A Year of Change: Part 1: Becoming A Vegetarian

The last year has been a year of change for me. A massive amount of change, in fact, perhaps the most change in a one year period that I can remember.

Change isn’t always welcome, but more than often necessary.

Part of my general life philosophy is to not look back. Being a lover of history, and of documenting it, I do look back occasionally, but only to record and reflect, I rarely look back with regret. this is the first in a series of posts about changes that have affected my life in recent times, and how I feel about them.

Becoming a Vegetatian

In 2017, a friend casually suggested that I watch a video called “Dairy is Scary“.
(WARNING ADULT THEMES)  Read about the topic instead?

Normally, I’d never watch anything like that because it seemed to suggest that animals might be hurt, or not treated nicely in the video and I’ve never been a fan of hurting animals. Most of us aren’t but we pretend it’s not happening.

Anyway, for whatever reason, I watched the video and I didn’t like what I saw. Well, actually, I liked the way it was put together but it just horrified me. It made me think very differently about the way that animals are treated in the name of the greater good.

I’ve eaten dairy products since I was a child, just like the vast majority of people. I also enjoyed eating all variety of meats derived from farm livestock.

After a few days reflecting on the video, I started thinking more about how I aspire to stop eating meat and all animal products.

One day at work, we started talking about cruelty to animals and I mentioned that one of my long-term health ambitions was to become a vegan. Sadly my proclamation was greeted with the usual ridicule. Indeed one colleague baited me saying that there was no way I could do it because I liked my Sausage and Bacon butties too much. He was right about liking the butties, but wrong about whether I could do it.

Right there and then I said, “I’ll start by going vegetarian right now”. Again, it was laughed off, but that was June 2017, and I’m still a vegetarian, and certainly not looking back. I do not miss meat of any kind. In fact, the thought of eating it makes me feel ill.

I had no real issue giving up Meat and Milk wasn’t such an issue, as I knew there were plenty of substitutes. Nowadays my replacement milk is oat milk, it’s delicious and has a very similar texture to cows milk, with minimal flavouring. I wasn’t so sure I could give up cheese and eggs. this has proved difficult, but I’m sure now that it can be done.

This change couldn’t have been done without the help and support of my partner of course who, in her younger days been vegetarian and so has endeavoured to research, cook and prepare many fantastic vegetarian meals. Thanks to her great research, We’ve also been trying more and more vegan recipes over the months, and I feel much more confident that the transition from Vegetarianism to Veganism could actually take place sooner rather than later now.

Talking to others about Vegetarianism

By and large, I have avoided too much public comment on the subject. I had 2 conversations on social media about “not eating meat” which ended in disaster. I’m no stranger to controversy, particularly on political matters but in both cases, I didn’t look for confrontation. It’s my policy to not tell others what they must do. Everyone has to choose for themselves what they do with their lives but that won’t stop me speaking candidly about what I believe and why I have chosen this path.

hypocrisy

One old friend made a facebook post about “Vegan Zealots”, in this post, he went on to say that he loved animals but wouldn’t be dictated to by zealots. I decided to point out what I saw as the flaw in his argument, I said:

“You claim to love animals, and yet you’re complicit in their deaths so that you can eat them and wear them, that makes you a hypocrite.”

Just reading that, I imagine a few people are getting mad. But stop! I was exactly the same as my “friend” I loved animals but was complicit in their deaths, and actually still am as a vegetarian.

It doesn’t change the fact that to say you “love animals”, and then eat them for breakfast dinner and tea, makes you a hypocrite, whether you like that label or not.

I don’t think that I am better than any meat eater because I’m not. In fact, I’ll never try to convince anyone to become veggie or vegan…its up to you. You want to eat meat, do it, but if you proclaim to “love animals”, you may be called a hypocrite. That will smart, but it’s the truth. You’re stuck, you can either do nothing and bury your head in the sand. Trying hard to convince yourself that meat and dairy have nothing to do with animal cruelty, or you can try to work out a plan of action to disassociate yourself from it.

I’ve found that people get defensive about “their right” to eat meat. Well, I’m not stopping you from eating it, but why does the argument that it’s immoral upset so many people? At least hear the arguments.

Every person on Earth must do what they believe in their hearts to be what is right. That is what I’m doing.

Over the years I have campaigned against racism, discrimination, and talked and written at length on the horrors of slavery. It’s my belief that eating meat and dairy, actually contributes to a system of slavery for animals.

