After sitting on the fence about turning vegan for a while, a long summer spenteating heavily-processed American food while working in a summer camp in the States convinced me to make a change. Two days into becoming vegan, I felt like a saint. I was walking on air. Do you know how greatit feels to tell people that no, you don’t want the cheeseburger because you’re vegan (but you will have the equally good bean burger)? It feels really great. No wonder they never seem to stop talking about it.
Nonetheless, after loudly and emphatically asking the canteen staff at college for some more vegan soya milk before beingreminded by my genuinely-vegan friend that the yoghurt I’d also just dolloped into a bowl for myself was not, in fact, vegan, I realised I’m not amazing at this whole commitmentthing. So, while no-one likes a fence-sitter (sorry, Jezza), I’ve instead decided to become a fully-fledged flexitarian and here’s why you meat or dairy-eaters should too (the vegansamong you may continue to enjoy your saintly capacity for self-control):
1. We’re all humans and we make mistakes – and yes, perhaps the kebab I ate after my last night out was a mistake and wasn’t excusable simply because I had had a sip of alcohol. But, rest assured, sober me will forever endeavour to atone for drunk me, in more ways than one.
2. Secondly, is seafood even that good? Just putting it out there – personally, I’ve neverbeen that sold on it. And as for red meat,well… If you want to eat yourself into anearly heart attack then be my guest. Just know that if the entire U.S. did not eat meat or cheese for one day a week, it would be the equivalent of not driving 91 billion miles –or taking 7.6 million cars off the road.
3. This third one should be quite obvious: plant-based food isn’t actually disgusting. It can be easy, affordable and delicious so don’t be dissuaded by your preconceptions. Plus,the level of satisfaction you get from cookinga tasty vegan dinner for your initially vegan-sceptic parents is incomparable, take it from me. Moreover, the more people consuming plant-based products, the more money goes into the industries that produce meat alternatives and affordable vegan products, the even tastier they become – everything isgood!
4. It’s good for your skin and it’s good for your health. This doesn’t require much ex- planation. The chemicals in dairy products, as with the hormones in processed meat,should be avoided like you avoid your dead-lines and, quite frankly, all other impending responsibilities (or is it just me?).
5. And last but not least, it makes you feel good about yourself knowing that you’re doing something for the planet and knowing that Greta Thunberg can’t bully you because you are in fact listening to her immortal words of wisdom. So what if you’re not 100% 24/7 vegan yet? It stops you from falling into the trap of believing that veganism is the mother of solutions for the global climate crisis. It isn’t.
So although telling anyone and everyone that I was vegan was pleasurable while it lasted, it turns out I’m not a saint. But in the meantime, I will continue to enjoy picking the plant-based options as much as possible, and not exclusively when I’m sober – except, perhaps, when it comes to chocolate.