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Vegan for a month or vegetarian for life?

As the December food consumption was well under way, my thoughts turned to January and whether I would join in with the ‘veganuary’ trend.  This year was the year I wanted to become greener and encourage my family to do the same so I thought this would be a good way to do it.  I wanted to live more sustainably, use less plastic, reduce my carbon footprint and generally cause less damage to the planet than I was currently doing.  I considered whether I would be able to go vegan long term.  The answer, for now, was no.  However, I did feel ready to go vegetarian and thought this was easily possible to do as a permanent change rather than a short term one.  This was something I had managed for several years back in the day when we only had Linda McCartney to rescue us from a constant diet of baked potato and cheesy beans (although a fine meal in itself, not ideal on a daily basis).  There was much more choice now and plenty of ideas for tasty meals.

The amount of resources used to produce meat in terms of land, feed, water and energy plus concerns about the welfare of many of the animals who are raised for food was the main reason for my decision.  It wasn’t really a sudden decision, I just felt tired of being part of it and wanted to remove myself from the whole process.

‘Won’t you eat fish?’ my husband asked, somewhat anxiously.  Having recently watched ‘The Blue Planet’ and witnessed how magnificent a tuna actually is, to pull it out of the sea and then squash it into a can really didn’t seem a fitting end for such a creature.  The depleted fish stocks and the depressing debris left behind by some fishing methods were also concerning.  So fish were off the menu too. 

I have to say, its been far easier than I thought.  There hasn’t been anything I have missed about eating meat as there are so many alternatives now.  I am staying away from large amounts of processed soya as I don’t think that’s a particularly healthy or green choice.   I’ve tried new recipes and I am eating far more vegetables and pulses than before.  My husband and children still eat meat and fish but they are also eating far more vegetarian meals too.  Our first family environmental win.

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