Happy World Vegan Day!
I know what you’re thinking.
Regular readers of this blog will recognise that it has become somewhat of a shrine to the consumption of flesh, and will be looking at the title of this post with suspicious eyes. I don’t blame you. It’s true that I regularly document my meat-crazed benders with posts such as this one, or this one but, I dunno… you could say I’ve had a pretty big change of heart of late.
I stopped eating meat on the 1st October, and to be perfectly honest, in the short period of time I’ve been a veggie I haven’t really missed eating meat at all. I was a vegetarian for the most part of my teenage life, and always assumed that I would probably one day go back to not eating meat again. I’ve tried and failed over the last few years to cut it out of my diet completely, despite having cut down a lot over the last few years.
I think that’s the main problem I have with our Western attitude towards eating meat. Most people don’t consider a meal to be a ‘proper’ meal unless it has a big slab of meat in the middle of it, or bacon in it, or chicken wings on the side. I shudder to think at how much food is wasted every single year, and how much unnecessary slaughter we commit just to fuel our fashionable dependence on dude food. Cheeky Nando’s, anyone?
It’s not just bad for our health, it’s pretty terrible for the planet, too. I came across a video doing the rounds on Facebook recently which came from Unilad, of all places, highlighting the environmental impact that our love affair with meat is having on the planet. This sweet little animation from the Guardian highlights the same problem:
I’m not trying to be all preachy here – if you have a love affair with burgers, then by all means carry on – but I do agree that as a culture we desperately need to cut down on our meat consumption. If only carrots were as cool as pulled pork. Le sigh.
One of the reasons I love Bristol so much is its defiance at wanting to do things a bit differently. Take places like the Skipchen, reusing food which would have otherwise gone to landfill, or a project I was introduced to recently called Food Not Bombs, who do a similar thing most weekends in the Bearpit – they’re taking steps to ensure that at least a small percentage of food waste isn’t destined to be waste at all.
I was recently contacted by Bristolian veggie-chef-recently-turned-author Shane Jordan, who has penned a brilliant book called Food Waste Philosophy, dealing with this very subject. Food plays a huge part in our everyday lives, and in the book Shane documents our relationship with food from a personal perspective, using his knowledge as a chef in the city and challenging our perceptions of food waste and its environmental impact. I was sent a preview of the book and found it to be a really, genuinely interesting read. Check it out, people!
But what’s this Vegan Challenge thing all about, Lily? Good question.
Every November, the charity Animal Aid encourages people to sign up for the Great Vegan Challenge – yep, you guessed it, 30 days on a completely vegan diet. I attempted doing the challenge last year but was massively underprepared and ended up just eating toast and resorting back to binging on cheese pretty rapidly.
This year, though, I’m determined to do things a bit differently. I’ve already stocked up on oat milk and Sheese and a defiantly stubborn attitude that I can definitely make it to the end of the month without relapsing into dairy consumption like last time. It’s only 30 days, after all!
I’ve already completed day one, in which I went for a bloody SUNDAY ROAST with some of my lovely pals, and those fantastic and wonderful people at the Star and Dove went above and beyond to make a bespoke and absolutely delicious vegan meal just for meeeee!
Tom even had cheese afterwards and I didn’t crack. Stony faced determination.
If you’ve got any tips on veganism – where to eat, what to avoid, the best recipes – please let me know! Comment below and I will love you forever.