Thursday, 29 December 2011

History continued...

So yes, I took the not uncommon path of being a vegetarian before a vegan. Actually, I will freely admit, I used to make fun of vegans. When explaining my new dietary choices to friends and relatives, I would often have to make a distinction between vegetarianism and veganism, often by saying something along the lines of, "Yes, I still eat cheese. I'm not a bloody hippie/crazy vegan/one of those people." I thought vegans were weird, over the top, fanatical. What the hell was wrong with eating honey? Cows need to be milked or their udders will get sore, etc. etc. I had no intention of cutting the deliciousness that is dairy products out of my diet. Those that know me best know I would happily survive on a diet of cheese, chocolate, icecream, pasta, bread, chocolate and cheese. Oh and some more cheese.

It wasn't until one day I was explaining myself yet again ("No, I'm not a crazy vegan, yes, I still have dairy") that my brother asked me if I was aware of bobby calves and the role they play in the dairy industry. "Look it up," he told me. I still remember discussing it with my partner before we did any research. We were holding off because we didn't know if we would like what we'd find. I knew one thing: I did not want to be a vegan. I just liked dairy way too much. But we knew that we were choosing to live in denial if we didn't enlighten ourselves. So, one day, I sat down at the computer and I typed 'bobby calves' into the search engine... and that was the beginning of the end of my vegetarianism. As much as I didn't want to cut food that tasted good out of my life, the truth was staring me in the face: there were so many more harmful processes that I was buying into.

In all honesty, becoming vegan was a gradual process for me, even after I knew everything I did about bees, chickens, cows and the industries related to their produce. My resolve grew as time passed... I know I would have become as strict as I am now (in other words, just plain vegan) eventually. But the two things that pushed me across the threshold? The China Study, and Earthlings.

The rest, as they say, is history

So how did this all begin? Veganism is a lifestyle choice, not just a diet. Veganism dictates the products we buy, the clothes we wear, as well as the food that we eat. It's a big step. So how did I come to make the decision to live this way?

It all began on an ordinary Friday night in May. My partner and I were following our Friday night ritual: takeaway food and a movie. The movie this night was Fast Food Nation. The DVD cover included the rating at the bottom, with the description: "contains scenes of animal slaughter". Needless to say, I spent the whole film flinching at fast scene changes, wondering when the dreaded moment would arrive. When it finally did at the end of the film, I looked away and asked my partner to mute. I had always been a sensitive person, an animal lover, and this was something I knew I did not want to see. But when the film finished, something clicked in my brain. It was put much more eloquently than I ever could on the package of the Earthlings DVD mailed to my partner's house from the US: "We must not refuse with our eyes what they must endure with their bodies." (Later I reinterpreted this phrase: looking away was not enough and it was this that gave me the final push to watch Earthlings, even though I was no longer an accessory to murder.) Originally, my thinking was that if I couldn't even watch animal slaughter then why was I choosing to be complicit? I made the decision then and there to become vegetarian. For the record, my takeaway that night was one of my favourites: ham and salad Subway with double cheese. That was the last time I ever ate the flesh of another animal.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

The Humane Human

Hi all!

This is the first post of (hopefully) many as I attempt to navigate my way through a not-very-vegan-friendly world. I hope to provide inspiration to any vegan or non-vegan readers, and maybe a little bit of interest too. I have to give a heads up though that I won't be posting many recipes. This is not a food blog. I will, however, be coming to these pages with stories, adventures, ideas, frustrations, and just snippets of my life in general. Let's get this up and running, and I hope you enjoy!