I quit alcohol back in 2013. I realised I was allergic to it and it provoked unhelpful stuff in my life. Then I quit cigarettes, after smoking on and off, but mostly on, since I was 14. Then caffeine quickly followed and then I stepped away from dairy and as I was never a big meat eater – more about pleasing others than eating meat for any other reason – I naturally leaned towards a plant based diet. And suddenly, almost by accident, I met the criteria for vegan. And I lost 20kg and found myself finishing half marathons.
But I still kept a flock of 6 backyard chickens and I ate my own eggs warm from the chicken coop. Plus there were other discrepancies where I ate outside of the vegan guidelines – like when a friend dropped off a lasagne when my wife was ill and we ate it as a family out of gratitude – or eating some turkey on Christmas day to avoid provocative and frankly tiresome banter from some awkward relations. But Vegan, mostly, most of the time, and always swaying back to the vegan guidelines.
But a major factor is the level of animal cruelty and utterly disgraceful practices that are part and parcel of modern factory farming. The myth of the family farm and producers being authentically connected to their herds and flocks is just that – a myth. In 2018 meat production is as much about synthetic fertilisers and artificial insemination and absolutely zero about anything else – the poor chicken or cow is sustained just long enough to meet some productivity curve before it is “processed” and “packaged”.
I’m not going to share the chilling scenes of big eyed dairy calves – only hours old – being torn from their mothers and processed into “veal”. I’m not going to share the living hell of being an intelligent pig doomed for bacon or ham – concrete, steel, and darkness before the blinding flash of the delicatessen.
Simply put – meat and dairy is ugly and cruel – and toxic for your health. Plant based diet is the way forward.
Living Vegan for Dummies by Alexandra Jamieson is 383 pages to help you start your vegan exploration.