Something happened to me over the Christmas break. I stayed up late one evening after my husband had gone to bed and I watched a documentary called ‘Vegucated’ on Netflix. I love that kind of telly, like ‘You Are What You Eat’ and ‘The Food Hospital’, but usually I just watch, switch off and forget…this time was different. Without getting too far into the gory, the documentary detailed the meat industry in America and it was pretty hardcore. It also went into the health benefits of eating a planIt-based diet. The last point it made was environmental – and I think that’s where it got me. It looked into how much grain it takes to produce meat, sixteen pounds of grain to one pound of meat. Not only could we feed starving humans with that grain, but the planet is being devastated to keep up with the demand – 55 square feet of rain forest is destroyed in order to produce one quarter pound of rain forest beef or one hamburger. This also increases global warming as plants that absorb carbon dioxide have been cut down to create feeding ground for cattle.
I found out that eating meat is worse for your carbon footprint than driving a car! …so I went Vegan!
I wasn’t a vegetarian before the documentary – I literally went from eating a three bird roast with a side of beef and a pile of bacon wrapped sausages on Christmas day to eating nothing that came from an animal at all on the 29th Dec.
For me this documentary (or vegan propaganda, if you like) was pretty empowering, it made me feel like if just I went vegan I would be making a change in the world. Lots of people look at vegans as extremists, but I don’t feel like I am. I am not that big into animal rights, I am still wearing leather as I owned it before going vegan (and I haven’t looked into the environmental impact of leather vs. vegan shoes yet!) I have two kids and I am actually against them being vegan – (I mean they have eaten their fair share of tofu in the past three weeks), but I think it’s too much for them to be vegan as children – I feel it would be isolating, that people might not invite the ‘vegan kid’ for tea.
How I am working around it is we are pretty much a vegetarian household (well, there is still a massive leg of lamb in my
freezer..eek!) but my kids and husband can eat what they want when out and about. That appeases me, as I am not buying meat and therefore ‘saving the planet’ in my own way, and they are eating a varied diet.
Tips – If you are thinking of becoming vegan, vegetarian or just want to cut down your meat consumption, there are some great resource in Sheffield:
The Incredible Nutshell, 31 Chesterfield Road – A health food shop that sells everything you need for a veggie lifestyle (minus the actual veggies – doesn’t have a fresh bit).
Steel City Cakes, 434-436 Abbeydale Road – A cake shop that makes Vegan cakes (and gluten free and non-vegan cakes).
Sassy V, Facebook – A once a month vegan group that meets in Lush, Fargate.