I ‘ve been a strict vegetarian for 9 years now, and have never looked back. Immediately after watching Jamie Oliver’s controversial BBC program “Fowl Dinners” one evening in 2008, my mum and I decided to try vegetarianism; something that seemed so foreign to us at the time as a family of near-carnivores. It was much easier than either of us anticipated, as we enjoyed experimenting with new recipes and ingredients (and felt much healthier for it!) Fast forward nearly a decade, and vegetarianism is just part of my daily life. The thought of eating meat is actually quite repulsive to me for various reasons, but the main one probably being that it would now be such an unnatural thing for me to do.
vegetarianism is just part of my daily life
I have dabbled in veganism over the past few years, but nothing has ever stuck as for me, it is much more difficult and restricting than vegetarianism. This is particularly true when eating out at a restaurant or, if you’re very strict, even having a few drinks at the pub! As with most things, it’s all about taking small steps towards an end goal and doing your best. I am quite strict with myself with regards to which toiletries I purchase, only buying from vegan and cruelty-free brands like Body Shop, and supporting major animal rights activists like Kat Von D by buying her makeup line (rather than most high-street brands which don’t hide that they test on animals). I only use dairy milk in my tea, but soya otherwise, and restrict my intake of other dairy products.
I’ve never been one to preach about my diet, as I’m aware that most people don’t want to hear it. Only close friends who would find out because we eat together, for example, would know that I don’t agree with raising life just to slaughter it for the five minutes of pleasure that a burger brings. But nowadays, there is a tendency to ‘brag’ about being a vegan or vegetarian, because it is a trendy label to have. This is great, to a certain extent, because it obviously promotes a compassionate outlook, makes people much more aware of the issues surrounding factory farming or animal testing, and obviously reduces the demand for meat, no matter how temporarily. The only issue with a diet being a ‘fashion-statement’ is its longevity. I just hope that the people walking around campus with Lush’s ‘Fighting Animal Testing’ tote bag and biting into Pret’s vegan sandwiches are in it for the right reasons, and not just to follow the trend.
For me, it’s all about doing your bit and taking steps towards a more caring world. Just as Vegan Outreach president, Jack Norris, said, “People say, ‘I’d go vegan but I can’t give up cheese.’ Then go vegan except for cheese!” Whether taking part in ‘Veganuary’ or not, just cutting back on one piece of meat or drinking one pint less of dairy milk per week will aid this fight for compassion and mercifulness.