I really need to read up on what I might be lacking.
      I guess alot of the challenge for me will be habit – once I get used to no cheese, or at least much less cheese and vegan only, not eating all my favourite biscuits and cakes – which I shouldn’t eat anyway – it will become easier. I don’t miss meat in the slightest, and I expect I will feel the same about dairy, eggs ets in time

  2. My brain says, good for you. Doing something difficult makes us stronger…or meaner, I’m not sure which in my case. I recently made some major dietary changes. Clean eating, as I’ve heard it called, is hard to do. Here are the items I have removed from my diet. Dairy, except I cook with ghee, wheat, soy, and sugar. This is an experiment. So, I haven’t turned into food snob yet. Good luck.

    • Hi Honie! Well done on improving your diet, avoiding wheat and sugar must be very hard. I would never want to be a food snob either, or to preach my reasons to others, but hopefully I can stick to this and make it work for me

  3. I commend you. I lack that moral aversion and I have a hard time eating well anyway.

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