The short answer to this question is: ‘Why wouldn’t I be?’
Because I care deeply for animal welfare, I respect my body and want to enjoy optimum health in my lifetime and I have a healthy respect for, and a deep connection with nature and the environment, therefore I am a Vegan.
Before you read on I want to say that I totally respect anyone’s decision about how they live their lives and what they eat and it’s not my intention to force any of my beliefs onto anyone else and I certainly don’t judge anyone who has a different outlook on life to me. All I want to do, if you are curious and want to know more, is to help you see things from a different perspective, which is always a healthy way to be. I want to educate people and the best way I can do this is by blogging about any information that I have learned and hopefully inspire you by sharing my vegan food creations.
When I was a vegetarian (for 10 years) I had this idea that I just didn’t want to eat animals anymore and that was that, I hadn’t based my decision on anything more than a feeling I had inside, I wasn’t informed, I didn’t seek the reasons why not to eat animals, so I was ignorant to the facts of my vegetarianism. As a vegetarian I still ate cheese, eggs, butter and milk and although not on the vegetarian menu, I ate fish (for some reason I didn’t put fish into the ‘animal’ category, how wrong was I !!) For anyone who thinks that it’s ok to eat animal products and that animals aren’t negatively affected by this then please continue reading. A film that was a game changer for me was ‘Earthlings‘, narrated by Joaquin Phoenix, the film depicts the needless suffering of animals for food, fashion, pets, entertainment and medical research. It’s free to watch on the Earthlings site.
I grew up eating meat and dairy. My parent’s grew up in the second world war so my Mother, being a thrifty shopper and an exceptionally good cook to boot, made ‘good use’ of the food we had in the larder. Meat and two veg followed by puddings topped with full cream custard was a regular meal for me as a child growing up and I continued this way of eating well into my twenties and early thirties. So I fully understand when people don’t want to give up this way of eating as it’s something that they’ve grown up with, it’s all they know and it’s the norm for them. I think Melanie Joy sums this up perfectly:-
“The path of the norm is the path of least resistance; it is the route we take when we’re on auto-pilot and don’t even realize we’re following a course of action that we haven’t consciously chosen. Most people who eat meat have no idea that they’re behaving in accordance with the tenets of a system that has defined many of their values, preferences, and behaviors. What they call ‘free choice’ is, in fact, the result of a narrowly obstructed set of options that have been chosen for them. They don’t realize, for instance, that they have been taught to value human life so far above certain forms of nonhuman life that it seems appropriate for their taste preferences to supersede other species’ preference for survival.” Melanie Joy, author of “Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism: The Belief System That Enables Us to Eat Some Animals and Not Others”.
However sometimes we just need to bust out of the norm, be different, seek outside of ourselves to look for a better life for all, expand our consciousness, improve our health, grow a little inside and open our eyes to what’s really going on out there….you need to know the facts about the meat and dairy industry. Please read on…
● Cows produce milk for one reason only, to feed their young, this is natural, it’s the same for every other mammal on this planet, including humans.
● Cows do not ‘magically’ produce milk, they have to be pregnant to produce milk. Dairy cows are subjected to a constant cycle of pregnancy; these poor animals are artificially inseminated and forced to produce unnatural amounts of milk all year round. Incarcerated almost permanently, their lives and bodies are traded to be used as milk producing machines, this amounts to no more than animal slavery.
● As a cow is constantly pregnant she gives birth many many times; these calves are taken away from her at one to two days old so that the milk meant for her baby can be bottled for people to drink. And it gets worse; if she gives birth to a male calf, this calf is surplus to requirements for the dairy farmer as the calf won’t be able to produce milk, so this day old calf is regarded as a waste product and is invariably destroyed or reared as veal, (again for human consumption). Is this humane? I don’t think so. Do they have a choice? I don’t think so.
● Dairy cows suffer in many many ways; not only do they have to endure having their babies taken from them soon after birth, they very often suffer from serious illness such as lameness and the painful condition of mastitis.
● Simply put, dairy products in any shape or form are not healthy, even if they’re organic! Dairy products are mucus forming and highly inflammatory exacerbating conditions such as arthritis, asthma and acne.
● It’s a common misconception that meat and dairy is good for your bones, in fact what actually happens is when you consume any meat or dairy the animal protein contained within it makes your blood more acidic and as your body reacts to neutralise this acid it causes calcium to be pulled from your bones and excretes it through your urine.
