Today is day one of Vegan Month of Food (Vegan MoFo) and it is also World Vegan Day!!! Celebrate!
So the dilemma is what does one post on a day like today? I could post a random recipe, or I could post something about an innovative new vegan product, or how I’m worried that the vegan snacks I just gave my cat have given her a skin irritation but nothing seems fitting. I could sleep through day one and then go on to day two and hah, pressure off! But I thought I might do something a little different and ramble! You may insert blah, blah, blah here and skip to the end if you feel like it, to see how Skadi is doing.
But for those of you who are bored let’s chat. I have been vegan for over 2 years now and it’s not something I really think about anymore, it’s just who I am. Why did I become vegan??? I would love to say it’s because I got fiercely pumped up on saving animal steroids but no it was more sneaky, slow and gradual. If I was to be honest I never ate meat, well red meat. I never really liked it. I ate it as a kid and my favourite dishes were meat dishes but I came from a family that ate meat in every meal. I stopped eating red meat and only ate chicken (I always hated fish). But something happened about five years ago – I realised that my weight was out of control. I was the heaviest I had ever been and needed to address the problem. No, I didn’t become vegan to lose weight but you were thinking that! I went on the CSIRO diet and it worked. I lost weight but it wasn’t the diet itself that worked it was the education and learning experience that changed the way I ate. I actually started looking into the crap I was eating and the affect this was having on my weight. I started to look at not only the fat and sugar content but the ingredients and I got a real dislike to eating products with ingredients I couldn’t understand. What is that number, what is that chemical, why do these chips need MSG in them? I couldn’t live on the diet because it was heavily meat based and I didn’t really like meat. I was also doing a lot of Yoga at the time and was considering what effect consuming an animal that had spent its final moments in complete terror was having to my body. So I cut out all meat and only ate it occasionally. When I told my mum the first thing she said is “don’t become one of those weird vegans”....... But the seed had been sown and I was too involved with what I was eating. I wanted to know who made it, what was in it, and I started buying organic. I stopped buying from multinational corporations that devastated communities and lack social responsibility. Then I went to a sustainability festival and bought a book.
Enter the Ethics of What We Eat. When I bought this book the girl who sold it to me said most people who read this become vegan. I though “yeah right, as if, I like cheese”. I never had really given too much thought to the meat and dairy industry. I knew it was cruel and I was happy that my diet choice meant I wasn’t participating in the meat industry (and I don’t like eggs) but I never really thought about diary. I didn’t watch scare videos by PETA (who really wants to see tortured animals?) but this book did the same thing as any scare video. It wasn’t confrontational but made me aware of some of the cruel practises that exist in the world of animal products. It was then that I decided I no longer wanted to be a consumer of those products..... bloody lady at the festival was right.
I am vegan because I don’t believe in treating animals like commodities. I don’t believe we will ever learn to treat each other with respect and compassion when we treat beings that mean us no harm and have no defence against us with such cruelty. I want to make conscious, educated choices about everything I eat, from how it is made to who makes it, what’s in it and what has this product done to the environment and community who makes it. I mean I wouldn’t buy a car with no steering wheel and pumpkins for wheels because some clever advertising company told me it was safe, so why should it be any different with food?
I have also been tremendously lucky in my food journey as my husband was always willing to try everything and no matter what radical changes I made to our diets he was happy to do the same. He became vegetarian with no problems and was hesitant about vegan but did it anyway and wouldn’t turn back now. And my mum? Didn’t bat an eyelid when I said I was now vegan and tries her hardest to cook vegan when we come over but prefers it when I bring something – not because I’m vegan and should cater for myself but because I make great cupcakes. I’m also not a vegan who is out to change everyone. Everyone makes personal choices and if yours is to eat meat then so be it. I can’t ask for tolerance and give none in return. I will gladly go with non-vegan friends to a non-vegan restaurant and sit next to them while they eat a steak. Although I would hope out of respect for me they would tone it down a little, and if I just being there makes them think about their food choices I consider it a little victory for the vegans.
Mike and I started writing Gourmet Caravan as a hobby. We had no idea that there were so many blogs out there about food and Vegan food!!!! We had to make some modifications as it had a couple of non-vegan recipes, so our blog went vegan too. When we first became vegan we were worried as we had no idea what to cook or the million uses for tofu. We needn’t have worried though as there are hundreds of vegans online (as Vegan MoFo Shows!) and plenty of recipes out there. And this is just another one. We don’t have many readers – if any at all but for us it’s still a good hobby and that’s the main thing!
So join us on many more adventures and we explore Veganism, Germany and Europe. And to wrap up day one of Vegan MoFo there is no panic, Skadi is fine now, frantic itching has ceased, and furious bouncy ball attacking is in progress. Who does that ball think it is, bouncing in different directions like that?
| The Ethics of What We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter |
by Peter Singer