Soooo, I’ve been putting off writing this post for a couple of weeks because I know how some people are going to feel about it. The same way I would have felt a year ago if I read what I am about to write.
I can’t stay quiet anymore though as I saw something shared in a vegan Facebook group that I completely disagree with, to the point where I no longer want to be associated with veganism. It was a placard that someone had made for the climate change protests last week and it said something along the lines of ‘shut the f*$k up about climate change if you have a mouth full of meat’. Now I understand the passion, I do. And I know climate change is a hot topic right now and people are concerned. I also know that being vegan isn’t something you can do lightly, you have to 100% believe that animal products shouldn’t be used for any reason but lately I’ve stopped believing that. Hear me out..
So with the rise of veganism has come a boom in vegan products, something which is amazing for sure. However when the demand for a product rises, companies want to jump on that and that’s when shortcuts and immoral practices usually start coming into play. I watched a video the other day about the women in cashew nut factories who are paid a couple of Euros a day and whose hands are black from the acid the nuts need to be soaked in, they are also losing their eyesight because of it. Then you’ve got the monkeys being abused to pick coconuts, the effects on the rainforest from palm oil, the dilemma around avocados, quinoa, birds being killed in vacuums to produce olive oil.. I’m pretty sure any food you start looking into will have some level of cruelty to either animals or humans involved.. unless you know where your food is coming from. Which takes me to my next point..
Say you have a family who live on a small-holding. They raise chickens for both eggs and to kill to eat. They grow all their own vegetables and fruit and only buy a very limited amount of organic, locally grown produce which is free from packaging.
Now compare that to a vegan family who eat lots of fake meat products containing palm oil, coconut oil and soy and which come in plastic packaging. These products have also been imported from America. Say they also eat lots of tropical fruit and avocados which have been imported. They also buy lots of food from the supermarket which comes in plastic.
Being vegan means you have to believe that the second one is the best option because it means you aren’t eating animal products but is it really the best option if you look in more detail? If flying is one of the worst things you can do for the environment then surely eating foods that have all been imported is not good at all? And what about the plastic problem? Or the fact that if the food isn’t organic then harmful pesticides are being used, putting the farmers growing the crops at risk of health problems?
I just don’t think it’s as clear cut anymore as vegan = good and non-vegan = bad.
I will be honest, these thoughts did also come to me because of another reason. I went vegan 3.5 years ago and for 3 of those years I was completely happy and didn’t have any thoughts about eating anything non-vegan.
Then a few months ago I started craving eggs and fish. Basically foods that I hadn’t even thought about for years, and that I didn’t even eat much of before, were on my mind ALL the time. I think a big reason for this was due to me doing so much exercise. My protein requirements went right up because I’m trying to build muscle and I was constantly hungry. I know it is possible to train lots and build muscle whilst being vegan but it involves eating a lot of tofu and beans, lentils etc which I just really started to struggle with. Lentils always make me feel sick after eating them and there is only so much tofu you can eat before getting sick to death of it.
I’m intolerant to potato starch & mushrooms so that rules out most of the fake meats anyway because most of them have one or the other in. I don’t like to eat much gluten because it makes me feel crappy so that rules out all seitan based products and after a few months I started to feel so restricted and tired all the time.
Add to that the fact that the kids diets are terrible, Tiger especially. There are so many reasons for this and I don’t want to go into them now but we are genuinely concerned as he won’t touch any of the things he should be eating to be healthy on a vegan diet.
Matt has also struggled with his health since going vegan, again he hates foods like tofu, beans etc.
So what am I getting to? Well we decided to buy some eggs, we know where they are from and how the chickens live and we feel like it is the right decision for us right now. It’s just a really easy way of getting certain nutrients and we can all read articles online that make us think we experts on something but at the end of the day what works for one person isn’t going to work for another.
I have also eaten some halloumi and here’s the thing, I was obsessing over it for so long and then I ate it, enjoyed it and haven’t thought about it since. Which for me says a lot about the way I want things to be going forward.
I will still be eating mainly plant-based but I don’t want to be a vegan anymore. I now disagree with the high & mighty attitude so many vegans have, I even did myself at one point as my sister was happy to point out to me! I don’t think it’s helpful to judge other people or make out like your way is the only way because if you dig a bit deeper what you will see now is lots of people making changes to the amount of meat and animal products they consume. And actually you don’t need to do it 100% to make a difference and for some people if that means they will keep up the changes long-term then that’s going to be far more effective then people going into it too strictly only to then give it up completely.
I think we all like labels sometimes, it makes us feel part of something, like we belong, like we’ve found our people and that can be a really good thing but I also think it can go too far. I have always tried to be open-minded about other people’s decisions in life and I feel like whilst being vegan I lost that which I didn’t like.
I know not everyone will agree and I know I will lose followers over this and that’s completely fine, I would have done the same thing not that long ago. I think I un-followed people for even mentioning the word meat at one point which I’m pretty embarrassed about now.
In regards to this blog, I guess it will just take a slightly different direction. More of a lifestyle blog, I would love to start blogging about my fitness journey too as I hope it will inspire people, especially those who hate exercise like I once did!
If you made it to the end of this very long post then well done! I would love to hear your thoughts, although please keep them respectful.