I watched the documentary “What the Earth” three months ago and became vegan the very next day – totally cold turkey – no meat, no milk, no cheese, no eggs, no honey…
Over the years I’ve spent time thinking about what the actual characteristics of meat and milk are (saturated fat and/or not actually designed for consumption by humans), and I’ve been wondering why we consume these things at all. Once I also saw how poor in quality meat and milk are most of the time (hormones, massive amounts of processing, shocking care of the poor animals), I began to scratch my head even more. The kicker was watching this documentary and being reminded once again how meat and milk industries are, really, gigantic corporations who want profits and won’t stop at harming animals, people or the environment to get them. They’ll bribe, lie, use force, shirk responsibilities like animal welfare, environmental regulations, and quality control, and generally be pretty sneaky.
I know and feel the steel-rod-strong cultural ties that people have to these types of foods. I was myself brought up on a diet of cheap meats like fish fingers, turkey drumsticks, mince, hotdogs, ham, and more. I also began to drink my daily cup of fresh milk at school at four years old. Milk was always pushed as the essential liquid for bone health, and also general health. I think meat and milk are so ingrained in our daily lives that people take them for granted, barely questioning their consumption.
On the subject of consumption, since becoming vegan, I’ve felt my food choices sometimes limited and sometimes quite fruitful (pardon the pun). It depends where I go. I’ve consumed a lot of hummus, fruit juice, plus slightly more bread and pasta. I definitely need to learn some recipes that contain a lot more vegetables. On the plus side, I often get a break from carb-heavy stuff by happening across the odd vegan gem on a supermarket or café shelf. So, at the moment I’m eating more carbs and fat, but also more vegetables than I was before. I can’t quite tell if this is a good balance.
Many things I learned since becoming a vegan fall under the category of ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’ – meaning that if I hadn’t become vegan, I wouldn’t have experienced them and they’d be out of my awareness completely. I’m glad I have them there now. I found out how bad palm oil is and how different countries (i.e. UK v.s. Germany) give different levels of fucks about how much of it they stuff into their products for unassuming consumers. Germany won on the level of fuck-giving here. Thank you Germany. I was pleasantly surprised to receive far less eye-rolls (that’s not a food), head-shakes, and awkward smiles than I’d expected when I explained to people I’d become a vegan. Even my meat-loving family and friends. People have been very accommodating and kind about it all, which I massively appreciate. I learned how many different types of milk alternatives there are. I heard from some people vegan cheese is actually really good. I learned that some people don’t know what vegans can and can’t eat. Even people who work at restaurants with vegan food advertised on the window. I found out that most dark chocolate is vegan. I learned that someone who rarely drinks milk can now detect even tiny amounts in food, and that when I sniffed some shortbread the other day (a food I used to like), it smelt like rotten milk.