This page is for people to contribute their own experiences in relation to and reasons for cutting animal consumption, whether in general, to go lacto-veggie, or to become vegan. We’re kicking off with the first offering, from Julius (thank you, JS):
‘This is a very welcome blog and so relevant in today’s climate where the human influence on the world needs to be constantly questioned. I offer a note of an experience which has radically changed the course of my view of the world, my diet and my health.
‘In early July 2015 I was supposed to be attending a very sociable garden party at the blocks of flats where I live. As food was being prepared and laid out I became unwell and had to rest. I became very unwell and was in great pain which subsided over many hours later. I saw a doctor the next day – then had an ultra-sound scan to reveal gallstones and that basically meant too much fat in my diet. No, I did not want any invasive surgery, thank you!
‘Instead, after much research, I decided to become almost vegetarian and to give up eating dairy foods. Joy, oh joy, I now feel much more energised, lighter and physically and mentally well. But, I still have much work to do as there are times when I eat some fish and eggs and I will think about maple syrup instead of honey, though there are the air miles (as mentioned on this blog). So, not only was my medical crisis a ‘wake up call’ but also a powerful signal in how I will relate to the beings and the world around me.’
A contribution from Tamsin (thank you):
‘Learning how farming and food industries cut costs by compromising ethics got me started. I didn’t need graphic footage of intensive rearing; just the description convinced me — Felicity Lawrence’s book Not on the Label.
‘I’m at the ‘ovo-vegetarian’ stage – eggs but not dairy. I see a sort of oppression in thousands of years of inbreeding jungle fowl to lay eggs that we like to eat. However I can’t undo those thousands of years so what to do now with the chickens? And I don’t mean that as a cop-out; the discussion is just in progress in my head/heart. The same applies to most of our food plants, so where do we draw the line? Similarly, avoiding animal fibres in clothing, but not if that means their replacement with artificial fibres, which can be as bad for the environment in other ways. And so my ideas ravel and unravel!
‘I have mostly sorted out my diet and the cosmetics and cleaning products I use. It’s a huge amount of research and learning but wilful ignorance is not comfortable. My current challenge is medication: never something we want to be taking, but when it is necessary there isn’t always enough time or information or choice. How to know if the excipients (ingredients in a tablet that are not the active drug) are vegetarian or vegan – chemicals like magnesium stearate can be animal- or plant-derived so the name itself isn’t enough. How to know if any animal-derived substances were used in the production. Most of all, it’s a journey not an endpoint – as much about asking questions and discussing as actually making a decision, and I’m doing the best I can. I agree with you that we can’t be ‘perfect’ vegans anyway.’