This seems to be an emotive topic for people. When people meet a vegetarian, they ask ‘Why don’t you eat meat?’. When people meet someone who doesn’t drink alcohol, they ask ‘Why don’t you drink alcohol?’ And when people meet a vegan, they don’t know what to do with themselves ‘What can you eat?’, ‘Don’t you miss bacon?’, ‘How do you get enough protein?’, ‘Aren’t you nutrient deficient?’.
I was vegan for a year. I felt as healthy as ever, I looked normal, and I really didn’t miss meat and dairy that much. And when I was shopping and cooking for myself, it was easy too! It can be a little tricky to eat out if most of your friends and family eat meat. So I will admit that I gave up out of laziness and convenience. But I still feel like it’s the best way to live and try to be veggie / vegan where possible. And I don’t eat fish.
If you start thinking about your diet, how many vegetables do you actually eat? Being vegan makes it impossible for you to miss our on your 5 a day!
Even if you don’t want to give up meat and dairy, you can still have a positive impact on your own health and the health of the planet by trying some of these tips:
- Try cooking vegan dinner once a week. Be imaginative with your alternatives! There are thousands of kinds of edible plants, so lack of inspiration is a poor excuse. Jamie Oliver has some great vegan recipes, including a delicious vegan shepherd’s pie… hmmmm… http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/category/special-diets/vegan/.
- If you do buy meat and dairy products, buy from free range animals. You wouldn’t keep your dog in a tiny cage all its life, why do it to a pig?
- Consider becoming a “guestivore”. My friend Jo describes herself as a guestivore – she is usually vegetarian but will eat meat when it is presented to her at dinner parties or where there is no veggie option at a restaurant. It means you can be kind to the planet and your friends!
- Stop eating fish. Seriously. You do not need to eat fish unless you are a water-side subsistence farmer in a developing country, which I doubt you are if you are reading this post. The planet’s fish stocks are in a terrible state and if you eat fish, you are part of the problem. Read more here: http://ideas.ted.com/should-you-stop-eating-fish-2/.
- Realise that every time you pick out something to eat, you are making a choice. You are choosing whether to be healthy or unhealthy. You are choosing whether to be carnivore, omnivore, vegetarian or vegan. You are choosing how much waste packaging you buy. Whatever choice you make, make it mindfully.
- Finally, remember that you can’t save the planet all by yourself! Make the changes you want to make, educate others if they are interested, and don’t stress too much about the changes you don’t feel able to commit to at the moment – all in good time.
Enjoy your veggies!