I went vegan in late 2012. I’m not able to put my finger on a precise date, but what I do know for sure is that like every vegan ever, it was something that I so wish I had done sooner. My primary focus for making that move was ethical. I had been vegetarian for years. So this seemed like a natural progression. It was taking the ethical mantra of “do no harm” as far as I could.
Vegan Food For Thought
In doing so, the inevitable additional health benefits kicked in too. My weight came down further, along with my cholesterol, and I was less averse to beach holidays than I ever had been before.
On first glance to some, it appears that ethics and health, whilst both high-profile concepts, are two very separate domains. Strictly speaking, they don’t have to be intertwined. So much so that I guess you can have health-aware vegans that don’t care about animal exploitation as much as you can have other vegans with muffin top waist-lines that get out of breath reaching up for the tofu in the supermarket. But I’d bet both of those would be rarer to stumble across than a toothy chicken.
However, those are, fair to say, outlandish exceptions to the vegan rule. And here’s my point, ethics and healthy well-being are actually intimately linked with one another. Health can be determined by going two dress sizes down or gaining a ripped belly, sure. But so is having as healthy a mind as is possible to match.
A quick foray into Google will tell you that 0.5% of Americans, 1 in 200, are vegan. The UK fares slightly better with 1% of Brits opting out of inflicting misery on themselves, our fellow animal co-inhabitants, and Mother Earth in general.
On the basis of those figures, there’s clearly a long way to go for veganism although, reassuringly, it is moving in the right direction:
Why though do so many still not have the ability, the desire, or both, to make that leap? Why when there is so much information available about the inherent cruelty that animal exploitation entails and when there are near endless alternatives to explore, do so many continue to relish the need to destroy other life to have their own, allegedly, enhanced?
To put it another way, why coo over the piglet in the animal sanctuary and then later salivate over the pork chop at the dinner table? Why feel joyful at the sight of a Spring lamb at play in a sun-lit field and then later weigh up the cost of lamb-chops in the supermarket with blank eyes?
I suspect that if a baby-sitter advertised their talents with a business card that read “I love children. And I only eat them on average four times a week” you’d not only suspect a disconnected thinking process, you’d be reaching out to the emergency services. Such is the paradox of the steak eating “animal lover.”
That’s just not a joined-up way to think – an irrational cognitive dissonance between perception and behaviour. As much as we are an integral part of the eco-system and intricate balance of the bio-sphere, so our physical health and mental health are just as dependent upon one another.
Realistically, find me a vegan fan of bull-fighting and I’ll show you an individual with an issue or two as to how their thinking joins up.
Veganism is on the rise, thankfully. By adopting it, one makes a conscious, active decision to make the world a less cruel and more rational place to be in. No moral gymnastics, ethical double-speak or simply pretending that something “bad” isn’t happening when it so patently is.
And that really is vegan food for thought.
David Hewett runs Not1secondmore – vegan scribbles
A vegan British eye Stateside…
A warm welcome from me, Dave Hewitt, a Brit now transplanted to Ohio through marriage to my beautiful, crazy cook, works building space-rockets, Monica.
We have both been vegan for years now. We are very, very passionate about spreading the word, writing and generally raising the profile of the only lifestyle that can guarantee us all that there will be a future on Earth for generations to come: veganism.
As well as writing (you can find me on Fiverr: not1secondmore) I’m a Masters postgraduate with years of experience in helping disadvantaged, disabled and long-term unemployed individuals in both the US and the UK up-skill and make it back to into work. Helping people to change their lives for the better is what sets me up for the next day.
Used to kick-box a bit too. And play rugby. Now I prefer watching both. Not the second row that I thought I used to be any more!
England rugby fan. Animal lover. Vegan. Write a little bit of politics from time to time as well (not that there’s that much going on in the USA in 2018 to write about…)
Enjoy my scribbles – more to be added soon!
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