I don’t want to be a hypocrite, that’s why I’m taking steps to become a vegan.

Do Vegetarians and Vegans Change Anything?

vegetarianismI fully accept that my becoming a Vegan won’t change the fate of billions of animals worldwide, but what it will do is remove my money and endorsement from that system of animal slavery, torture and death.

Anyone who cares to speak to me about such things and agrees with me, and then embarks on a similar course, is one less person/family who is making a change for animal welfare, as well as their health and conscience. In fact, it’s already happened, one friend told me that by me raising awareness about why I was becoming a veggie, inspired her and her husband, and they are now both Vegans and thriving.

This post isn’t a crusade for veganism. There are plenty of better writers, nutritionists and animal rights people who can do that better than me. This post is just about my journey, and becoming a vegetarian is only one part of my journey toward a happier me.

Feel free to comment. Happy to debate with anyone who doesn’t share my view, but let’s try to keep it hate free.

Related Links

Arguments For /Against Vegetarianism
Dairy is Scary The Guardian.
So you want to go Vegan but love Cheese

4 thoughts on “A Year of Change: Part 1: Becoming A Vegetarian

  1. Nice one Tidy, I stopped eating meat about 20 years ago. No mammals, no foul but I do eat some fish. I now live in France and find my choices even harder than when in England. I live alone and don’t particularly like cooking so I tend to buy ready meals a lot. The French don’t do a lot of vegetarian stuff. Anyway, I had given though to eating meat again but after reading your blog I am now thinking of going the other way!

  2. Such an excellent blog post and I wish I’d written one like this myself. I went Vegan in January 2017 and I’ve not looked back. Like you I’d wrestled with guilt, saying I loved animals and then eating them. I’m not going to lie, its been a tough year. The food side of it has been easy, i’m loving eating a plant based diet. It’s everything that surrounds it that’s been hard, socially and relationship wise. I’m not someone who forces my views on others, I keep it to myself mainly but people don’t like seeing someone breaking from the norm it seems. The general consensus is that vegans push thier views on others but my experience these last 15 months has been the total opposite. I’ve received some serious flack at work, thankfully I’m thick skinned and I’m whole heartedly committed to why I’m doing it. I’m regularly made to explain myself and sadly people don’t want to hear bad things about thier lifestyle choices. As a rule I avoid talking about it if I can, if people insist I just point them in the direction of documentaries like ‘Forks over Knives’, ‘What The Health’ and then the grand finale, ‘Earthlings’. If they choose to watch then they can take from it what they will.

    The whole issue has worn me down at times, It’s been a tough year in many ways but an equally enlightening year. Mass production and intensive farming isn’t any good for the planet but some people refuse to pay more for locally sourced produce from small farms. I don’t profess to have all the answers sadly and I do feel for the farming community. I grew up next to a farm, have friends who are farmers and I’ve even been to Bakewell market today with them. My head is a complete mess at times, at the moment i’m calling myself Plant Based… I hate labels 🙂

    Once again thanks for this expertly and elequantly written post.

    All the best. Dean

    P.S. We need to meet up for a walk soon don’t we, we’ve been talking about it for years 🙂

  3. Hi Dean,

    Good to hear from you. Thanks for your very kind comments.

    Congrats on going Vegan by the way. I’ll get there eventually, I just need to get organised enough to cook and plan all the vegan stuff.

    I know what you mean about the hostility Vegetarians and Vegans are facing, it’s actually unbelievable. To be honest, though, I was as equally closed minded though, before I found the path to Vegetarianism. People get really wound up about it even if I’m not talking about it, the very fact that I don’t eat meat seems to upset some people.

    I don’t know what can change in a person’s mind to suddenly change course, but it happened.

    I haven’t seen any of the documentaries you mentioned, but will certainly check them out. One that’s mentioned often is ‘Cowspiracy’. not seen that either yet.

    Like you, I grew up next to a farm, played on farms, worked on farms…it’s not farmers I’m against, it’s the unconscious acceptance that meat has to be done because it has always been that way. For me, I’m evolving, others are free to do as they please.

    All the best. Phil

    P.S. I’ll get in touch with re the walk. I’m sure we’ll have plenty to chat about, maybe bring that drone out too?

  4. Pingback: Kinder Scout With Dean Read | Tideswellman – Derbyshire Blogger & Fellrunner

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