“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.” -Gandhi
I’ve always been a fussy eater. As a kid, I’d often eat weetbix or cornflakes for dinner (eat your heart out Jerry Seinfeld), going through phases whereI’d eat the same meal for dinner for weeks at a time..sometimes having fried spam and eggs for weeks, other times having baked beans on toast. But, the thing that I rarely ate in my youth was fruit and vegetables. You could say it is a typically English thing, I can only remember ever eating apples, potatoes and a few carrots in my meals from time to time. It is surprising that I wasn’t sick as a kid.
I was skinny as a rake up until about age 24, I guess eating a sausage roll, a meat pie and a cream donut for morning tea every morning will eventually take it’s toll on a person’s weight. I was raised as a meat -eater and would always look forward to a sunday roast. But, every so often would find myself halfway through eating a piece of meat and, seemingly out of nowhere, would feel a sense of guilt. This was once a living creature, what right did I have to be eating it? I had a lot of trouble swallowing the meat, once the ‘guilts’ kicked in.
I have always had an interest in animal welfare, I remember buying a “Ban Live Animal Exports’ t shirt about 20 years ago. After seeing a documentary about the charity organisation Animals Australia I became a member, receiving regular emails about animal welfare issues in Australia. One of these emails blew me away, it told the story of Bobby calves, I’d never heard of them and, stupidly, didn’t even think about the process it takes to get milk from a cow. I never thought about the fact the cow is forcibly impregnated and when the calf is born, if it is a male, it is dragged away from it’s mother without ever drinking it’s mother’s milk. The calf is then kept alive for about one week, then slaughtered to make veal. A so-called byproduct of the milking process. This made my gut churn.
Around the same time as receiving this email, I was visiting my best friend, Lee in Sydney and we decided to go to a vegetarian restaurant named Govindas , it was an all-you-can-eat, buffet meal set up and the food was delicious. I remember remarking to Lee that I could actually live off this food, it was filling and tasty and there was no need for meat. On the way out we picked up some leaflets to do with Hare Krishna philosophies, particularly to do with animals and their mistreatment for the purposes of the meat industry. I was saddened by what I read.
When I returned to Perth, I resolved to go vegetarian. That was in February, 2013. I lasted about a week, maybe two before I decided to go the whole way and become a vegan. It was tough at first, not really knowing what to eat and cook and I am still learning everyday but I am proud to say I have not eaten any meat at all since then. It’s hard to explain but, I feel a lot lighter in my body, it’s like the meat used to sit in my gut and weigh me down. The thing with going vegan is you can be vegan and live off coca cola and potato chips ( even then you need to check the ingredients cos they use milk products in a lot of potato chip flavours) so it is not necessarily healthier unless you cut out or reduce greatly, all oils and salt. This has been my problem and as a result I have not actually lost much weight as yet. But one thing that has changed, I used to get these little pains in my chest above my heart from time to time, usually after I had eaten a lot of fatty foods like bacon. Since going vegan I have not had any chest pains whatsoever.
I have read numerous books, seen some interesting documentaries and listened to some great audiobooks in the past year that have all reinforced my belief that a vegan diet is the right way to go. In coming posts I will let you know about anything I think you may find beneficial, if you too are considering the way of the vegan (sounds a bit like a Bruce Lee movie). To finish up, I can honestly say that there is no turning back from this road I am on. i could never see a time where I would eat any animal products ever again and I feel good about that. As AC/DC might say “I’m on the High-waaay to Healthhh!!! And my cholesterol is going down……all the wayyyyyy!!!”
Vinny the Vegan