March 24th 2016, the last time I ate meat and I just want to start off this post by saying I don't miss it, not one bit. I have been a "meat eater" all my life, at aged 6 I came home from school declaring I was a vegetarian and that I was only ever going to eat meat and no vegetables. I think I'd gotten the wrong end of the stick when listening to our teacher talking about it and made the link in my head that "vegetarian" meant you had a fear of vegetables. Oops.
I had a brief stint of being a vegetarian for around three days when I was a young teenager. The meat free food options were pretty grim at that time, coupled with no income (I was about 14!) and living in a meat eating household meant that it didn't last long. It was a "burger" that tasted like cardboard that sent me over the edge and running to the kitchen to make a bacon sandwich.
This time last year I was visiting Noah's Arc farm in Bristol for my 25th birthday. I have a huge grin on my face whilst feeding the chickens in the open enclosure. I love getting up close to animals and interacting with them, it's one of my favourite things to do and the part of being at the dogs home that I enjoy the most. Even here I still hadn't made the connection between the animals running free at my feet and the chicken on my plate that I'd eaten the night before.
That's probably a little extreme, I've always been well educated in where meat came from. A long time ago I made the choice to buy "free range" meat, "free range" eggs (will touch on veganism in a later blogpost) and meat from sources that I trusted to have what can only be described as "a good life".
I really don't want to turn this post into one that is filled with extreme negativity about the farming industry, I'd much rather it be a positive post - however it's hard to ignore. The whole reason for my complete overhaul in lifestyle can be pin pointed to watching a documentary about farming on BBC iplayer with Matt over the bank holiday in March.
"There's a show about farming on BBC iplayer, let's watch it - you'll love it, it's full of animals" - Matt's famous last words, I doubt he realised just how much an impact this show would have on my life.
As I said before, I'd always bought "responsibly" and from sources I trusted and the animals on this show quite clearly had the best lives they could. But the more I watched the show, the more uneasy I became about eating meat. Watching cattle paraded around a show ring to be bought for meat or breeding just didn't feel right. I'm against the selling of animals as it is with my views on adoption, granted this is entirely different, but it forms part of this huge snowball of thoughts around the whole topic.
There was one episode that bought me to tears and declared that I would never eat meat again. The moment was marked where a cow called Duchess was sent to slaughter because she was unable to look after her calf due to problems with her milk supply. The whole situation absolutely broke me, I'd been living under this false impression that I was OK with eating meat because "oh at least the animals have a nice life" - I'm so so wrong and for that I am gutted.
I don't want to go into the gory details on my blog, but please have a read up on things and just get educated. There is so much naivety around where out meat comes from and that's all I ask from people, just get educated. If you still want to eat meat then fine, that's your choice, but to know where your food is coming from is important.
The meat free meals and alternatives I've been trying are so tasty, I'm going to do a round up of my favourites soon. I'm pretty sure I'm going to film a video all about it too - the fifth time I've "got back into youtube"? - although now I've feel like I have my "thing" that I talk about.
I've taken this lifestyle change further and I'm making more and more vegan choices each day, I've also decided to switch to cruelty free cosmetics, household products and the likes. But they are posts for another day.