24 Jan The dreaded V Word: A blog from Mexico, with love
A blog post by our Head of Consumer, Rachel Moule
I have recently been allowed very generously by Action PR, a three-month sabbatical. This – a blog post in its own right, but more of that later – is something incredibly important to me. I made the choice not to have children, so having a sympathetic and progressive employer is vital to my life decision to travel the world and do some charity work at some animal and people-based charities in central and south America, something equally as important and validating as having children in my eyes.
I digress, being in Mexico as a vegan has made me think about choosing to live a plant-based lifestyle more than ever, so I decided in the month that a lot of people dabble with being vegan, that’s it’s as good a time as any to talk a little about why I became vegan, and why it doesn’t mean you have to exist on mung beans and not wear deodorant…
Despite now being 60% taco, I wanted to share my thoughts about the V word in this month of veganuary [dont get me started on that awful, cut and shut word…]
I wouldn’t describe myself as an animal lover, I would describe myself as an animal-obsessive. I am that person who will molest your dog in the street, I want to hold and love every single living animal I come across, and wish desperately [often with tears in my eyes] that they never come to any harm or experience cruelty. This has become the moral compass of my life. It is nothing to do with fad or trend, nothing to do with the hype that we as Instagram users are exposed to on a daily basis about influencers and celebrities tagging #vegan #plantbased #friendsnotfood or the vegan based protein trend [another blog post is my utter fatigue of food brands shouting about protein content on their carb/sugar based products…] It is about the sole reason that we choose to follow certain lifestyles that are perceived as ‘healthy’. My reasoning is foremost one of conscience and morals with a secondary serving of health….
Being vegan outside of London ain’t easy – here I have existed on cactus, lettuce, frijoles, broccoli, tomato, cucumber, cauliflower, some weird green things I purchased in the local supermarket that I still am unsure as to what they actually are, fruit, tortilla chips [too…many…tortilla…chips…] and plantain. But it makes me more aware than ever how fragile our planet and its animals are.
We all know the stats. We all know the amount of CO2 produced by the meat industry [more than cars or any other pollutant] that is single-handedly destroying the earth, and we all know how much we need to reduce our plastic consumption to save the ocean, but in London, we live in a bubble. It is only when we step outside and witness the acres of plastic bottles washed up on the beach, the deluge of litter in the streets, the cruelty towards and poor condition of animals on a grand scale, the dwindling populations of some of our most treasured species’, that we truly start to understand why now more than ever, we need to start making choices that protect and sustain our planet.
The one key thing that we are inundated by working in the wellness industry, is nonsense. Weight-loss teas [check out @coach_clem ’s one-man war against the idiot influencers who take cash to validate this kind of awful, out of date product…] slimming protein powders, superfood supplements, south American roots, theories about whether eggs are actually good for you…
IT’S A MINEFIELD OUT THERE
But one thing I never tire of, is the sheer joy of eating plants. I get worryingly excited about eating all the wondrous plants this earth has given us, coconuts, mangoes, sweet tomatoes, foreign vegetables I have never heard of, massive ripe avocados, herbs, beans, pulses, spices, wild rices, nuts, plant-based milks that are 100% times tastier than cows milk… of all this guilt free [don’t start me on whether it is or not…it is] This is a very simple, basic human pleasure – eating and drinking without harming other living creatures. It’s a great feeling. As someone who has had many vices in their life, I feel a tiny bit proud that veganism is something I am addicted to that isn’t destroying my body and brain.
When I was at my family home in Devon for Christmas, I was angrily questioned as to why I was a vegan by an independent farmer. Now, I listened fully to his argument, about his livelihood and the livelihoods of thousands of farmers like him. I grew up with these people, I understand the economic impact veganism is having on small farming communities. But my argument, and true belief, will always be – I don’t want death inside my body. I believe this is a Buddhist principle and one to me that makes complete sense.
Anyone who has experienced an abattoir, and the callous people who work inside abattoirs with a flagrant disregard to the wellbeing and dignified death of animals, would be hard pressed to ever eat meat again. We still, despite abundant messaging, have a disconnected relationship with the origin of our food. I get that responsibly sourced meat is better, the lives of the animals are better, but most of them die the same way – frightened, highly stressed and in pain. This isn’t about producing the amount of food that we as a planet need. It’s gone beyond that. It’s mass over production of food that we couldn’t ever possibly consume and holds less and less value. Taking the emotion out of it, it’s not about providing for your family anymore…it’s about the gross over-production of meat, and animals as commodities for profit. It is unsustainable at its core.
Nutritionally there are arguments as to whether being vegan is good for you or not [“HOW DO YOU GET YOUR PROTEIN?” screamed everyone], but I can only speak for myself when I say I feel better in my body: my skin is pretty much always clear, I don’t have mood swings, I carry less weight, I am less hormonal, I am stronger physically and mentally and crucially, I am not contributing to the intensive farming, inhumane transportation and deaths and general misery of living creatures …
In short, you don’t have to try a month of being vegan in January. Forget Veganuary. Try veganruary, veganarch, veganay, veganuapril……just try it. You might like it.