Vegan lessons so far:
DON’T DECLARE YOU’RE GOING VEGAN
Perhaps in hindsight, announcing my decision to go vegan live on Brendan O’Connor’s Cutting Edge was a tad rash.
Now before you spew your bacon in triumph, all I’m saying is I should have said I was going ‘plant based’.
The reason is this. You haven’t a rashers what to eat when you first go vegan and the worst thing that can happen in those early days is that you get hungry. You get hungry, you get cranky, you get dizzy, you give your critics endless arsenal to shoot you down with, ‘Get off that vegan diet’, as my mother is wont to say.
You’ve been reared on meat and two veg, you drank free cartons of Benny the Milk Bunny at primary school and were told as an impressionable child by the government, your teachers, Big Business, you need cow’s milk in order to have strong bones. (By the way, a 12 year Harvard study of adult women found that higher milk consumption does not protect against osteoporosis.) How do we think Japanese people do old age so well?
In the beginning you must wade through the mistruths and marketing of the meat and dairy industry in an effort to figure out your Truth. Top tip: Watch Cowspiracy and What the Health? on Netflix. There’s a lot of money at stake for these giant industries which leads me to my next nugget of advice:
Don’t expect to do a Dale Carnegie on it and win friends and influence people once you’ve switched. Your decision will probably go down like a ton of baby cows being live exported to the Middle East for slaughter.
I’m down a few thousand on my Insta since my decision and you know what? Good. Go and watch a contouring tutorial if that’s what you’re after. The cult of popularity can make fools of us. The world is growing up and we are having adult discussions about what we eat, how we eat it, who we eat, when we eat, how much we eat. Even Gordon Ramsay has had to concede, ‘We must adapt’. Damn right.
BE WARNED: YOU MAY NOT LOSE WEIGHT
Of course you’ve gone vegan for the animals and the environment. But it would be nice to shed a few pounds to look svelte in your superhero outfit.
Considering the amount of salad I have consumed this past year, I had expected to be free of my elasticated waistband dependency. Not so. Turns out my portion control may have been out of control. Being surrounded by vineyards and boulangeries in Provence hasn’t helped either.
Fruit and veg will not make you fat but wine, beer, chips and crisps will. Vegan junk food is welcome but it can stunt your efforts to become your best self.
YOUR CONSCIENCE WILL FEEL LIGHTER
I may be chowing down on crisps and beer as I write but going vegan or should I say plant based aligns with my core beliefs.
As a kid, I questioned the lamb on my plate, as a student, I used to make my housemates Chicken Chasseur without the chicken, as a mother, I recoiled at the meat section in the supermarket.
The casual cruelty of shopping still disturbs me; passing lobsters and crabs in tiny tanks, all that meat displayed nonchalantly, children’s jellies made from bovine gelatin, cartons of milk with bucolic scenes printed on them. I’m so grateful to have snapped out of the spell of animal dependency. Finally I’m listening to myself intently and for that I will make no apology. The world needs more vegans.vv