“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 Vegan Society (which is celebrating it’s 70th anniversary this year).
Way back in the dim recesses of my life I was a non-meat eater. I’m not going to say I was a vegetarian because I still ate fish (but I’d never label myself as a pescatarian – it would have sounded like I had taken up with some dodgy religious cult). There was no moral thinking behind my decision to eschew meat. I simply went off it. It started gradually with the rejection of red meat and eventually chicken and bacon followed suit.
This phase of my life lasted about 15 years or so. On the food front it was a happy period of my life. I never once felt like I was missing out, probably helped by the fact that I am a competent and adventurous cook. But then I had my boys. The curious thing about children is that they are very perceptive about what is going on around them. They soon cotton on that certain words are taboo (even if you spell them out letter by letter) and notice if you are eating something different from them. It didn’t feel right to pass on my prejudices against meat onto them. Neither did I want two fussy eaters. So about seven years ago I decided I would try eating meat again.
I fully expected my body to reject meat. I assumed I would find it impossible to digest and highly unpalatable. Neither of these things occurred. I found my carnivorous feet again with an almost alarming ease. I love a rare steak and will happily eat the bits of the animal most people screw their noses up at. I still enjoy vegetarian food but meat has regained a special place in my stomach.
This week (19th – 25th May) is National Vegetarian Week. The Vegetarian Society have issued a challenge to encourage people to go veggie for a week. This I could do very easily without any hardship to my diet or state of mind. Going vegan on the other hand is a different matter. This I think will be hard because I will not only have to give up meat, fish and eggs but all dairy produce and honey to boot. It’s always struck me as a rather harsh regime to follow but the only way to find out for sure is to try it myself.
For the purposes of this experiment I should state that my week long foray into veganism will only extend to my diet. I will not be throwing out my leather shoes or my cosmetics (apologies true vegans but it really wouldn’t make economic sense to do either for such a short period of time). There are many reasons to support going vegan which you can read about here. As all food is a very important part of my life it will be interesting to see what sort of an impact being vegan has. Will I feel healthier? Will it change my eating habits in the long run? Could it persuade me to go the whole hog and ditch leather? We’ll see.
What I plan to do this week is write a number of short posts on how I am finding life as a vegan. These are my expectations:
- Going without dairy products is going to be hard. I eat a variety of them every day from milk in my coffee, yoghurt with my granola and cheese with just about everything I can justify having it with.
- Breakfast could be challenging as a result of the no dairy thing. Plus eggs are outlawed too (not to mention bacon, the veggies nemesis).
- Chocolate I can live without especially for one week. But with no eggs allowed where does that leave my beloved cake?
I hope you will follow my vegan adventure this week. Perhaps I may even inspire you to have a go yourself?
If you want to read about someone else’s experiences of going vegan check out Claire’s post on Places I Eat Brighton – she did it for a month!