Yesterday marked the day that I am officially 7 months meat free! I wrote about the reasons why here and I had always planned to revisit the topic if I was still sticking to it months down the line.
Well, I am and I'm pretty much vegan too. I am also pretty sure that I will never go back.
Roll back the clock to six months ago and I vowed that I would only make this choice if I was going to educate myself on the entire subject. This was really important for me because I didn't want this to just be a knee jerk reaction and potentially be something I wouldn't stick to. To put simply, the more you see and watch, the more you want to change.
After watching the documentary that made me not want to eat meat anymore, I then started reading everything I could and I'll be honest - I had to stop at one point because the information was just making me so angry. The fact that so much of the world's grain goes to feed animals in third world countries, which then just get slaughtered and eaten in the first world countries just infuriated me. All I could think of was the amount of food that isn't going to those who are literally starving to death.
I have my own veggie freezer drawer now, full of quorn and the supermarket vegetarian options which are surprisingly good! Eating out has been fine, but the only thing that I've felt really awkward about is eating at other people's houses. Whilst they have been so accommodating I do feel like it's my choice not to eat meat and this shouldn't impact other people. I will say that this hasn't been as bad as I thought with them making the same meal just using quorn instead of meat in a different pot.
I knew I wanted to look into veganism for a few reasons. I'd never really had the stomach for dairy and I knew that it couldn't be good for the animals, I just never knew HOW bad it was. Dairy milk was switched straight away to Soya, Almond and Coconut, cheese stopped pretty much (I've still had a couple of veggie pizzas) and chocolate switched to the dark variety.
Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.
The switch to veganism will be a transition and whilst I am transitioning the key for me is in the definition above. This is taken from The Vegan Society website and has summed up my experience perfectly. The best example of this I can share here is a couple of weeks ago Matt's Grampy made me a cup of coffee, with normal milk. I decided to drink that coffee rather than explain that I couldn't drink it because I was vegan etc as I didn't want to cause offence and potential upset. In that moment it wasn't practicable for me to say no.
Cruelty free cosmetics and household products are another whole minefield that I've been looking further and further in to. The cosmetic side is fine, I'm only repurchasing cruelty free brands across makeup, hair products and body products. I'm still unclear as to how I feel about parent companies, but that's a whole other blogpost / video.
Household products are a whole other ball game. So far the only brands that I've seen in stores is Ecover and Method, both substantially more than your average products and supermarket own brands. With us just buying our first home a radical change to these products probably isn't going to be financially viable.
One part of this change (?) I wasn't expecting was the judging from others around me. Questions left right and centre about "Why the hell would you want to do that", statements that range from "I could never give up meat" to "I hope you don't turn all hippy". It's quite amazing really, if I were to turn around and say that I didn't want to eat mushrooms anymore, for example, I bet no one would bat an eyelid. Recently I spent the afternoon at a Macmillan coffee event where the organiser had battled and beat cancer. As part of the event there was cake everywhere and I got offered a slice of cake in celebration that she had beaten cancer, and do you know what. I ate it. I then had this said to me "You can't pick and choose when you are vegan!" from someone who is an animal product consumer. I didn't know what to say.