Meat Free Monday to meat free for life – the path to going meat free
Is being a gluten free veggie too “restrictive”?
No, in short; not for me at least.
I’d been gluten free for a number of years and, whilst the improvement was vast, I still felt as though there was room for improvement. Going gluten free encouraged a greater understanding in where my food came from.
And learning about agriculture practices (animal ones especially) is a little like taking the red pill in The Matrix.
Going veggie or vegan doesn’t have to be a “deep end plunge” or involve self-denial, it can be a tentative step or transitional process.
I’m not sure where we first picked up on this but it seemed like a really good way of cutting down on food over consumption and waste. Then, once we started getting our Riverford veg boxes it really made veggies much more exciting; it inspired my creativity.
When @PlantPoweredCyclist took the first leap and went veggie, I was initially reluctant; feeling that being gluten free already would mean that I might miss out nutritionally and unnecessarily over complicate. Initially I was correct; it was a bit more complicated with eating proving trickier!
I managed a few months and then it was our first Christmas at the new house, hosting the in laws – a group of long standing meat eaters. Whilst it tasted good (yup, I admit, meat tasted good) I was very unwell afterwards, fatigued and left feeling worse than I had in months.
Living life on the veg
So during the early part of 2016, aside from a minor issue of restricted options when @PlantPoweredCyclist was in hospital in May, I lived happily veggie. And later in the year I made the progression to veganism.
I was beginning to find it really difficult to align my love for animals with my compartmentalising of animals that were pets against those that were food. Plus, from a health perspective, my digestion improved massively and I felt like I had much more energy.
It can be tricky eating out but when we’re in the driving seat, actually it’s pretty simple.
Some of the things that inspired us to go veggie:
There are some seriously worrying stats out there (when you start looking into it) which highlight just how damaging our over reliance on animal agriculture is to our planet – this Independent article on World Meat Free Day is a great starting point.
A couple of years ago I worked my way around TC’s no pets in the house rule by persuading him that chickens make really good pets (in the garden) and he conceded on the basis that they would also be productive. Whilst it might seem like he lacked compassion, you have to bear in mind that our 4 hens are the first pets he’s ever had and he’d never previously had the opportunity to bond with our furry or feathered friends. Having our own chickens opened his eyes to the individual personalities and behaviours that “even chickens” have.
We’ve watched a LOT of Netflix docu-films on food;
Mission Blue – This was the ultimate deal sealer for me. Sylvia Earle is such an inspiration and when she shared her knowledge of our oceans and how we as humans are destroying the planet it broke my heart. When I asked TC what it was about that documentary that tipped me over the edge, he recalls that I cried watching drowning, suffering sea animals and was furious at the waste of life when so many animals were caught and thrown back because quotas had already been reached or because nets had caught creatures we weren’t after. At the end of this film I decided I could no longer consciously eat meat – from land or sea animals.
Vegucated – Investigated the health effects of going plant based, whilst also shedding light on the state of animal agriculture to participants.
Food Inc. – Pretty graphic in places but also showed the disturbingly prominent force of food corporations.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall– We’re huge fans of Hugh in our house and can’t wait to go along and check out River Cottage HQ in person later in the summer. His series River Cottage: Veg Every Day really helped inspire my creativity with plants in the kitchen – offering the reassurance that veg really can be the star of every meal.
And we haven’t looked back. It is now no longer a requirement based upon diet, it is a pleasurable experience with health, environment and our own core principles at heart. Are you considering going veggie/vegan? If you’re already there, what inspired your decision?