As the jolly waiter placed the region’s traditional cuisine in front of me my toes curled. I could feel my stomach somersault. My appetite suddenly disappeared. The dish was coated in layer of crispy batter. Fried chicken served in the same manner, was always a treat. So, why was this any different? Possibly because I could still make out the helpless hamster’s body beneath the breadcrumbs. I tended to ignore chicken legs, viewing them as food rather than a part of a living animal. Nonetheless, not wanting to be rude in a restaurant I let my fellow travellers enjoy the dish while I ate something else. On returning to the UK from Peru I went back to my old habits eating meat and fish without thinking about where they were coming from.
However, two weeks ago something changed. I watched ‘Cowspiracy’ then ‘What the Health’ (both on Netflix), followed by numerous YouTube videos and realised that I needed to change my habits. I preach sustainability in my day job, I care for the environment and my health, so why was I eating meat? I vaguely knew that eating meat was bad for the environment but I didn’t know HOW disastrous it was. Until I started researching….
Did you know eating one beef burger is the equivalent of having a shower for 90 minutes? The amount of water needed to raise cattle is vast. That is before you look into the amount of land deforested not only to home cows but to grow crops to feed them. Then the cows emit methane which actually is worse for the planet than the carbon dioxide released from cars. The facts are indeed shocking.
I was brought up eating animals and animal products. It is ingrained in my culture. Meat is everywhere. It is normal. Not to say it is accepted to eat all meat – it isn’t normal to eat dogs in the UK. However, in other countries it is ‘normal’. Who gets to choose which animals are more superior and shouldn’t be eaten. In India cows are sacred and it is a sin to eat them. Many Indians are in fact vegetarian (38% of their population). In London the ‘cultural normal’ is slowly changing, more and more people are becoming vegetarian and vegan as they discover what happens in the meat industry. Once a hippy way of life, veganism is now more acceptable with many options available in restaurants.
After realising I didn’t want to eat meat and fish my research continued. I watched videos of male chicks being man-handled and slaughtered because they were worthless not being able to lay eggs. Not only did I read about the ethical benefits of moving away from a meat and animal product based diet but I also learnt about the health benefits. The risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancers drastically reduce when you steer away from meat and milk.
With my mind made up I made a pledge to myself and my company to become vegan. I have written another post here. Swapping over to a vegan diet has been surprisingly easy so far. I love nutritional healthy meals, swapping out; meats for grains, cows milk to soya milk and cheese to nutritional yeast has been manageable.
I feel healthier and happier. My performance in the gym hasn’t altered either. I am still energetic and active!
Does any one have any tips for me?