● You can get good calcium sources from dark leafy veggies such as kale. Calcium in veggies is absorbed more quickly than that found in dairy, about 30% of dairy calcium is absorbed by the body whereas a massive 60% is absorbed by the calcium found in veggies. Check out my kale recipes! Kale is one of my all time favs and I use it a lot in my recipes!
● Dairy contains steroids and growth hormones which can promote cancer growth. Dairy also contains toxic pesticides, herbicides and fungicides to name but a few. Animal protein, fat and cholesterol found in meat and dairy products all contribute to heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other diseases.
● You don’t need dairy milk in your life, there are so many alternatives that are so much more tasty and healthier for you such as almond, rice, coconut or hemp milk. Check out my blog, I have a great recipe for almond milk.
● By choosing to ditch the meat and dairy from your diet and by adopting a plant based diet you will be helping your planet enormously. Did you know it takes 13,000 to 15,000 litres of water to produce just ONE KILO of grain fed beef? Compare that to just needing 13 litres of water to produce one tomato or 25 litres for one potato!
● Did you know that our water reserves are depleting? If we carry on as we are and don’t evolve to eating a plant-based diet, by 2025 half of the planet’s population will not have clean drinking water. There’s a brilliant film out there, that’s free to watch on YouTube, called ‘Meat the Truth‘. The film draws attention to global warming by demonstrating that livestock farming generates more greenhouse gas emissions worldwide than all cars, lorries, trains, boats and planes added together.
● Eggs are basically a hen’s period, I know it sounds gross but that is exactly what you are eating when you eat an egg.
● Although battery cages have been banned in the UK even free-range and organic hens are kept thousands to one shed. Hens in the farming industry are merely ‘egg producing machines’ and as they are unnaturally producing high number of eggs their little bodies are drained of calcium which leads to osteoporosis and brittle bones, the consequences of which you can but imagine.
● Breeding hens are used to produce egg laying hens. Any male chicks born are superfluous to requirements and useless to any egg farmer as the male chicks can’t lay eggs or produce meat. Each year 30 million day-old chicks are gassed or tossed alive into industrial shredders.
● Meat is a rich source of protein, however this is insignificant as it does more damage to your body as it’s loaded with artery clogging saturated fat and cholesterol which is commonly known to be the main cause of heart disease.
● There is protein in veggies! Eating a variety of plant foods will give you all the protein you need. The best source of protein is found in beans, lentils, quinoa, nuts, seeds, whole grains and veggies and a balanced diet containing these food groups will give you ample amounts of protein and nutrients. It’s a well known fact that athletes need to eat a protein rich diet to ensure peak performance; did you know that some of the world’s top athletes are vegan, Carl Lewis is one of them, he ate a vegan diet at the peak of his career, check it out on Google!
● Meat is highly toxic for your body and doesn’t do you any favours; consumption of meat makes your blood more acidic, most factory farmed meat is pumped with hormones and chemicals, cooked meat contains carcinogens and your digestive system has to work harder to digest it. All in all a lot of hard work for your body for little reward!
● Killing is not humane. I highly recommend you watch the film Earthlings which fully supports the statement that there is no such thing as humane slaughter. There is strong video evidence that animals who are waiting to be slaughtered not only await their terrible fate with utter fear, they are treated appallingly with little regard from their captors that they are living, breathing sentient beings.
● Some people think because they eat fish and don’t eat ‘meat’ it’s ok… the fact is you are still eating meat! Fish have nerves and recent research has shown they too feel pain and stress. When farmed or caught they die from either being crushed by hauling nets, suffocation or being gutted alive.
● Over fishing is causing populations of other species of fish to drastically decline, such as cod. Farming fish exacerbates the issue of decline as 3-5 tons of ocean caught fish are needed to produce feed for one ton of farmed fish, utter craziness!
Eating a plant based diet is by no means boring and contrary to popular belief we don’t just eat lettuce and apples! Each day my senses are enlivened by the smells and tastes of the food that I prepare in Beanies Vegan Kitchen. Using fresh produce, using my intuition and creativity, putting together flavours that taste scintillatingly good, wowing my partner, friends or family with new culinary delights I have created, loving the look on their faces as they taste a flavour combination they’ve never tasted before or hearing the sounds of delight as they tuck into one of my creations, it is then that cooking and eating becomes a nurturing experience for me and for them.